Test for lead before tearing off texture coat

“My 2,200-square-foot house has a horrible texture coat all over it. I’m thinking about having the texture coat removed, and then painting the house. But I can’t find anyone to remove the texture coat. One contractor said it couldn’t be sandblasted because that would damage the underlying wood. Help!” — Angie's List member Susan Riess

The first step, especially in older homes built before 1978, is to test for lead, according to Steve Strayer, owner of highly rated Fine Line Painting in Fishers, Ind. “Lead paint would definitely be a concern,” he says.

If lead is found, removing the texture coat becomes more expensive and time-consuming. New EPA lead safety guidelines require certain actions, such as isolating the site with plastic sheeting and equipping workers with protective suits and respirators.

But removing the texture coat isn’t the only option. “On jobs like that, we have used a bonding primer and then painted over the texture coat,” Strayer says. “Removing any crumbling or loose material and using a super premium primer — not just something you might pick up at the hardware store — would be key.”

Another option that may be more efficient in time and money would be to upgrade to a siding material, according to Fred Nelson of highly rated Fred’s Painting Service in Indianapolis. “Scraping that off would be a slow, time-consuming job,” Nelson says. “Adding new siding would probably be cheaper than taking it off.”


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