We're going to do a kitchen remodeling project in the fall to open out to our renovated living room. Since we're taking down a wall, I want to know about lead testing. How do you get a lead test done? What does it cost? Can I do it myself?
Arlo E. ~ Miami, Florida
Arlo, if you are going to be removing interior walls from your home as part of a kitchen remodeling project, then it is a prudent decision to test for the presence of lead paint on the wall which you are planning to remove. Prior to the 1970's, most paint contained lead, which has since been deemed harmful to people when swallowed or inhaled. Many of the unsuspecting victims of lead poisoning have been small children who accidentally ingest lead paint chips and others who have inhaled lead paint dust during remodeling or construction projects.
There are many reputable companies that sell DIY home test kits which generally cost between $15 and $45. Unfortunately many of these lead tests can only detect surface lead, which means that they may not be able to detect old lead paint that has been recently painted over. If you know the paint on your home's walls was originally applied prior to the 1970's, but has since been repainted, then I suggest you consult a lead paint mitigation specialist who works in the Miami area to conduct the test for you.