Federal law now requires that owners, property managers, handymen, and contractors performing renovation, repair and/or painting projects that disturb painted surfaces in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. 

It’s called the LEAD BASED PAINT RULE, and if you own or manage any residential real estate built before 1978, you MUST follow these rules.

The law requires anyone hired to renovate, repair, or do painting preparation work on a property built before 1978 to follow the steps described in the RENOVATE RIGHT BROCHURE unless the area where the work will be done contains no lead-based paint.

Federal law requires contractors that are hired to perform renovation, repair and painting 

projects in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 that disturb painted 

surfaces to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

The work practices the contractor must follow include these three simple procedures, 

described below:

1. Contain the work area. The area must be contained so that dust and debris do not escape 

from that area. Warning signs must be put up and plastic or other impermeable material 

and tape must be used as appropriate to:

 • Cover the floors and any furniture that cannot be moved.

 • Seal off doors and heating and cooling system vents.

 • For exterior renovations, cover the ground and, in some instances, erect vertical  containment or equivalent extra precautions in containing the work area. 

These work practices will help prevent dust or debris from getting outside the work area.

2. Avoid renovation methods that generate large amounts of lead-contaminated dust. Some methods generate so much lead-contaminated dust that their use is prohibited. They are:

 • Open flame burning or torching.

 • Sanding, grinding, planing, needle gunning, or blasting with power tools and equipment 

not equipped with a shroud and HEPA vacuum attachment. 

 • Using a heat gun at temperatures greater than 1100°F.

These work practices will help to minimize dust, but some renovation methods make less dust than others. Contractors may choose to use various methods to minimize dust generation, 

including using water to mist areas before sanding or scraping; scoring paint before 

separating components; and prying and pulling apart components instead of breaking 


 3. Clean up thoroughly. The work area should be cleaned up daily to keep it as clean as 

possible. When all the work is done, the area must be cleaned up using special cleaning 

methods before taking down any plastic that isolates the work area from the rest of the 

home. The special cleaning methods should include:

 • Using a HEPA vacuum to clean up dust and debris on all surfaces, followed by

 • Wet wiping and wet mopping with plenty of rinse water.

When the final cleaning is done, look around. There should be no dust, paint chips, or debris

in the work area. If you see any dust, paint chips, or debris, the area must be re-cleaned.

In Georgia, the LEAD BASED PAINT RULE is administered by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and they are actively enforcing this rule on rental house renovations or paint jobs.  For additional information, please read the EPA brochures: 


both of which are available free as PDF files by searching the internet for the titles.