If you are planning on undertaking a project soon, paint colour will not be far from your thoughts. What type of paint you choose is also very important, not just for the finish it provides, but in terms of health, safety and the environment as well. VOC stands for “Volatile Organic Compound”. VOCs are chemicals found in lots of building materials and are partially responsible for that new paint smell that you either love or hate. Unfortunately, these chemicals let off gasses that are harmful to people and the environment, which is why they have to be regulated by the government. VOCs are found in many paints; therefore, they can build up quite a lot in the home.
When inhaled, VOCs can contribute to some nasty health problems such as headaches, nausea and irritation to your airways. Due to this, it’s best to use products with low amounts of VOCs whenever possible.
Here at Home Counties Joinery, we use Teknos for all paint and treatments for our timber products. Teknos is an extremely high-quality manufacturer of low VOC paints with sustainability at their core. Prior to painting our windows, we use a Teknos End Grain Sealer which seals the wood on the face/end grain and prevents it from starting to dry, so that it evens out the drying on the piece of timber. We then apply two coats of Teknos Water-Based Primer followed by two coats of Teknos Water-Based Topcoat.
All the paints we use are spray paints as they give a nice perfect, smooth finish and you don’t get the brush strokes or paint runs that you can get with hand applied paints. Brands such as Farrow & Ball, Dulux, Little Green and Fired Earth all offer paint that contains virtually zero VOCs too. It is also worth noting that if you can’t find a Teknos colour that you like for your joinery, we are able to colour match any other paint brand.
How long do VOCs last after painting?
VOCs emitted from a product dissipate over time as the chemicals vaporise. VOCs from paint are released fairly quickly with most dispelling within the first six months after application. Other sources, such as particle board may continue to dispel for up to 20 years. Minimising the number of VOCs entering your home interior atmosphere is always recommended. Air purifiers can help with this.
What to look out for when paint shopping
If you want to ensure you are buying good quality paint that is not harmful to the environment and is safe to use in the home then you need to request zero or low VOC paint. Check that the tint used to create the colour you’ve chosen is also zero or low VOC too.
Look for the Green Seal mark of environmental responsibility on the paint pot which means that the contents meet Green Seal Standard GS-11. The Green Seal organisation sets more stringent standards than the EPA for acceptable VOC levels in paint.