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10 Things Not to Do When Painting Your Home

9

Let the Experts Lead

Lead paint peels from the door and walls of patient room number 58 at the Traverse City State Hospital in Michigan. The Victorian Italianate building now houses an upscale restaurant and private and commercial condominiums. © Robert Sciarrino/Star Ledger/Corbis
Lead paint peels from the door and walls of patient room number 58 at the Traverse City State Hospital in Michigan. The Victorian Italianate building now houses an upscale restaurant and private and commercial condominiums. © Robert Sciarrino/Star Ledger/Corbis

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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].

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