Posted on March 23, 2015 by
The Modern Fiance and I a few months ago bought a 100-year-old house that, despite being in pretty good shape, has needed a little updating a lot of greening. One of the first big things on our to-do list was painting. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve lived in a place that needed some painting. In fact, the last time I painted anything there was no place I knew of locally that sold low- or zero-VOC paint — it was only available to me if I ordered it online. I like to test paint out before committing, so that really wasn’t an option.
Boy how things have changed. The Home Depot sells Freshaire Choice VOC-free paint. Lowe’s sells VOC-free Olympic paint — really every paint store I’ve been to lately had VOC-free options. It’s great to have choices. But like most green home products, my concern was whether the quality would hold up compared to the VOC-heavy paint options.
For this weekend’s painting project, the MF and I settled on a gallon ofBenjamin Moore Natura paint, available at our local BM outlet. Benjamin Moore is a top-of-the-line paint, which means you pay a little bit more for the Natura paint ($50 per gallon) than you would for, say, The Home Depot’s Freshaire Choice ($35 per gallon). We’d heard good things about Natura though, and it was available in every single color offered by Benjamin Moore — basically every color under the sun — whereas the Freshaire Choice colors were much more limited. Plus, we were able to grab some Natura samples in a few different colors so we could settle on the color we wanted.
I grumbled a little bit about the cost until I realized what good quality paint we were using. It went on smoothly and easily covered our very uneven plaster walls, much to my surprise. Because we were going from a deep red color to a soft gray, we ended up priming before the color went up, but I think most paint projects could get away without primer and just one coat. It dried very quickly too — by the time we had made it all the way around the room, we could start on our touchups. And either I’m just turning into a better painter as I get older or the Natura paint just looks better on the walls than paints I’ve used in the past.
Non-VOC doesn’t necessarily mean odor free, but the scent of the paint was very, very minimal. We painted the whole room without feeling lightheaded from the smell. We didn’t need to crack a window by the time the walls were covered, (which is good, because our 100-year-old windows don’t really open anyway!)
I guess the important thing to say here is that I’d recommend Benjamin Moore Natura paint, even if it wasn’t eco-friendly, so I’m really, really glad it fits into our commitment to make our old house more green.