Think Green When Painting Your Home

Thinking green while planning a painting project for your home isn’t just for tree huggers. As we save heat and AC by making our homes tighter against the outside air, the indoor air quality gets worse. Often indoor air pollution is worse than outdoor air pollution. It’s not hard to adapt to these changes, we just have to think about it differently than we did 20 years ago.

There are new paints on the market that can significantly improve your indoor air quality, you can also try these amazing green paints on and order them and change your house completely. There are also really old style, all-natural paints that were used successfully for thousands of years. Some of these can even be homemade.

If you are considering a painting project, the first thing to think about is the type of room that you want to paint. A bathroom, of course; requires tougher water-resistant paint than a living room. In your kitchen, you will probably want a washable paint that you wouldn’t need in the bedroom. If you are the type that insists on scrubbing your walls monthly you will need a paint that can withstand that. If a little dusting once in a while is good enough for you then one of the all-natural paints may be fine.

At a minimum, you should look at the low to zero VOC paints that are now readily available. VOC is Volatile Organic Compounds. Just because these compounds are organic doesn’t mean that they are good for you. Formaldehyde and ammonia are considered organic compounds and are used in many paints. Biocides and fungicides are also added to paints to extend their shelf life. These VOCs can outgas from the paint for years after the paint has presumably dried.

Low VOC paints are now available in all home improvement centers. You should look for the Green Seal on the paint can. This is a certification that assures you that the lowest possible level of volatiles is contained in the paint product.

To really go green you might consider all-natural paints. These are the same coatings that were used for generations before our modern chemicals were introduced. There are many companies that have taken the old paint recipes and improved them to make a longer-lasting product.

Clay paints can really be nice. They can give a soft natural feel to a room. Not only does clay paint not put off any harmful gases, but the clay can also actually absorb odors and harmful gases already in a room. While newer clay paints are more durable than before, a top sealer may be required if your walls are subject to oily hands or other contaminants. Clay paints do not respond well to washing. Another way around this problem is to paint more often. After 3 or 4 repaintings you can get a clay plaster effect which can be very beautiful. Clay paints don’t have a wide range of colors, you are pretty much restricted to softer natural colors. Clay paints may not be readily available but can be ordered online.

Milk paints have been used forever. They can be seen in the tombs of Egypt. It’s made from milk casein, clay, natural pigments, and lime. Totally non-toxic, it creates a durable bond to all hard porous surfaces. You could actually drink this paint with no harmful effects, though I doubt you would want to. If you are ordering natural paints on the Internet, this is a good choice because it comes in a powdered form. You add your own water. Milk paints can be found in brighter colors than clay paint.

Limewash is an oldie but goodie for many applications. Are you too green to paint but not too proud to whitewash? Limewash is not used to apply a total layer of protection but to add a thin glaze that will protect while letting the natural finish and texture show through. You can lime wash old painted finishes and have a nice glazed glossy effect while protecting at the same time. As the lime dries, it returns to limestone crystals which can give the surface a lovely glow. Limewash is readily available and if you have an unfinished basement that needs touching up; that might be the perfect place to experiment with a lime wash.

Now we are not going to buy the same old paint we always used, right? Spend a little time researching and looking around at the store. An eco-friendly paint will still look great, last just as long and improve the environment for you and your family.

Kris is our in-house writer with a lot of experience under her belt. She loves to provide her insight about the market trends and her predictions about market trends are often on point.