Sunday, May 31, 2009

Painting our new home : Choosing non-toxic paints

Good morning.

We are only a month away from moving to our new home now and my husband and I went shopping for paint colors yesterday. One of the things we had promised ourselves with our new home was that we were going to paint with eco-friendly, non toxic and VOC (Volatile organic compound)-free paints. So off we went to find such a marvel!

I had done a bit of research on them before, especially after posting about plants and the way they can help purify the air we breathe indoors, and was shocked by the amount of negative impact one can of traditional paint could have on your health and environment.

According to, there are many benefits to using non-toxic paints :

  • Health : Reduced toxins benefit everyone, including those with allergies and chemical sensitivities.
  • Environment : Reduces landfill, groundwater and ozone depleting contaminants.
  • Effective : Low-VOC products perform well in terms of coverage, scrubability and hideability (covering flaws on previous coats).
  • Water-Based : Easy cleanup with soap and warm water.
  • Little or No Hazardous Fumes : Low odor during application; no odor once cured. No off-gassing. Painted areas can be occupied sooner, with no odor complaints.
  • Not Deemed Hazardous Waste : Cleanup and disposal greatly simplified.

Their section on non-toxic paints is WELL WORTH A LOOK and offers a great and extensive list of Natural, Zero-VOC and Low-VOC options. The natural paints even included soy and milk protein based paints. I thought that was simply wonderful! Until I tried finding such brands here in Quebec and hitting my head to a wall. The only one that was anywhere near me was Benjamin Moore and up here, they are so expensive, I couldn’t even imagine buying gallons over gallons. Plus they are in the low-VOC category and I wanted VOC-Free.

So back to square one, my husband and I headed to Home Depot and SURPRISE! We found one!

C.I.L. Dulux, a long standing paint manufacturer from Canada, has come out with their own line of 100% acrylic, VOC and solvent free paints that are eco-friendly and practically odor free. It also comes in eggshell and semi-gloss finishes. The best part is that, any color in their color swatches that is white-based (symbol W/B) can be made from this paint. Now, I understand that adding color pigments may compromise a bit of the “pureness” of the paint, but the solvents and VOCs will still not be there.

So I was pretty happy and cannot wait to start decorating our new home! I will keep you posted on the progress when the time comes.

Have you looked around for ways of reducing harmful materials in your home? Please share!


Woody said...

I am currently helping my friend here in Perth Australia paint his home with a mineral based paint. He has sensitivity to chemicals so his new home has been built with that in mind. The paint has virtually no smell and a good finish.

There floors are all natural timber over the concrete and will be sealed with natural oils not epoxy.

Yanic said...

Hello Woody! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

I wish I could have found mineral paints here, but it was not an option. Ordering online seemed very risky (not seeing the swatches for real first) and the shipping for cans of paint was insane!

I'm glad you were able to help your friend in making his environment safe and healthy!

Adam said...

There is the FreshAire Choice as well. Unlike other paints it has a dry packed colorant and adding color wont add VOC's. Most colorants just add VOC's right back to the base paint. Check out the site
to see what i mean

Yanic said...

Hello Adam!

I checked uot the site and sad me, they sell them in Home Depots all over the states, but not in Canada... I wonder if the border cops would let me bring paints back? :-\