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Before you paint: lead and mold may be lurking

It seems like everyone’s getting the urge to renovate these days. And why not? It’s a great way to get a change of scenery while adding value.

According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, interior and exterior paint jobs can be one of the best ways to renovate a home and are right up there with kitchen and bathroom overhauls when it comes to adding value. Under regular circumstances, you could expect to see up to 100% of a return on your initial painting investment when you sell your home.

Be aware of the presence of mold and lead
There are two things to be aware of when it comes to large paint jobs: mold and lead – especially in an older home, which may be the most in need of a renovation or update.

Mold When gearing up to paint a wall that has mold, you should know that painting over it may not be the best way to go. Likely, the mold will only grow back and the entire surface may need to be removed. Whether you should paint over mold also depends on whether or not the material being painted over has absorbed much of the mold.

Soft materials like carpet and ceiling tiles need to be replaced when they become infested, and drywall is a soft material too. Plaster is less soft and thus less of a haven for mold, but at the very least the affected surface of the wall will need to be sanded down before painting.

There are also mold-inhibiting paints available, but a full removal of the affected area is usually best in order to avoid having it come back later. If this is the case, a professional mold removal and inspection company can help determine your possible options.

Lead is a much trickier problem than mold when it comes to painting. If the house is more than 30 years old, it’s very likely that lead paint was used when the home was built. With lead, it is the actual sanding, rubbing and otherwise disturbing of the paint that creates lead dust, which is later inhaled and can settle in soft materials like upholstered furniture or clothing.

Lead paint can sometimes be coated fully with new paint, so that it is fully encapsulated and poses less of a risk. However, if the lead paint is peeling or chipping, or if the paint job will require sanding or any other disturbing of the wall, there are other special precautions that need to be taken. This can include using HEPA filters to catch airborne particles, wearing proper safety equipment as well as clearing all of the furniture out of the room.

Most homeowners don’t realize how important it is to clean the walls before painting for the best results. Dust, grease and other grime can settle on walls quite easily depending on where they are in the home, but this cleaning process can also disturb the lead paint. At this point, a professional should be called in, to first check for the presence of lead as well as help the homeowner determine their options.

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