Let the Experts Lead
This one isn't just a friendly "hey, don't be a dummy" reminder; it's actually important for your health.
Nearly three-quarters of U.S. homes built (and painted) before 1978 have lead-based paint [source: Minnesota Department of Health]. The same lead-based paint that's been shown to cause developmental delays in children and a host of health problems in adults [source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development]. So before you start stripping away merrily, do your homework and determine if you're dealing with the leaden stuff.
If you are, it might be smart to hire a contractor who's dealt with lead-based paint removal in the past. That person will be able to determine if grinding, applying heat or using chemicals is the best plan of attack and will be well-versed in the safety precautions and waste procedures required for lead-based paint in your state [source: Kolle].