For my first installment of “Ask the Paint Pro” I wanted to address a question that I get a lot as a residential painter who is concerned about our environment: What’s the deal with Low VOC paint?
The terms Low VOC and No VOC are much more well-known than they were just five or ten years ago, but there is still some confusion about what they are. People generally know that this type of paint is better for the environment than traditional paint, but aren’t sure why. In addition, there is lots of misinformation out there about the quality of Low and No VOC paint.
What is Low VOC Paint?
First of all, let’s start with an explanation of what Low VOC paint actually is. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. VOCs are chemical gaseous compounds that are released into the air from certain processes or products. Paint is one of those products. That “new paint smell” that’s the telltale sign of a freshly painted room? That’s the VOCs you’re smelling.
And they’re not just in paint. VOCs are released from other products, such as solvents, cigarettes, glues, air fresheners, and pesticides, and are also emitted from things like gas-powered vehicles and many industrial plants.
Low VOC paint, is exactly what it sounds like—paint that contains fewer of these dangerous types of chemicals, which can cause things like eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, and even more serious conditions like asthma, nervous system damage, or cancer. If you care about your family’s health, as well as the health of our environment, Low VOC paint is definitely the way to go.
Is Low VOC Paint Good?
I don’t think anyone would argue that Low VOC paint is safer, but the homeowners I work with often want to know how well it performs in comparison to paints that are higher in VOCs. As a professional house painter in San Diego, I can confidently say that it performs very well!
Low VOC paint has come a long way in the last 15 years or so. Many of the major paint brands that you know and trust—Dunn Edwards and Sherwin Williams, for example—have Low VOC lines that are great for San Diego homes. A ton of research and development has gone into these paint lines to ensure that they are not only environmentally safe, but that they also cover well, dry quickly, and are durable.
I have no hesitations when recommending Low VOC paint to San Diego homeowners who want their homes painted with a quality, long-lasting paint that can withstand things like repeated washing and exposure to the sun.
If you have further questions about Low VOC paint, I would be happy to answer them in this column, or you can contact my residential painting company, PaintGreen in San Diego.
If you have questions about anything else with regard to house painting, send a note to MySanDiego and put “Ask the Paint Pro” in the message. We look forward to hearing from you!