Lead Safe Renovation Tips

There are many steps that homeowners and contractors can take to work safely while renovating.  Lead safety is very important as there is no known "safe" level of lead in a home. 

Lead exposure typically occurs during renovation projects when lead paint is disturbed (in the form of dust or paint chips). 

If your home was built in 1978 or earlier, please follow the below safety tips to be safe in your home during renovation.

Other resources:

The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right

MN Department of Health Lead Information

Protect Your Family from Exposures to Lead

Renovation, Repair and Painting Program: Consumers

Locate Certified Renovation and Lead Dust Sampling Technician Firms

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Work Safely
  • Remove all furniture, area rugs, curtains, food, clothing, and other household items until   cleanup is complete
  • Items that cannot be removed from the work area should be tightly wrapped with plastic sheeting and sealed with tape
  • Cover floors with plastic sheeting
  • If working on a larger job, construct an airlock at the entry to the work area
    • The airlock consists of two sheets of thick plastic - one sheet is completely taped along all four edges
    • The plastic sheet is then cut down the middle.
    • The second sheet is only taped along the top and acts as a flap covering the slit in the first sheet of plastic.
  • Turn off forced-air heating and air conditioning systems 
  • Cover vents with plastic sheeting and tape the sheeting in place with tape.
  • Close all windows in the work area
  • If disturbing paint, when using a hand tool, spray water on lead-painted surfaces to keep dust from spreading.
Get the Right Equipment
  • It is important to get the right equipment to protect you and your family from lead exposure
  • NIOSH-certified disposable respirator with a HEPA filter (N-100, R-100 or P-100).
  • HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner (regular household vacuums may release harmful lead particles into the air)
  • Wet-sanding equipment (e.g. spray mister), wet/dry abrasive paper, and wet sanding sponges for "wet-methods"
  • Two buckets and all-purpose cleaner
    • Use one bucket for the cleaning solution and the other bucket for rinsing
    • Change the rinse water frequently and replace rags, sponges, and mops often
  • Heavy-duty plastic sheeting and heavy-duty plastic bags
  • Tape to completely seal the plastic sheeting in place
  • Protective clothing to keep lead dust from being tracked throughout your home, wear clothes such as coveralls, shoe covers, hats, goggles, face shields, and glove or clean work clothes and launder separately