Thinking Green

Tinting Colorant Can Add VOCs to Paint

By: Danny Lipford

Low or no Voc (Volatile Organic Compound) house paints are great, since they have little odor and limit harmful chemicals in the air. But tinting the paint often defeat the purpose by adding unwanted VOCs back into the paint.

To make sure the air in your home is VOC-free, use factory tinted no VOC paint, or paints that use a VOC-free colorant, such as Freshaire Choice paint.

Watch this video to find out more.

Video Transcript

Do you remember this simple trick? Nothing here . . . and now there is! I know, it’s a pretty cheesy effect, but it’s how some paints are handling their volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s. They go to all the trouble of a manufacturing process that removes any VOC’s from the paint, but once you add the tint, there they are again.

There are more companies making low VOC paint, so you should still have plenty of colors to choose from without adding additional tint. Just remember, when you purchase a low or zero VOC paint, you need to choose one with a pre-mixed color you can live with. If you have the paint pro add any tint, you’re defeating the purpose and, paying a little more for something you’re not getting.

Making sure those VOC’s disappear may not be as exciting as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but it’s still a great vanishing act.


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  • Barbara Costin Says:
    February 24th, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I painted a concrete floor in a laundry room using a major brand of paint. I called their customer service department to ask what type of paint to use and any other information that would help me with the project. They gave me their recommendations and i followed them to the letter. That was back in August/September of 2017. In early January of this year, I began to notice an odor in my home but couldn’t determine what it was or where it was coming from. Over the next 4 weeks, the odor became stronger and more elusive. I had painted several (wooden) floors within my home and thought that they might be the problem. The same paint that I used in the laundry room, I also used in one of those two rooms, four months after I painted the floor in the laundry room. I spoke with their customer service department again to ask if they could recommend another product that would have less odor and they recommended a 1 part epoxy that would have less odor. So, I painted the second room with the 1 part epoxy which did have less odor. The odor in my home itensified in early February of this year, and as a result, I had to leave my home for several weeks. Long story short, the concrete laundry room floor was the problem. After reading everything I could find regarding VOC’s, I was convinced that VOC’s was causing the odor. I had a bad case of Conjunctivitis in both eyes during this period of time, so that pretty much locked in what caused it. I spoke with their customer service department asking for help to correct the problem. They transferred me to a Claims Rep. who gave me a claims number, which was surprising to me since I did not say that I wanted to lodge a claim. Anyway, someone called me back the following week, we discussed the problem. I told them that the fumes were coming off the laundry room floor like waves and I wanted to know how to fix it. And this is what the Claims Rep , “There is no way that the odor is coming from the paint! It has a odor when you’re painting and for several weeks while it is curing. But after that, the paint is hard and does not emit an odor. According to what I’ve read since that conversation, he actually lied to me. These paints can emit VOC’s for up to six months and beyond. I live in a sick house.
    I’ve had someone come in to try to remove the paint with a low VOC stripper which hasn’t really worked (what a mess). Even tried sanding but that generated cement dust that invaded my home. I stopped it before the fix became more dangerous than the original problem. As my last desperate effort, I’m going to try a sealer and pray that it works. Thanks for letting me ramble on. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please comment.


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Tinting Colorant Can Add VOCs to Paint