Monday, June 9, 2014

Low VOC Paint

This past week I have had paint on the brain, and on my hands, in my hair, on my clothes, I will stop myself the list goes on and on. I am repainting several rooms in my house and it has consumed my thoughts and time as of late. In honor of my new found hobby I decided to talk a little about paint this week.  

Many of you may already be familiar with Low or Zero VOC paints. If you fall into this category you may want to just move on with your day. If not, however, maybe you've heard VOCs talked of when looking at new homes, shopping at a home improvement store, or at a home expo but aren't quite sure what the heck a VOC is well this MIGHT help you....I'm not promising anything here. 

VOC = Volatile Organic Compound

Sounds scary enough to get me to at least look into it...'Volatile' I'm not usually a fan of volatile in my life! But it's also probably better to be informed than to run away screaming with an unpainted house. 

Chemistry was not my forte so I had to dig a little deeper to try and help expand my cursory knowledge. Some VOC's occur naturally and others are from man made sources, they are a concern both indoors and outdoors. Indoors they are concerning due to their potential to evaporate and increase indoor air pollution and  potentially decrease our overall health. Our houses or building envelopes are sealed more efficiently than ever (usually a good thing) but this can create an issue with indoor air pollutants becoming trapped in our efficiently sealed homes. Furthermore we may or may not be spending more time see where this is going. 

This is literally the most basic of explanations, VOCs are rated according to level of volatility by boiling point etc. If you want to learn more I suggest you read here for a little more info  

There are many items we have in our home that contain VOCs. Paint is just one of these items. It is becoming easier to determine what you are putting into your home but some labeling can be misleading or confusing. 

Some people may think that if these VOCs are really bad or seriously pose a risk to us and they are hearing about it paint companies  have probably already eliminated these volatile organic compounds and it isn't something they need to worry about. While paint companies are taking some initiative and producing low and zero VOC paint, and indicating the maximum VOC content of other paints I'm still all for being as informed as we can rather than waiting for something to be regulated for us. 

I'm not saying do or don't buy a particular paint but I will show you what I found when I went to the good old neighborhood Lowes to try and find some Low VOC paint and what it looks like at this particular store. 

Valspar Ultra in Gloss sheen. As you can see gloss is only low VOC...I guess those little VOCs are necessary for the glossy glossy. Every other finish in this Valspar brand was zero VOCs AND I will add this was the inexpensive option when compared to other Valspar gallon paint options. 

It doesn't always have to break the bank

(however when did paint become so expensive?? I swear it used to be like $12 a gallon yesterday, oh well times change)

Another visual for you in case you are ready to run right out and paint the whole house tonight, I want you to know what you are looking for. 

Lets keep things fair and show you the other brand sold at Lowes. I did confirm the Lowes by my house currently only carries 2 brands of paint with Low/Zero VOCs 

Olympic was even a little bit more inexpensive than the Valspar option. 

Sidebar: I am obviously no paint expert so I can't speak to the    quality difference or if it applies poorly or any of that jazz. I'm just a lady with a paintbrush to me it seems as paint like as every other can of paint I've experienced. 

So you've painted your house with Low or Zero VOC Paint, how is it going to help you? Well you will hopefully have a healthier indoor air environment. If you are selling your home you could point this out to potential home buyers "I went to the trouble of painting my home and preparing it for sale with YOU in mind". They may say "thank you very much that is the deciding factor...SOLD" Maybe not...but at least you have utilized a paint that more and more home buyers are thinking about or considering using.

Use all of your tools. If you are going to go to all of the effort to paint your home you might as well get a little more bang for your buck and potentially appeal to a buyer with Low VOC items in mind. 

Before I go I'm going to show you the coolest little paint cup that I endorse with all of my novice painter heart. This thing has a little magnet to hold your brush and prevent it from going for a swim in your zero VOC paint. It is Made in America, it is under $10 I could go on but you get the picture. It's the little things in life. 

I discovered this little guy reading LiveLoveDIY if you want some paint tips I really like this Blog she is a rockstar at painting, home renovations, basically everything I am not so check her out if you get a minute!

Ok I have taken up enough of your life. As always thanks for reading. I will be coming back later in the week to discuss paint disposal so if you want to know what to do with your unused paint at the end of the project you may want to swing by again. 

Until the next time... 

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