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Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Property Owners - Repair

Owner-Occupied Properties

If you are going to prepare for repainting, removing paint or tearing out walls in an old home, you should do one of the following:

  • Have the paint tested to see if it is lead-based paint. Hire a certified lead inspector to safely and accurately assess the lead dangers in your home. You can find a list of certified lead inspectors on the IDPH website at
  • Assume that it is lead-based paint and take the appropriate precautions. Only owner-occupants can perform renovation, remodeling and repainting without certification.
    1. Never dry scrape, dry sand, power sand, power wash, grind or blast with power tools and equipment not equipped with a shroud and HEPA vacuum attachment. Do not use a torch, needle gun, planer or use a high temperature heat gun to remove lead-based paint.
    2. Clean up thoroughly every day. Dispose of waste in a heavy duty bag or sheet.

If you’re hiring a contractor:

  • Make sure your contractor is an Iowa certified lead-safe renovator and can explain clearly the details of the job, and how they will minimize lead hazards during the work.
  • Ask if the contractor is trained to perform lead-safe work practices and to see a copy of their certification card.
  • Ask them what lead-safe methods they will use to set up and perform the job in your home. You can also request to see references from at least three recent jobs involving homes built before 1978, and speak to each personally.

Rental Properties

Iowa rules requires the following of all landlords and contractors performing renovations, repairs or painting that may disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 rental properties:

  • Must be trained and Iowa Lead-Safe Certified
  • Must use lead-safe work practices

The rules apply to any renovation that is not considered minor repair and maintenance activities. The definition of minor repair and maintenance activities is:

Activities, including minor heating, ventilation or air-conditioning work, electrical work and plumbing, that disrupt less than the minimum areas of a painted surface established in this definition where none of the work practices prohibited or restricted by this chapter are used and where the work does not involve window replacement or demolition of painted surface areas. When painted components or portions of painted components are removed, the entire surface area removed is the amount of painted surface disturbed. Projects, other than emergency renovation, performed in the same room within the same 30 days must be considered the same project for the purpose of determining whether the project is a minor repair and maintenance activity. Renovations performed in response to an elevated blood lead (EBL) inspection are not considered minor repair and maintenance activities.

The minimum area for minor repair and maintenance activities is:

  1. Less than 1.0 square foot of an interior painted or finished wood surface pre-renovation;
  2. Less than 6.0 square feet of a painted or finished drywall or plaster surface per room; or
  3. Less than 20.0 square feet of an exterior painted or finished surface per renovation.

Specific work practices include:

  • Warning signs posted
  • Dust, paint chips and debris contained to the work area
  • Cover objects in the work area (i.e., furniture)
  • Ground cover for exterior work areas
  • Waste material contained, stored and transported safely
  • Prohibited work practices (i.e., uncontained water blasting and dry scraping)
  • HEPA vacuums for cleaning
  • Work area cleaned and verified with post renovation cleaning verification

Additional requirements include:

  • Certified Lead-Safe Renovators can test for presence of lead-based paint using approved test kits.
  • On-the job training required for all non-certified individuals that do renovation work.Record keeping. 
  • A renovation report is required for each renovation.

For more information about the lead-safe renovation rules, including where to find an approved training course, please visit


For more information on lead poisoning contact us at 1-800-972-2026 or online at Contact Us.