Painting season is almost upon us. For those of you holing up in your homes waiting out the quarantine, the time is ripe to start planning your next home improvement project. One problem that many would-be painters often wrestle with is how to minimize their environmental impact when completing a large paint job.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes, but the reality is that you can make a difference both in the larger, global scale (a very small one, but not insignificant) and in your immediate home environment to make it safer for everyone both while you’re completing the project and after it’s done. Another upside is that you’ll save money in the long run by investing in quality, eco-safe paint.
Choosing Paints and Stains
All homeowners are primarily concerned with the upfront cost when they’re deciding which paints to buy. For the most part, you’ll pay a little more for eco-friendly paints than you would for standard products. However, a factor that you must consider is the health and quality of life of everyone living in your house. Lead paint isn’t made anymore, but most of the synthetic paints out there aren’t exactly healthy to be around long-term. Flaking paint can still contaminate your water or food supply. Add in the larger-scale environmental impact you’re preventing by going green with your painting materials, and the upfront cost starts to seem smaller.
Okay, So Which Paints Should I Buy?
To get more specific, let’s break down some of the options out there for eco-friendly paints.
- Low-VOC, No-VOC, or Formaldehyde-Free Paint. Volatile Organic Compounds, VOCs, contribute to greenhouse gases like ozone, emitting harmful chemicals into the air years after being applied to a surface. Even VOCs from exterior paints can find their way into your home, so to be safer, look for low- or no-VOC paints to limit exposure to these chemicals and avoid potential health risks like cancer down the line.
- Water or Latex Based Paint. Some alkyd and solvent-based paints can emit up to 300 different harmful chemicals over time, half of which are carcinogens. Water and latex-based paints use water as paint thinner instead of a cocktail of harmful chemicals. These paints have been stigmatized as not being as effective as other paints, but they’re actually suitable for all but the most difficult exterior painting projects.
- Use Paint Instead of Stains. All exterior wood stain finishing products have high levels of pesticides that aren’t present in paints, so using paint instead of stain is a great way to avoid exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
A Worthy Investment
Investing in eco-friendly paints and paint products is an investment in you and your family’s future. You won’t have to worry so much about paint fumes, or about paint chips falling into your cereal and poisoning you (you should take care of the flaking paint still). You’ll be able to rest easy knowing your home is safe and everyone living there is protected from harmful paint product exposure.
Contact Ireland’s Finest to learn more about environmentally friendly painting.