One of the most arduous yet rewarding home improvement projects you can take on is to paint your home. With a fresh coat of paint, you can give your walls and home a new, fresher look.
If you choose a light or bright-colored paint, you will make the room or your abode seem brighter and the mood inside will be cheerier and more welcoming.
But aside from carefully thinking about and choosing the color of the interior house paint you want to use, you also have to know the best practices for painting inside your home safely. In doing so, you can avoid health risks during and after your indoor painting project.
Here are seven tips and practices you have to follow when painting your home interior:
1. Choose low- or non-VOC paints
- 1 1. Choose low- or non-VOC paints
- 2 2. Wear suitable painting attire and use the right tools
- 3 3. Follow all instructions and safety precautions before you paint
- 4 4. Make sure the room you will paint is well-ventilated
- 5 5. Take frequent breaks
- 6 6. Ventilate freshly-painted areas for two to three days
- 7 7. Follow instructions for cleaning paint brushes and other tools
Whether you will be painting the kitchen, the living room, or bedrooms, make sure you choose paints that have low or zero VOC.
VOC or volatile organic compounds are the fumes that you smell from the paint. These substances can cause a number of reactions including nausea, headaches, dizziness, and skin irritation. If you are exposed to VOC, you will feel these effects during and after your painting project.
Additionally, prolonged exposure to high levels of VOC can lead to central nervous system, liver and kidney damage.
To avoid these harmful effects, select paint that contains low-VOC or one that does not contain these substances at all. Read the label of the product you want to buy to check if it contains low or zero VOC. You can also go online to search for products that do not contain these toxic substances.
2. Wear suitable painting attire and use the right tools
Wear an old long-sleeved shirt or top and pants that you won’t regret throwing away if the paint won’t wash off them.
Make sure they are loose enough so that they won’t restrict your movements. Wear comfortable, non-slip shoes as well. They will ensure your safety when you have to climb a ladder to reach the upper section of the wall and the ceiling.
Don’t forget to buy and use safety goggles, gloves, a painter’s cap (or any old cap), and a respirator with the proper filter for your DIY painting project.
3. Follow all instructions and safety precautions before you paint
Handling different paints can pose certain hazards. As such, before you start painting, read the label and follow the recommended actions you should take to reduce or avoid these hazards completely.
In addition, make sure you know the suggested first aid measures to take in case you accidentally inhale paint fumes or you get an allergic reaction when your skin makes contact with the paint.
4. Make sure the room you will paint is well-ventilated
Before you start painting, open all doors and windows. Tie or push back all curtains, draperies or blinds to ensure that nothing will block the airflow inside the room.
While painting, place a box fan securely near a window to ensure air circulation. The fan will help dry the paint faster, too, and blow out the smelly fumes.
When placing the fan on the window frame, make sure it is secure so that it won’t fall off the window. Make sure you do not point the fan directly at someone else’s space as well.
5. Take frequent breaks
Even if you are wearing a respirator, take frequent fresh air breaks. Leave the room you are painting and go outdoors to inhale fresh air every hour or so.
In case you experience breathing problems, headaches, dizziness, and watery eyes, leave the painted room or area immediately.
6. Ventilate freshly-painted areas for two to three days
Even if you use quick-drying paint, it is best to avoid using or entering the painted room frequently. Keep the windows and doors open and turn on the fan whenever possible. Wait for at least two to three days to avoid unnecessary exposure to paint.
Two to three days is also enough to ensure that the air in the room will go back to an acceptable healthy quality.
Make sure you keep pregnant women and young children away from all freshly-painted rooms as well.
7. Follow instructions for cleaning paint brushes and other tools
Before you clean the paintbrush and the other tools you used, read the paint manufacturer’s cleaning instructions first.
In general, latex paint usually cleans up with soap and water. However, if you used alkyd paints, you have to purchase specific cleaning products listed on the label.
Under no circumstances should you use gasoline to clean your paint brushes. This is because gasoline is flammable and you could cause a fire or hurt yourself when you use it to clean your paint brushes.
Lastly, before using a paint cleaning product, check if it is flammable. If it is, do not use it near ignition sources such as the stove, water heater, and the furnace.
To stay safe and healthy while painting your home interior, follow the tips and recommended practices above.
Adhering to these practices will also ensure that you stay healthy and safe in your home long after you have completed your painting project.
Written by: Ralph El Eid
Ralph El Eid is the Business Development Manager at COLORTEK – Wall & Floor Fashion. Equipment is the franchise owner of COLORTEK in Dubai (U.A.E.) and Doha (Qatar); an international paints manufacturer specializing in the widest range of decorative paints and seamless concrete & resin flooring, with a unique showroom concept, and thus an ideal destination for homeowners, consultants, architects, interior designers and paint applicators.