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How durable are no/low VOC paints?

dacremodel9 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

What do I need to tell my clients regarding no VOC paints regarding their life cycle? How long will they last? Will they hold their color? Are there other issues I should be educating my clients about so that they can make informed choices?

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  1. Riversong | | #1

    As with any paint, it depends on the quality and the ingredients. In addition to the VOCs in paint solvents, coalescing agents, tints and biocides also contribute to the indoor toxic load.

    Low-VOC paints have been on the market since 1999 and are not necessarily any more expensive than conventional paints. Be aware that tints and biocides add small amounts of VOCs that won't be listed on the label. Flat paints are cleaner than glossy, and lighter paints are better than more heavily tinted colors.

    But the primary determinant of durability is the quality of the binder (100% acrylic is best, avoid PVA and styrenated acrylic), and the proportion of solids (at least 30% by volume).

    Your best bet is to use Green Seal certified paints. They not only have lower VOC content than the EPA standards allow, but also must meet minimum standards for abrasion-resistance, opacity and washability.

    But any name-brand no-VOC (which means very low content) should perform well, including AFM Safecoat, Sherwin-Williams Harmony, Benjamim Moore EcoSpec or Pratt & Lambert ProHide Gold.

  2. user-669103 | | #2

    I've noticed that the non-VOC paint that I've used from Home Depot is easier to damage than what I'm used to. That could be just this brand or maybe me? It is more likely to be lifted off by masking tape. However, because it is water based and non-VOC touch up is easy - no need to bother about smells and real quick to wash the brush.

  3. marc.kleinmann | | #3

    I would agree with Robert. We've been using low-voc/no-voc paints for about two years now on all of our projects and so far have not had any client complaints. We use primarily Benjamin Moore and AFM Safecoat.

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