How to Determine if Your House Has Lead Paint

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.


  1. I would love to discuss how it’s now possible to seal, treat, and or render lead non hazardous for disposal.

    ECOBOND®LBP, LEAD DEFENDER® is used as a leave on specialty paint application to seal and treat lead in addition for removal practices both treating and sealing prior to disposal. Used on numerous projects nationwide, ECOBOND®LBP, LEAD DEFENDER® using EPA test methods not only treats and seals lead but is responsible for reducing the bio-availability, leaching, and suppressing the harmful lead dust particulates during RRP by up to 99% (EPA method 1311). In addition, due to the ECOBOND®LBP, LEAD DEFENDER® patented natural phosphate reagent reduces the bio-availability by up to 75% (EPA 9200.1-86 non-fasting pH 2.2). This not only assists in Lead Safe Practice Rules, but RCRA and Air Quality Sample Compliance readings as well, thus potentially saving thousands in hazardous disposal fees.
    Schools, home owners, DOT, municipalities, water towers, health departments, and bridges. Our product in particular works two-fold. If you have found Lead yet it remains intact without severe flaking and or peeling, ECOBOND®LBP, LEAD DEFENDER® applied as a primer or top-coat sealant can be used to soften, penetrate and then seal the hazard as a leave on application. ECOBOND®LBP, LEAD DEFENDER® is also used in demolition and removal practices whereupon once applied and then removed renders lead waste non-hazardous for disposal at the same time keeping the harmful ambient dust particulates down to 99% helping to create a safe working environment when dealing with RCRA and or air quality measurements and compliance. In addition to helping create a safe working environment, saves time and contractors thousands of dollars when dealing with Hazardous Waste tonnage disposal.

  2. The video about how to test for Lead paint shows the narrator scraping the window paint and prior to that he is narrating the dangers of scraping up dust from the Lead!

    How ironic.

  3. House build about 1972, I bought 1976, has been painted at least two times-three times. Could there still be lead paint danger?

    • Hi, Norma!

      Regarding lead paint on your walls: There’s no way to know for sure without visiting your home.
      However, if you think the paint in your house may contain lead (or you are just curious), you can test it using a DIY lead test kit, which can be purchased at home centers.

      Thanks for your question.

  4. My three years old son was tested positive for lead two years in roll. When the doctor told me how high his lead was we did everything we could to lower the lead in his system. The recent blood test also showed lead in his system. I found out the house I am currently renting is build in 1940. What is the best action I should take to prevent my kids from having high lead in them


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