Ecological House Painting: Can It Be Done?

Green paint

For those wanting to keep it green while painting their homes, there is good news. Along with green cleaning agents and environmentally friendly sprays/disinfectants, newly developed paints that are non-toxic are becoming increasingly available and more popular.

Many professional painting contractors now use these so-called ecological paints and make a point of referencing it in their company advertising. Before deciding on what product to use at home, do some research to find out if the paint selected is actually compatible for the job at hand.

Reducing the amount of gas and particulate pollution when performing a paint job is of high priority for homeowners. Many individuals are also concerned about the lingering effects of hazardous compounds found in many of the popularly used paints sold at hardware stores and home improvement centers. These products can continue to emit chemicals into the environment long after they have set and dried.

Information About VOC Levels

Paints are listed as regular, low-VOC, and no-VOC. Volatile organic compounds are listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and these compounds number in the hundreds.

Many homeowners purchase low-VOC paints believing that they are non-toxic. This is not true. Low-VOC simply means that fewer hazardous ingredients are present in the paint composition.

Those compounds that are included will still emit chemicals into the air, both during and after the paint is applied to the surface. Ammonia, biocides, and fungicides are present in many of the low-VOC paints sold to consumers.

Advantages of Using Eco-Friendly Paint Products

The obvious advantage is one that concerns the health of the user. This is especially true when painting is done in an indoor environment. Concentrations of hazardous compounds can be more than 10 times as dense as when these products are used outdoors.

People who have been diagnosed with severe allergic reactions to VOCs will breath much easier knowing that the paint they are using is no-VOC. These products have no lingering effects such as dissipation of chemicals into the indoor atmosphere.

Eco-friendly paints are also completely biodegradable. They can be flushed down the sink and sent to the water treatment plant. Because these paints are manufactured from naturally derived ingredients, no harmful chemicals are required to produce them, meaning that the processing of these paints is also much easier on the environment.

Information About Eco-Friendly Paints

Most of the naturally derived paint products currently on the market are water-based acrylic urethanes. Other natural ingredients are added to ensure even flow with little or no spattering. They contain no benzene, ethylene glycol, carcinogens, or neurotoxins.

Several companies have developed eco-friendly house paints that are extremely scrub resistant. One of the problems with interior latex paints is the problem of scuffing and reaction with water. The newly developed eco-friendly paints are highly resistant to scrubbing even though they are themselves water-based.

Cost Considerations

It is true that most eco-friendly paint products cost a bit more than traditional paints, but this is to be expected. Over the next several years, many economists predict that the cost of these new-age paints will come down significantly as production increases.

Studies have concluded that these paints last as long as traditional latex or acrylic paints, and hold up to the effects of weather and moisture quite well. This is great news for homeowners wanting to keep things green!

This article was contributed by Jason Nelson on behalf of JK Painting, a Southern Utah residential painting company.

Filed in: Going Green, Green Building

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