Zero-VOC Paint..Minus the BS

When buying a Zero-VOC paint, make sure the pigments or colorants being added to the mix are also Zero-VOC. This variable is commonly overlooked by the average consumer, and paint companies don’t market the negatives about their products…like the fact that after standard “VOC filled” colorants are mixed (instead of Zero-VOC colorants like Mythic Paint uses), your paint is no longer non-toxic. Basically you just got “green-washed.” Buyer beware..

The performance of these non-toxic paints is equally as good as their traditional toxic counterparts in most applications (i.e. walls, ceilings, exterior siding). For a sleek durable finish on cabinets and millwork (i.e. doors and trim), nothing on the market today surpasses oil based paint. Unfortunately due to its makeup, oil paint is full of VOC’s. And, paint companies like Mythic are working their tales off to come up with a good alternative. I have personally started to experiment with some vegetable based oil paints made mostly from soy..my experiments are still somewhat inconclusive. Though one day, someone is going to make a lot of money off of a non-toxic paint that truly mimics the performance of oil.

The water based enamels that are currently taking the place of oils on the millwork of most “green” construction projects…are good preforming and have definitely come a long way over the years, but they just don’t penetrate wood like oil..bottom line. So, if you try to sand these latex enamels (to touch up a damaged area), they often times start to peel. At that point you have to re-sand the whole darn piece of wood, door, or whatever your are working on..prior to repainting, or it will just look like crap. Because oils effectively penetrate a thin layer of the surface on to which they are applied to, they don’t end up peeling…and are therefore better performers. The finished product looks great and is easier to touch up.

That said, I am all for using water based enamels. I just refuse to fool myself by thinking that they preform as well as oils in certain applications (i.e. cabinets and millwork). Its a true conundrum I know…health and environmental consciousness or performance and durability.

Overall, I recommend using Zero-VOC water based paint wherever you can (including on millwork). But, if you just can’t and have to opt for the oil..at least try to do most (if not all) of your painting off-site…preferably outside where ventilation is abundant (and not in the state of California where the sale of interior oil based paint in any size larger than a quart has been outlawed..unless you want to buy a bunch of quarts:).

Take a look at the video below to see Zero-VOC Mythic Paint in action..

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