Rubbing a cotton swab on peeling paint on a windowsill.
Using a DIY home test kit to test paint for lead.

Ingesting or breathing dust from lead paint or fumes from burning materials that contain lead paint can result in lead poisoning and cause serious health problems.

Lead additive was banned from paint in the U.S. in 1978, so paint manufactured after that time should be lead free.

Paint made between 1960 and 1978 may contain low levels of lead, and paint before 1960 can have high levels of lead.

If you think the paint in your house may contain lead, you can test it using a DIY lead test kit which can be purchased at home centers and used to tell if the paint in your house contains lead.

If your house does have lead paint, you can paint over it as long as you don’t disturb the paint by sanding, scraping, or cutting.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: When people are fixing up older homes, they often want to know, “How can I tell if my house has lead paint?”

The first clue is the specific age of the house. If it was built in 1979 and later, there should be no lead paint in it at all.

Homes built between 1960 and 1978 may have low levels of lead in the paint, and those built before 1960 often have large amounts if the original paint is still in place.

The best way to know for sure is to test it yourself with a lead test kit that’s available from your local home center. The instructions will show you how to use it and interpret the results to determine if lead is present.

It’s very important not to disturb it. The chief danger is the dust generated from cutting, sanding, or scraping the paint. Lead paint can be encapsulated or painted over as long as it isn’t disturbed in those ways.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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