Am I really going to vacuum my yard?
October 16, 2006 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Should I vacuum the paint flakes out of my yard?

We just had the exterior of our house painted, and there was extensive prep-work that had to be done chipping off all the flaking, peeling pant. The contractors were fastidious about getting the paint off the house -- but not so much with keeping the paint flakes off the ground. Our house is now surrounded by a ring of chipped off paint, ranging from big 4" chunks to little tiny bits too small to rake. The best idea I could think of was renting a shop vac and, yes, vacuuming my yard. Any better ideas?
posted by arielmeadow to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
There are leaf blowers that will reverse to become vacuums, complete with bag. A lawnmower with a bag might also work.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:02 PM on October 16, 2006

How about getting the painters to take care of it? I think that it is a general assumption that the house trades are responsible for cleanups necessitated by a job.
posted by Neiltupper at 8:12 PM on October 16, 2006

And if the flaking, peeling paint you mention is lead-based, there are health issues at stake too, especially if kids have access to the area. Have your painters do the job right and make them clean up the mess.
posted by zachlipton at 8:25 PM on October 16, 2006

The contractor SHOULD have cleaned up , but a shop vac will do the might try to rake the chips into piles to make it easier though.
posted by lobstah at 8:31 PM on October 16, 2006

If the paint is lead based you really do want to get every last bit of it up as it will screw with your kids. This very scenario gave lead poisoning to a friend of mine's child. Otherwise, it is all aesthetics.
posted by caddis at 10:10 PM on October 16, 2006

Best answer: What's better than using a shop vac to vacuum your yard? Nothing I can think of. I got a shop vac a few weeks ago and now I'm vacuuming everything. I vacuumed the cobwebs out of my garage. I use it to catch flies. I say vacuum you yard and follow up by vacuuming up your driveway too. Vacuum up your leaves while you're at it. It's so much easier than raking or whatever.

Also, don't bother renting one. I got a mid-sized one at Home Depot for $80 when a day's rental was something like $40. Unless you really plan on abusing it, there isn't much economic incentive to rent one. Plus you'll have a shop vac! Seriously, they're very usefuil for cleaning up after any sort of reno project.

And like everyone else has said, if it's lead-based paint you really need to clean it up. If you want to see if you can skip the work, get a lead paint tester and check one of the bigger chips, on both sides. You should be able to get one at any large store that sells paint. If it's definitely not lead-based, then you can skip it. I imagine the ships will break down pretty quickly if left alone.
posted by GuyZero at 6:53 AM on October 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

I have done exactly this, it worked fine. Run over the lawn with a bagging lawnmower first and that will pick up quite a lot of it.
posted by LarryC at 7:41 AM on October 17, 2006

I'd vacuum it too using a hepa bag if the paint is lead based.

Shop Vacs are also really good for cleaning gutters.
posted by Mitheral at 7:54 AM on October 17, 2006

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