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Why Do VOCs Matter with Exterior House Painting?

The paint world has been buzzing in the last decade about healthier house paints. You may hear them referred to as eco-friendly paints, low-odor paints, low-VOC or zero-VOC paints. The attraction of all these paints is that they contain fewer (or no) Volatile Organic Compounds which evaporate into your home. Clearly, the benefit to your indoor air quality is worth this change! However, are VOCs important with exterior house painting? If so, why?

VOCs in Paint, and Your Personal Health

It is not hard to imagine why people object to VOCs in their home interior. Because it is an enclosed space, we keep breathing that air, and any contaminants that enter the home environment are concentrated, becoming continual hazards.

That analysis might lead us to assume that VOC’s do not matter in exterior painting, since the compounds evaporate into the great outdoors. Before you breathe a sigh of relief, however, remember that some VOCs evaporate slowly, meaning the area around your home can have exposure for a long time. As you spend time on your deck or in the garden, those compounds are there. Also, when your windows are open, the VOCs can come into the home.

Exterior Paint VOCs, and the Environment

While it is natural for us to think of our own health and wellbeing, we do well to consider the health of our planet too. Just as an example, the California Air Resources Board says that over 117 million pounds of VOCs from paint evaporate into California’s air each year. The same thing happens in each state, and these VOCs are breathed by birds and animals, and they enter the water supply.

Clearly, if we can reduce the use of exterior house paint with high VOC content, we are doing a good thing!

Are Zero-VOC Exterior Paints Effective?

In their infancy, some reduced-VOC paints were less durable or effective than traditional house paints, but this has changed dramatically. Today, many exterior house paint brands have low or zero-VOC products that provide exceptional coverage and longevity. In many cases, manufacturers have even pushed their R&D to produce superior zero-VOC products, compared to traditional paints.

Is There Still a Need for Traditional Exterior House Paints?

Some house painting projects require an extra degree of toughness. This might be due to the natural forces that the home is exposed to, or the type of surface being painted. Because of this, specific jobs sometimes call for oil-based paints, or other exterior paints that contain VOCs.

By transitioning to zero-VOC paints whenever possible, we can still use traditional paints when necessary, and see a dramatic overall improvement in our air quality.

Southington Painting

For over 40 years, Southington Painting has been serving Connecticut with superb house painting services. We offer both interior and exterior painting, as well as a variety of related services. If you have any questions about house painting, about VOC’s, or about receiving a free estimate, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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