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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

“Today I received a beautiful bouquet from your company. It was totally unexpected and very much appreciated--a lovely surprise. Also today, your crew finished my job. I am so pleased with all their fine work. Richard is absolutely amazing and a total delight to work with. He was also extremely helpful during the paint color process. The interior work in my home far exceeded my expectations. A big thank you to you and the crew for an outstanding job. Thank you, thank you for a terrific job!”

— Barbara
Piedmont

“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

“Julie, by the way, I have never been so impressed with the service of a painting job before! It was like magical elves came and painted our walls without us having to do a thing! It looks amazing and just wanted to let you know how happy we are. Thanks”

— Anja
Piedmont

“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

“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

“Just wanted to let you know that the crew was great to have around the house for the past two weeks. All three of them were professional, courteous, and attentive to my thoughts/concerns and were extremely knowledgeable. They paid great attention to the detail and it shows.”

— Mark & Roberta Gross

“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 walkthrough 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 J.
Oakland, CA

“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

“I loved working with M.B. Jessee from start to finish on a relatively small paint job that grew a bit. I felt in very good hands from the moment Matt Jessee came out to give me the estimate and talk about my job. He was very easy to talk to and he handled my changes very well. Then the actual work done by Rigoberto and Mario was impeccable. They were neat and meticulous and the paint job looks beautiful. I could not have asked for more and when I did, they accommodated me 100%. I will not hesitate to call M.B. Jessee again and to refer them to friends.”

— Nancy Kurkjian

“Just had MB Jessee paint the interior of our house and they did a wonderful job. They tackled some crazy wallpaper as well as painted some very high ceilings and walls. The whole process was quick and they did a great job! We are very pleased. I was also very impressed by the crew. They were very personable, kind and actually took pride in the work they were doing. In one of our conversations with the lead Ricardo, he actually told me he was very proud of how the rooms had turned out. I agree sir! It turned out great and it's not often you hear someone thinking of your home like they would theirs, and putting that level of work and quality into it. That made a huge difference in how I viewed this company. Ricardo, you were fantastic and thank you for the great job, we will be using you again.”

— Jeff M.
Danville, CA

“Edy and crew are hard at work. They are doing a great job. Very professional outfit you have. Your crew is a delight. You may use me for a reference!”

— Heidi B
Walnut Creek

“M.B. Jessee painted the exterior of my Spanish house over 9 years ago, and they did such an incredible job that they are still getting referrals from me today. The paint is holding up perfectly -- there is absolutely no peeling chipping or any other deterioration. I still remember that my final walk-through list consisted of items written on one side of a 3x5 index card (and I'm REAL picky about my house!) However, when Matt and I did that walk-through over HALF the items were no longer an issue, as his team had noticed them first and they had already been resolved.”

— JoAnn Newcomb