Lead-based Paint Precautions

Setting Up for Lead Safety

If your house was built before 1980, there’s a good chance your windows could contain lead-based paint. Always take the following safety precautions when working with painted windows:

  • Isolate the work area from the rest of the building, and set up a containment area on the floor that extends at least 5′ beyond the work surfaces in every direction. Create the containment, which will help collect and contain dust and debris, by wrapping the edges of 6-mil poly sheeting around 1″ x 2″ wood furring strips.
  • Work “wet” whenever possible. Mist a surface with water before cutting, scraping, or prying lead-painted surfaces. Mist down surfaces where dust and debris fall, and wipe up frequently with paper towels.
  • Wear Tyvek slippers in the containment area, and remove them when stepping out of the containment. Change work clothes before leaving the work area. Always wash work clothes separately from your regular laundry, and double-rinse the machine before starting another load.
  • Wipe the sash and your tools with a damp cloth before you take them out of the containment area.
  • Wear a hat, goggles, and a respirator (N95-rated for wet work, N100-rated for dry work) to keep your hair, eyes, and lungs free of dust. The respirator should fit tightly around your face and completely cover your mouth and nose.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke while you’re working. Thoroughly wash your hands and face each time you leave the containment or work area.
  • For more detailed lead-safe work practices, download “Lead Paint Safety: A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance, and Renovation Work” at hud.gov/offices/lead/training/LBPguide.pdf.