How to Test Wood Floors for Lead

how to test wood floors for lead

One of the biggest thrills in buying an older home is imagining the possibilities. Will you do a complete renovation all at once or update each room one at a time to create your dream home? Many home buyers get a good deal on older homes in need of repair. However, structures built in the early to mid-century and even housing remodeled in the 70s could contain hazardous materials. For example, asbestos was used in the adhesives of floor tiles and lead in the finish of hardwood floors. Knowing how to test wood floors for lead is good information to have once you’ve planned your renovation.

How to Test Wood Floors

One of the biggest concerns when buying an old home is not knowing what materials went into its construction. Prior to 1978, lead acetate, used as a drying agent, was used to make the clear coating of wood finishes. Many homeowners cover up wood floors with tile which could contain asbestos. The result is several layers of flooring containing hazardous materials. 

If you’re planning to refinish the flooring in your home, it’s easy to learn how to test wood floors for lead. Before you begin sanding, purchase a DIY lead test kit. First, order lead screen check. They’re simple to use and provide results in seconds. Test up to eight wood surfaces in your home or office. They also work to test paint, plastic, metal, and ceramics. 

3 Easy Steps to Test for Lead

  1. Clean the area to remove any dirt, dust, or debris from the testing area.
  2. Insert a swab into the indicator vial.
  3. Rub the test surface using the cotton swab provided in the kit. The tip changes color with the detection of lead.
Lead Test Kit
Keep your family safe. Learn how to test wood floors for lead.

How to Test Wood Floors and Remove Contaminated Materials

If your test kit reveals the presence of lead, this requires sanding or the removal of the wood flooring. However, this must be done in a safe manner. Removing hardwood flooring typically requires sawing sections of the floor and removing the planks. However, for wood floors containing lead this creates dust which contains lead particles. Therefore, it is much safer to remove one plank at a time even though it takes longer. Hiring a lead abatement professional is costly, but if you have a lot of flooring to remove it is something to consider as well. Contact the appropriate local agency to find out how to properly dispose of the contaminated wood. Different jurisdictions have different ways of handling hazardous materials.

Many homeowners love the look of wood floors. In fact, it may be the reason they purchased an older home. If you want to retain the hardwood, then sanding the floors is an option, however, this requires taking the necessary safety precautions. In this case, hiring a professional may be worth the money.

Lead Dangers in Other Household Materials

Knowing how to test wood floors for lead is important to keep your family safe and issues of indoor air quality are a concern for more and more Americans. However, there are risks in other household materials as well. For example, older tableware may have a ceramic glaze that could contain lead. Therefore it’s important to test china and ceramic dishes for the presence of lead as well. 

Household Items Containing Lead

Other items in the home that could contain lead include:

  • Cast iron pans
  • Plastic and metal toys
  • Certain fabrics both natural and man-made
  • Electronics with circuit boards
  • Children’s lunch boxes
  • Jewelry 
  • Bathtub glazes

Lead Poisoning Symptoms

Lead poisoning is a serious condition but it is even more harmful to children and pregnant women who may experience a miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth. Knowing the symptoms of lead poisoning is just as important as knowing how to test wood floors for lead. 

Symptoms in Children

Lead poisoning symptoms in children include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Vomiting and abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Seizures

Long-term effects include hearing loss, delays in development as well as learning difficulties.  Lead poisoning in pregnant women could lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth as well as low birth weight in newborns.

Lead poisoning symptoms in adults:

  • Mood disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Headache and difficulties with memory or concentration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Reduced sperm count

Learn More About How to Test Wood Floors

To order a test kit and for more information on how to test wood floors for lead, call 727-572-4550 today.