Frequently Asked Questions

 

Table Of Contents     

     Sandblasting

How would I know if my house needs sandblasting?
How do you stop the sand from coming into my house?
How long will it take to sandblast a typical house?
What do you do with the sand?
How do I know if the contractor is licensed?
Can I rent the equipment and do my own sandblasting?
How would I know if the contractor I hire has insurance?


    Lead                         

 Why should I test for lead? 
 
Where should I test for lead?
 How do I test for lead?
 How can I tell if the lead is hazardous?
 Can I use a lead test kit?
 If I find lead, what should I do next?

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How will I know if my house needs sandblasting?

If your house is peeling usually that is a sign that it may need to be sandblasted. If it is only peeling in a few spots you may be able to wire brush it Another option would be to High pressure wash it.. Only by going out to the premises can we determine what needs to be done. Contact us for a free estimate

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How do you stop the sand from coming into my house?

We cover and tape window and door openings. We also enclose the scaffold in order to minimize the sand from getting into greenery and adjacent areas and to help protect you neighbors property.

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 How long does it take to sandblast a  typical house?

In the Bay Area, different districts have different style and size homes, so there is no "typical" house. For a Sunset area home it  usually takes a day to remove the paint provided there is no under coating. For some homes the preparation takes longer that the actual sandblasting.  Factors that determined the length of time spent sandblasting depend on:


1. the size of the house.
2. how many coats of  paint had been applied.
3. How tight the paint is on the building.
4. If there is a rubber coating under the paint. In some cases the contractor will not know that 
    until he starts to sandblast.


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What do you do with the left over sand?

After we sandblast, we sweep up all the sand that we can, usually about 95%,  put it in bags and dispose of it.  We then hose down the sidewalk, that takes care of any  sand that is left. Sand may get into the flower beds or shrubbery but it wont hurt anything and will usually mix in with the soil

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Can I  rent the equipment and do my own sandblasting?

Sandblasting takes a lot of practice. You have to know how close you need  to be to the surface, how much pressure to use and how long to stay on the same area in order  to get a uniform pattern. To some people it may look easy, but with 100 lbs of pressure in your hand, if you don't know what your are doing you can be injured as well as your property being damaged.

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How do I know if a contractor is licensed?

You can ask for his license number, or call the California State Contractors License Board at 1-800-321-2752.  On the internet the address iswww.cslb.ca.gov/ .  

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How would I know if the contractor I hire has insurance?

All you have to do is ask your contractor. He will be more than happy to provide you with a  copy of Workman's Compensation and Liability Insurance. 

 

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Questions and Answers about
Testing Your Home's Paint and Soil for Lead
California Department of Health Services -- Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch

 


Why should I test my home for lead?
If you have children, lead in your home can cause serious long term health and behavior problems for them.  Lead is especially hazardous to children under 6 years of age.  Lead in paint chips, dust and soil is a problem for children because it gets in their bodies when they put their fingers, toys or paint chips into their mouths.  Lead can also harm a pregnant woman and her developing fetus.

You should consider testing for lead if there are children in your home and...
your house was built before 1978, or
your house is near a freeway or busy roadway where leaded gasoline and its exhaust may have polluted the soil with lead.
If your house was built before 1978, it is especially important to test for lead if...
your house has peeling or chipping paint;
your house has bare soil in the yard where children play;
you plan to repaint, remodel or renovate the house;
a child living in the house has had a blood lead test result of 10 g/dl or higher (micrograms per deciliter); or
your house was built before 1950 -- such homes almost always have some lead-based paint.
If you are buying or renting a home...
federal laws require the seller to give you an informational pamphlet and to  tell you about any known lead hazards in the home.  (These federal laws also give home buyers 10 days to inspect for lead.  The law does not require landlords to allow a renter to inspect for lead.)
Contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD for information and materials about real estate disclosure laws and for the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home.

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Where should I test for lead?
The most important areas to test for lead are those areas where children spend a lot of time, such as bedrooms, playrooms, kitchens, and play-yards.  It is especially important to test these areas if there is bare soil or if paint is peeling or chipping.

You should also test places where you plan to repaint or remodel.  Test several different spots.  If you are testing paint, test each different paint color.  If you are testing soil, test different bare soil areas.

