Pro Tip: What are VOC's and Should I Care?


The term VOC gets tossed around a lot these days. Let’s start with what VOC stands for. The term refers to volatile organic compounds. Sounds bad right? I hear you asking, "but what does that mean?" Simply stated VOC's are the solvents that get released into the air as paint dries. There are other kinds of VOC’s but we are dealing strictly with what is a emitted from paints in the drying process.
In oil based paints the solvent is paint thinner. As the thinner in the paint evaporates it releases high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds; this is one reason they smell so strong. In water-based paints the solvent is, well, water so when it evaporates there is less smell.

Now you're thinking, "I've got it" so let me throw you a bit of a curve. There are a lot of other compounds in paint, some that help it flow out evenly (we will talk about that in another post), some that allow it to cover better, others that help with washability and the list goes on and on. Even the tinting colors used to make that perfect color for your bedroom contain VOC’s. And you guessed it,  as they dry they escape into your home.

This brings us to why you should care about VOC’s. These low VOC pants are designed for painting the interior of your home and the byproduct of them releasing low or no VOC's is low or no odor as you paint your home. This is bad news for those of you who like the smell of fresh paint but good news for those of you who are concerned about the level of toxins being released into your home. Your paint store or, better yet, your local painting professional can give you more information on these great products. As with selecting any paint choose the best quality you can afford and the results will speak for themselves.