Greener Trends for Home Interior Painting

home interior painting img1Nowadays, sounder environmental practices are widely observed in painting, design and construction projects. We all know that lead-free paint has been banned for some time now, and with good reason. But customarily, even paint intended for indoor use has contained plenty of toxins and other chemicals that are potentially harmful. Some paint fumes can promote symptoms such as nose and throat discomfort, headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness, to name just a few.

Home Interior Painting: Learn About VOCs

When it comes to talking about “greener” paint, you’ll undoubtedly hear the term “VOC,” which stands for volatile organic compound.

VOCs are a group of carbon-based chemicals that are volatile, which simply means that they like to manifest as a gas. The type and amount of VOCs in household paint generally varies with the type and brand of paint, but traditional household paints generally contain plenty of VOCs, including benzene and formaldehyde.

Since they are volatile, VOCs can “off-gas” from walls and other surfaces as the paint is applied and as it dries. Combined with the fact that the paint is usually applied to a fairly large area, this can cause those spending time in freshly painted homes to have exposures to VOCs that are much greater than normal.

More to Know about VOCs and Paint

Of the traditional household paints, latex or water-based paints, especially latex paints that are largely free of formaldehyde and other chemicals to prevent mildew and mold, have lower amounts of VOCs as compared to oil-based paints. Flat finish paints tend to contain fewer VOCs than glossy paints. Colour can be a factor, too. White or pale paints tend to have fewer VOCs than brightly colored or dark paints. Paints may contain VOCs through the addition of tint, so the lighter the shade, the better.

Bear in mind that the designation of “zero VOC” or “no VOC” can be somewhat misleading, as paints may be labeled so if they contain less than 5 grams per litre. Therefore, although lower in VOC content, they all generally release some VOCs into the air. Still, zero VOC paints are an environmentally-conscious choice, especially for those who are sensitive to strong smells or have allergies.

Home Interior Painting and Natural Paints

home interior paintingEssentially, society is becoming more “green” conscious, and many painting contractors and suppliers are making the switch to green-friendly paints because customers are starting to demand it for home interior painting. We live in a time where more and more consumers purchase natural, organic and free trade goods, consider holistic treatment over typical drug therapies, and shop in farmers’ markets.

It is possible to opt for paint made from natural ingredients, such as water, plant dyes, essential oils, resins, clay, chalk, milk casein (a protein commonly found in milk), and even beeswax. The scent of these paints is minimal, but they are usually somewhat costlier and harder to obtain.
Just as you would look for the Energy Star label when buying appliances, you might look for the stamp from Green Seal, a non-profit, independent product certifier, when choosing eco-friendly house paint.

Green friendly paint uses a large amount of natural elements so that the negative environmental effects of harmful chemicals can be avoided. It’s not 100% organic, but a majority of its ingredients are at least non-volatile, if not 100% biodegradable.

Choose Responsibly for Home Interior Painting

When you are hiring a professional company to complete your home interior painting project, ask them if they use green friendly paint. If you find a company that doesn’t specify whether they offer environmentally friendly paint options, then simply ask. Honest companies won’t have a problem explaining more about the particular paint types and brands that they prefer to use for their projects.

Simply put, your choice of paint can affect your home’s indoor air quality, and in turn, your family’s health. Talk to your home interior painting specialist about the best choices in today’s paint products that are more on the eco-friendly side.

Vancouver painter and contractor Peter Byrne“PETER BYRNE is the owner and hands-on manager of Kassel Painting Limited. In the last two decades he has run over 1500 painting projects totalling millions of dollars. There is little that can go right (or wrong) on a job-site he has not seen, solved, and lived to talk about.”

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