Lead Paint Inspections

We are accredited by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to perform Risk Reduction lead paint inspections and can walk you though the process. The Maryland Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Law requires lead paint inspections for certain situations including rental units constructed prior to 1978. Please read the MDE Lead Registration page and the MDE Landlord “Standard of Care” Document (PDF) for additional information.

Full Risk Reduction Inspections

Note: MDE has changed their lead dust standards effective July 1st, 2020. Click here to read more on our blog post.

Please follow the steps below and review our Lead Paint Inspection Guide (PDF) to have your lead paint inspection go as smoothly as possible and to avoid additional fees for re-testing. Use our Book Now page when you are ready to set up an appointment. We can usually fit you on the schedule within a few days.

Note: All lead paint inspectors are required by law to notify MDE at least 24 hours prior to an inspection – they may show up at the property at the appointment time to audit the inspection.

1. Tracking Number
As part of this process, you will need to obtain a tracking number if you don’t already have one. To obtain a new Tracking Number or to find the Tracking Number already assigned, call MDE at 410-537-4199 (note: email may be faster), email mde.leadreg@maryland.gov, or visit the MDE Lead Rental Registry Property Search. We will need this number by the time the lab results come back to generate and issue your Certificate.

2. Visual Inspection – Exterior
The first part of the lead paint inspection is a visual inspection of the ENTIRE EXTERIOR including walls, windows, doors, door frames, trim, soffit, fascia, gutters, downspouts, porches, posts / columns, ceilings, railings, and steps on both the main structure and any outbuildings accessible to tenant(s). There can be no deteriorated paint conditions (peeling, chipping, cracking, etc.) regardless of the age or type of paint in order for the inspection to proceed to the interior portion.

3. Visual Inspection – Interior
If the exterior passes the visual inspection, we will then perform a visual inspection of the ENTIRE INTERIOR of the home including baseboards, doors, door frames, walls, ceilings, enclosed porches, window jambs / frames / sills / wells / sashes, cabinets, and radiators. Areas inspected include basements and any other spaces that are directly accessible. All doors must be unlocked and all windows that are intended to open must be able to be opened. There can be no deteriorated paint conditions (peeling, chipping, cracking, etc.) regardless of the age or type of paint in order for the inspection to proceed to dust wipe sampling.

4. Dust Wipe Sampling
The last part of the inspection is dust wipe sampling. In houses with wooden windows, two dust samples are taken per room. If newer windows are present, only one sample per room is required. The MDE definition of a room includes bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, kitchens, basements, etc. Samples may be taken from window sills, window wells and/or floors at our discretion. If no window is present, a floor area may still be tested. It is very important to make sure the house is properly cleaned prior to this portion of the inspection (see below).

  • General Cleaning Tips: Lead dust needs a detergent cleaner to break the bond with surfaces. Bleach or glass cleaners should not be used. Any cleaning and painting should be completed at least one hour prior to the inspection. Once cleaning has been performed, it is recommended that all human and animal traffic be limited or prevented before and during the inspection.
  • Cleaning Bare Floors: Should be cleaned using a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum followed by mopping with a new mop head and a mild detergent with clean water for each room. Unfinished concrete floors in basements are very difficult to clean and a frequent cause of failure. The best course of action is usually to clean then paint these floors with a garage-type epoxy paint that will seal in any old dust and make the floor easier to clean. All floors should be “white glove” clean.
  • Cleaning Carpet: Should be cleaned using a HEPA vacuum in one direction and then again in the perpendicular direction.
  • Cleaning Windows: Window wells and window sills should be cleaned with a HEPA vacuum then with paper towels and a mild detergent solution. The window well is the area where the bottom of the sash hits when the window closes and is a very difficult area to obtain a “pass”. When wiping, do so in one direction (not back and forth). This window well area needs to be spotless.

The Full Risk reduction certificate that is issued will expire at tenant turnover. A new inspection must take place prior to the new tenants moving into the property.

Lead-Free Inspections

At this time we do not offer lead-free inspections due to low demand and the fact that most properties in the areas we serve would fail this inspection. These inspections are done using an XRF gun to analyze all layers of paint on every surface inside and outside of the home. Unless a house built prior to 1978 has been completely remodeled down to the studs, there is a high likelihood of failure. If lead is found, those surfaces will have to be removed or encapsulated and the house will need to be re-tested. Alternatively, the owner may face the additional cost of a Full Risk Reduction Inspection as well if passing the lead-free inspection will not be possible.


$225 for most small single-family houses or row homes with vinyl windows. This includes the interior and exterior lead paint visual inspection, 10 dust samples including all associated lab fees and a control sample (field blank), next-day shipping to the lab, and a Risk Reduction Certificate sent by email the same day that results come back. Hard copies of the certificates are also sent to MDE and the landlord by US Mail.

$15 for each additional dust wipe sample. Total costs vary based on the size of the property and types of windows (see details above).

Turnaround time for lab analysis is about 5 business days from the day of sampling. Rush lab processing including next-day and same-day service is available for an additional fee.

Discounts for repeat customers, multiple units, re-inspections, or when combined with a rental inspection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a Lead Paint Inspection Certificate?
It takes about 5 business days from the lead paint inspection for the laboratory results to come back for the dust samples taken. Rush processing is available for a fee.

If a room fails a dust swipe test, does the whole house need re-tested?
No, only the room that fails needs to be properly cleaned and re-tested for an additional fee.

This information on this page changes on occasion. Please confirm with the Maryland Department of the Environment.