As part of our commitment to help our clients protect the environment, we at Fine Line Homes are pleased to offer recommendations and guidelines for choosing an eco-friendly interior paint. Chances are you already know that some paints contain potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but avoiding them isn’t always easy. It’s important to know how to read a paint can’s label to ensure it does not contain any harsh chemicals.
Calgary Home Builders: Reading a Paint Can Label
The key is to select a low-VOC or, ideally, a VOC-free paint. However, VOCs use many guises to lurk in paints, and it is not uncommon for paint stores to add colourants that contain even more of these compounds. Your best bet is to learn to read paint can labels to be sure you’re minimizing your VOC exposure.
First, let’s define two important thresholds:
- Low-VOC paints contain no more than 50 grams of volatile organic compounds per litre of paint
- Zero-VOC paints contain no more than 5grams of volatile organic compounds per litre of paint
Thus, you can see that the term “zero-VOC” is something of a misnomer. However, while zero-VOC paints do contain trace amounts of unwanted chemicals, they have virtually no effect on human health or the environment at such low concentrations.
When choosing an interior paint, Calgary home builders suggest checking the label to see how many grams of VOCs are contained per litre of paint. If you have any questions about additives, speak to the paint’s retailer and get a definitive answer on the grams-per-litre rating of any products you are considering.
There are some other general tips you can use to reduce your exposure to volatile organic compounds in paint:
- Choose a paint with a matte finish; glossy paints are inherently higher in VOCs
- Favour water-based latex paints over oil-based alkyd paints, as they are always far lower in VOCs
- Light-coloured paints tend to be lower in VOCs than dark-coloured paints
Consider using “milk paint” as an alternative to conventional products
Interior design experts stress that low-VOC and zero-VOC paints perform as well and look every bit as good as their higher-VOC counterparts. Don’t worry about quality; while it may once have been an issue, it isn’t anymore.
Calgary Home Builders: Choose Your Paint Colours
Paint colour is more than just a matter of preference; certain colours create specific moods and effects in a room. Be aware of the options as you plan the palette for your new Calgary custom home.
Generally speaking, “cool colours” such as green and blue have a calming effect and can make a room seem larger. By contrast, “warm colours” such as red and orange create an intensified sense of intimacy and can make a room seem smaller. Neutral tones are a safe, “middle of the road” third option.
Here are some helpful tools that can help you choose your paint colours:
- Interactive visualization tools. You can try out colours with the click of a mouse by using computerized interactive software. Keep in mind, though, that there may be some disparity between the way a given colour appears on a computer screen and the way it will look on your wall in daylight.
- Paint samples. Books of paint samples are still a mainstay of the interior design industry. Organized by colour and shade, they allow you to quickly and easily identify potential candidates for each room of your home.
- Get a second opinion. Fine Line Homes matches each client with acclaimed interior designers who can offer pro tips and great advice.
Calgary Home Builders: Select Your “Feature Wall”
A feature wall is a wall which is finished differently than the other walls in the room, creating an effective focal point and improving the sense of depth. Most people simply opt to paint or wallpaper one large wall in a different colour or style than the others, but there are other approaches to consider:
- Paint three walls and finish one with wallpaper
- Create a photo gallery on one wall
- Choose a wall that already has a built-in “focal point,” such as a fireplace or mantle
- Avoid walls that have doors and/or windows
Contact us at Fine Line Homes for a free, no-obligation estimate for a new custom home. We are among the leading custom Calgary home builders, using a proven process to create stunning energy-saving homes with higher-than-average resale values.