This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: Low VOC paint

Today feels like spring and spring, to me, always means painting time.  I am an incurable decorator with a fickle love of color and a passion for change.  I love every single wall color in this house but I will probably have them all changed within the next few months.  I can't help myself.  I love to paint.  I am fearless on a ladder (though that did once cause the 'incident'...) and love the look of  clean, smooth, freshly painted walls.

But all paint is not created equal.

Enter the new variety of low-VOC or zero-VOC paints.  These paints are a class of latex paints that are made with reduced or zero amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  They are purported to be better for our health than regular paint and I agree with that statement because reduced exposure to chemicals such as formaldehyde is definitely a good thing.  The reason that VOCs are in paint at all is because they are an excellent binder - they help the paint go on smoothly and the paint molecules to adhere to each other thus creating a smooth finish on the wall.

Low VOC or zero VOC paints are not going to go on as smoothly.  There will be more splattering, especially if you roll quickly.  You will definitely have to put on a second coat because without those binding chemicals your paint will look more "open" on the wall.  Low VOC or zero VOC paint is more expensive and you will use more and you will have to paint more slowly to ensure that you are not splattering your ceilings, trim, and floors.  It's worth it though.  It really is a worthwhile expense. 

See paint isn't the only thing around you leaking VOCs and polluting your air.  Your printer ink, your craft glue, your stained wood furniture and your veneer furniture are all leaking VOCs into the air.  Scrapbookers working with lots of different adhesives and papers may be breathing in large amounts of VOCs.  We are all receiving a lot of exposure to a potpourri of chemicals that we can't even begin to imagine so it's important to reduce our exposure whenever we can.  Low VOC or zero VOC paints are an excellent way to coat the largest surfaces in your home with something that won't cause headaches, allergies, and, with enough exposure, cancer.

It's not a treat or something just to be used in the kids' rooms, although please, please, please use this paint in your bedroom where you spend 6-8 hours a night breathing in whatever is leaching from your walls, floors, and bedding (frequently with your door closed!) and with very little ventilation during those hours.  You wouldn't consider an antibiotic a "treat" if you had an infection, right?  This is preventative medicine, my friends. 

I have used several lines of paint, all of which I recommend though I don't recommend one over the others: Mythic paints have a beautiful color palette all their own, though many other colors can be mixed using a Mythic base.  Benjamin Moore Natura is also very nice - no odor within about 5 minutes of finishing the job. 

It's nearly spring.  Freshen your home with some beautiful new colors that inspire you.  Freshen your air with products that won't harm you.  Freshen our planet by committing to doing just one Green thing this spring.  Just one.

Has anyone used any other low VOC or zero VOC paint they would like to recommend?

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