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Dealing with lead paint in London properties

NOTE: Whilst removal of lead paint is possible, it is not recommended. Time, and therefore cost, makes it prohibitive. We therefore do not offer this service.

It’s not uncommon to find London properties still painted with old lead-based paint. Sometimes properties haven’t been redecorated since the 1960’s, but more often older lead paint has simply been over-coated with more recent gloss or eggshell.

Despite its dangers, lead paint was very popular with decorators because of its smooth, durable finish and the fact that it would go on in a very thick layer – enough to cover many imperfections. It was used as long ago as the time of the Pharoahs in Egypt. (Worryingly it is still on sale in several third world countries, despite its high toxicity now being generally understood).

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Government advice is to leave it be if it’s well covered over with more recent paints, but if you want to restore old wooden frames or radiators you may well want to get it removed, to reveal details in the metal or wood beneath.

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Removal demands careful health and safety precautions. Sanding should be avoided as it creates a dangerous fine lead dust. Stripping with the aid of a hot-air gun can be done, but only with care to avoid over-heating and dangerous fumes. Strippers are usually the best approach, whether water or solvent-based – but they also require care.

Both lead-based paint and the solvent-based paints which replaced it had excellent covering properties, but water-based paints have now developed far enough to be a proper replacement.

We recommend paints from Valspar, Dulux, Farrow & Ball and Crown. Used according to the instructions, they are perfectly capable of giving a very high quality of finish, and they are easily durable enough for most uses.

When the time does come for you to redecorate, we will be happy to give you our best advice and, we hope, give you an excellent decorating job as well.

For enquiries, call on 020 8994 4455, or email me at [email protected]

With best wishes

Marlon Bulger
Production Director Bulger Wicks
Tel: 020 8994 4455

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