Renovating and Remodeling Safely

If you are a homeowner performing renovation, repair, or painting work in your own home, the Environmental Protection Agency's Renovation Repair and Paint (RRP) rule does not cover your project. However, do-it-yourself projects can easily create dangerous lead dust that can be harmful to you and your family. If you are living in a pre-1978 home and planning to do painting or repairs, please follow these safeguards to prevent lead dust from spreading throughout your home:

Work Safely

  • Remove all furniture, area rugs, curtains, food, clothing, and other household items until cleanup is complete.
  • Items that cannot be removed from the work area should be tightly wrapped with plastic sheeting and sealed with tape.
  • Cover floors with plastic sheeting.
  • If working on a larger job, BEFOREAFTER-page-001construct an airlock at the entry to the work area.
    • The airlock consists of two sheets of thick plastic. One sheet is completely taped along all four edges.
    • The plastic sheet is then cut down the middle.
    • The second sheet is only taped along the top and acts as a flap covering the slit in the first sheet of plastic.
  • Turn off forced-air heating and air conditioning systems. Cover vents with plastic sheeting and tape the sheeting in place with tape.
  • Close all windows in the work area.
  • If disturbing paint, when using a hand tool, spray water on lead-painted surfaces to keep dust from spreading.

Get the Right Equipment

It is important to get the right equipment to protect you and your family from lead exposure.

  • NIOSH-certified disposable respirator with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter (N-100, R-100, or P-100).
  • HEPA filter-equipped vacuum cleaner. Regular household vacuums may release harmful lead particles into the air.
  • Wet-sanding equipment (e.g., spray mister), wet/dry abrasive paper, and wet sanding sponges for "wet-methods."
  • Two buckets and all-purpose cleaner. Use one bucket for the cleaning solution and the other bucket for rinsing. Change the rinse water frequently and replace rags, sponges, and mops often.
  • Heavy-duty plastic sheeting and heavy-duty plastic bags.
  • Tape. You will need tape to completely seal the plastic sheeting in place.
  • Protective clothing. To keep lead dust from being tracked throughout your home, wear clothes such as coveralls, shoe covers, hats, goggles, face shields, and gloves or clean work clothes and launder separately.

Follow Good Work Practices

Plan for and complete a home renovation, repair or painting project using lead safe work practices.

Consider Hiring a Certified Lead Abatement Contractor or Inspector

Anytime you cut into surfaces painted with lead paint, even if the paint is covered by layers of newer paint, you risk creating hazardous lead dust. You can reduce the risk of lead exposure in your home by hiring a certified lead inspector to check to see if there is lead paint in the area of your work. If there is lead, then you may want to have a trained and certified lead abatement contractor perform an abatement to remove the lead from the area before you begin work.

Consider Hiring a Certified RRP Contractor

When you think you may have lead paint, it may be best to hire a trained lead-safe certified RRP contractor. These contractors have been trained in special methods to minimize dust and clean up thoroughly to reduce the chance of lead contamination.

Locate contractors who are lead-safe certified in your area.

Additional Resources

Connecticut Department of Public Health - Tips for cleaning lead contaminated items.