Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Will lead paint stall your kitchen cabinet refacing?

by Shannon Lee
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Thinking about replacing those old cupboard doors with something much more modern? If the old doors and cabinet boxes are covered with color from many decades ago, you might have the added issue of dealing with lead paint.

Should you worry about lead paint?

For years, lead paint was used on a wide variety of surfaces, including kitchen cabinets and furniture. Lead is a highly toxic metal that has been proven to cause a wide range of health issues, especially in children. In 1978, lead paint was banned for use in the United States.

If your painted kitchen cabinets were in place before 1978, you might have issues with lead dust when it's time to reface the cabinets. If you are intending to simply remove the cabinets and not disturb the paint, your risk of exposure is minimal. However, if you want to retain the cabinet boxes and get rid of the old paint in order to achieve a new look, you may need to take precautions for safe lead removal.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission says that you can use a sealant over lead-based paint, or you can paint over it with a lead-free paint. However, this is a short-term solution as it still leaves the problem of the lead paint deteriorating under the new layer. Also, the older paint could possibly combine with the new paint, leaving the risk of lead dust exposure in future years.

Keep in mind that even if your cupboard doors have been painted recently, there could be layers of lead paint under the new surface. Before you do any sort of sanding or other paint removal, make certain there are no questionable layers of paint under the newer ones.

Finding a good contractor

Federal law now requires that a contractor working on a renovation, repair or paint job that disturbs more than six square feet of lead paint must be Lead-Safe Certified. If your contractor does encounter lead-based paint, make certain they use the proper precautions to make sure it is removed in a safe manner. In most cases, this means a "wet removal" method and a way to contain the lead residue.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers a list of contractors and firms who are certified to handle lead paint removal. If you are uncertain about the paint on your cupboard doors or cabinet boxes, ask potential contractors if they are certified to handle the issue.




About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a writer with almost twenty years of experience behind her pen. An avid researcher and occasional novelist, she works and plays on the Georgia coast.

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