How Much Does It Cost to Have Lead Paint Removed?

Average range: $10,000 - $30,000
Low
$2,000
Average Cost
$15,000
High
$40,000
(Removal of lead paint in a 2,000 sq.ft. house)

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Reviewed by Nieves Martinez. Written by Fixr.com.

Lead compounds have been added to paint for centuries to make different colors. Certain varieties like lead carbonate create a white or cream color, and lead tetroxide will make a brilliant red hue. The use of lead in the paint also helps it dry faster and makes the surface more durable and moisture resistant.

The average cost to do lead paint removal ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, with the average homeowner spending around $15,000 to remove lead paint in a 2,000 sq.ft. house. This project’s low end cost would be $2,000 to encapsulate lead paint in a 2,000 sq.ft. house. On the high end, you might spend $40,000 to remove 2,300 sq.ft of lead paint from a home and replace several surfaces.

Lead Abatement Cost

Lead Paint Removal Costs
National average cost$15,000
Average range$10,000-$30,000
Low-end$2,000
High-end$40,000

Lead Paint Removal Cost by Project Range

Low
$2,000
Encapsulation of lead paint in a 2,000 sq.ft. house
Average Cost
$15,000
Removal of lead paint in a 2,000 sq.ft. house
High
$40,000
Removal of lead paint and replacement of several surfaces in a 2,300 sq.ft. house

Lead Paint Abatement Cost by Method

The homeowner can choose several methods for lead 1 paint abatement. It is important to know the different methods and when they are best used. Choosing the right method for the lead paint in your home should be something you determine with the help of a professional. One of the most common methods to deal with lead paint is removal, which we will cover more in this cost guide. However, it is not the only option. Encapsulation, enclosure, and replacement are other ways to handle lead paint hazards. The cost to remove lead paint from a home varies based on the method. Below is a table that shows the price differences based on how you deal with the lead-based paint.

Average Cost of Lead Paint Encapsulation, Enclosure, Removal, and Replacement

Average Cost of Lead Paint Encapsulation, Enclosure, Removal, and Replacement

Abatement MethodCost
Encapsulation$1 - $4/sq.ft.
Enclosure$6 - $12/sq.ft.
Removal$8 - $17/sq.ft
Replacement$1,000 - $15,000/project

Encapsulation

Encapsulation involves placing a lead paint encapsulation formula over the existing lead paint and costs about $1 to $4 per square foot. You’ll encounter three types of encapsulation compounds: cement type material with added polymers, chemical compounds/polymers, and polyurethane /epoxy. The use of the cement form of encapsulation does require troweling, which is why it costs slightly more than the other types due to the added time it takes to apply. Chemical compounds/polymers and polyurethane/epoxy are applied using a spray gun, rollers, or brushes, which is faster.

Enclosure

The cost to delead a house with enclosure ranges from $6 to $12 per square foot. Enclosure refers to hanging up new drywall or some other wall surface to enclose the existing lead paint area. This is a fairly inexpensive option, but it is not permanent. The lead paint is still present behind the drywall rather than being removed completely from the home. It is most effective for sections rather than an entire room or home. It is important to monitor for damage. If damage occurs, further lead paint removal efforts may be needed. Enclosure is excellent at preventing the spread of toxic dust, but it only works on smooth surfaces.

Lead Paint Removal Cost

Lead paint removal can range in price from $8 to $17 per square foot. Removal involves a variety of methods, for example, wet sanding the lead paint using an electric sander or hand scraping it and using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum to catch the dust and debris. A heat gun can also lift away the lead paint in a similar fashion to the sander. Chemical stripping includes using a special chemical to lift away the lead paint and then it is vacuumed up. The choice of chemical stripping, heat gun use, or using an electric sander varies based on the professional who provides the service. Each method can create a safer space free of lead paint.

Replacement

Replacement involves removing the entire painted surface from the home and disposing of it. Since costs will vary greatly depending on the type of surface, it is often priced per project instead of per square foot, at a cost between $1,000 and $15,000. However, you will then be faced with installing a new surface to replace the contaminated area. With replacement, entire windows, floors, doors, or walls are removed. In some cases, extra testing is needed to determine whether these items should be placed in a special landfill. After these substances are removed, professionals replace them with safer components. A full replacement removes all traces of paint and increases the home’s value.

