Portland texture coat removal possible lead risk

Portland texture coat removal possible lead risk

"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!"
- Susan Riess

One of the many challenges Riess will encounter, according to Ralph Streano, president of highly rated Lifetime Remodeling Systems in Portland, Ore., is the effect of the EPA's new federal law requiring contractors to have lead safety certification to work on homes built before 1978.

"You have to go to a class, take a test and purchase special clothes," Streano says. "It costs about $500 per employee to comply."

While compliance could be cost-prohibitive for some Portland contractors, Streano supports lead safety compliance. "Homeowners should ask to see proof of certification," he says.

After Riess gets the exterior of her house, which was built in 1950, tested for lead from a third party, Streano says a licensed contractor could work on her siding if she chooses to tear down the old, worn stucco and install new HardiePlank or other siding options.

However, if Riess' siding is still in good condition and not separated from the wall, he says a contractor could go over it with a finishing coat in whichever texture she chooses.

"If they're just going over old stucco, there wouldn't need to be any lead remediation," Streano says. "That's the cheapest, smartest way to go."

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