Home Renovation and Remodeling

Do I have Lead-based Paint?

Lead paint was widely used in homes up until the 1950s, and it was banned from residential use in 1978. If your home was built before 1978, it is recommended you assume that painted surfaces may contain some lead, unless testing shows otherwise. Older paint that has an alligator cracking pattern or rubs off in your hands in a chalky fashion likely contains lead.

Places where lead paint is likely to be found include:

  • Walls
  • Porches
  • Windows
  • Railing
  • Stairs
  • Baseboards
  • Trim
  • Columns
  • Exterior house paint

Homeowners can have their home inspected or tested for lead paint and lead risks. An inspection or a risk assessment conducted by a Nebraska licensed firm can give you more information about the paint in your home. Licensed lead professionals can conduct visual inspections, take samples of paint, dust, and soil to send to a lab, or use a portable device to determine the presence of lead-based paint.

To hire a Licensed Lead Consulting Professional, see theLicensed Lead-Based Paint Entities listing.

Should I Remove Lead Paint?

Lead paint that is in good shape generally should not be removed. Lead paint that is chipping, peeling and cracking needs to be addressed because it can create lead hazards in your home.

If you do not remove lead-based paint properly, you can make things worse.

Even if your lead-painted windows or doors are not chipping, you could have a problem. The friction from opening and shutting a door or window can produce lead dust.

Lead-Safe Work Practices

If you plan on renovating or remodeling your home, educate yourself on lead-safe work practices. When removing or disturbing lead-based paint:


  • Temporarily move children, pregnant women, and pets out of a home during renovation or paint removal. If you cannot move them out, seal off the work area.
  • Cover the ground, floors, and furniture with drop cloths that can be discarded.
  • Wet down paint before you scrape or sand it.
  • A power sander should have a hood to trap dust and a HEPA vacuum attachment.
  • Thoroughly clean the area by wet wiping and wet mopping with a detergent and water before allowing children back.

Do Not:

  • Do not use a belt-sander, propane torch, heat gun, dry scraper or dry sandpaper to remove lead-based paint. These tools create large amounts of hazardous lead dust and fumes, which can remain in your home for a long time.
  • Do not sandblast or pressure wash the outside of your home if it contains lead-based paint. Even if you do not have children, these activities on the outside of your home may harm your neighbor's children.
  • Do not paint over peeling or chipping paint.


Many childhood lead poisoning cases in Nebraska result from lead paint and lead dust. During remodeling or renovation projects, large amounts of lead dust can be generated when paint is disturbed. It is important to reduce lead hazards through proper cleaning, dust control, and housekeeping. For cleaning tips, see Cleaning and Lead Poisoning Prevention.

Hiring a Contractor

If you are hiring a contractor for renovation or repair, the contactor should follow lead safe work practices. All contractors that disturb painted surfaces in homes, daycares, and schools built before 1978 are required to be RRP certified. For more resources, see Finding a Contractor.

More Renovation Resources

Download EPA Renovate Right Brochure
EPA brochure to help guide renovators in minimizing lead hazards during projects  

Renovation, Repair and Painting: Do-It-Yourselfers
EPA guidance and safeguards to prevent lead dust from spreading throughout your home.   

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