When you're getting ready to paint the walls in your new home, have you thought about what's actually in the cans of paint you're buying? If not, you should. Traditional paints can release harmful chemicals called VOCs that reduce indoor air quality and aren't good for you or your family.

But there's an easy solution. Choosing low or zero-VOC paint is one of the best decisions you can make for your new home. Low VOC paints are specially formulated to limit the release of volatile organic compounds, so you get all the benefits of freshly painted walls without the nasty side effects. Your home will smell clean and fresh, not like a chemical factory. And by opting for low-VOC paint, you'll create an environment that's healthier for you, your kids, and even your pets.

What Is VOC and Why Does It Matter in Paint?

So you're building a new home - congratulations! There are a lot of decisions to make, and one of the most important is what kind of paint to use. Have you heard of low-VOC paint? Choosing paint with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is one of the best things you can do for your home.

What exactly are VOCs?

VOCs are chemicals found in many paints that release fumes as the paint dries. Some VOCs can be harmful in large amounts. Low VOC paints have been formulated to minimize these chemicals and the fumes they produce.

Why should you choose low-VOC paint?

There are several benefits to using low-VOC paint:

• Better indoor air quality. Less exposure to potentially harmful chemicals means a safer, healthier home environment for you and your family.

• No strong smell. Low VOC paints produce little to no odour, so you can paint without feeling like you need to vacate the premises!

• Environmentally friendly. By reducing air pollution and creating a sustainable product, low VOC paint is an eco-conscious choice for your new home.

• Washability and durability. Many low-VOC paints are just as durable and long-lasting as traditional paints. Some are even more washable and stain-resistant.

• Peace of mind. Know that you're creating a safe space for your loved ones in an environmentally responsible way. What could be better than that?

When designing your dream home, choose low-VOC paint. Your home will thank you, and so will your family's health and well-being. Now start picking out those colors!

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The Benefits of Choosing Low VOC Paint

As a new homeowner, you want the best for your place. And when it comes to paint, that means choosing low or zero VOC options. Here are the main benefits of making this eco-friendly choice:

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Conventional paints release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air for months after application. These chemicals can cause headaches, dizziness, and other issues. Low VOC paint significantly reduces this pollution by using water as a solvent instead of chemicals. Your home will smell fresh and clean, not paint-y.

Safer for Everyone

VOCs are dangerous not just for you but also for children, pets, and the environment. Low VOC paint eliminates this health hazard and is non-toxic.

Longer Lasting

The water-based formula of low VOC paint provides better adhesion and durability. Your walls will stay looking freshly painted for longer with fewer scratches or marks.

Peace of Mind

Choosing sustainable, eco-friendly materials for your new home will give you reassurance that you're creating a healthy space for your family. Low VOC paint is an easy way to start, with big impacts.

While low VOC paint may cost slightly more upfront, the benefits to your home and health make it worth the investment. You'll be enjoying purer air and pristine walls for years to come. For your new house, accept nothing less than the best - go low VOC!

How to Identify Low VOC Paint Products

To ensure you’re getting low-VOC paint for your new home, check the product details. Look for phrases like “low odour,” “low VOC,” or “eco-friendly.” Some brands clearly label their paint as “zero-VOC” or “no-VOC.” These are the best options.

Check the VOC Level

The lower the VOC level, the better. Most low-VOC and no-VOC paints will specify the maximum VOC content in grams per litre (g/L). For interior paint, look for VOC levels below 50 g/L. The lower the number, the less fumes. Zero-VOC paint has 5 g/L or less.

Water-based latex or Acrylic

These are your best low-VOC options. They are very durable and clean up easily with water. Latex and acrylic paints can be scrubbed or even power washed. They also resist staining and are mould/mildew resistant.

Avoid Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints, also called alkyd paints, have very high VOC levels, typically 300-500 g/L or more. They release strong fumes that linger for days. Oil-based paint is difficult to clean up and is a fire hazard. Stick with water-based paint for the best low-VOC choice.

