What Are Non-VOC Paints, And Why Does It Matter (Part 2)

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In the previous post, we began talking about Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that are common in paint and other household products, and the inherent dangers of these chemicals. We also mentioned that many manufacturers are now developing non-VOC paints to reduce our exposure to these compounds. But are non-VOC paints right for every project and/or every budget? Let’s take a deeper dive and discuss it further.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Non-VOC Paints


Obviously, the greatest advantage of a non-VOC paint is that you, your family and/or your tenants aren’t being exposed to harmful chemicals—or at least being exposed to far fewer of them. However, that’s not the only factor to take into account. Let’s look at a few other pros and cons of non-VOC paint.

The Pros

·         Improved air quality, both immediately and in the long run. You can be comfortable knowing you’re not breathing in harmful pollutants from the paint.

·         Better for the environment. Non-VOC paints are frequently touted as a “greener” solution to their counterparts, and they are popular among those looking to have a reduced carbon footprint.

·         Quicker drying. Non-VOC paints are generally water-based rather than oil-based, meaning they dry more quickly, causing less of a disruption in schedules. This can be advantageous if you’re simply repainting an existing room, less so in new construction situations.


The Cons

·         More expensive. Non-VOC paints can be up to twice as expensive as the alternative as they cost more to make. This trend is gradually moving downward, but still you can expect to pay more.

·         Reduced life expectancy. The tradeoff for having fewer harmful chemicals is having to repaint more frequently. (It’s more difficult to find exterior non-VOC exterior paints than interior, and they aren’t often cost-effective when you do find them.)

·         Quicker drying. You’ll notice we listed this as a “pro” just a minute ago. That’s because quick-drying paint can be a blessing if you’re finishing a room in a hurry, but a curse if you’re a novice painter and the paint starts drying before you can finish. Non-VOCs may require some skill and different techniques to apply, and you might be better off hiring a professional to do the job.


If You Are Using VOC Paints…

Finally, to conclude our discussion…if you are in a situation where either budget or circumstances don’t make it feasible to use non-VOC paints, follow these tips to maximize safety for yourself and others:

·         Keep the area well-ventilated.

·         When painting an interior space, allow the odor to dissipate before using the room.

·         If doing the painting yourself, wear a mask and/or take breaks to get fresh air.

·         Choose a low-VOC version of the paint, if possible. (Reduced VOC's aren’t as good as                “zero” VOCs, but they’re still an improvement.)


For construction, development and remodeling projects of all types, we at Wellbuilt are skilled at applying non-VOC paints for our clients who request it. For more information, call us at 1.917.475.1207.