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Safer Renovation Choices (Paints, Finishes, Carpet Washes and More)

We are doing a massive renovation at our house. Right now, we are living in a one room cabin with an outhouse, resident mouse, and possibly a bat (and oh, a one and a three year old) while our house is gutted.

Part of keeping the cost down is that we will do all our own painting and finishing of any wood.

So, we are on the lookout for low and no VOC paints and finishes to use. What are VOCs? Jessica shares about them earlier today and the virtues of new no VOC Mythic paint. Paints, finishes, primers and stains can all contain VOCs which causes indoor air quality to decline, putting little children at a greater risk of many health problems. According to Enviroblog:

“According to the EPA, immediate health effects include headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, loss of coordination, asthma exacerbation and nausea — all of which may sound familiar to you from the last time you painted a bedroom, dyed your hair, or waxed the car. Possible longer-term effects include liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage, and cancer. “

In additon to Mythic paints, there are some other options, including products by AFM’s Safecoat. They are comitted to environmental sustainability and health (including indoor and outdoor air quality and safety). Safecoat has a wide range of products including paints and primers, stains and finishes, clear finishes and carpet care products, as well as a new personal care products line.

I know I’ll be looking at using both Mythic paints and Safecoat products for our walls, floors and kitchen cabinets. We’ve already used a clear finish on our wood floors and they have held up quite nicely.


  1. I am in the process of repainting (basically) my entire house, while we are living in it, and I have been using The Freshaire Choice (available at Home Depot nationwide). It’s quality is high, and it is no voc in the paint or color additives. I moved my son back in to his room the same day that we painted, something I would have never thought of doing using more “traditional” paints.

  2. Yes, but Freshaire, like other no-VOC paints, still contains chemicals known to the Sate of California ot cause cancer.

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