Do All Homes Built Before 1978 Have Lead Paint?

Lead based paint cracking

Are you wondering if your home, built before 1978, has lead paint? You’re not alone.

The older your house, there’s a high chance that it contains more lead-based paint. For instance, almost 87% of all homes built before 1940 have significant traces of lead-based paint found on their walls & ceilings. Whereas, 24% of the homes built between 1960 and 1978 were found to have significantly less lead based paint compared to their predecessors.

Today, many homeowners are concerned about the potential risks associated with lead paint exposure.

In this article, we are going to learn about the prevalence of lead paint in older homes, factors that contribute to its presence, and how to identify and test for it.

Hope this article is going to keep you well informed and save you from the dangers of lead poisoning.

The Prevalence of Lead Paint in Homes Built Before 1978

You should be aware that most homes built before 1978 have lead paint. This is because lead-based paint was commonly used in residential properties until it was banned for consumer use in 1978 due to its toxic exposure.

The findings reveal that approximately 38 million housing units were identified as having contained lead-based paint, marking a decrease from the 1990 estimate of 64 million units. Among these, about 24 million exhibited significant lead-based paint hazards. Among the properties with these hazards, approximately 1.2 million housing units were occupied by low-income families, defined as those with an annual income of less than $30,000, and had children under the age of 6 residing in them.

If your residence was constructed prior to 1978, there is a higher likelihood that it contains lead-based paint. The federal government imposed a ban on the consumer use of lead-based paint in 1978, although certain states had already implemented bans before this federal regulation came into effect.

Understanding the Dangers of Lead Paint Exposure

According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 29 million housing units in the United States are affected by lead-based paint hazards, and approximately 2.6 million of these homes are inhabited by young children.

Mike Powell, a structural engineer, certified home inspector, and owner of Red Flag Home Inspection in Tampa, Florida, emphasizes that even if new paint is applied, the underlying lead-based paint remains present. It does not break down or disappear over time. Powell notes that this is particularly concerning for households with small children who may chew on painted surfaces or for areas with high levels of wear and tear, where paint can flake off gradually.

When lead paint deteriorates or is disturbed during renovations or repairs, it releases toxic lead dust and chips that can be ingested or inhaled. This can lead to lead poisoning, especially in children under the age of six, who are more susceptible to its harmful effects.

Exposure to lead paint can cause developmental delays, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and even damage to organs such as the brain, kidneys, and nervous system. Therefore, it is essential to take precautions when dealing with older homes to prevent lead paint exposure and ensure a safe environment for your family.

How to Identify and Test for Lead Paint in Your Home

To ascertain and conduct lead paint testing in your residence, begin by conducting a visual inspection of surfaces, focusing on any signs of chipping, peeling, or cracking paint, as these may be indicative of the presence of lead. Pay particularly close attention to areas such as windows, doors, and trim, as they are more likely to have been coated with lead-based paint.

Next, you can purchase a lead paint testing kit from a local hardware store or hire a lead inspection service to conduct your lead inspection. In this way, you will secure your property from lead poisoning and save your own lives as well as your loved ones.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring Professionals?

The professionals will take precautions to ensure the safety of you and your family during the remediation process. Practices may include isolating the affected areas, using protective equipment, and employing specialized techniques to minimize the spread of lead dust.

The removal process will typically involve careful scraping, sanding, or chemical stripping of the lead paint. Once the paint is removed, the area will be thoroughly cleaned and tested to ensure it is free from any remaining lead residue.

Also Read: Can You Paint Over Lead & Is it Safe to Paint Over It?


So, if you own a home that was built before 1978, it’s important to be aware of the potential presence of lead paint. While not all homes built before this time will have lead paint, it’s still a possibility.

It’s best to understand the dangers of lead paint exposure and take the necessary steps to identify and test for it in your home.If lead paint is found, it’s important to take immediate action for remediation and removal to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

Are you concerned about the presence of lead in your Manhattan home? Dial (212) 226 1614 for Manhattan Lead Inspection, an EPA certified lead paint inspection company for completing inspection & permanent removal of lead paint. Let us help you maximize your family’s health & safety by offering them the best lead inspection service in all of NYC.