Do I Have Lead-How to Test for Lead in Your Paint

When the word “paint” and anything like “danger,” “death” or “harmful” are put together, there’s one thing that comes to just about everyone’s mind: lead. Horror stories abound about the problems that can come from old paint that’s full of the health-harming substance, and it’s something that a lot of homeowners worry about.

Lucky for us in the modern age, government restrictions have all but eliminated any chance of harm from paints that you can currently purchase, which means that those painting a newer home have little to worry about. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no reason to test for lead paint in your house, and in fact, you might need to do just that.

Check this quick guide from Prestige, the safest painting company Birmingham and the rest of Alabama have ever seen, and see whether you should test and how, and keep your family safe from the dangers of lead.

When to Test

There are a few basic reasons to test for lead in your paint, and if your situation falls into any of these categories, it’s a good idea to do so ASAP.

  1. You have small children. The damage done by the lead in paint shows up most and does the most harm in children. If you’re unsure about your paint, and you have kids, there’s no question that you should test.
  2. You’re moving into a new home. Unless you have trusted confirmation that there’s no lead in the paint from the previous owners, give it a test.
  3. Your house is older than 1978. 1978 is when regulations concerning lead in paint changed, so you should always test in older homes.
  4. You’re remodeling or repairing, or there’s damage to a painted area. This isn’t always necessary, but it’s a darn good idea to go ahead and do testing if you’re already going to be messing with the area.
  5. You feel there are already health problems. If you’ve noticed health issues, and you have even a slight idea that it might be due to the paint, test right away. You have only a small amount of money and time to lose, and a lifetime of health to gain.

How to Test, When Needed

As we said before, not every situation needs lead testing, but if you’ve decided to go ahead with it, you have three options:

Immediate home testing kits. The most useful, most cost-effective and easiest option is also the most recent addition to the lead testing lineup. Found both at hardware stores and online, immediate home testing kits use special chemical formulas that, when exposed correctly to a bit of your paint, will tell you with great accuracy whether you have lead or not.


The most common and probably effective of these is called the LeadCheck, and it’s a small pen-like object made by the respected 3M company. This works like a glowstick, in that you crack it and let the chemicals mix. You then apply the pen to a semicircle of paint that you’ve cut into your wall (see the package for detailed instructions), and it tells you whether you have lead right away. This product should be any homeowner’s first line of attack.

Send-off lab kits. If you don’t want to use the LeadCheck, or have and are still worried, your next best option is to purchase a comprehensive kit to send off to a testing lab. There are dozens of such kits out there for between $25 and $50, and they usually involve taking a paint sample and a soil sample and sending it to a special lab in sealed packages provided in the kit.

These are often a bit more comprehensive and accurate than the instant kits, but they’re also more expensive and take a bit more time. They can also be compromised either by the user, in transit, or by the lab, so if you’re still not satisfied, you have one more option.

  1. The final, most accurate and best overall option is to hire professionals to do the testing for you. Professionals might cost more, but if peace of mind is what’s most important to you, or the other methods didn’t work to your satisfaction, you’ll want to go with the experts.To find a good expert, use the web to search for testers in your area. More than likely, sites like Yelp will have reviews of each such business, allowing you to make the best available decision with just a little searching

Look over this list: Do you think you need to test? If so, which method best fits your budget and your concerns? The primary thing to keep in mind when thinking about testing for lead is that overkill is always better. Nothing’s more important than the health of you and yours, so don’t skimp if you have any reason to believe you might have lead.

Do that, and you’ll sleep safe at night knowing that you’ve got nothing to fear from your paint, and that’s worth just about anything. Stay safe, Prestige Painting fam!


Comments are closed.

3505 Bent River Road
Birmingham, AL35216

Phone: 205-982-0420