Dry Ice Blasting & Cleaning Blog

Lead-Based Paint Removal for a Historic Building While in Use

Constructed in 1934, the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Lexington, Kentucky required a new paint job to reverse 85 years of exposure to elements and to restore the exterior to its stately origins.

It was a logistically challenging project that required a plan for prepping 257 windows on four sides of the building and two interior courtyards that had to be accessed from the roof.

In addition, the windows were coated with lead-based paint that required extra precautions for environmental safety.

These challenges are par for the course for Polar Clean, which is why we were selected for the project.

The Best Option

Paint stripping alone was not an option given the amount of time it would take, and abrasive blasting would have required wrapping the entire building to contain the dust and paint debris. The resulting clean-up would take longer than the blasting itself and was too costly.

Water-based hydroblasting was an even worse option, particularly considering the potential contamination to the environment. Both abrasive and hydroblasting posed too much risk to damaging the windows and getting into the building, where 80% of the work would take place as court operations went on without interruption.

Dry ice blasting offered a faster, more cost-effective alternative because it was powerful enough to remove the paint but gentle enough to avoid damaging the windows panes of the landmark building. The process required neither extensive containment nor clean-up.

Working Well with Others

The project was carefully planned to ensure minimal disruption. “The people working in the courthouse took priority,’’ said Polar Clean Director of Operations Sean Simpson. “We had to consult people working inside to schedule the work, because the dry-ice blasting is noisy.”

The building has four floors, so scaffolding was erected to reach the upper floors, shared by both Polar Clean and the painting contractor in a carefully choreographed process, working section by section.

How Dry Ice Blasting Removes Paint

Dry-ice blasting pellets turn into a gas upon contact, introducing no additional debris as they loosen and remove flaking paint. Using carefully planned and localized containment practices, the Polar Clean team, which is certified for lead renovation projects, ensured the proper capture and disposal of the lead paint dust and fragments.

The Polar Clean Advantage

At Polar Clean, we have extensive experience with both restoration and paint preparation projects. While dry ice blasting is often the best option, we also use various abrasive blasting methods when appropriate to ensure the best method based on the age of the building, the surface to be cleaned, the material to be removed, among other job factors.

If you need to remove paint or restore an older, perhaps historic structure, speak with the dry ice and abrasive blasting expert today.

Contact us to learn more about dry ice blasting