One of the easiest and cheapest ways to update a room in your home is by painting the walls. Homeowners often take on this type of home improvement project themselves. But, is indoor paint safe to use? Should you be worried about inhaling paint fumes while you’re painting? This is how to paint your home without impacting your indoor air.
Select the Right Type of Paint
Be sure to select a type of paint that is formulated for indoor use specifically. Avoid using an oil-based paint. Instead, select a water-based paint or one made with latex. Along with releasing fewer chemicals, you can clean up indoor paint with regular soap and water rather than using a toxic solvent.
If you want to use a no volatile organic compound (VOC) paint or a low-toxicity paint, then keep in mind that while they’re better for your home’s indoor air, this kind of paint is not usually toxin free. It also varies in durability, cost, and quality.
Regardless of the kind of paint that you select, review the paint label carefully so that you know what ingredients are in it. Also, check for warnings and user instructions. Review the paint label even if you’ve used the type of paint or the brand in the past because information changes. Ingredients also vary from brand to brand and from paint to paint.
Remove Everything From the Room
Take steps to limit exposure to the room that you’re painting. Try to decrease the number of people who are in the room for several days after you’ve completed the job. Be especially vigilant about keeping pregnant women, those with breathing problems and young children away from a freshly painted room for two or three days following your painting project. In fact, if you’re able to paint during a time when everyone can be away from your home for a few days, then that would be ideal. Paint when your family is away on a vacation or at a family reunion.
It’s also a good idea to move furniture out of the room if possible. This will prevent your furnishings from soaking up any harmful VOCs that might be present. Tape plastic tarps or sheets over the top of anything that you can’t move out to contain any present contaminants or dust. If you’re the one who is painting, then be sure to wear protective gear such as a respirator or a mask. Also, give yourself plenty of breaks outside in the fresh air.
Ventilate the Space
Increase the amount of ventilation inside the area that you’re painting. To gain access to more ventilation, consider starting your painting project when the weather is nice enough for you to keep the windows and door open while you’re painting.
It’s also a good idea to place fans around the room and to let them run for a few days to clear out the area. Try to create a cross ventilation system and block your heating and cooling vents to prevent paint fumes from winding up in other areas of your home.
Allow the air to circulate while you’re painting, and keep it moving for several days after you’re done to remove any leftover toxins. This step will also preserve the air quality in your home.
Try to Avoid Making Dust
If you have to smooth out any wall sections, consider implementing reduced-dust work practices. For example, spray surfaces down with water before you do any scraping or sanding. Keep a shop vacuum handy to remove any debris that you create during your home improvement project. You might want to plug in a mobile air purifier to keep the air as fresh and clean as possible.
Purchase the Right Amount of Paint
Attempt to purchase the exact quantity of paint that you need for your project. That way, you won’t have leftover paint that you have to store in your home. However, it is a good idea to keep a little extra on hand for touch-ups later. Place the extra paint in a container that you can seal tightly.
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