I am kinda out of my element when it comes to fixing things. Or knowing what to fix. Or when to fix it. It's a big question, what to tackle and what to let go. Right now even the crash course I have had since I became the church's house committee chair isn't helping.
Yesterday, I met with two painting contractors about dealing with lead paint at my new house. It had actually taken a while to figure out where all the lead paint was and where it wasn't. We have figured that out and so I had the two painters in to give me quotes for removing the crumbling lead paint that's between the window sashes and storm windows, and repaint of course.
The first guy told me not to waste my money paying him. He said that the lead would only be a problem if a child ate a hole window sill full. He said that I should scrape the paint myself and then put a mask on my son and have him follow behind me with a shop vac and vacuum the stuff up. I asked about dust and he said, "That's all hype." He said for him to do the job would mean taking off the storm windows and that would be very labor intensive.
The second guy told me it was lead dust, not paint chips, that are the problem. He told me that covering the windows on the inside, taking the storms off and doing the job from the outside would be cheaper and easier on my family than sealing off each room separately. He also pointed out a few other areas of lead concern that he recommended be handled before we moved in, but he said we really didn't have a serious lead problem compared to others he had seen. A few issues he said I could handle myself because it just meant going over intact paint. A few he thought needed scraping and the use of lead-safe procedures.
Now who do I believe? I felt more confident of the information given me by painter number two. He seemed both more knowledgeable and more competent as he spoke of state requirements, even though he was much younger and much less experienced.
But, appearances can be deceiving. Perhaps he is just more professional in demeanor.
And what if his quote is too high? Can I safely do this myself? Every booklet and website I've seen that explains how includes an encouragement to hire a lead certified contractor to handle the job instead. But often, on the forums of those sites, there are people who talk about there being too much concern over lead. Some even say no protections are needed.
My head is spinning. I don't know how to figure it out. What's OK and what's not? What is necessary and what is overkill?
I am feeling my way here and I feel anxious. I am just not sure how to proceed.
That's what's on my mind today.