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Zero and Low VOC Paint

Available at most paint outlets is zero-VOC and low-VOC paint. This type of paint contains no, or very few of the volatile organic compounds (VOC) that have traditionally acted as solvents in the paint and evaporate as the paint dries. In old-style paints this kept the paint wet and allowed it to be spread evenly and adhere to surfaces. But the bad thing about these odoriferous chemicals is that, while the paint dries and in high doses, they can contribute to kidney and liver damage, as well as cause problems in the lungs.

Most premium paint manufacturers have come out with their own version of zero and low VOC paint. The growth in popularity of this type of paint has been driven by safety concerns, government caps on the amount of VOCs in paint, and consumer demand.

But the question remains: are Low and Zero VOC paints as effective as the old-fashioned paints? There have been complaints in the past that these eco-friendly paints leave brush marks and require more coats. However, recent studies have shown that the technology for this type of paint has been improving and most low-VOC paint on the market is comparable to standard paints. Those wishing to purchase these paints will pay a premium. They tend to average several dollars per gallon more in price, largely because the product is a newer technology, and R&D costs must be recouped by the company.

Purchasers of this type of paint should be aware that the amount of VOCs can vary depending on the color. Darker colors usually have slightly higher VOC levels, often depending on the vendors hues and coloration system. VOCs in paint are mainly released during the drying process. So homeowners should not be rushing out to by zero-VOC paint to recover their walls unless their surfaces actually do need a paint job.

Some of the many brands available are, AFM Safecoat, Benjamin Moore Aura, Home Depot, Freshaire, Olympic Premium Interior, Sherwin-Williams Duration Home, and Southern Diversified's Mythic.

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