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Exterior Lead Paint: Removal, Costs, & Dangers

September 8th, 2023 | 3 min read

By Kaylea Kuhlman

If your home was built before the late 1970s, it could be coated with lead-based paint. While lead-based paint was once commonly used, we now know it poses health risks, especially to young children and pregnant women. Removing or repainting homes with lead-based paint requires special considerations due to the potential health hazards involved, and this can contribute to increased costs compared to regular exterior painting jobs. 

At Brush & Roll Painting, we have been a trusted painter in Omaha since opening in 1996. We are EPA-certified, meaning we have gone through the training and been certified to handle lead paint safely. 

In this guide, we'll delve into everything you need to know about dealing with lead-based paint on your home's exterior. By reading this, you will know what to expect if you have lead-based paint on your home.

Understanding the Hazards of Lead-Based Paint

Lead is toxic, and its exposure can lead to severe health issues, particularly in young children. When lead-based paint is disturbed, it can release lead dust and chips that can be ingested or inhaled, causing lead poisoning. 

To ensure the safety of your family and the environment, it's essential to handle lead-based paint with caution.

Another issue is that when the exterior lead-based paint is scraped off, it can fall into the soil of your yard and contaminate it. The lead in the soil can then transfer to humans, which can be toxic. 

Lead does not decompose, decay, or get absorbed, it is a long-term issue no matter its placement until it is removed.

The Cost Factor

One significant consideration when dealing with lead-based paint is the increased cost compared to regular exterior painting projects. Removing lead paint professionally can be 2 to 4 times the cost of a typical exterior painting project.

The higher costs stem from the need for specialized processes, equipment, and labor to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Here are some factors that contribute to the increased expenses.

1. Safety Precautions

Dealing with lead-based paint requires strict safety protocols to minimize exposure. Professional painters must follow EPA guidelines, including using protective gear, sealing off the work area, and employing specialized tools to reduce the risk of lead dust exposure.

2. Labor Intensity

Removing or repainting lead-based paint can be more time-consuming than regular painting jobs. The meticulous steps involved in minimizing dust and preventing the spread of lead particles require extra effort and time.

3. Specialized Equipment

From high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums to negative air pressure machines, specialized equipment is essential to contain and remove lead dust safely. The use of such equipment contributes to the overall project costs.

4. Waste Disposal

The disposal of lead-contaminated materials must adhere to specific regulations. This process involves additional expenses due to proper containment and disposal requirements.

Average Cost Ranges of Removing Lead-Based Exterior Paint Professionally

Smaller houses (800 to 1,600 square feet) = $10,000 to $18,000

Medium-sized houses (1,600 to 3,000 square feet) = $16,000 to $24,000

Larger houses (3,000+ square feet) = $20,000+

Budgeting for the Project

Given the increased costs associated with lead-based paint projects, it's important to budget accordingly. 

You can obtain quotes from multiple certified contractors, and be prepared for potential variations in price. While it might seem like a substantial investment, prioritizing safety and compliance is paramount, as it protects your family and the value of your property in the long run.

Choosing the Right Professionals

When dealing with lead-based paint, hiring experienced professionals who are well-versed in handling such projects is crucial. Look for contractors certified by the EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) program. These certified contractors have undergone training to ensure lead-based paint is managed safely and effectively.


Alternatives to Complete Removal

Complete removal of lead-based paint can be a costly endeavor. Sometimes, homeowners might consider alternatives, such as painting over the existing lead-based color. This method can be more budget-friendly, but it requires careful consideration of the paint's condition and the potential risks.


Dealing with lead-based paint on your home's exterior is not only a matter of aesthetics but also a concern for the health and safety of your loved ones. 

The increased costs compared to regular exterior painting jobs are justified by the specialized procedures, safety precautions, and equipment required to minimize the risks associated with lead exposure. 

By understanding the hazards, choosing the right professionals, and budgeting appropriately, you can navigate this process while ensuring the well-being of your family and the preservation of your property's value.

As a trusted Omaha painting company, we are certified and have a detailed process for removing exterior lead-based paint. To schedule an estimate, click the button below.

Next, check out our Guide To Exterior Painting. Beginning this project, you may feel overwhelmed, so get ahead of the game and find out all you need to know and what to expect.

Kaylea Kuhlman

Kaylea is the Brush & Roll Painting Content Manager.