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Lead Paint Removal Cost per Square Foot

Lead paint can be a serious issue in a home. Laws enacted in 2010 work to prevent contamination created by lead-based paints. The professional removal of lead paint is typically priced by the square foot. Prices range from $8 to $17 per sq.ft. Below are the prices you can expect to pay based on the size of the area.

Lead Paint Removal in 50, 200, 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, and 2,500 Sq.Ft.

Lead Paint Removal in 50, 200, 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, and 2,500 Sq.Ft.

Square FootageRemoval Cost
50 sq.ft.$400 - $850
200 sq.ft.$1,600 - $3,400
500 sq.ft.$4,000 - $8,520
1,000 sq.ft.$8,000 - $17,000
1,500 sq.ft.$12,000 - $25,500
2,000 sq.ft.$16,000 - $34,000
2,500 sq.ft.$20,000 - $42,500

Cost to Remove Lead Paint From Windows

One of the most common areas to find lead paint is near windows. The most common method to remove the paint is by stripping it away from the windows. This typically costs between $8 and $17 per sq.ft. Another option is to take out the windows and replace them. Removing and replacing a window range from $60 for very simple block windows to $10,000 for custom made windows. Other factors such as the size and intricacy will also be important in determining the cost to replace your windows.

Lead Paint Disposal Cost

After the lead paint has been removed from your home, you want to ensure it is disposed of properly. Since lead paint is a hazardous substance, this is a job for a professional. On top of the lead based paint removal cost, you should budget roughly $3 to $5 per sq.ft. for its disposal. All of the paint and other items removed should be placed in a safe container before being taken from the premises for proper disposal.

Lead Paint Test Cost

Many homeowners are unsure if their houses contain toxic lead-based paint. In order to know that, tests are performed by professionals. Testing and other removal processes should be done by professionals. The proper equipment and clothing need to be worn to avoid exposure to lead. A homeowner who chooses to test for lead on their own could create toxic lead dust that can be dangerous to people and pets in the home.

The process involves cleaning a surface area and making a cut into the paint. A test applicator is placed inside the wall and rubbed while the tube is squeezed. The results will be clear to the professional after 30 seconds to one minute. The area where the test was done can be easily patched up to look as good as new. Lead paint tests cost, on average, $250 to $450.

Cost Factors of Lead Paint Removal

Lead paint abatement methods and costs vary depending on the types of lead products (dark-hued paint may require additional coats of encapsulants), surface types, and accessibility. If the lead-covered area is located in a hard to reach area then there might be added costs. Also, it is harder to scrape or encapsulate lead paint that has been painted over a rough surface so the cost could go up due to the extra time involved.

Other important factors that determine cost include the size of the area affected by lead paint, how complex the project is, the size of the surface area that needs to be handled, and what method is chosen for the project. Having a risk assessment is recommended to get an idea of what the price will be based on the specifics of your home.

Lead Paint Removal Prep Work

In most cases, when you hire a professional lead abatement team, they handle most of the preparation work. However, there are some things you can do on your own to prepare the area. For interior spaces, removing rugs, drapes, and furnishings is required. Items too heavy to move can be covered with thick plastic and tape. For the outdoor area, the professionals lay down tarps to avoid the lead getting into the yard or nearby areas. Pets and children should be moved away from the area being worked on for their health and safety.

When Was Lead Paint Banned?

There is a good reason why only homes built prior to 1978 were likely to have lead-based paint. As of 1978, the United States government banned the use of lead paint by consumers. However, some states had already banned the practice years before. Congress banned the use of this paint in residential homes in 1971. The Consumer Product Safety Commission followed up with the final regulations in 1978. Other regulations related to lead testing, abatement, and other issues have come from the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2010, it stated that all contractors working with lead paint follow work practice standards located on the EPA’s website.

Consult with a pro when removing lead paint

What Does Lead Paint Look Like?

Unfortunately, it can be very challenging to determine whether paint contains lead simply by looking at it. However, there is one sign that paint may include this hazardous substance. When the paint starts to get old and becomes damaged, it creates a pattern that resembles scales. Professionals in lead detection call this “alligatoring.” If you find cracks that look like scales, this could mean that lead is involved. This will often be seen in less-used rooms like closets or along basement windows. If you believe that your home has lead paint, speak with a professional who can do proper testing.

Peeling Blue Lead Paint on a Wall

Is Lead Paint Dangerous?

Based on information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, lead from soil, dust, and paint is highly dangerous when not properly managed. This heavy metal was found to cause health problems such as convulsions, delayed learning, coma, impaired brain function, anemia, poisoning, hearing problems, infertility, blood cell disorders, kidney malfunction, and death. Lead also builds up in the human body, which leads children to suffer from problems with mental and physical development.

