Everything You Need to Know About No VOC Paints

Everything You Need to Know About No VOC Paints | Pure Eco Painting | Painter Nelson

Are no VOC paints just another trend or do they benefit you in the long run? And what exactly are those benefits? Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know about no VOC paints.


What are paint VOCs?

Conventional oil or water-based paints contain VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. These are chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde, acetates and white spirits, among others. As the paint dries, these chemicals are released into the atmosphere in our living spaces. VOCs are linked to several health problems in people and pets including SBS or canary kc Sick Building Syndrome. This is when the inhabitants of a building are affected by health issues that seem to be linked to the amount of time spent in a particular building.

A key study that indicated the danger of VOCs early on was carried out in 1987 in the US.  This study concluded that VOC levels could be up to even ten times higher indoors when compared to VOC levels outside. This was even in areas where outdoor pollution was already high (near a petrochemical plant, for example).

Are no VOC paints worth it?

Have you noticed that you get a headache when you spend too long in or around a freshly painted room? That’s been attributed to VOCs, along with other symptoms like nausea and watery eyes. But more concerning is the strong link between VOCs and life-altering diseases like cancer, respiratory ailments and kidney damage. VOCs are strongest during the painting process and immediately after but they continue to be released for years post painting. VOCs even pose a danger when old paint is being scraped off in preparation for a fresh coat. When you consider these risks, it is logical to conclude that choosing a safer paint option is definitely worth it. If you’re looking for a no-VOC painter in Nelson, we can help.

What’s the difference between no VOC and low VOC paints?

While conventional paints have the most VOCs, those that are labelled ‘Low VOC’ will have them in much smaller quantities. The EPA requires all paints that are marked ‘Low VOC’ to have less than 50g/l per litre. These paints may have VOC containing chemicals that are intentionally added to the formula. However, ‘No VOC’ or ‘Zero VOC’ paints can only be labelled as such if the paint has VOCs in quantities that are less than 5g/l. These paints should also have no VOC containing chemicals intentionally added to them. But it must be noted that trace amounts of these Volatile Organic Compounds may be present as residual components of some ingredients.

Are no VOC paints safe to breathe?

Paints labelled ‘No VOC’ have the least amount of these toxic chemicals and as such, are much safer to have in your living spaces. There are also options that go a step further, these are made with ingredients like earth clay, resin and plant oil. Our supplier, the Natural Paint Company, offers a range of these alternative paints, ask us about the options available.

Why are VOC free paints the best option?

Since the paint you use at home or at work affects your health as well as that of your family, friends and co-workers, it’s natural to want the least harmful option. No VOC paint is also more environmentally friendly. VOC free paints do not compromise on quality and when applied correctly, they do an excellent job of decorating and protecting your living spaces. There is no compromise on quality, and the paint is better for your health. If you have any questions, ask your local no-VOC painter (Nelson area, ask us!) and they’ll be happy to chat to you about the best choice for you.

What paint is safe for babies?

To ensure that your babies and children have the least exposure to toxic VOCs, we would recommend that you choose no VOC paints. Water-based and natural paints are known to release fewer chemicals into the air.  Sometimes, paints have additives that are meant to prevent other common problems like mildew, but many individuals are sensitive to these additives, so you should keep an eye out for them.

Why does no VOC paint still smell?

Paint is generally made of three different parts – ‘pigments’ which give the paint its colour, ‘binders’ make it stick to the wall/other surface and ‘solvents’ that keep it in a liquid form so it’s easy to use. VOCs are contained in the solvent part and help the paint dry. In no VOC paints, there are ingredients that may still give off a smell. In the Natural Paint Company’s paints, this can include products like citrus or lavender oil. This means that no VOC paint doesn’t necessarily equate to odourless paint.

How long does no VOC paint take to dry?

This often depends on the particular formulation of the paint. The paints we use have varying recoat times of one to four hours. All paint also needs time to ‘cure’ or set properly to the surface it has been applied to. It is only after the curing process that it is safe to wash or clean that surface. Curing could take between two days to four weeks, it really depends on the ingredients, application technique, surface, and climate.  It’s best to ask us, your local Nelson painter, for specific information regarding the paint you want to use.

Make a healthier choice for your Nelson home

If you want to ensure a happier, healthier home, then contact us at Pure Eco Painting. Our Nelson-based team uses The Natural Paint Co, ensuring a high-quality finish, with no VOCs or other nasties. Contact us on 021 206 2967 for a quote, or a chat about the paint options available.

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