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Learn about encapsulation

Encapsulation is a legal method of containing lead paint. An encapsulant is a liquid coating that provides a long lasting barrier over the lead paint.

Is regular paint an encapsulant?

No, regular paint is not an encapsulant. Homeowners must have a lead inspection by a licensed Massachusetts lead inspector before they apply encapsulant as a deleading method. 

Where can encapsulants be used?

Encapsulants can only be used on surfaces that are in good condition. Encapsulants will not work on surfaces that are:

  • Walked on
  • Badly deteriorated
  • Subject to friction or rubbing
  • Outside

An encapsulant must be applied to an entire architectural element. For example, you would cover a whole wall with encapsulant rather than a wall corner.

Who can apply encapsulant?

You do not need to be a licensed deleader to apply encapsulant. However, anyone planning on applying it must first become trained through reviewing a brief training booklet and take an at-home test. You must return the at-home test to Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP). You will receive an authorization number to apply encapsulants. 

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

250 Washington St.

Boston, MA 02108

(800) 532-9571

fax: (617) 624-5777

Additional Resources

What should I do to a surface before I apply encapsulants?

After you've been trained, you can test the surface to find out if it is strong enough to hold the encapsulant.

Before you start applying encapsulant to a surface, you must test the paint layer to make sure it will stick. The paint layer must be tested if it is leaded or unleaded. This testing is a requirement and must be done before applying encapsulants and is explained in the training.

If the paint layer is peeling from the wall, or not sticking, you need to find a different method of deleading.

Which encapsulants can be used?

Only approved encapsulant products should be applied. They must be on the state register of approved products and have the David Litter laboratory seal. You can find many of these products at most paint and hardware stores.

Additional Resources

Once an encapsulant is applied, what must be done to maintain it?

Encapsulants must be regularly checked to make sure they are in good condition.


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