Painting Tips - What Are VOCs Anyway?

Painting Tips - What Are VOCs Anyway?

There is no better way to transform the look of your living room or home’s exterior than with a few well chosen new paint colors. However, you don’t want to implement your clever interior design ideas at the cost of your family’s health or our beautiful Northern Virginia environment. You may be wondering about the safety of your interior and exterior paint or perhaps you just want to know what those mysterious VOCs are, what you need to do about them and if a non VOC alternative can be effective or affordable. Fear not, we have the scoop on keeping your painting projects clean, green and beautiful for years to come.

  1. What are VOCs? VOC stands for volatile organic compounds and these are solids or liquids that quickly convert into gas when they reach room temperature. VOCs can be found in a variety of paint products and have been linked to a myriad of health concerns such as headaches, watery eyes, respiratory diseases, asthma and even cancer.
  2. How much is too much? Today’s EPA regulations limit the VOCs in paint to 250 grams/liter in latex paint and 380 grams/liter in an oil-based paint. Fortunately, many new, low VOCs paints are available in every market and price point. To be labeled as a low VOC paint the product must have less than 50 grams/liter for flat finish paints and less than 150 grams/liter for paints with a glossier finish. If your paint has less than 5 grams/liter it can claim the status of “zero-VOC.”
  3. Will low or no VOC paint break the bank? You might be worried that choosing a more eco-friendly paint won’t fit into your budget, or that it won’t offer the same superior coverage of the wall paint you’re used to working with. Those worries are completely understandable, but unfounded. As it turns out, low or zero-VOC paint coats just as well as traditional paint and is just as affordable. For example, Sherwin Williams Paints makes several varieties of zero-VOC paint including Harmony and EcoSelect, both of which retail for under $40 a gallon. Benjamin Moore Paints zero-VOC brand Aura sells for around $60 a gallon, but as it is a paint + primer, it’s still a cost effective option.

So, as it turns out, choosing a low-VOC or zero-VOC paint is actually an easy way to limit the environmental impact of your painting project. If you have questions about your next house painting project, or want to have a friendly team of professional painters take the work off your hands so you can spend more time in one of Northern Virginia’s beautiful parks, give us a call. We would love to help you create more beautiful, green space in your home.

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