When you are on a house hunt, you might consider an old house with your own checklist.

History? Check

Aesthetics? Check

Potential for renovation? Check

Potential issues? Check

Yes… you read that right…potential issues. If you’re drooling over an older house, and it checks your first three wants, then hold your horses before you sign off on the deal. There might be potential issues awaiting your welcome. One such issue is lead paint.

Beneath those old-fashioned wallpapers and quant trimmings might lie hidden dangers imposed by lead-based paint.

Now, how can you cater to this issue?

Well, most of the homebuyers consider getting a test for lead paint. But if you’re wondering whether YOU should consider the same, this blog will help you.

In this blog, we will discuss the risks of lead paint, why you should get a lead paint test before buying, and whether painting over it will fix the issue.

The Risks of Lead-Based Paint

Lead is a hazardous substance that can cause short- and long-term health issues, even in tiny concentrations.

If you have children under the age of six, then you should be especially careful with it since it may cause lasting impairment to their physical and mental development. The following are a few signs of lead poisoning in young children:

  •         Vomiting
  •         Constipation
  •         Seizures
  •         Weight loss and loss of appetite
  •         Sluggishness and fatigue
  •         Abdominal pain
  •         Developmental delays and learning difficulties
  •         Irritability

But, given the known dangers of lead, why is lead-based paint so common in older homes?

Lead was widely used as a component in household paint before it became known as an exceedingly dangerous material. Lead was added to the paint to quicken drying, boost durability, withstand moisture, and provide a glossy, new-looking finish.

In 1960, lead paint was outlawed in New York City’s residential buildings. Later, the federal government also outlawed using lead paint nationwide in 1978.

However, the ban only prevented lead paint from being used in new construction. Therefore, lead paint is still present in older homes.

The EPA estimates that 87% of houses constructed before 1940 still contain lead-based paint. For homes built between 1940 and 1960, the percentage falls to 69%, and for homes built between 1960 and 1978, it reduces to 24%.

Why You Should Get Lead Paint Test Before Buying?

Health Concerns

Lead can pose significant health issues to children and pregnant women. And this doesn’t mean the adults are safe from the risks. They’re a bit less but exposed to the hazards.

As mentioned above, exposure to lead paint chips or dust can lead to learning disabilities, developmental issues, and a lot more.

Legal Requirements

Many states in the USA require disclosing the presence of lead-based paint in residential properties. So, it’s better to check your region’s specific law and order and ask the home seller for further assistance.

Know that a lead paint test can ensure compliance with regulations and help you avoid potential legal issues.

Renovation and Remodeling Plans

Many homebuyers plan to remodel and renovate the old house in a way that preserves its historic aesthetics and gives aesthetic vibes. A lead paint test becomes essential if you have a plan like this.

During renovations, you’ll be disturbing lead-based paint, which might create hazardous lead dust, posing issues for you and your family. With a test, you can know about the presence of paint in advance to take proper precautions and safe remodeling practices.

Peace of Mind

Once you’ve finally settled in the house, you don’t want issues coming your way one by one. And especially when you’re residing with young children. So, knowing your property is free from such hidden threats and ensures a safer living environment can help you rest easy.

What Are Your Rights As A Homebuyer?

All sellers are required by the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 to give prospective buyers ten days to perform a lead-based paint examination or risk assessment.

This implies that you have an additional ten days after signing the contract to find a qualified lead professional to test the property for lead paint. But note that the buyer, not the seller, is responsible for scheduling and paying for the inspection.

You, the buyer, have the right to renegotiate or cancel the contract without any penalties if the lead inspector discovers any lead paint or lead paint hazards.

Some buyers choose not to use this right without realizing that future removal or mitigation of lead paint dangers could be quite expensive. In some cases, you can use the results of a lead inspection to negotiate a price reduction or credit towards a paint allowance—even if you don’t want to walk away from your ideal house.

“Do home inspectors test for lead paint?”

Well, this is another confusion for many homebuyers. So, no, home inspectors don’t test for lead paint. For this, you need to hire a lead inspector. Therefore, you’re mistaken if your home inspection covers your lead-based paint test.

Can You Paint Over It?

No, this is a common confusion. Simply painting over surfaces containing lead will not eliminate the risk.

This is because the layer of lead paint beneath may continue to deteriorate, raising the possibility of further issues if the surface layer is damaged or disturbed from collision, friction, water leaks, or accidental scratching.

Lead surfaces can be safely mitigated by “painting” over them, but this needs a specific kind of paint known as an “encapsulant.” Liquid or adhesive substances known as encapsulants help seal paint to a surface and prevent the release of paint chips or dust.

So, painting your new (but old) house with a fresh coat of paint won’t eliminate any possible lead concerns because normal store-bought paint isn’t an encapsulant.


In conclusion, you SHOULD test an old house for lead paint.

Testing for lead paint should be on your to-do list if you plan to buy an older house, especially if you have pregnant women or young children residing with you.

You’re wrong if you think you can handle the issue by just painting over it. Not until you have an encapsulant.

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Schedule your comprehensive home inspection today to uncover potential issues, ensure property value, and make informed decisions. Your home deserves the best care—trust HomePro Inspections.