How to take a paint sample for lead testing.

Certified Renovators are now allowed to take paint chip samples under the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

This is a quick summary of how to take a paint sample for lead testing. For a complete guide please refer to ASTM E 1729 standard.

You should aim to take a 4 inch square piece of paint without any of the underlying material. The paint should then be sent to an EPA recognized laboratory.


Place a 4X4 foot piece of plastic underneath the sampling area in order to catch dust or debris. Tape a sheet of heavy stock paper, fold it and tape it beneath the sampling area to catch the paint. Measure and mark a 2 X 2 inch area on the paint. The area should be reasonably accurate (within 1/16 of an inch).

Put any supplies and tools you may use inside the plastic and put on disposable boots, gloves and a N100 respirator.

Taking the Paint Sample

1. Score the outside edge of the area to be sampled with a utility knife.
2. Soften the paint with a heat gun holding the it about 6 inches or more away. Be careful not to burn the paint. As the paint begins to soften and/or blister scrape the paint into a plastic container. All the layers of paint that are present should be taken. Try not to disturb the substrate material.
3. Place all the dust and debris from the folded piece of paper into the plastic container.
4. Similarly place all the dust and debris from the plastic sheeting into the plastic container.
5. Seal the plastic container and label it. The label should state where and what component was the sample came from and the street address should also be on the label.

Repair Sample Area

Repair the sampled area to the customer’s requirements.

Cleaning up

Clean all your tools and supplies with a wet wipe (preferably a d-lead wipe or equivalent).
Remove the paper, disposable boots, gloves and the plastic sheeting and put it in a plastic trash bag.
Use wet wipes to clean the area. If the area is carpeted make sure you use a HEPA vacuum to clean up.

Laboratory Paperwork

Most laboratories use chain of custody forms that are completed before the samples are delivered. Keep the laboratory results for a minimum period of 3 years and always give the client a copy of the laboratory results.

Analysis Cost

The laboratory test is relatively quick so the cost is only $10 to $20 for each sample that is tested.

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