A recent column on exterior painting drew a couple of comments about the importance of recognizing and protecting against lead-paint contamination. The home we were writing about was not originally painted with lead-based paints, so special precautions did not apply. We suggested that sanding paint defects to a feathered edge and water blasting were preferred methods of surface preparation. That's absolutely true if lead-based paint is not present. But if you suspect you're dealing with lead-based paint, extra precaution must be taken to avoid spreading the contaminant. Use of lead-based paint was outlawed in California in 1978. Homes built before then, likely as not, contain some lead-based paint in primers, fillers and top coats. White lead was a common ingredient in paint befo...
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