Can You Paint Over Lead Paint?

Painting supplies and ladder in the middle of a empty room

Yes, you can paint over lead paint, but not with just any paint type. Painting over lead-based paint, also known as encapsulation, is an effective remediation technique that eliminates the need for complete lead paint removal. Encapsulation is less expensive and safer than removing lead paint because it doesn’t release lead dust or debris into the air.

Keep in mind that conventional oil- or water-based paints are not encapsulants. There are three main types of encapsulants for painting lead: epoxy, polymer, and cement-type materials. They are commonly used for painting lead-based surfaces because of their unique properties and effectiveness in containing lead hazards.

Learn more about safely painting over lead from the professionals at Five Star Painting: 

Dangers of Lead Paint

Can you paint over lead paint, and is it safe to do so? First, we need to remind you that lead-based paint is dangerous. Always take precautions when working with lead paint, whether the paint is in good or bad condition, by wearing a respirator, gloves, eye protection, and coveralls.

Some of the dangers of working with lead paint include:

  • Lead poisoning: Inhaling or ingesting lead dust or paint chips can lead to lead poisoning, which can have serious health effects. It can cause neurological, cognitive, and developmental impairments, particularly in children. 
  • Respiratory issues: Sanding, scraping, or disturbing lead-painted surfaces can produce lead dust or fumes that can be inhaled. This can lead to respiratory issues, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Reproductive and developmental risks: Lead exposure can harm the developing fetus and lead to preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues. Pregnant women should avoid exposure to lead paint.

Pro Tip: Nursing mothers should closely monitor their physical contact with paint and avoid inhaling fumes. It’s also not recommended for mothers to paint while breastfeeding

When Not to Encapsulate

The next most popular question we get is can you paint over lead paint if it’s peeling? The answer is no. If the lead paint you want to encapsulate is peeling or flaking off, encapsulation is not a good remediation technique. That’s because the encapsulation paint will flake and peel off the wall along with the lead paint. If you’re unsure of how to tell the difference, consult your local Five Star Painting. 

Lead paint encapsulation does not work for surfaces that are walked on, rubbed together, or badly deteriorated. If this is the case, it’s important to hire an EPA Certified Renovator. Some Five Star Painting franchisees are properly trained in safety rules for renovation, repair, and painting. If you have any doubts at this point about whether you can paint over lead paint safely, reach out to your local Five Star Painting.

Can You Paint Over Lead Paint? How to Know

Lead paint encapsulants are products that seal lead-based paint to prevent it from chipping, peeling, or producing lead dust or paint chips that may pose health hazards. Encapsulants are a safer alternative to lead paint removal, especially when complete removal is impractical or would be too costly.

When can you paint over lead paint, and when can’t you? Painting over lead paint, or encapsulation, is only effective if the old paint finish is still in excellent condition (e.g., not peeling or chipping). In addition, the encapsulated area must be monitored over time to prevent exposure to lead paint chips and dust. Encapsulation should last upwards of 10 years if done correctly. If it starts to peel, take action immediately.

What Paint Should I Use to Encapsulate Lead?

It’s important to determine the type of paint to use when considering the encapsulation of lead paint. If conditions are appropriate for painting over the layer of lead paint, there are three types of encapsulants:

  • Epoxy
  • Polymer
  • Cement-type materials

Can you paint over lead paint with regular paint? No. If you have questions or concerns about whether you can paint over lead paint in your home, give the experts at Five Star Painting a call.

Find a Five Star Painting Professional in Your Local Area

Our experienced team is well-equipped to handle lead-based paint encapsulation. We follow strict safety protocols to contain lead hazards effectively. Keep in mind that we apply lead paint encapsulants as part of our residential painting services. Check your local Five Star Painting location to see if lead paint services are available. 

If you have concerns about painting over lead paint and not exposing your family to unnecessary illness, get in touch with the experts. Give us a call or schedule a free estimate online to get started!