Painting a house is often perceived as a fun activity that not only revitalizes the environment of your home, it also increases its longevity by protecting it from wear and tear. However, before you head out to have a colorful day with family and friends, it’s important to note that painting a house can be dangerous. The materials used in paints that protect your home from the atmosphere can also be hazardous to health.
For those who are eager to paint a house, here are some necessary precautions that one must take to keep it safe for themselves and others.
#1 Keeping Safe from Lead Poisoning
The U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) developed a user-friendly guide for all home owners to follow. An online copy of this guide is available for free at the LEAD PAINT SAFETY FIELD GUIDE
#2 Using Safety Equipment
Painting is just one part of the process and equipment is available to make your paint job as safe and easy as possible. Some of the items include:
- cloth or leather gloves for skin protection during sanding and scraping.
- eye goggles, glasses or masks to protect your face from chemicals.
- anti-dust masks to keep your lungs healthy.
- ear protection if your painting equipment is noisy.
#3 Choosing the Right Paint
When it comes to painting, it’s important to know what paint to apply and where. Many brands readily available for homeowners can create dangerous fumes caused by volatile organic compounds (VOC). Overexposure to VOCs can cause nausea, headaches and irritation. To reduce exposure, use only paints with low-VOC or no-VOC (in some cases 0-VOC) printed on the label indoors. There are basically three types of paints:
- Latex paint is water based. It has fewer VOCs than most others and is best for indoors
- Natural paints have ingredients such as citrus, oil, chalk and casein and can emit some VOCs.
- Oil-based paints are highly durable and are best for outdoors. They emit the most VOCs, since hey have a petrochemical base.
#4 General Precautions
Further ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones by taking the following precautions:
- Pregnant women are advised to stay away from wet paint till it is fully dried and outgassed.
- Don’t mix painting with food, drink, or smoking.
- Keep children and pets away from painted areas and equipment.
- Use ladders safely.
- Keep painted areas and paints away from heat sources.
- Make sure there is ample ventilation available before, during, and after.
- Give painted areas 24 hours minimum and 3 days max to dry, keeping home dwellers from sleeping or working there until it’s safe.