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Old 03-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #1
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Question Painting and Asthma

I would like to paint my apartment. Honestly, it needs it. However I am concerned about paint fumes and possible asthma episodes. My asthma is very, very mild and I have never gotten an asthma attack from paint before. But I when smell apartments that just got painted, I get concerned.

-Is there an allergy test for paint?

-I know of paintsí volatile organic compounds (VOC)óthe lower the better. My super mentioned they use oil-based or water-based paints and the water-based ones are better. But do they have lower VOCs?

Any and all information is greatly appreciated.

 
Old 03-10-2011, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: Painting and Asthma

Most of the major paint manufacturers have low VOC paints. There are even some that are called something else but I forget. Go to one of the major retailers - Sherwin Williams or someone like that - and talk to them about what's available. Latex paints are easier on you than oil based. Unless you want a high gloss finish on the walls and trim, latex is better anyway. A top retailer should let you do a smell test to see if it bothers you. I have mild asthma and latex paint doesn't bother it - causes me to sneeze and bugs my allergies but not my asthma.

Also you could premedicate with your albuterol before painting if you think it still might be a problem.

 
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: Painting and Asthma

Hello,

I am an artist who has been painting for over 30 years. Home Depot has a new brand of paint that is designed just for the purpose that you need. It comes in beautiful colors and is very safe with minimal impact on the environment during the painting time. The name of it slips my mind at the moment, but it has a "natural" type name to it. It is new, and is displayed prominently in the paint department. I am sure anyone in that department would be able to show it to you.

There are also a few tips you can use to minimize the effects of any paint project that I can share with you.

Paint in the daylight hours, where you can open up as many windows as possible for cross ventilation. Have fans keeping the air moving, without directly blowing it on the freshly painted surface. Take breaks where you step outside every half hour or so, to clear you airways for 5 minutes or so. You can wear facial masks, but unless it is a high quality one they do not capture much of the emissions from the paint, and in my case they drive me nuts while wearing them. if you have glasses, forget it! Allow as much time as possible before "moving back in" to the room. Stay very well hydrated before and during painting.

I would definitely not use an oil based paint if you do not have experience with it. it requires thinner to clean your brushes, it can be quite noxious and takes much longer to dry. There are wonderful latex paints that come in various sheens, from flat to satin, to gloss to medium gloss. Typically the high gloss paints are reserved for areas that need heavy cleaning or are exposed to elements such as heat, steam, such as bathrooms, baseboards, doors...but all of these do fine with water based paints.

While oil based paints will always have their place somewhere, residential house painting has steered away from it years ago. Enjoy your new paint job... I just did the same thing to my room and bath, and I never want to leave the room anymore! A little color can fill our hearts with joy...

 
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:29 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Painting and Asthma

Titchou and writeleft, thank you both for not only the wealth of info but the quickness of your replies.

My landlord would be contracting for the painters and, like most landlords, would squeeze a nickel til Jefferson cries . I am not in the financial position to buy the paint myself.

I definitely agree, writeleft, about the paintjob's new color. My wife and I both concur a new color would be more enjoyable.

Thanks again to you both.

 
Old 03-11-2011, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Painting and Asthma

You are quite welcome! That is what we like to do here.

Will you get to pick the color? If so, I would go bold, as color is so powerful and can influence every day you wake up in it. I just did a three tone ocean themed palette, using three shades of blue/green which makes me never want leave my room!

If you landlord is that practical type, which they usually are, nothing is better than fresh coat of paint, no matter what the color!

Even better to know that you do not have to be present while the painting is going on, and no need for respirators or direct contact with the paint or solvents. I hope it turns out great!

Last edited by writeleft; 03-11-2011 at 02:39 PM.

 
Old 03-12-2011, 06:18 AM   #6
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Post Re: Painting and Asthma

Quote:
Originally Posted by writeleft View Post
You are quite welcome! That is what we like to do here.

Will you get to pick the color? If so, I would go bold, as color is so powerful and can influence every day you wake up in it. I just did a three tone ocean themed palette, using three shades of blue/green which makes me never want leave my room!

If you landlord is that practical type, which they usually are, nothing is better than fresh coat of paint, no matter what the color!

