If you want to improve your home, there is nothing quicker, easier or more effective than a paint job. Painting your home can improve the value and appearance both inside and out and give your house a whole new look. In order to paint your home safely, it is important that you choose a type of paint that is friendly for the environment and your health. In this article, we will discuss the reasons for choosing safer, greener types of paint along with the best ways to choose. Read on to learn more about painting your home in an environmentally friendly manner.
Paint can be damaging to the environment because of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). These, along with other toxic ingredients, are released into the air. This is especially true when the air is warm. Breathing these ingredients can cause negative reactions such as itchy, runny eyes, dizziness and nausea. Additionally, they can harm the respiratory system, the kidneys, liver and heart. In the worst case scenario, breathing these compounds can be carcinogenic. People whose health is compromised, people who are quite old and young babies are especially at risk for problems when exposed to VOC.
The paint smell you notice when painting is caused by VOC. As long as you can smell that crisp paint smell, potentially damaging ingredients are being released into the air. VOC are organic chemicals that turn into breathable gasses when exposed to warm (room temperature and above) air. These gasses contain dangerous chemicals such as mercury, vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol and benzene. These chemicals are added to paint to make it easier to spread, to provide color and to provide protection against fungus development on the painted surface.
These ingredients are found more often in oil based paints, and luckily, today the use of these types of paints has fallen out of favor. In addition to being safer, modern latex paints and alkyd based paints generally provide better results than oil based paints. These types of paint are safer overall than oil based paints; however, they do still include some VOC. When painting with any type of paint, good ventilation is important. Additionally, care must be taken not to let your skin come in contact with paint. Wear protective gloves while painting and wash paint off promptly if your skin comes in contact with paint.
Today there are many choices in safer paints available at your local home improvement store. When you choose paint for your home, be sure to read labels carefully and discuss the ingredients with paint store personnel to choose the safest paint option possible. You will find a wide array of choices available that have low VOC content or even no VOC content.
It is also important that you pay attention to the type of paint that already covers the surface you intend to paint. If the surface was painted a long time ago, it is likely that paint contained lots of VOC ingredients. You will need to take precautions when preparing the surface. Be sure to wear protective clothing, goggles, gloves and face mask to avoid breathing in paint dust as you prepare your surface for painting. Shower promptly after preparing an old painted surface for painting and after applying new paint.
When you take care to choose safe paints and take common sense safety precautions, you can improve your home safely and in an environmentally aware manner. Follow the tips presented here to give your home a great coat of paint.