Painting Your House Green with Eco-friendly Paints and Low-VOC Alternatives

green paints low voc

Going green should start at your home. You are already recycling. And you replaced all the traditional bulbs with energy-saving ones. Why don’t you take it one step further and be environmentally-conscious even when you paint? Many standard paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in great quantities. By using low-VOC painting products, you create a healthier environment for you and your family, no matter what color you choose.

Problem with VOCs

For many years, VOCs have been a key ingredient in latex and oil-based paints, solvents and varnishes. They are still in use in common household items like wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, moth repellents, air fresheners and automotive products. Despite their common use, prolonged exposure to these chemicals can cause asthma attacks, respiratory problems, irritate eyes, but also cause nausea and dizziness. Prolonged exposure has also been related to kidney and liver failure, and even cancer.

Benefits of Using Green Paints

When traditional paints are applied to walls, they release gas component of VOCs for years. Increased environmental awareness and customer demand have led to the development of many high-quality, low-VOC products such as latex primers and paints. These products are water-based and significantly less toxic than traditional paints. Plus, what little fumes they do release is quickly dissipated. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, a paint can be considered “low-VOC” only if the VOC content is below 200 g/l.

Application of Low-VOC Paints

Although they are designed with environmental safety standards, low-VOC primers and paints are used in the same way as traditional products. What is more, durable concrete paint costs about the same as most manufacturers’ top shelf paints, but last considerably longer, which reduces the need for reapplying it often. As they’re not considered “hazardous waste”, these eco-friendly paints can be removed and disposed of without aggressive solvents.

Purchasing Tips

As with any paint, when you are buying low-VOC paint, try to calculate how much you need for the job at hand. You can do this by measuring the area that needs to be painted. It is estimated that one gallon of paint will cover about 350-400 sq. ft. If you need a precise calculation about how much paint you need for a specific job, use a paint calculator tool.

How to Paint?

There is hardly a better way to make your indoor air fresher and healthier than by using low-VOC paints and primers.

But, if you want to learn the way of a green painter, you need to follow the BUD rule. It’s quite simple: Buy no more product than you need.

Use the product you buy. Dispose of any leftovers in a safe and responsible manner.

Proper Disposal

Before you dispose of latex paint leftovers, make sure it has dried. Even if you have spent the entire can, let it dry with its lid removed before you discard it. A less than one-fourth of the paint can be easily dried if you leave it in a ventilated area and stir it every few days, until it hardens.

When you leave the paint to dry, make sure that you keep it away from children and pets, as their curiosity may lead to unwanted consequences. Keep it away from open flame and the elements.

Storing Excess Paint

Your can of low-VOC paint will last longer if you store it properly. A perfect storage place is dry, with temperature above freezing. The lid needs to be replaced firmly after every use. Set the can upside down; that way, the paint will prevent the air from entering.

The advantages of low-VOC paints are as numerous as their possible applications. Apart from paving the way for healthier indoor air, they can also be disposed of easily, in a way that isn’t harmful for the environment.

Lillian Connors

If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement projects and spread the word about them. As the Co-editor of Smooth Decorator, she cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on.

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