Even better to know that you do not have to be present while the painting is going on, and no need for respirators or direct contact with the paint or solvents. I hope it turns out great!
Really good question about if I get to pick the color. I don't know. I'll ask my super and/or landlord. This is the first time in my life I am arranging painting of an apartment. When I lived with my parents, Dad did everything himself. My personal fav is a nice, relaxing sky blue. I am not sure what the Mrs. wants. I'll get her input. We just started kicking around the painting idea and I first wanted to do research on paint and asthma/allergies. Hopefully we have some say in the color but even if it's another round of white, like you said: nothing is better than a fresh coat of paint!

Thanks for: "I hope it turns out great!"

 
Old 03-12-2011, 10:14 AM   #7
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Re: Painting and Asthma

Are you choosing the painter?

A few tips there...make sure the prep is done correctly, it should be about 75% of the entire job. Once you see the paint going on, the job will be done shortly. The better the prep, the better the job, as with almost anything.

The walls should be prepared by filling any holes or damage to the walls with putty, lightly sanded, and primed.

The baseboards should be removed as well as all outlet covers, trim, door knobs, and windows should be taped off. The floors should be covered in drop cloths, avoiding any spills.

Trim, baseboards, and doors are typically painted in a gloss paint, whether it be semi gloss, high gloss, or whatever is in between. This goes for any high use are that needs to be cleaned of fingerprints or marks.

If you do get to use color, i would suggest getting a sample of the color just to see what it looks like on the wall. It can be scary to see that little color on a big wall. Paints will often dry lighter or darker, depending on the paint, so wait until it dries to see if you like it. The store I use has $3.00 samples, which can really save a lot of money if you choose the wrong color.

You can see how excited I can get about painting! I love it. And again, I am happy to help.
Janet

 
Old 03-12-2011, 06:33 PM   #8
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Re: Painting and Asthma

Baseboards removed? WHAT? I have never heard of such. If the painter is good enough to cut in around the doors, he can handle baseboards. In fact, I'm on my 4th old house and I'd rather do baseboards more than anything because they are so easy....

 
Old 03-12-2011, 09:37 PM   #9
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Re: Painting and Asthma

My preference is to remove the baseboards so the paint comes right down to the floor, then either repainting the baseboards or replacing them. It leaves a nice clean finished look. I have wooden floors, so that might be the difference. It is less a matter of being a good painter, as being a thorough one.

Of course, we all have out own preferences. Taking the baseboards up is very easy as well as putting them back down. In my last project, I had the base boards painted white, and all the trim, with the walls a deep color.

There are as many ways to paint, as there are painters to paint.

Last edited by writeleft; 03-12-2011 at 09:56 PM.

 
Old 03-13-2011, 08:44 AM   #10
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Re: Painting and Asthma

Interesting. Since the landlord doesn't want to pay for low VOC paint I would seriously doubt he's pay the labor to remove and reinstall baseboards though.

And you must use different construction methods there than we do in this part of the country. We also have shoe mold against the baseboards where there are hardwoods. I'd hate to risk damage to the hardwood finish by removing those along with the baseboard. Besides, it would be double work as you'd need to separate them.

Sorry we'e seemed to have lane swerved here!

 
Old 03-15-2011, 10:22 AM   #11
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Re: Painting and Asthma

Quote:
Originally Posted by writeleft View Post
Are you choosing the painter?

A few tips there...make sure the prep is done correctly, it should be about 75% of the entire job. Once you see the paint going on, the job will be done shortly. The better the prep, the better the job, as with almost anything.

The walls should be prepared by filling any holes or damage to the walls with putty, lightly sanded, and primed.

The baseboards should be removed as well as all outlet covers, trim, door knobs, and windows should be taped off. The floors should be covered in drop cloths, avoiding any spills.

Trim, baseboards, and doors are typically painted in a gloss paint, whether it be semi gloss, high gloss, or whatever is in between. This goes for any high use are that needs to be cleaned of fingerprints or marks.

If you do get to use color, i would suggest getting a sample of the color just to see what it looks like on the wall. It can be scary to see that little color on a big wall. Paints will often dry lighter or darker, depending on the paint, so wait until it dries to see if you like it. The store I use has $3.00 samples, which can really save a lot of money if you choose the wrong color.

You can see how excited I can get about painting! I love it. And again, I am happy to help.
Janet
No, I couldn't see how excited you get about painting . I appreciate the info. It's good because that way when I talk to the landlord and/or painter I have some knowledge.

I haven't called the landlord yet. I am in the middle of job interviews and my wife is caring for her mother. We have to figure out our schedules.

 
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