 Some good places to test for lead-based paint are...
window frames and sills
doors, door jambs and thresholds
trim and siding
kitchen cabinets
painted children's furniture
baseboards
 Some good places to test for lead-contaminated soil are...
around the foundation of the house
where children play
unpaved pathways
under windows or walls with peeling or chipping paint
where pets play or rest

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How do I test for lead?
There are 2 recommended ways to test your home for lead.  Whenever you test for lead, it is important to find out how much lead is in the paint or soil you test.
Get a laboratory analysis:  For $25 - $50, you can have a paint chip or soil sample tested by an accredited laboratory and get reliable results in 24 - 48 hours.  Call the laboratory for details before you mail them your samples.  Keep a sketch or list of the locations where you take samples.
Taking A Paint Sample:  Tape a clean, plastic sandwich bag underneath some paint you want to test.  Use a clean, sharp chisel or scraper to scrape a tablespoon size amount of paint into the bag.  Try to scrape off all the layers of paint, not just the top coats -- lead is often in the bottom layer of paint.  Try not to scrape off any of the wood or plaster that is under the paint.  Seal the bag and label it.  On the label, write where the sample was taken (example:  Sample #1 - kitchen window sill).  Wash your hands and the scraper with soap and water after each paint sample you take.
Taking A Soil Sample:  Using a clean trowel or large spoon, scoop about half a cup of soil from the top inch of the bare soil you want to test.  Try not to scoop up plant leaves, roots, or other large pieces of debris.  If there are paint chips in the soil, it is OK to include them in the sample.  Place the soil into a clean, plastic sandwich bag.  Seal the bag and label it.  On the label, write where the sample was taken (example: Sample # 2 - under children's swing set).  Wash your hands and the spoon with soap and water after each soil sample you take.
Hire a Certified Inspector/Assessor:  You can hire a State-certified inspector/assessor to inspect your home for lead.  Ask the inspector/assessor to write you a risk assessment report that will tell you if the lead in your home is hazardous and what options you have for dealing with it.

The certified inspector/assessor can test your paint with an XRF (x-ray fluorescence) machine, for immediate results.  He or she can also send paint, dust and soil samples to a laboratory for testing.  It usually costs about $200 - $500 to test parts of your house and can cost $500 or more for the whole house.  Soil testing costs an additional $100 - $200 depending on how large an area you have tested.  Make sure the inspector/assessor gives you a sketch or a description of where paint and soil samples were taken.

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How can I tell if I have hazardous levels of lead in my paint or soil?
The table below shows the levels of lead in paint, soil and dust, considered hazardous by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).
 
Hazardous Levels of 
Lead in Paint  

lab test results of 5,000 ppm (parts per million) or 0.5% or more (by weight)
  
XRF test results of 1.0 milligrams of lead per square centimeter (1.0 mg/cm2) or more 
Hazardous Levels of
Lead in Bare Soil

 lab test results of 400 ppm or more for  pathways or areas where children play 
  
lab test results of 2,000 ppm or more for areas where children do not play 
Hazardous Levels of
Lead in Dust  

dust from floors with 100 micrograms of lead per square foot (100 g/ft2) or more
  
dust from window sills with 500 micrograms of lead per square foot (500 g/ft2) or more 
  
dust from window troughs with 800 micrograms of lead per square foot (800 g/ft2) or more 
 
IMPORTANT:  No matter what your test results are, the condition of your house's paint and soil is important.  If the soil is covered by grass, bushes or permanent ground coverings, even high levels of lead in the soil may not be hazardous to children.  If you are not planning to remodel and the paint is in good condition -- not chipping or peeling -- it may not be hazardous, even if it contains high levels of lead.  If the paint is peeling or chipping, if it is on doors and windows where normal wear and tear causes chipping, or if you plan to remodel the area, you should take steps to prevent the lead from poisoning your children.

WARNING:  Lead test results are only as good as your testing procedures.  The results will not tell you about the lead content of painted surfaces or soil that you did not test.  Hire a State-certified inspector/assessor to make sure you get accurate testing results.

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Can I just use a lead test kit from a paint store?
Kits for testing paint and ceramics are available at most paint and hardware stores for $8 - 10.  They have chemicals that change color when rubbed against a surface that contains lead.  These kits can only tell you if there is lead in the paint you tested.  They will not tell you how much lead is in the paint or if it is a hazardous level.  You can not use them to test for lead in soil.

 If you decide to use a lead test kit to test your paint, follow the directions on the package very carefully.  Be sure to test the bottom layers of paint.  To do this, use a sharp knife to cut a slanted notch through all the paint layers on the spot you want to test.  Test all the layers of paint in the notch.  Look for the color change indicated by the test kit.

 If your house was built before 1978 and your lead test kit comes out negative (does not change color), you should have an accredited lab test the paint to make sure the lead test kit worked properly.

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What should I do next?
If there are hazardous levels of lead in your paint or soil, you should...
Contact your family doctor or your local health department and get blood lead tests for your children who are 6 years of age or under.
Find out about everyday things you can do to prevent lead poisoning.
Consider hiring a State-certified lead inspector/assessor to inspect your home for lead.
Hire a State-certified lead contractor to reduce the lead hazards in your home and yard.
If you plan to repaint or remodel your home, hire a State-certified lead contractor.  If you plan to do the work yourself, get the EPA's free how-to booklet, Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home and contact your local health department to find out about safe work practices to prevent poisoning yourself or your children with lead.
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If you have any question or comments please let us know
or contact CalOsha from which this lead information was taken.