Like most houses built before the 1970s, our house almost certainly has lead paint. Given the number of layers on the paint around the windows and door frames, I'd guarantee there's lead paint there. The rest of the house, well that's anyone's guess. So I've been researching how I can test for it, and then what you do with it.
My family have been remarkably cavalier about lead when renovating in the past. Reading more about it tells me this is insanity. Lead contamination is extremely dangerous and pernicious. It's also very hard to get rid of -- the procedures for DIY lead removal are intense, to say the least, and I imagine professional lead removal isn't cheap.
It seems the spot test kits aren't particularly reliable, and of course only tell you there is lead, not how much or how dangerous. The best method is a field-based X-ray fluorescence test, accompanied by soil and dust sampling. I'm trying to find a place that can do this assessment.
After identifying lead paint, the really hard decisions start. If all our skirting boards, window and door frames are contaminated, is it easier and cheaper to replace them? What about if it's on the walls? Ceiling cavity? This is why I'm going to engage some professionals to get advice on all these difficult decisions.
I guess at the end of the day it'll be peace of mind. We often have little kids around the place, crawling over the floors. And we intend to have our own kids some time. Lead is a really serious matter, so we'll have to take it seriously.
Anyone else got experience with old, contaminated houses?