Always spray the area with water from a spray bottle before disturbing any painted surface (Photos 4 and 8). (Shut off the power to electrical outlets before spraying near them.) When you work wet during lead paint removal, the dust will cling to the painted surfaces rather than billowing out in a hazardous cloud. Then you can simply wipe away the wet sludge. Working wet will seem a bit strange and sloppy at first. But scraping and sanding will go just as quickly as when working dry (Photos 6 through 9). And the work site will remain cleaner. NOTE: The major difference when handling lead paint is that you shouldn’t use power sanders or other power tools that kick up dust during lead paint removal.
Use wet techniques when prepping exterior as well as interior lead paint. Keep in mind that you dont have to remove all the paint, just loose, flaking areas. If you want to remove all the paint, compare the cost and time of other options. You can remove painted trim and window sashes and send them out to a professional paint stripper. That gets the lead out of the house. Or, if the cost is high, replace the old wood with brand new wood, whether its siding, trim, window sashes or entire windows.
If you use chemical strippers yourself, be sure to wet-sand the surface when youre finished. Although the wood might look paint-free, lead residue usually remains in the wood.
We dont recommend using heat guns or open-flame torches because the lead in the paint can vaporize into the air and be inhaled. The best solution is to prevent paint deterioration in the first place. If you find and cure the moisture problems that cause flaking and peeling, you wont have to scrape and repaint every few years.