When is a Painted Room Safe?

Entering a newly painted room causes a few things to happen to your body. Being careful after a paint job and avoiding Volatile Organic Compounds is crucial to a successful and healthy room painting. Here’s what happens to your body when you enter a freshly painted room. When is a painted room safe?

While some of the effects are felt as a mere nuisance like headaches, other issues are more sinister. Ventilation and sleeping on the couch could be a fix for your problems but there are unnoticed dangers to be aware of when a room has been painted in your home.

Chemical smells from cleaning supplies, work in your home and of course paint can cause problems for you similar to paint fumes. These include irritated eyes, nose and throat, lightheadedness or dizziness or nausea. Some people even experience fatigue and lethargy. Any of these symptoms are enough to remove the person from the home until they clear up.

The Cause – VOCs

Volatile Organic Compounds, VOCs, are in most air we breathe. They are more prevalent in paints, varnishes, adhesives, cleaning supplies and other household chemicals. Paints come in several levels of VOC inclusion. The chemicals assist with the drying and film creation so they are essential to the finish of your paint. When used indoors, VOCs come off of the walls into the air for hours to days and even weeks.

At the store, you will notice there are several levels of VOCs in paints. While none are 100% safe immediately after painting, you should weigh the options of your job and how long you can be out of the room. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the levels of VOCs in paint and sets standards for emission acceptability. Some states set rules that are even more strict.

For the safest option, aim for a low or no VOC paint. They will be labelled as such and allow you to safely sleep in the room sooner. Here’s a breakdown of the paints.

Latex paint has fewer VOCs than other types of paints because it is a water based paint. For the most part, it is one of the safest traditional paint options.

Natural paints, while less sturdy, are more safe because they use natural ingredients. These include casein, chalk, citrus oil and linseed oil instead of chemical bases. While they will give off some VOCs, more often users find that they are bothered by the paint ingredients. If you have a sensitivity to some of the ingredients listed in the paint, you could still have reactions to them.

Oil paints are very durable but also have the highest level of VOCs because of their chemical based make up.

After you Paint

To find out how long to wait until fumes are safe, refer to the manufacturer directions. Most say that it is safe to sleep in a low or no VOC painted room within a few hours. To be completely safe, allowing the room 24 hours to ventilate will ensure harmful chemicals have mostly dissipated. You and your family will be able to sleep soundly.

Schedule with us

Bringing in a crew means you can get your room painted faster. While they can’t move fumes along any quicker, completing the project sooner means you can move your timeline up. Schedule a free, no-obligation estimate appointment with our crews today.