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Should I Buy a House with Lead Paint in It? San Francisco Home-buyer Tips !

Should I Buy a House with Lead Paint in It? San Francisco Home-buyer Tips

There are so many great vintage homes here in the San Francisco area, in all kinds of styles and conditions. So let's say you find that perfect gem, but there's one problem: lead paint. Should you buy it? Does it matter? Will it make you sick? Can it be dealt with? What do you do? Is it a good idea to buy a San Francisco home if it has lead paint in it?

Maybe! (That's the cheater's answer! Don't worry... I won't stop there) Let's examine a couple of factors that can help you to decide about whether or not to buy the house.

Is Lead Paint Hazardous?

If you have lived in San Francisco (or anywhere in California) for any time at all, you've seen the warning: "This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause..." If we got worried every time we saw those words, we'd have to live in the wilderness to avoid them! But the issues are real, and lead paint really can cause serious harm, if you are exposed to it by certain means.

That "if" is an important one. If you have lead paint simply clinging to the walls and you leave it alone, the risk is extremely low. Many San Francisco homeowners have lived with lead paint on their walls for decades and suffered no problems. The issues begin when you disturb that paint by sanding, scraping, or otherwise disrupting the integrity of the coating. At that point, lead dust can get into the air, posing a health threat.

How Do You Know If Your Home Has Lead Paint?

The year your house was built is one of the best indicators. Almost all homes built before the early 80's have lead paint in them. For the San Francisco area, that means that the majority of our homes have lead paint. Chances are, however, it has already been painted over with other non-lead-based paint... possibly many times.

What Can You Do About Lead Paint?

MB JESSEE is a certified lead-safe painting contractor for San FranciscoSome San Francisco painting companies are trained and certified to deal safely with lead-based paint. They have all of the skills and equipment needed to neutralize the risks associated with lead paint, so that you can enjoy your home redecoration with peace of mind.

The process that the painting contractors use depends on the scope of the work being done, but it will definitely involve premium dust collection equipment, breathing protection for the workers, and thorough containment of all contaminated paint that is disturbed in your home.

If you think you have lead paint in your San Francisco home, you can still be a do-it-yourself painter, but only if you can simply add a coating on top of what is already there. If you have scraping, sanding or any other demolition to do, hire a lead-safe certified painting contractor.

So, Should I Buy a House with Lead Paint in It?

There is no reason to avoid a home just because of lead paint. The thing you need to be aware of, though, is that any disturbance to old paint layers could be hazardous. If you buy an older home that is in very good shape, you may never have to worry about lead. If it is properly painted over ("encapsulated") then you are fine!

However, if you know the home will need renovations or repairs that will expose those old layers of paint, you will want to plan on hiring lead-safe certified contractors and paying for lead paint abatement. Also, if there is old paint that is peeling or flaking off anywhere, you will definitely want to have a lead paint remediation expert evaluate the home for you.

Lead-safe Certified Painting Contractors in San Francisco

If you would like to consult with a lead-safe certified painting contractor, or if you know you would like to hire the services of one, we at MB JESSEE would be delighted to serve you! Our certification comes from the EPA, giving us the ability to safely work on your San Francisco home without exposing you to any risky or harmful materials.

MB JESSEE is proud to be one of San Francisco's most trusted house painting companies, serving homeowners in Contra Costa, Oakland Hills, Marin, Berkeley, Hillsborough and Alamo. Call us for a free estimate or to find out more!

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Customer Reviews

“It was a great experience working with MB Jessee. The crew was careful and thorough as they painted the house, sealed stucco cracks, repaired dry-rotted wood, stained the deck, etc. Robert, Gersson, Jose, and all of the people involved in the process from the estimate to the job completion were friendly and professional.”

— Mike C.
Livermore, CA

“Dear Matt,You must be so proud of your men! They were fantastic to have around. Polite, courteous and hardworking. I am so pleased with the outcome of our home--in fact, I couldn't be any more pleased than I am!”

— Mrs. S
San Leandro

“MB Jessee just finished our exterior and we couldn't be happier with our experience. The foreman (Pedro) and lead painter (Ricardo) were incredible to work with: they communicated scheduling clearly, Ricardo was a joy to be around every day, the showed up early every day, were incredibly tidy and did great paint work. The final walk through experience was incredible. Pedro pointed out items I missed demonstrating a clear desire to complete another quality project. I highly recommend them. As others have noted they definitely aren't the cheapest but you quickly realize that you're getting what you pay for. The 3 year guarantee is also a nice touch since there are likely touch up items that will show up after the job is done.”

— Joshua Jansen

“Everyone I dealt with was nice, helpful, and very professional. The price was reasonable! (I didn't feel like I was getting the "San Francisco price." The attention to detail and work quality was excellent. They did what they said they would do in the exact timeframe they said they would do. Highly recommend!”

— Tim Tyson

“Our paint crew did a great job and the foreman, Gersson was exceptionally great to work with. He was always available to answer questions, good at problem-solving, very patient, kind, and highly professional with great customer service. We definitely recommend this company, and Gersson and his crew.”

— Andrea Y.
Berkeley, CA

“I love the article in the paper on your company. Thank you for supporting our community by painting at the Claremont Middle School. Thanks!”

— Carla Banks

“Matt, Julie & Ricardo, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the three of you for the wonderful job you did in hosting the SFBA NARI Chapter Meeting on Wednesday evening. Everything was perfect from beginning to end. Members and guests alike walked away with a truly positive experience. The "painter for a day" and the cookies in the paint cans were an absolute brilliant touch and received rave reviews. What a wonderful way to do such positive marketing. Thanks again for a truly memorable experience for our members and guests. You are valued as a NARI member.”

— Judy Tufo, SFBA NARI Executive Director

“The painters at MB Jesse are top notch! Cesar's team was super friendly and helpful. They were very polite and accommodating. Their expertise in everything painting related was evident in their attention to detail and efficiency painting tricky spaces. The apartment looks brand new!”

— Adam Swisher

“Richard and crew have been great, for sure. As much as I look forward to having the job done and my house back in order, I really enjoyed having them around. You should feel really good about how they represent your company.”

— Jessica Dodson

“Matt, We are very happy with how all of the painting worked out. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the work in the bathroom. I liked working with Victor, he and Marvin were extremely conscientious about doing a great job, not just the minimum. I know the front door took a lot longer than you'd expected. But they did it PERFECTLY. We never thought it could turn out like that! Thanks again for the great work. We'll be calling you again in the future!”

— Craig
Alameda, CA

“High quality work from a pleasant and qualified staff. Thank you!”

— Paul Markovich

“I cannot imagine finer painters--and I have worked with many. They work exceptionally hard. It is a joy to see their workmanship!”

— Alicia R.
Oakland