Using Eco-Friendly House Paint-WOW!
What are you going to get dad for Father's Day? Or the newlyweds buying their first home? Or the expectant parents preparing a nursery? How about some green (meaning eco-friendly) paint!
I manage to get to the paint department of our local home improvement stores regularly. As in: a lot. (Just see some of my other Hubs. I'm a painting, color-creating nutcase.) On my outing yesterday to a nationally known store, I noticed a difference in the paint section. Whereas they may have had eco-friendly paint available before, somewhere hidden up high or far back, now this line had equal billing. Yep. It was featured at the capstone of an aisle.
All the Regular Options
Furthermore, this line of paint looked as though it had "finally arrived" as a legitimate line. (Not that it was ever illegitimate.) There were all the conventional choices for primer, ceiling, and various finishes (flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss). Also, there was a variety of shades. The color choices numbered about thirty.
I adore watching the birds outside, so a fowl-friendly feeder cleaner is fantastic!
Even when a magazine or book is preaching to the choir, it is good to learn a few new tricks and to be reminded about ones we already know.
Different from the Get-Go
I had made my choice and brought the color card up to the mixing counter. While waiting behind other customers, I thought "I wonder how they are going to add the tint? Certainly they can't just stick the can of no-outgassing-chemicals base paint under the 'regular' color drop machine. That probably has the old kind of bad stuff chemicals." Sure enough, when it was my turn, Mr. Paint Guy had to walk back to the paint display. Each color card had its own niche on a grid. What a surprise to see that the grid was actually a door which swung open to reveal little compartments. Think apartment house mailboxes and you'll get the picture. Each compartment held foil-wrapped packs with the color additive specific to the card before it on the grid door. They looked like the coffee packs pre-measured for one pot.
Inside the foil pack was another packet with powdered dye. This clear (looked like a snack baggie) pack would dissolve in the base paint. Mr. Paint Guy pried off the plastic lid to the can and dropped in the baggie. He then hammered the lid shut and put it in the agitator-shaker machine for about 5 minutes. He said that it takes more shaking than the other paints. He also said, "Have you ever used this kind of paint? You're gonna LUV the way it works. It is SO easy to use." This became an accurate foreshadowing of my painting experience.
Greenguard Environmental Institute
To learn more about the certifying organization.
Wow - EASY to Use
Fortunately, I do not have extreme chemical sensitivity. I do, however, have asthma which is trigerred by some allergens, so I try not to take undue risks with my ability to breathe. The lucky recipient (unlucky victim?) of my redecorating effort was a minuscule powder room. It has no windows, but does contain a ventilating fan. Therefore, if this was going to be a test of the fume factor of a paint, the room was ideal.
What can I say? What do you expect? You are probably right in your prediction. There was no odor, no fragrance, no fume, no olfactory evidence whatsoever that a can of paint was open. Phew. That is a pleasure. The next bonus was how easily it spread. I would have thought that some mineral oil had been added, the way the paint glided across the wall - and EVENLY, too! Now I am very happy.
More Environmentally Sound products from Seventh Generation
The paint I bought was certified by an organization called Greenguard. The statement below the happy little certification box states "All GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified R products can be specified and used with the confidence that they will not pollute the indoor air with high levels of harmful chemicals." Plus, another part of the label proclaimed "CONTAINS NO VOCs. VOC content as measured by The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Reference Test Method 24." VOCs are a group of organic chemicals thought to contribute to sick building syndrome and possibly cause health problems in humans.
The drying time seemed a little faster than other latex paints that I use. While the can said 30 to 60 minutes, it seemed like 20 minutes. The appearance is flawless - and that is NOT because I am a fantastic wall painter. I am an impatient painter. So, this again is a worthy test of the product. There are no streak lines or grain lines. It is just nice, smooth color - like the uniform shade of virgin drywall.
Clean-up was similar to other latex paints. Use soap and water. That has never been a big issue for me.
The long and short of it is that it cost about 33% more than the store brand paint. I don't even look at the designer brands, such as Ralph Lauren or Disney, so maybe it was right in their price ballpark. However, I feel that we consumers must put our money where our values are. That is the only way that American manufacturers "get it." And politicians, for that matter. We must lead them with our buying choices.
If my wish for my grandchildren is to have them experience a Pennsylvania that looks somewhat like it did for me as a child, I have an affirmative responsibility. I must put trash in proper places, recycle, hang out my laundry to dry, not be an energy hog, and not fill the world with toxins. Many times I save money when doing these things. But, that is a side benefit.
Perhaps, for this year, when I buy eco-paint I will not enjoy that side benefit of a few bucks saved. However, my heart swells with the other benefits that the world and I gain. My hope is that eventually the cost of production will become economically competitive. Ok - I lie. My hope is that it becomes economically competitive, but also that it is the only kind of paint made.
I am sold on eco-paint. That is all I will buy (if the color I want exists in the line). So everyone, please start buying it too so that more and more shades are produced. Then, I, the nutcase, will win - - but most importantly, we all will win on many levels.
Now, in 2012, They Tell Me...
At my favorite big box handyperson store, Home Depot, the paint people tell me why this special line of paints is no longer available. I am told that the "technology" of making low- and no-VOC paints has finally spread to all paint manufacturers, therefore a special line is superfluous. However, that reassuring certification does not seem to be on the labels.
As always, let the shopper be vigilant.
Text copyright 2008 Maren E. Morgan
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