Lead paint testing

I keep getting phone calls from clients who want lead paint testing done on there residence. The thing is with the results they want a “cleared” certificate signed by our company. What does this include do you have to be licensed to sign this type of certificate over to them. I have heard some people charge up to $600.00

Not sure of their accuracy, but ProLab has a lot of DIY type kits,
with their lab analysis.


The only way that I know of to get accurate results that I would be willing to attach my name or my company name to is by XRF testing. Swab tests are completely unreliable. Check to see if your atate requires that you need to be certified or licensed to do lead testing. Here in PA they want to have a special certification and licnese for everything. We have some of the strictest environmental testing laws that I have come across.

Try one of these

Check with your state, testing for lead is regulated in most states.



What Scott and Gerry said… be careful. We had a guy come talk to our chapter and that’s all he did. If you use scratch kits you are opening yourself to liability. This guy convinced me not to do that testing at all.

$600 can be about right for a residential lead paint inspection or survey as it it called, (a surface by surface examination of all the painted surfaces in or on the dwelling), when using a $16,000. Niton handheld XRF analyzer. About 300 readings in 4 hours on site might handle a <2,000 sq.ft dwelling, if its empty. Then it’s back to the office to download the data and print the tables. This old thread might shed more light on it for you.

In our state, many landlords will pay me to have an XRF survey prove that their pre-1950 dwelling is in fact Lead-free, due to remodeling, fire, whatever reason. The XRF machine is the standard means to document Lead-free dwellings. That designation has its advantages here in Maryland for affected rental dwellings.
As always, Lead-free doesn’t necessarily mean free of lead. For that discusssion see the thread above.
hope this helps,

An XRF will unfortunately pick up lead paint that is not harmful as it is under many coats of lead-free paint… no?

All old homes have lead paint. I can do the test from here. Call me on my cell phone and tell me the age of the home and I can most likely tell you if it has lead paint. I charge $2 per call.

Fortunately the XRF will read down through all the layers and into the substrate for some distance, so as to learn the complete paint history beyond what appears on the surface. Couple of things to remember, there is no safe amount of lead; and, lead that is “intact” is not deemed a hazard. But as soon as the paint condition deteriorates for all the usual reasons, possible exposure to lead dust from beneath can result. When furniture smacks the door casings and shows bare wood, the the paint film layer is broken and the buried lead is no longer buried, until somebody makes it “intact” again.
Nick, be sure to remind all the realtors that old homes have lead paint, so they’ll know which box to help their client to initial on the Federal disclosure !!! Cause everybody knows its there, right?

I hear what you’re sayin’.

Can an XRF determine if the paint is on the surface or buried under lead-free coats?

I know of no state anymore where lead paint testing is not regulated.

One year after Kansas went to licensing for this, they still had home inspectors, appraisers, handymen and even real estate agents still offering swab testing, taking paint chips to labs for analysis or other types of lead sampling - and the folks weren’t licensed or trained. We had dozens of **UNLICENSED **HI’s offering to do lead paint sampling in their yellow pages ads, brochures, etc. They made easy targets to find.

SO they decided to make EXAMPLES of people testing without licenses **OR **of labs taking samples from UNLICENSED people. They decided to enforce a fine on anyone caught doing this of $10,000.

They advertised that fact real heavily to **LICENSED **inspectors. Most of them were quite willing to help get rid of the UNLICENSED crowd.

Ignorance of the fact there was a license required to do this was not a valid excuse if caught.