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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

“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

“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

“The entire MB Jessee team is courteous, efficient and professional. From scheduling and estimating to the crew managers and crew, they all did an excellent job on a small (but complicated) two room project in my house. I'm already thinking about getting them scheduled for the next project in the spring.”

— Cari Cheney

“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 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

“We just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the work of MB Jessee Painting and your employees. Everything turned out beautiful. Our foreman was great! He was punctual, professional, neat and very accommodating ... and went the extra mile. We will definitely recommend you to our friends and family.”

— Michelle & Rivers Gee

“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

“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

“In September, MBJessee finished painting two sides of our 3-story condominium building (six owners). We were impressed by the professionalism of the company and every one of its workers, Matt Jessee couldn't have been more helpful in planning the project. His painters were well-trained, easy to communicate with and eager to please. In addition to painting the stucco, they made extensive repairs on windows and frames, which will save us considerable money in the future. They finished earlier than anticipated, with as many as five men working on the job, and the scaffolding came down the next day. All of us were delighted with the results. Now my husband and I are looking forward to having MB Jessee paint our own apartment later this month. Matt and Gustavo (who will be our crew leader again) have explained how they will work to make the painting proceed smoothly while we're living here, and they have been endlessly patient with our protracted decision-making process. If you look at their website, you'll learn that MB Jessee is an exemplary company that takes good care of its workers as well as its customers, and contributes public service projects to the community. All in all, we can't recommend MB Jessee highly enough.”

— Jayne W.
San Francisco, CA

“Many thanks to Rigoberto and Damon and the extraordinary team who transformed my castle in the skies.They are magicians. I appreciate their work very much.”

— Kathleen A
San Francisco

“My entire experience with MB Jesse was very professional. The crew were very friendly and super accommodating of my ridiculous schedule and geriatric pets in the house. The finished product, which was pretty much my entire house, far exceeds my expectations. Would definitely work with them again!”

— Heather Jordan

“I just wanted to send you an email to say that John did such a great job over here today. He is truly a hard worker. He has the perfect balance of friendliness, honesty, and professionalism. I trust him. He takes the time to do the job to the best of his ability and that is what sets him (and your company) apart from the competition. He didn't make me feel rushed. He really made me feel like our job was the most important thing in the world. Thanks again!”

— Jo
Oakland