Thursday, May 6, 2010

Painting Your Home's Exterior in an Eco-Friendly Way‏

by Ryan Lynch

When it comes to going green with your home, you may think it is impossible to find an eco-friendly way to paint the outside of your home and other buildings. After all, when it comes to exterior paints, you need a paint that is tough enough to withstand the outdoor elements and natural paints usually are not tough enough to use on exterior applications. So, what is the solution for the homeowner who wants to go green on the outside as well as on the inside?

Putting Your Mind at Ease

When it comes to picking the right exterior paint, the first thing you need to do is put your mind at ease regarding the paint you choose. For example, when selecting an interior paint, it is essential to select a low-VOC paint. With exterior paint, this is not as much of an issue, as the air dilutes the harmful effects of VOCs. For this reason, when you purchase an exterior paint, you don't need to worry quite as much about VOCs as you do with interior paints. In fact, exterior paints can be considered eco-friendly if they simply do not contain toxins or heavy metals.

Keeping Outdoor Air Pollution at a Minimum

While there is less of a concern regarding your personal health when using exterior paints containing VOCs, you might still want to keep air pollution to a minimum. If this is the case, there are some natural options that can be used on the exterior of your home and other buildings. For example, lime wash, finish and stain can all be used for exterior applications. There are also several brands of low-VOC exterior paints that are designed for those who want to reduce the amount of air pollution they create. Some of these brands include:

* BioShield Paint
* EarthBorn Paints
* Ecos Organic Paints
* Safecoat
* St. Astier Lime Paints
* YOLO Colorhouse

As an added bonus, paints such as the Natural Hydraulic Limes line from St. Astier Lime Paints is resistant to bacteria and salt, non-toxic, inhospitable to mildew and recyclable.

Removing Paint

Of course, when it comes to completing an eco-friendly exterior paint project, the paint removal process must also be addressed. If you need to remove the old paint before applying the new paint, be sure to check on what you are removing because the type of solvent needed will vary depending upon what you are removing. Paint, for example, requires a different solvent than a wood finish, so selecting the right solvent will help reduce the amount of work involved with the project as well as the amount of chemicals you have to use.

Since many paint strippers are petroleum-based and contain harmful dichloromethane or methylene chloride, you might need to put a little extra work into finding one that does not contain methylene. In fact, you may need to turn to the Internet to find a methylene-free remover. Even after finding a methylene-free paint remover, it is still important to use gloves to keep your hands protected and to work in a well-ventilated area in order to avoid breathing in other potentially harmful chemicals.

Ryan Lynch runs the marketing department for Cantera Real Estate located at 6836 Austin Center Blvd., Suite 120, Austin, TX 78731

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