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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

“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

“The kitchen looks NEW! You guys are amazing.”

“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

“Charles finished yesterday and did a fantastic job. We really enjoyed meeting Charles and having him in our home. He is a great guy in addition to his attention to detail in his work, the protection of our floors, walls and furnishings, and his overall interaction with us both. I would be pleased to recommend him to any of my clients.”

— Ken Morrison
Oakland

“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

“I had my wooden kitchen cabinets painted white. Anabal and Danielle were doing the job. I have nothing but praise for them. They came on time, cleaned up every day, were respective, friendly and helpful. If the rest of Jessee's crew are as great as Anabal and Danielle, this company will go far.”

— Anni S.
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

“Awesome work by highly experienced, professional painters. They were: Conscious about the amount of time it would take. Ours had a lot of pre-work and took 3 weeks. Accommodating when we added a few last-minute changes Understanding when a heatwave hit and we remove some of the plastic sheeting over windows, which they had to put back up the next day. Accessible, especially the on-site crew (Hi Jose & Victor!) -- always answering questions and checking in. The end result is a perfect paint job that makes our 94-year-old house look brand new. I would definitely hire MBJ again”

— Stacey R.
Oakland, CA

“The completed 'Client Satisfaction Survey' we sent in only modestly reflects our total satisfaction with the work. As a retired small business owner, I compliment you on setting 'best practices' that are consistently followed. Everything described in your marketing materials was a reality! The crew is a super bowl team and our neighbors commented on how quiet they were. We are very happy to be a client of MB Jessee.”

— Richard
Orinda

“I can't say enough about how courteous and professional my foreman was. He was on time every morning and arrived cheerful and ready to go. He is highly organized and very thoughtful. He was extremely careful and respectful when moving my belongings - a mature professional.”

— Nora Robinson

“Thank you for the support you have given the Women's Cancer Resource Center over the past year!”

— Margo - Director Women's Cancer Resource Center

“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