Pressure Washing Leaded Homes

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

A unusual question arose today that caught me off guard. Does pressure washing a leaded home require an RRP certified  person to do it?

The problem arose when the painters helper arrived to wash the house. There isn’t any deteriorated paint to speak of and we are just rinsing off dirt prior to painting a stucco house.

We held off till we could get and official answer.

My common sense says that we are not disturbing leaded paint however, my lead conscious paranoid self says it is probably better safe than sorry and we are going to have the RRP certified contractor do the washing with proper signage.

Turns out we were right and here is the low down I received from a confidential informant within the EPA.

Just like the RRP rule allowing contractors to do lead work if the intent is to remodel.  Leaded components are removed incidentally during the process so therefor it does not require an abatement contractor.  If the intent is to abate leaded components then an abatement contractor is required.

We must ask …What is the intent? in Pre 78 homes unless lead tested and proven to not be leaded follow these simple guidelines and you will be safe.

#1 If the intent is to wash the house… use a garden hose and wash the house. Lets face it, pressure washing disturbs paint regardless of the intent. No problem  get the dirt off and move on. collect any paint chips that might have incidentally come off.

#2 If the intent is to prepare to paint the home … Do it with an RRP certified contractor and abide by the RRP rules.

Garden hose washing

It has been suggested that we can use a landscaping cloth to catch any chips that might fall off would be caught but the water would filter through. The premise is that water that sits in leaded material gathers lead(Like water in leaded pipes…if it flows through it never gets contaminated.) This makes sense to me.

Just imagine where the paint chips are going when you are washing anything. Obviously this photo above is an old one, there had better be  a bunch of protection or surely you will be causing a mess in the entire neighborhood not to mention the lack of PPE. I suppose it could have been tested and proven unleaded… regardless it will still be making a huge mess.