Interior vs Exterior Lead Paint Removal Cost

Lead paint can be found on all home surfaces, both on the exterior and interior of the building. The same methods can remove lead from paint and other surfaces in a home, indoors and outdoors. The costs between interior and exterior services are the same. The main difference is that exterior paint removal requires protection on the ground to prevent lead from getting into the soil. In a home interior, the HVAC system should not be running during removal to avoid getting dust in other parts of the home.

Risk Assessment vs Lead-Based Paint Inspection Cost

If you hire an inspector to do so, this professional will test both the interior and exterior painted surfaces of the home using an x-ray fluorescence analyzer to determine if there is lead in the paint. Any time you buy a house, you can request a lead inspection in the contract. The inspection will provide you with a determination of the possibility of exposure to the lead paint. A lead-based paint inspection typically costs around $250 to $450.

However, if you want a more in-depth investigation, you can hire a risk assessor. A risk assessment involves an investigation to not only determine if lead paint is present, but also the type, severity, and exact location of the lead hazard. Such an assessment can include lead found in paint, dust, or soil around the residence. It will also provide suggestions on how to control the lead. Risk assessments must be performed by a certified risk assessor. Usually, a lead risk assessment is ordered if someone in the house is sick from lead exposure or if medical testing has revealed high levels of lead. A lead risk assessment will cost from $800 to $2,000.

Comparison of the Cost of Lead-Based Paint Inspection and Lead Risk Inspection

Comparison of the Cost of Lead-Based Paint Inspection and Lead Risk Inspection

Type of ServiceCost
Lead-Based Paint Inspection$225 - $425
Lead Risk Inspection$450 - $1,500

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Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Restoration work. Houses that are older or in poor condition may require additional carpentry and restoration work. The cost of a carpenter averages $70 to $95 per hour.
  • Certifications. All residential lead paint abatement projects must have EPA or state certification.
  • Outdoor lead paint removal. The cost of interior or exterior paint removal remains the same. Also, the same methods are used to remove heavy metal contamination. However, during exterior lead paint removal, protection is laid down on the ground to avoid soil contamination.

FAQs

  • Can you just paint over lead-based paint?

You can, but it is not as simple as choosing any paint and putting on a new coat. The paint used must have a lead paint encapsulation formula to eliminate the chances of problems related to lead poisoning. Proper safety guidelines need to be followed, so a professional is the best person to handle the job.

  • How bad is lead paint really?

Lead paint may cause a variety of health conditions such as convulsions, delayed learning, infertility, blood cell disorders, kidney malfunction, coma, impaired brain development, anemia, poisoning, hearing problems, infertility, kidney malfunction, and death.

  • How do you remove lead paint from windows?

The surface is moistened and scraped. It can also be heated and vacuumed using a special vacuum with a HEPA filter. Chemical removers are also effective.

  • Does homeowners insurance cover lead paint removal?

Some homeowners’ insurance policies might cover it, but others will have clauses excluding lead paint abatement.

  • Do home inspectors check for lead paint?

Some home inspectors check for lead paint, but others do not. Always ask before hiring the home inspector if they check for lead paint during their inspection.

  • Do landlords have to disclose lead paint?

Landlords are required to disclose lead paint by law, but they are not required to remove it.

  • Can you get lead poisoning from scraping lead paint?

According to the National Library of Medicine, lead is extremely dangerous when sanded, stripped, or removed. It can cause lead particles in the air that people in the surrounding area may inhale. Lead scraping should be done only by professionals.

  • What happens if you breathe in lead paint dust?

The American Lung Association explains that lead exposure can damage many parts of the body. It can build up in the kidneys, liver, and bones and reach the blood. It can be especially harmful to children by decreasing IQ, causing behavioral issues, and harming cognitive functions.

  • What are signs of lead poisoning in adults?

Adults who are suffering from lead poisoning may experience seizures, decreased appetite, paralysis, vomiting, anemia, constipation, and abdominal pain, according to the American Lung Association. If the exposure continues for a long period, it can also result in high blood pressure, damage to the kidneys and brain, and issues with the reproductive system.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Lead 1 Lead: A naturally occurring heavy metal that is highly toxic to humans, and has been used in paint, gasoline, piping, and other applications

Cost to do lead paint removal varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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Lead Based Paint Peeling Off Old Metal
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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources