You may have heard a lot of buzz about VOCs being a problem. Hence, we thought it an appropriate subject for our first KP Paint Buzz blog! VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. Typically, people associate VOCs with paint.

So what’s the buzz?

VOCs can be a big deal if you have low immunity or are allergy sensitive. Recent studies have shown they can cause allergic reactions such as asthma, headaches, upper respiratory infections, rashes, and even cancer. Studies have shown they can be damaging to your health.

In my own experience at CertaProPainters of Mountainside, Westfield, and Livingston we’ve worked with couples who have been divided on the topic. Typically, there’s one partner who REALLY cares about the VOC level of the paint, especially when we are doing a nursery, which is great. You should be concerned about your home environment potentially being toxic to your family! But then there's typically the other half of the couple who doesn’t really buy into it. Some are people believe it is a scam to make more money, which is great too because asking questions and being skeptical can serve a purpose to protect your family as well.

Here's the buzz--it’s still okay because as a standard, we use zero VOC paint. Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore are the companies we tend to use, and they, as a the standard too, do not use paint with VOCs. So, whether you are passionate about how much VOC is in your paint, or on the other end of the spectrum, it's pretty close to being a non-issue. We don't use VOC paint, and most painting companies don't make high VOC paint anymore. Was it like this just four years ago? No, we've come a long way!

But did you know VOC isn’t just paint related?

VOCs go beyond paint. They can pop in many elements of your home improvement projects. The good news? There are many things you can do to control the amount of VOCs you allow in your home environment. From wallcoverings, to floor alternatives, VOC’s can contaminate your home environment. You want to be careful BEYOND your paint. Patrice and I read a great article by the DIY Network that had some great VOC considerations  we felt compelled to share with you. When working on any home improvement project, consider these! Print it out. Hang it on your fridge as a reference to guide you in a low VOC environment! Good luck and happy homing!

It would be next to impossible to entirely eliminate these compounds entirely from your daily home life, but follow my go-to rule I apply to every aspect of my life-control what you can control. You may not be able to eliminate VOCs altogether, BUT you can minimize the amount of VOCs in your home by following these tips!

Wallcoverings and VOCs

  • Read labels to find low-VOC products and purchase nontoxic paint.
  • Use water-based polyurethane that emits fewer gases than oil-based products. For the same reason, natural or low-VOC stains, sealants and varnishes are also healthier choices.
  • Avoid vinyl wall covering, as well as vinyl upholstery and flooring. Vinyl is a chemical radical emitting various gases.
  • Tightly rolled wallpaper can trap gases, so unroll outdoors to allow gases to dissipate before hanging indoors.

Low-VOC Flooring Alternatives

  • Vinyl and synthetic carpets are high in VOCs. Instead, look for natural fibers such as wool, sisal and cotton.
  • Although hardwood floors are easy to clean and might seem like a good solution, hardwoods include formaldehydes, and all finishes emit VOCs. A good alternative is presealed hardwood, or hardwood sealed with water-based polyurethane.
  • Ceramic tile is inert, emitting no gases. Linoleum is clinically nontoxic. Other allergy-friendly flooring includes bamboo, cork or recycled glass.
  • To minimize the VOCs found in adhesives, select low-VOC or water-based products.
  • Carpet should include a low-emission level (indicated by a Carpet and Rug Institute tag). Select carpet that’s free of chemicals with a low nap. Avoid installation in damp areas (bath and kitchen). Install with tack strips, rather than adhesive, and make sure a moisture barrier is in place before the carpet is installed.

And remember, feel free call me, Kevin, or my lovely wife Patrice for more tips at CertaPro Painters of Mountainside at 908.228.2075. Also, check us out on our Facebook page by clicking here, or follow us on Twitter @kppaintbuzz! We share the paint buzz and DIY tips daily and nothing thrills us more than when you share your tips with us!