Check Other Ingredients

Some paints labelled as “low-VOC” or “eco-friendly” may still contain hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, formaldehyde, or other toxic compounds. Look for paints with additional certifications like Green Seal, EcoLogo, or GreenGuard to ensure the most natural, non-toxic choice. These third-party certifiers prohibit the use of known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and reproductive toxins.

Choosing low-VOC, non-toxic paint is one of the best things you can do for your new home. Your family and the environment will thank you! By checking the product details and certifications, you can find paints with little or no chemical smell and the peace of mind that comes with a safe, sustainable choice.

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Photo by Valeria andersson / Unsplash

Tips for Using Low VOC Paint in Your New Home Project

When painting your new home with low-VOC paint, keep these tips in mind:

Choose a reputable brand

Look for brands that specialize in low or no-VOC paints, like Taubmans, Resene or Dulux ranges. These companies have perfected their eco-friendly paint formulas to provide premium coverage and durability.

Ventilate and protect

Even though low-VOC paints have little to no odour, ventilation is still important for your health and the curing process. Open windows to improve airflow, and consider wearing a mask. Protect floors and trim with painter's tape and drop cloths.

Apply a primer

For the best results, apply a coat of low VOC primer before painting. Primer helps the topcoat adhere better for a smoother finish. It also reduces the number of topcoats needed, saving you time and money.

Consider a darker shade

Low VOC paints can require an extra coat or two when applying lighter colours. For the most coverage in one coat, consider medium to darker hues. Pastel and bright shades may need an additional coat, so factor that into your project timeline and budget.

Clean up properly

Use low-VOC paint thinners and solvents for cleaning brushes and rollers. Never rinse paint equipment in the sink—it can contaminate groundwater and sewer systems. Instead, rinse in a bucket and dispose of it according to the product directions.

Using these eco-friendly painting practices in your new home will create a space that is healthy, sustainable and beautiful. Your low VOC paint job will give you peace of mind knowing you're surrounding yourself with natural, non-toxic materials.

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Photo by Atikh Bana / Unsplash

Frequently Asked Questions About Low VOC Paint

Low VOC paint is paint that contains little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are toxic chemicals that pollute the air in your home and the environment. Many conventional paints release these gasses as the paint dries and cures, which can cause headaches, dizziness, and irritate your eyes, nose and throat.

What are VOCs exactly?

VOCs are carbon-containing chemicals that easily become vapours or gasses. In paint, they are released as the solvents evaporate. Common VOCs found in regular paint include formaldehyde, acetone, and benzene. These chemicals pollute the air and harm your health and the environment.

Why choose low or no VOC paint?

  • Improved indoor air quality. Low VOC paint reduces toxins in your home and creates a healthier environment for you and your family.
  • Less odour. Low VOC paint has little to no strong smell you get from regular paint. You can move back into the room much faster.
  • Environmentally friendly. By choosing low-VOC paint, you are reducing air pollution and helping the environment. The fewer chemicals released into the air, the better.
  • Added health benefits. Avoiding exposure to harsh chemicals found in regular paint can reduce headaches, dizziness and respiratory issues. Your home should be a safe haven, not making you sick!

Is low VOC paint more expensive?

While low VOC paint used to cost significantly more than regular paint, the prices have dropped significantly in recent years. Many brands now offer affordable low-VOC paint options. The added health and environmental benefits make any small price difference worth it. Your new home is an investment, so invest in the best, greenest materials you can.

Anything else I should know?

Be sure to check the actual VOC level of any paint you consider, as “low VOC” can mean different things for different brands. Look for paint with VOC levels of less than 50 grams per litre. The lower, the better! When painting, be sure to ventilate and consider wearing a mask for the best results in your new eco-friendly home.


So there you have it, the lowdown on low VOC paint. Now that you know what it’s made of and how it can make a real difference in your home’s indoor air quality and the health of you and your family, the choice seems pretty clear. When designing your new place, opting for low or no VOC paint is an easy decision that will give you peace of mind for years to come. Your new house is meant to be a safe haven, a place where you can relax and be comfortable surrounded by the people and things you love. Low VOC paint helps ensure it will be precisely that.