Low-VOC paint is better for the environment than traditional paints, both inside and outside your home. And it works just as well. Keep reading to learn more about low-VOC paint and then head to your local True Value hardware store for all the tools, products and expert advice you need to start painting right.
What is Low-VOC Paint?
You've probably noticed the strong smell of a freshly painted room. The odors come from the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are in the paint. For decades, VOCs have been a key ingredient in the composition of latex and oil-based paints, solvents and varnishes. VOCs are also present in the following household items: wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, moth repellents, air fresheners, stored fuels and automotive products, hobby supplies and even dry-cleaned clothing.
Prolonged exposure to these compounds can cause nausea and dizziness, irritate eyes and trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. Extended exposure has also been linked to kidney and liver disease and even cancer. After traditional paint is applied to walls or other surfaces, it can "off-gas" VOCs for years.
In response to changing environmental regulations and consumer demand, many high-quality, low-VOC products, such as True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paints are available for purchase. These alternatives are water-based. Low-VOC primers and paints are applied the same way as conventional primers and paints and they cost about the same as most manufacturers' top-of-the-line paints. Low-VOC paints can be cleaned and disposed of easily without the use of strong solvents.
How to Paint Responsibly
When painting, be sure to remember the BUD rule:
- Buy no more products than you need.
- Use the products you buy.
- Dispose of leftovers in a safe, responsible manner.
Store Excess Paint Responsibly
You can get more use out of your paint if it's stored properly. Always store paint in a dry location where the temperature is above freezing. Replace the lid firmly and store the can upside-down to prevent air from entering the container — this will keep your paint usable longer.
When purchasing low-VOC paints, buy only what you need for the job at hand. Before you begin, measure the area carefully (height x width = total sq. ft.). One gallon of paint will cover approximately 350-400 square feet in a single coat. To calculate how much paint you'll need for your specific painting project, use the paint calculator tool.
Don't waste paint. Use excess for touch-up jobs or to paint a small area of your home. Think about donating extra paint to someone who can use it, like an artistic friend or a theater group trying to stretch its financial resources.
Latex paint must dry before you can toss it in the trash. Even if you have used all the paint from a can, allow the empty container to dry with the lid off before discarding. If you have less than one-fourth of the paint from a can left over, you can dry it by simply leaving it out in a well-ventilated area until it hardens, stirring once every few days.
When leaving paint out to dry, be sure to keep it away from children and pets. Also, keep drying paint away from all open flames and outdoor weather.
Low-VOC paints still release some substances into the air until dry. Remember to wear a facemask when painting and paint in a well-ventilated area. Open windows and/or use fans to remove fumes from the room.
Well done! Now you’re ready to get to work using low-VOC paints.
Project Shopping List
Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.