Texture coat removal brings up lead paint concerns

Texture coat removal brings up lead paint concerns

"My 2,200-square-foot house has a horrible texture coat all over it (with vertical strips of wood as part of the design). I had planned on stuccoing over it; however, the bids I've gotten are too high. Now I'm thinking about removing the texture and wood and then painting the house. However, I can't seem to 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

"She can't just remove texture coating," says James Lee, owner of highly rated House Painting Inc. in Glendale/La Crescenta, Calif., which is also licensed to service the Los Angeles area. "She can remove the wood and re-stucco it, which would be her best choice, or she'd have to replace all of the wood panels."

For what Lee says would cost upwards of $10,000, Riess' project is best suited for a licensed stucco contractor. Or, he says she could hire a carpenter to replace the plywood and then have a contractor paint over it, so it looks uniform.

With a house built in 1950, though, he says Riess needs to be careful of which option she chooses, because the EPA's new regulations requiring all contractors who work on homes built before 1978 to have lead safety certification will affect her project.

"She could hire an environmental company to use a special vacuum to pick up any fallen paint chips, if she's concerned about lead safety," says Bob Berger, president of highly rated J & B Painting Inc. in Agoura Hills, also licensed to service parts of Los Angeles. "Replacing the wood panels would be the cheapest option. She could also try to repair the stucco, prime and paint it."

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