Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why I learned to use my own power tools V

Lead Paint Removal

The contractor arrived in mid-September with his clipboard and his subcontractors, and they spent a couple of days rearranging Hedda's work schedule to suit theirs. Hedda needed to take her animals (son included) to her mother's house while the crew removed the lead-painted windows and door frames. This was, Hedda had read, a painstaking process in which the offending parts should be pulled from the house frameworks directly to the out-of-doors, rather than the simpler system of standing in, say, the living room, and popping it inward, then carrying it out, the way most windows today are done. The point behind the painstaking effort is to reduce the amount of stray lead paint particles. If you have to carry these things across the floor, you're more likely to leave a trail of dust and paint chips there.

Hedda watched, one day, as the men pulled each window inward, set it on the floor, and later carried the trash out to the uncovered trailer.

Now getting a hint as to the modus operandi of this crew, Hedda started doing even more research on procedures. It's not as difficult -- or as simple -- as she thought. In fact, she might still have some legal liability issues, if the contractors were as haphazard in their disposal as they were in their removal processes (item #10). She had more of the wood posts and other painted surfaces tested, and what she could lawfully do on her own, she borrowed the tools to do, and applied plenty of elbow grease. On her regular days off from her part-time job, Hedda cleanly rescued from the junk heap her carport, as well as an attractive 1920s solid wood paneled door -- plus jamb -- while the group of subcontractors futzed around full-time with the windows.

At the end of each work day, as Hedda returned home to survey the on-site efforts, she found tools and large scraps lying in her driveway, on her sidewalk, and occasionally in her kitchen sink.

Previous entries on this story:
Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

No comments: