Tuesday, May 12

VOC in Paint

We are in the process of transitioning my daughter’s bedroom from baby room to big girl room. One of the first items of business is painting.

I had heard that Home Depot now carries an environmentally friendly line of paint but I did not know much about it. So we headed over to our local Home Depot to check it out.

I was actually very impressed with the women in the paint department that helped us. She was very knowledgeable about the product, took the time to explain the differences between this paint (The Freshaire Choice) and the other paints. She explained to us how it worked, what VOCs are, and why the price difference.

Let me see if I can sum it up for you:

  • Label is made from 75% recycled fiber and printed with Soy ink

  • The can is made from 100% recycled material and can be recycled

  • Is certified by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI)

  • Contains no VOCs at all
    The Freshaire Choice™ Paint contains no volatile organic compounds — commonly known as VOCs — harmful chemicals that contribute to poor air quality. Although other paints may claim to have no VOCs, what they don't tell you is that these chemicals are put back into the paint once the color is added.”
There were 3 downsides to this paint (in my opinion)

  1. Since the color is in the form of a powder once the color is mixed with the paint you have to use it “right away” before it starts to separate (the lady told us this is about 4 days). You can always have the paint remixed if it does separate. (This wasn’t really that big of a deal because we could always come back and get it when we were actually ready to start painting)

  2. The price. 1 gal of ‘regular” paint ~$22 compare to 1gal of VOC paint~$39

  3. The color selection. Even though Freshaire Choice does have 65 colors in a broad range that are all very pretty they did not have the 2 shades of colors we were looking for; pink and purple. This ended up being the reason we did not buy this brand of paint.
But, our very helpful and knowledgeable paint lady (I am sure she would prefer a more professional title) directed us toward 2 other lines of low VOC paints that did have the colors we were looking for.

Glidden and a specialty Behr paint (both ~$32 gal). The paint itself has low VOC and the color additive also as low VOC so the combination of the two is what increases the VOC level. The darker the color the more VOC (according to the Home Depot paint lady's explanation). We ended up getting very light shades of pink and purple with slightly darker accent colors of the low VOC paints. Not perfect but better than the “regular” paints.

The good news is that “The Freshaire Choice™ Paint does carry the shades of color that we want to paint my son’s room in (although they are not his first choice in colors, orange and black)

To learn more about Non-Toxic paints and VOCs including benefits and types of Non-Toxic paints and paint strippers I would suggest reading this post on Eartheasy!


Lisa Sharp said...

I have used the Freshaire paint, or rather my husband has. It works well and I was able to stay in the house while he painted! I have chemical sensitivities so that is huge. No headache or anything. :)

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

That is good to know Lisa. My hubby is not all that happy with the paint we got. He thinks it is “watery”. He has 1 coat up but will have to do a 2nd. I think after that it will be fine but it still smells. Not a lot but still. There seems to be more and more non VOC paints coming to market so hopefully the color choices will broaden too!

Anonymous said...

This paint is GREAT while you are painting. If anything, it smells vaguely like play-doh. I used to be a painter and had to quit because of horrific chemical sicknesses, so I REALLY appreciate that aspect.
The downside of this paint is that it literally rots in the can within a couple months of opening it. This can be a serious issue if you are trying to touch up a room, more so because they only sell gallons.
I took this complaint to the HD store, and she suggested I put a small amount in a small tightly sealed jar in the fridge for later touch ups. I don't know yet how well this works, but hopefully it will save you some very expensive touch-ups down the road.

Over Coffee - the green edition said...

Thank you for the heads up Lori! I wonder how well the paint would work after it is removed from the frig? Maybe we could experiment with a small amount.