Green DIY Home Improvement: Painting

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For the average do-it-yourself homeowner, there are many considerations when it’s time to repaint the interior of your house: what color paint to buy, what type of paint to buy, how much paint to buy, and how long will it take to finish he project. For the green DIY homeowner, there are a few additional considerations: which paint is least toxic, how do I avoid buying too much paint, and what should I do with any leftover paint.

Paint Selection

Interior latex house paints commonly include solvents, toxic metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They can lead to poor indoor air quality and their fumes can adversely affect children, pregnant women, and people with allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities. The off-gas release of paint can contribute to the indoor air pollution for up to five more years.

Choose clay, milk, or Zero-VOC latex paints. These safer alternatives and other natural formulations are increasingly available in home improvement and paint stores.

There is also a new wall paint which actually absorbs VOCs. These atmosphere purifying paints absorb and neutralize 98–99% of chemicals, pollutants, solvents, and VOCs from the atmosphere in your home down to approximately one part per million.

DIY Green Painting

Buy Only the Paint Needed

Since most consumers purchase more paint than they need, use an online paint quantity calculator to help determine how much paint your project will require. Buying only what you need will reduce the cost of your home improvement project and eliminate the difficulties with handling extra paint.

Paint Storage

Small amounts of leftover paint can be saved to use for future repairs and touchups. Properly sealed and stored paint can last for several years. To store paint cover the paint can with plastic wrap, place the lid on securely, and store the can upside down in a location away from children and pets.

Paint Donation

Leftover or unwanted paint can be donated. From the high school art teacher to Habitat for Humanity or Salvation Army, there are always others who can use paint for a wide variety of projects. Check with local non-profits or government departments to see if they are willing to take the paint off your hands.

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