Paint odors are not at the top of our list of concerns when embarking on a redecoration or home repaint job, however they can become a very unpleasant after-effect, and one potentially very harmful to human health. The unpleasant smell we usually associate with fresh paint comes from the so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC), organic chemical compounds which are found in very high concentrations in traditional solvents, paints and protective coatings in particular.
Paints with large amounts of VOCs have been proven to cause significant side-effects, particularly indoors. It is therefore essential to consider this aspect before embarking on a repaint project which may leave you unable to enter your house without getting a headache. One option in such cases – and one more readily available nowadays due to the rapidly-advancing technology – is to go for odorless paints, products which have a low concentration of VOCs and have the advantage of being water-based rather than petroleum-based.
Of course, you will have to manage your expectations a little bit: odorless paint is by no means completely stink-free, although its lack of solvents or else ammonia will make it considerably easier on the nose than traditional paint. However, odorless paint will smell differently – a sweeter, non-lingering smell which has the added advantage of being easily removed using good ventilation. Odorless paint is best suited for painting interior walls, all the more so since its durability typically will not match that of a traditional oil-based paint.
There are several types of odorless paints – the most common three categories are clay-based paint, milk-based and limestone-based paints. The latter type – also known as lime wash – may be used for exterior walls as well. Odorless paint has many other advantages. Its low VOCs concentration makes it the best choice for children nurseries and rooms, as well as for rooms used by people who have asthma and are sensitive to chemical agents which can irritate the upper respiratory tract.
In addition to being less chemically dangerous than traditional paints, odorless paints are also ideal for people looking to paint their walls in natural, earth tones. They are also environmentally friendly and less harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer. On the whole, a very good, Eco-friendly choice for most of us!