Eco paints are now the latest in a long line of environmentally-friendly products that us homeowners are actively seeking for our homes.
David Kitching who setup www.naturaldeco.co.uk has been kind enough to share his wisdom on the topic of eco paints…
Eco Paints explained
“Conventional petro chemical paints, represented by virtually every brand on the market, are made from non-renewable resources, contribute to global warming, create massive pollution and cause allergy and health problems.
“Eco paints are just as good but do none of these things. Eco paints are based on plant materials and plentiful natural minerals and are fully vapour permeable to let your walls breathe. Eco paints come in a huge range of colours and they:
“Plastic versions have replaced breathable paints and other traditional products over the last 50 years. As a consequence there is a great deal of ignorance and prejudice about these materials as it’s assumed that ‘traditional’ means old fashioned and inefficient. In fact, modern natural emulsions, glazes, metal paints, varnishes and insulation represent a sound environmental ethos using materials that nature readily makes available. Traditional materials have been tried and tested over generations whereas modern acrylic and cement paints have had just 50 years, in which they’ve proved themselves to be inadequate, unhealthy and environmentally dangerous.
What are Eco paints made of?
“Eco paints fall into two groups – those made from plant derived materials and those made from minerals.
Plant based eco paints – very environmentally friendly and solvent free, but they do give off some natural VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) such as those from orange and other essential oils.
Mineral based eco paints – very healthy as they contain no solvents and give off no VOCs. They are made from natural minerals which have to be mined, although they tend to be very plentiful… Quartz for example.
Both types of eco paint are infinitely better for both our health and the environment, than conventional petro chemical based paints of which every well known high street brand is an example. Eco paints are also far better for buildings as they’re vapour permeable so allow walls to ‘breathe’. In fact all our eco paints are fully breathable.
So what eco paints would you recommend?
What are the health benefits of using eco paints?
“There are health risks associated with all decorating and building products. But we can minimise these risks by using materials that are derived from the natural world.
All paints, synthetic or natural, comprise three basic components: pigments, a binding agent to hold the pigments in place and a solvent to dry off. The health risks associated with paint tend to be either risks of allergic reaction or more general risks associated with carcinogenic or irritant materials and chemicals causing dermatological or respiratory problems.
Paints sourced from the petro-chemical industry contain such chemicals as acrylonitrile, benzene, chromates, glycol ether, formaldehyde and even petrol. It isn’t just when these products are being applied that the risk is incurred, these paints can continue to leach fumes (termed ‘outgassing’) into the atmosphere in our homes for many months after they’ve been applied.
It’s not clear what causes an allergy to appear but, in the interests of minimising risk, the use of natural paints, varnishes and insulation are at least exposing people to substances that the human race has evolved to live with rather than an entirely new set of potential irritants that we’re not supposed to encounter.
Conventional paints, varnishes and many insulation products, which most people happily buy from their local retail outlets, are a cancer risk. Did you know, for example, that the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies Painting and Decorating as a ‘hazardous occupation’ because decorators stand a 40% greater chance of contracting cancer than the average worker? This is primarily down to the chemicals present in those mainstream products. Suspected carcinogenic ingredients in conventional paint include Acrylonitrile, Benzene, Chromates, Glyco Ether and Formaldehyde.
So how much is this eco paint going to cost me?
“Paints that allow a build up of moisture in the substrate that they are supposed to protect eventually flake and peel off so you have to redecorate. This costs money. Our wood paints for example, are made from constituents that are already present in the wood…so they ‘combine’ naturally with their substrate and work with it. Water can’t get behind them because they don’t form a layer over the wood, they work with the wood.
Our exterior silicate eco paints bond chemically with the mineral elements of the wall. They too, don’t form a plastic layer that can be lifted or peeled away. So the effect is far longer lasting. They’re far more resistant to abrasion than conventional paints and can even resist the application of solvent cleaners…very useful in public buildings, for example where graffiti needs to be removed. Our eco paints are price competitive with leading brands on the market.
Huge thanks to David, for telling us all about Eco Paints, I have got to say that I am convinced and when we finally get to the finishing touches stage I would love to be using eco paints. If our health and buildings benefit it’s got to be worth it!