Picking paint might be harder than painting

Posted on January 19th, 2009 – 10:37 PM
By Jason Hammond

Although, Stacy and I have decided to largely leave our walls white and use artwork to add the color and texture to the rooms, our two young boys were clambering for some color on the walls in their rooms. So after several trips to the home improvement store, dozens of paint swatches taped to the wall and some negotiating we settled on some colors.  You would think that all that was left would be to run to the store, pick-up some paint and put it on the wall. However, picking the paint color was just the start.

One of the often times overlooked elements of building a home that is friendly on the environment, is making sure that the environment of the home is friendly on you. For us this has meant trying to make conscious decisions to select low or No VOC  (Volatile Organic Compound) products. It started with our builder Benedict and Associates and their use of construction adhesives and carried on through to the materials our cabinetmaker Eastvold Custom used to build our cabinet boxes all having this feature. With all this in mind we weren’t about to throw away  all that planning thoughtfulness by using just any paint, especially in our kid’s rooms.

I remember a few years ago when we first began our house project I started seeing ads for a paint called Mythic that featured ZERO VOC. To be honest, at the time I had no idea what VOC’s were, why not having them was good and why I should care. But the paint had a cool looking retro label that caught my attention, and I was compelled enough to visit their website. As it turns out that new home smell that so many people talk about, is actually the off-gassing of VOC’s and cancer-causing toxins that are emitted for years.  So recalling this information, along with the added knowledge we gained while doing the research for our house, we decided that we should make sure we had a paint that was Low or NO VOC. However, when I went to find a retailer of Mythic I was surprised that I could find only two in the Twin Cites, and both were well outside of my reasonable driving range for a gallon or two of paint.  Not to be discouraged, and knowing that some of the other paint manufacturers were aware of the “greening” of America we decided to look around. To our surprise we found a several options from Sherwin William’s, HarmonyBenjamin Moore’s, Natura  and even a very affordable new line from Dutch Boy called Refresh.  Or final decision was to go with the Dutch Boy because it was readily available at our local Menards store just down the road, and on top of that it comes in those great easy to pour, non-rusting containers that Dutch Boy is famous for.

So after all the research and analysis, I have to say that it I was very pleased with our decision to use the NO VOC paint. Because we had several days of painting over the weekend, I would normally  have expect our house to have the strong smell of latex paint in the air, this however, was not the case. We were actually able to quickly pull the boys rooms together once the painted had tried so they could once again sleep in their own rooms without the worry of them waking up feeling sick from the fumes — a not so little thing when you think about.

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Mythic was the first paint I had heard of that featured NO VOC.

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In recently major paint manufacturers like Benjamin Moore have added products like their Natura line  that offer low or NO VOC.

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The Dutch Boy Refresh line of paints is a co-branded product with Arm & Hammer that eliminates paint odors and has No VOC.

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taping off stripes.

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the first stripes are painted.

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After giving the first color the appropriate amount of time to dry we were able to tape over the first color to give us a crisp transition between colors.

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The final finished wall. 

2 Responses to "Picking paint might be harder than painting"

Damon says:

January 21st, 2009 at 8:08 am

Lowe’s has a paint called Olympic Premium that is low VOC and costs about $20 a gallon. It’s surprisingly good and an amazing deal compared to Mythic, et. al.

Jason Hammond says:

January 23rd, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Hi Damon,

The refresh paint form Dutch Boy also runs about the $20 to $25 range as well, and we were very pleased with the application. Thanks again for the added resource.

One additional thing I did learn, is that by adding color pigments to many of the No VOC paints you actually will be adding some VOCs. Just something to be aware of.

Jason