Since you’re already trying your best to minimize your impact on the environment and exposure to potential hazardous substances in almost every aspect of your life, you might want to include the most eco-friendly paints next time your home needs a fresh coat. Everyone who has ever worked with any kind of traditional paint will remember the smell that took ages to disappear, no matter how much they ventilated the room.
Even when the smell is gone, there are long-term negative effects that may emerge if you don’t choose your paint carefully or disregard the manufacturer’s instructions. The symptoms may include headaches, dizziness and nausea, among others, while some paints may even create a potentially toxic environment.
This happens because conventional paints often contain formaldehyde, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Such compounds are being released for up to five years after you’ve finished painting. So, what might be a potential solution to this problem?
Many countries, especially the developed ones, have introduced legislations which regulate VOC levels and manufacturers have adjusted their production technology and procedures to adhere to the new standards. Still, their attempts to go green have resulted in a great number of products labelled as ‘environmentally friendly’, although many of them still contain some harmful substances, though in much smaller amounts.
Trying to define an eco paint is not an easy task. Some producers claim that it’s enough to significantly lower the amount of synthetic ingredients, while others claim that only natural solvents should be used. The problem is that even natural solvents contain VOCs, though they won’t cause nausea since they emit a smell of the citrus fruits from which they are derived.
There are also paints that contain animal-based ingredients, while some feature titanium dioxide as a whitener. As you can see, there is quite a varied range of legally acceptable paints in offer, but you need to know what to look for. To sum up, plant-based, water-borne ones should be preferred over solvent-borne ones, while any paint that doesn’t contain titanium dioxide is better than the one which features it.
How easy is to use an eco paint?
Luckily, it’s not much more difficult to use an eco paint than a conventional one, though it has to be said that the former are sometimes quite difficult to find and they are usually more expensive. On the other hand, you might end up with a paint that contains only natural ingredients and is a result of very low or even carbon-neutral production.
Some time ago, people using eco paints had to use mixing powders and base paint in order to get the paint they wanted, but now you can buy ready-mixed paints in a wide range of colors. In terms of application, if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you’ll realize that it’s just like using a traditional paint, but you have to be ready to wait more for your eco paint to dry.
Where can you use them?
There’s nothing special you need to know when it comes to applying eco paints. Every wall in your home can benefit from it, while a special floor paint can even be used to make your floor slip resistant. You can also choose from a selection of finishes, masonry paints and primers, as well as wipeable paints for children rooms, kitchen or any other room where you can expect the walls to get dirty often.
Will they last?
People were originally concerned about the longevity of natural paints and they had every reason to feel like that. Still, various breakthroughs in production technology have created paints as reliable as traditional ones, but with much less negative impact on the environment and health of everyone spending time in the rooms.