Safety Considerations when Painting Senior Living Communities

Safety While Painting Senior Living Communities

Painting in a senior living community is a challenging task that requires an expert, as there are health concerns to take into consideration, including exposure of patients to potentially harmful fumes, aesthetic appeal, disruption of work, and choice of paint. The safety considerations to take into account are outlined below:

Disruption of work

It is advisable to schedule painting jobs of senior living communities in the evening and during the weekends in order to minimize disruption of normal activities. During the day, most facilities are very active with patients, caretakers, and doctors, and painting during the day may raise the risk of exposure to paint fumes and risk of injuries if people trip over the work products.

Choice of paint

Certain sections of a hospital will need special paint coats like the emergency room where sterility is of importance. Paint finishes with shiny sheens are more commonly recommended due to their ability to be cleaned easily. Paints that contain less volatile organic compounds are recommended, as they don’t have as many fumes, creating a safer environment for patients.

Ventilation concerns

While painting in a community, fumes from the paint can be transferred through the ventilation to adjoining rooms, leading to health hazards. It is advisable to block vents to prevent fumes from being passed to other rooms. It is also important to use notices to inform patients and doctors that painting is occurring.

Stripping and Sanding Risk

Stripping is removing a coat of paint and finish from a wall and cleaning the underlying surface. In some cases, the removal of paint containing lead may cause lead poisoning. Another type of paint removal is pressure washing. When possible, pressure washing is safer and more effective than using chemical-based methods in worrisome areas, as lead is not made airborne, nor are chemical fumes a problem. Pressure washing tools are, however, dangerous if not handled correctly and should be operated with safety in mind. Pressure washing can also be used to clean concrete in health facilities.


The colors chosen during the painting of walls in health facilities should be those that offer relief to patients. White walls give a clinical feel and can be depressing to patients. Warm colors are more preferred for patients’ rooms to promote healing and have a soothing effect.

Painting budget

As interior painting happens every 7-10 years it is not an expense most senior living communities plan for in their maintenance budgets. Many facilities also tend to think that their maintenance budget is excluded from taxation, however, the IRS defines expenditures as being non-capital or capital, and painting is not considered as a capital expense as it is a non-annual expense and therefore a taxable one. A community should, therefore, remember to set aside maintenance funds for painting, despite it being a taxable project.

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