When you have a lead paint hazard in a home or commercial building, one of the first questions asked is, “Can you paint over lead paint to make it safe?” The short answer is yes, but with a big caveat that it needs to be done right.
There are several factors that go into proper lead remediation to ensure lead hazards are abated and the surface is safe for occupant use. Most U.S. states have their own guidelines for lead abatement that have to be followed, and many of those include working with a certified lead abatement contractor.
Lead encapsulating paint is often used where possible for lead remediation because it’s much more cost effective and takes less time than complete removal. When lead paint is sandblasted off a surface, all that lead residue has to be captured so it doesn’t contaminate other areas, which can be tricky.
With a lead encapsulation paint you can paint over lead paint and seal in the dangerous effects. For example, once our LeadX™ clear encapsulating paint is used over a surface, the surface will test negative for lead, making the area safe. LeadX™ has been tested over solid lead with a 100% concentration, passing with flying colors.
Here are some guidelines to the proper use of encapsulants to remediate lead paint.
Can You Paint Over Lead Paint with Anything to Make it Safe?
No, standard paints and coatings aren’t lead encapsulating paints and are not meant to remediate lead.
You need to use a paint that is specifically formulated and marketed as a lead encapsulation coating or lead encapsulating paint to ensure the surface is being properly abated for lead.
Will Painting Over the Lead Paint Make it Adhere Better?
Some people have a misconception that just painting over flaking or peeling lead paint will somehow make it adhere to the surface better. It will not.
Any trusted manufacturer of a lead encapsulating paint will tell you that the existing paint needs to be adhering well to the surface and have no flaking or peeling. It’s a good idea to do an adhesion test to ensure the paint will not come off, because even if it’s not visibly peeling, it may still have poor adhesion and if that’s the case, anything you put on top of it will just come off with the underlying paint, in which case encapsulation is not an option.
You can find more details on testing paint adhesion in this article in Professional Painting Contractor magazine.
What Types of Surfaces Can Lead Encapsulating Coatings Be Used Over?
We can only speak for our LeadX™ lead encapsulant, which has been a trusted and safe choice for contractors, governments, and corporations for nearly two decades. LeadX™ is available in clear (most popular), white, or a custom tint, and its versatility is one of the reasons it is so popular.
You can use LeadX™ on multiple surfaces, and it’s even a direct-to-metal (DTM) coating, with no primer needed. Compatible surfaces include:
- Lead paint (that is adhering well)
- Other building surfaces
Do I Get Additional Benefits with LeadX™ Encapsulating Paint?
Yes, when you work with our popular lead encapsulating paint, your project benefits from additional features beyond making the lead surface safe. You get:
- Mold/Mildew Resistance
- Corrosion Prevention
- UV Resistance
- Moisture Resistance
- Environmentally Friendly Product