Friday, 4 April 2008

Environmentally Friendly Painters

Using Environmentally Friendly Paint in Your Home

It used to be that your choices in paint were confined to the color and the question of latex vs. oil. However, our increasing knowledge of our impact on our environment is changing the face of home painting. The paint that we have taken for granted is bubbling over with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are potential carcinogens. The fumes emitted by these substances can last for years after the paint was applied. It is estimated that the air within a house is three times as polluted as the air outside the house.

Today, there is a big movement afoot to produce paints that impact our lives and health a lot less. In fact, we have been returning to the compounds that people historically used to paint their dwellings - limestone, clay, even milk. Recycling paint has become another method of reducing our demand on our environment's natural resources.

One choice is limestone - good, old-fashioned whitewash. This paint can be tinted various colours and can be used indoors or out - as long as the surface being painted is porous, allowing the lime to sink into the material. Lime allows the material it covers to breathe, preventing the buildup of humidity and eventual damage to the dwelling.

Clay paint is available in many natural colours, plus a few more created with the addition of dyes to the natural color of the base. It imparts an earthy look to the home. It can also absorb some odors, making it a good choice for the kitchen and bathroom areas.

Milk paint is actually made from casein, a protein found in milk, lime, oil and other substances used to tint the mixture. This is a very time-oriented paint, as milk protein spoils just like milk does. Thus, it must be applied within a limited time of mixing it.

There are a number of concerns about "natural" paints. First, they can be expensive to buy and may have a limited time of viability before they become less efficacious when applied. Many cannot be washed or cleaned, necessitating repainting to remove the sight of dirt or marks. This can be circumvented by applying a sealer, but that also means more expense. These paints also tend to wear more quickly than standard paints, thus making the need for repainting more frequent.

There are now companies manufacturing recycled paint. In Canada, the only one is Boomerang Paint (boomerangpaint.com), based in Quebec. Recycled paint manufacturers take in unused paint and combines it to produce a new, stable paint. These paints can come in all sorts of types: latex, alkyd, etc. and are very low in VOCs.

Choosing an environmentally friendly paint will pay off, not only for your environment, but also for you and your family. More and more retailers are offering alternative, healthy paint choices for the home painter. Consider them the next time you need to paint something in your home or your home itself.


About the Author


Real Estate, Calgary, Alberta: View all Calgary real estate listings including Royal Oak Calgary Homes for sale. Access photos, virtual tours, neighbourhood info, maps and more at JustinHavre.com.



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