When people think about remodeling their homes, it’s not surprising that they often forget about green products, such as eco friendly paint. Most people don’t even know that traditional paint emits harmful chemicals that can cause poor air quality in your home as well as posing serious health risks to you and your family. The first step towards using eco friendly paint is understanding why traditional paint should be a product of the past.
Why Are Traditional Paints So Bad?
The EPA has reported that the air inside our homes is easily up to five times more polluted than the air outside, depending on your location. This may not be too alarming if you live outside, but since most of us spend the majority of our waking hours indoors, I’m sure this has piqued your attention.
There are things called VOC’s, an abbreviation of Volatile Organic Compounds. VOC’s are the reason why traditional paints are so harmful. VOC’s aren’t only found in paints either, they are also found in many other products. Because VOC’s are carbon-based chemicals, once paint is applied to your walls, the VOC’s are released into the air of your home. The absolute highest concentration of these chemicals is emitted when traditional paints are first applied, but they can continue to leak from your walls for up to five years after application.
Traditional paints have an incredibly high concentration of VOC’s. Sometimes traditional paints have more than 400 grams of VOC’s per liter! That’s a lot of poison in the air you breathe. But if you can’t use traditional paint in your house, what can you use? The answer is eco friendly paint, allowing your home to be both beautiful and environmentally conscious.
How is Eco Friendly Paint Different?
Due to an increasing awareness in the dangers of traditional paints, many manufacturers are now producing eco friendly paint options.
The difference between traditional paint and eco friendly paint is that eco friendly paint has been approved by the EPA as having a low concentration of VOC’s. Usually, eco friendly paint will have something on the label that says it’s low VOC paint.
There is also eco friendly paint with zero VOC’s. There are also natural eco friendly paints that are made with natural and sometimes organic products, making them incredibly environmentally friendly.
Organic paint, the especially eco friendly paint, also has a growing number of options available on the market today. Eco friendly paint may cost a bit more and the organic paint may not come in all the color varieties that you would like in your home, so that may be a factor that decides which eco friendly paint you use.
A Final Note on Safety
It’s good to remember that even when using eco friendly paint, the room or area you are painting should be well ventilated. All paint types emit gasses that can be harmful until the paint is dry. Eco friendly paint will not emit as much, or any, VOC’s, but it still releases other gasses. Keeping your home well ventilated while painting will help reduce any negative effects that you or your family may experience from the fumes.
If you want to take another step towards reducing your carbon footprint and maintaining cleaner air in your home, switch to eco friendly paint today!
Recently, we talked about two eco friendly paint options, low VOC paint and zero VOC paint. Another, even healthier paint option is Natural Paint.
Natural paints are paints that are made from all natural ingredients, and as such, are the most eco friendly options on the market. While these paints are extremely eco-friendly, they aren’t for every situation. Take a look at the natural paints that are available on the market and see if any are right for you!
Clay Paint:Clay paint is made from all natural minerals and uses a water base instead of an oil base. Clay paint is safe for both people and the environment. However, because clay paint is made from minerals – it’s not available in a wide range of colors. Clay paint can also only be used indoors. If the “earthy” look is something that you like, clay paint may be a great choice for you.
Milk Paint: Milk paint has been around for quite some time and has been proven to be a high-quality environmentally friendly alternative. Milk paint is made by separating Casein from milk. It’s then mixed with water, clay, and other earth pigments. The result is a paint that is eco friendly and easy to apply. This paint is readily available and can even be bought in powered form. When you are ready to use it, you simply add water and start painting. The main downfall to milk paint is that it can only be used indoors. It’s also only available in a matte finish, so it may not be the best choice for your kitchen or bathroom.
Lime Wash: Limewash is a wonderful alternative to other paints on the market. It’s economical and easy to apply. Lime wash is made by combining limestone and water. One of the key benefits to lime wash is that it can be used on exterior surfaces. The major downfall to lime wash is that it can only be used on porous surfaces, meaning that it can’t be used on drywall or any painted surface. It does very well on brick, wood, concrete, plaster, etc. However…paint will have to be removed before lime wash can be applied.
If you are looking for new ways to become more eco friendly, consider going with a natural paint choice. You’ll be doing the environment a favor while also creating a healthier indoor environment for you and your family.
We recently decided to paint a few rooms in our home, and during my research, I learned that indoor air quality is 5x worse than than the air quality outdoors. That’s slightly concerning, since many of us spend the majority of our time indoors.
As I researched more, I learned that paint is one of the biggest contributors of poor indoor air quality. Traditional paint, the kinds you’ve likely been using, has extremely high level of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Those VOCs aren’t only a problem when the paint is applied…they “off-gas” for up to 5 years and have been attributed to a multitude of health problems.
But you’ve got to paint, right? The best alternative on the market today comes in the form of eco friendly paint. There are a few quality eco friendly options on the market today, and I suspect as demand for them increases, the supply will as well.
Here’s a brief overview of the options that are available to you RIGHT NOW:
Low VOC Paint
In order for a paint to be marketed as low VOC, it must meet EPA standards of having less than 200 VOCs per liter. Be very careful when selecting Low VOC paint, though. Yes, all of it is better than “regular” paint, but there can be a large difference in the VOC content of even low VOC paints. The best option is to choose paint that carries the green seal standard. Paints that meet the green seal standards have less than 50 VOCs per liter for flat paints, and 150 VOCs per liter for non-flat paints. These are the friendliest of the low VOC paints.
Zero VOC Paints
Zero VOC paints are now available on the market as well. The EPA also regulates what paints can be marketed as zero VOC – basically, they have to contain less then 5 grams of VOC per liter. Some well respected paint manufacturers are now making zero VOC paints. The major downfall to these paints is that they are more expensive than traditional and low VOC paints.
For those who are really sensitive or just want to choose natural paints, there are options available for you too. We’ll cover natural paint choices in another post on My Lil Green Dress.