People have become more aware of how painting buildings can affect the environment. Consider the following tips for eco-friendly painting for Alamo homes and businesses. You will be able to have your home or business freshly painted while reducing your impact on the environment.
VOCs in traditional paints
Regular paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which consist of various chemicals such as:
- Propylene glycol
- Glycol ethers
The primary function of VOCs in paints is to act as a medium to facilitate the paint’s flow from the can to the surface. VOCs are released into the air as fumes that give off a strong, noxious odor. In addition, these chemicals’ concentration is ten times higher indoors than outdoors.
The chemicals present in paint fumes can have both short- or long-term health effects, such as:
- Irritation to the nose, eyes, and throat
- Respiratory problems
- Certain cancers (if exposed longer to fumes)
VOCs could also trigger allergic reactions, particularly asthma.
In this article, learn more about choosing the right paints that provide a quality finish without negatively impacting your health and the environment.
Look for certification seals.
Paint manufacturers don’t often display a detailed list of ingredients on their labels, making identifying what’s in a can challenging. Even looking at the data sheet won’t provide you with such information.
So, how can you tell that the paint is “green”?
One way to do that is to check for independent testing certification seals, notably the Greenguard, Green Seal, and GreenWise labels.
- Greenguard (stylized as GREENGUARD) – Paints with this label typically have less than 50 grams of VOCs per liter.
- Green Seal – Paints with this label typically have fewer than 50 grams of VOCs per liter for flat paint and less than 100 grams per liter for glossy paints.
- GreenWise – This label denotes that the products have been tested and certified by the Coatings Research Group, Inc. But since this is an association of paint manufacturers, it is less credible than other independent testing groups.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists private-sector standards and eco labels for interior latex paints, which you can view here.
Consider natural paints
If you are looking for safer alternatives to conventional paints, especially if you or your family member has particular health sensitivities, you can use “green” or eco-friendly paints. These paints contain very little or no VOCs and all-natural ingredients, making them safe for indoor and outdoor painting.
As eco-friendly paints, they do not contain and release toxins and do not require petroleum-based cleaners. If you are working with a professional paint contractor, specify to them to use eco-friendly paints instead of regular ones.
Because of advances in paint technology, these natural paints provide coverage that’s as good as the coverage provided by traditional paints. They are also easy to apply and give off beautiful finishes. However, for longevity on exterior surfaces and high-traffic areas, some consumers may still choose paints with specific ingredients, such as biocides, that make the paints highly resistant to wear and tear. That said, keep in mind that premium latex paint with high amounts of pigment plus binder solids – especially binders that consist of 100% acrylic polymers – can prolong the paint’s durability.
However, those biocides are highly toxic, potentially harming human health and the environment. Those looking for eco-friendly paints should seek products that are low in biocides, have very low or zero VOCs, and utilize natural ingredients and pigments.
Green America is a non-profit membership organization that promotes environmentally conscious, ethical consumerism. You can visit its website for names of the paint manufacturers approved by Green America.
Also, you can consider the following paint brands and products:
- AFM Safecoat – It has zero VOCs, dries and cures fast, and is easy to use and clean with just soap and water.
- Backdrop – The brand offers low-VOC, GreenWise-certified paints. You will be delighted with its trendy colors!
- Behr Premium Plus – Behr needs no introduction, but the good news is that this well-known paint brand has jumped on the eco-friendly paint bandwagon. Behr Premium Plus is a Greenguard-certified, zero-VOC paint product that doesn’t require a primer yet still provides exceptional hide and coverage. It is also stain- and scrub-resistant.
- Bioshield – Bioshield is a zero-VOC, solvent-free paint product that applies easily over various surfaces, from drywall to plaster to masonry.
- ECOS Paints – Another zero-VOC paint, ECOS Paints provides excellent adhesion, coverage, and hide.
- EcoSelect Zero VOC Interior Latex Paint – A product from Sherwin-Williams, another well-known paint brand, EcoSelect Zero Interior Latex Paint boasts excellent spatter resistance and is suitable for use on walls and ceilings of various materials (drywall, wood, masonry, primed plaster, etc.)
- Old Fashioned Milk Paint – This environmentally safe, zero-VOC, and non-toxic product is available in 20 colors that dry to a beautiful, velvety finish.
- Ultra Spec 500 – Benjamin Moore’s zero-VOC Ultra Spec 500 – Benjamin Moore’s zero-VOC interior paint offers excellent coverage, hiding, easy application, and soap-and-water cleanup.
- Unearthed Paints – This non-toxic, zero-VOC, milk-based paint uses vegetable-based casein for a dairy-free painting approach (Casein, a protein that gives milk its paint color, is used as a binder for milk-based paints. Cow’s milk consists of around 80% casein. While casein is a natural ingredient, it may not be regarded as environmentally friendly since large-scale dairy farms and facilities are responsible for emitting greenhouse gases)
Other eco-friendly painting tips
Aside from avoiding paints with high VOCs and using eco-friendly paints, other tips below ensure that your paint job will be as safe for the health and environment as possible:
- Reuse and repurpose painting tools – If you have invested in quality paint tools, they can be used repeatedly with a good clean up of soap and water. This is one of many ways to help reduce waste.
- Use natural paint brushes and roller covers – Using paintbrushes and roller covers made of natural and renewable resources can lessen the negative impact on the environment. Natural brushes and roller covers are made from recycled material and vegan bristles.
- Use reflective paints – Choose reflective paints and coatings for roofs that will help deflect the sun’s rays and save you from cooling costs. In addition, light-colored paints absorb less heat than dark-colored paints, which is something to keep in mind when painting the exterior of your home.
- Dispose of wastes responsibly – Never pour unused paints down the drain or toss them out of the backyard once you finish painting. Improper disposal can lead to the contamination of the soil and water supply. Instead, ask your friends, neighbors, or community members whether they could use your leftover paint. Or use an appropriate container and then deliver the wastes to the nearest facility that deals with hazardous wastes.
Considering these tips for the eco-friendly painting of Alamo homes and businesses can help create a healthier property, aside from making your home or commercial property look good.
Get a free quote from Custom Painting, Inc. to start your project. You can also specify eco-friendly paints so that we will also include them in the quote. We will do our best to meet your needs and provide you with an exceptional paint job that will create a minimal environmental impact.