When to Use Low VOC Paints, And When Not To

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Among the many painting and coating options available for industrial painting projects are low or zero VOC coatings. You may have wondered whether low or zero VOC paints are right for your job. To help with that question, here are some considerations for when it might be a good idea to use low/zero VOC coatings and when they may not be the most appropriate coating choices.

When to Use Low or Zero VOC Paint
Of course it is always better to avoid pollutants like VOCs whenever possible, but since this is not always possible it can be helpful to know what situations especially call for these paints. Aim for low or no VOC...

  • When seeking LEED certification tax credits incentives — California has a lot of incentives for LEED building points. Depending on your city, these can range from permit fee waivers to significant tax breaks.
  • Where paint fumes pose a problem for a work space — That fresh paint smell may be pleasant to some, but can cause annoyance or even health problems for others. When painting a work area where you’d rather not interrupt work, the lack of fumes in low or no VOC paints may allow for continued productivity.
  • In parts of California with stricter VOC limits — As seen on this chart, various parts of California have set different VOC limits for particular painting and coating materials.

When Not to Use Low/Zero VOC Paint
Many painting contractors have found low or zero VOC paints to be disappointing in quality for industrial painting projects. This was mainly just true of early low VOC products, but some current low VOC products remain less than ideal for certain applications. Consider not using low/no VOC paints...

  • On some industrial facility ceilings — Low/zero VOC paints may not adhere or cover well over the residual oils that can build up on industrial ceilings. Unless these can be completely removed in surface preparation, it may be better to use a solvent-based paint.
  • Over existing oil-based coatings — Low/zero VOC paints don’t tend to bond well onto oil-based surfaces. Thorough surface preparation can remove the existing coating, but unless it is being completely removed, low VOC options may not work.
  • When low VOC versions are of inferior quality — Today, low and zero VOC paints can be made as well as other paints, but there are still some poor ones out there to avoid.

For further questions on industrial painting, consult with the experienced painting contractors at Cor-Ray Painting Company. Based in Santa Fe Springs, CA, Cor-Ray provides superior industrial painting for the L.A. region, statewide and nationally. Call us at (562) 906-9770 or click here for an estimate.

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