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Thinking of Painting?

Tips on painting in a safe and efficient way, including the advantages of choosing low-VOC paint.

Stuck in the house, staring at the walls tends to result in a trip to the local home improvement store for some paint supplies. If you’re seriously considering a fresh coat to your interior walls this winter season, keep in mind a few tips to reduce waste, cut air pollution and get a high quality finish:

Measure your space to determine the amount of paint you need to purchase. (Length of the room multiplied to height of the walls subtracting the surface areas of the doors and windows) Generally, one gallon will cover 350 square feet if it is applied to primed or previously painted surface.  If you are covering darker shades with lighter paint, you will usually need an extra coat.  Most people use a different shade on baseboards and door frames so be certain to subtract these areas from the amount you purchase.

Now that you have an idea of the amount you need, you should avoid purchasing too much and this reduces the amount you may not want to keep when your project is complete. Good measurement equals waste reduction. Keep this in mind when you see the five-gallon bucket is slight less than five one-gallon cans but you only need three.  The three is actually going to save you time and money!

Always choose Latex Paint! Latex paint is better than oil-based paints, stains and finishes because it is less toxic, cleans up easier, is less prone to fading, can be used on a wider array of surfaces and tends to dry faster.

As you shop, narrow your choices to Low-VOC or No-VOC Latex paint options.  Both of these paints are available in a high quality, one-coat cover guaranteed varieties. VOC means Volatile Organic Compounds, which are potent air pollutants, causing harm to the environment, a variety of possible immediate health issues and depending upon length of exposure, increased chance of cancer in animals and humans. (More info at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html

Keep your receipts and if you do have left over unopened paint, return it to the store.  If this is not possible, consider donating it to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. 

Left over paint should be stored where it will not freeze. Affix the lid and store upside down to prevent air leaks from ruining the paint. This will allow you to use it for touch ups for many years. However, if you must get rid of the paint, please know that the BEST way to dispose of unwanted paint is to use it up. Put on an extra coat or simply paint something else.

If you can’t use it up, recycle it at one of the participating Ace Hardware stores that charges a fee of $2.50 per gallon to recycle all types of Latex paint.  Some stores even offer discounted “recycled paint” such as Ace and ReStore.

For more information on paint disposal, visit the Will County website: http://www.willcountygreen.com/greenguide/latex.aspx and enjoy your next paint project!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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