Natural Paints and Stains Alexander City AL
Pell City, AL
New Market, AL
Natural Paints and Stains
|YOLO Colorhouse paints were |
created from old recipes using such ingredients as lime, clay and milk solids.
Check the list of ingredients on a can of natural paint and you just might be surprised by what goes into its makeup. Soybeans, corn, milk protein, citrus peel extract, bee’s wax, and rosemary, sunflower and eucalyptus oils, as well as clay, marble, lime and pigments made from rocks, minerals and earth are among the many materials used to make natural paints and stains.
Compare these ingredients to materials used in conventional water-based latex paints, which are often formulated with solvents and additives designed to enhance various application and performance characteristics. As conventional paint dries, these materials evaporate and release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can have short- and long-term adverse health, as well as environmental, consequences. That new-paint smell many homeowners notice is actually the vapors of VOCs being released into a room.
While the odor of drying paint may recede in a day or two, outgassing can continue for days or weeks, often resulting in headaches, dizziness, allergic reactions or irritations of the eye, throat or lung, as well as more serious medical conditions.
By comparison, most natural paints and stains off-gas little or no VOCs, so they help ensure a healthy indoor air quality, which is especially important in homes with children, pregnant women or allergy sufferers. In addition, natural paints do not contain mold-inhibiting biocides, which contribute to the toxicity of solvent-based paints. Commonly, manufacturers of natural paints disclose all the ingredients used to manufacture their products, so consumers know not only what is not in a paint or stain but also what specifically is in it.
Natural paints and stains can be applied much like conventional paints. However, some products, such as milk paints, come in a powdery form, since they can spoil easily as a liquid, and must be mixed with water in the home before use. In addition, some natural paints and stains might lack some of the workability and durability characteristics of latex paints but look very attractive on walls, often conveying an Old World aesthetic.
Many natural paint manufacturers note that their paints are handcrafted in small batches to ensure high quality, and as a result can cost more than conventional paints. It’s important to remember, though, that with the extra cost comes a number of benefits: a healthier home, an environmentally friendly product and often a unique finished appearance and softer texture. With these thoughts in mind, here are some options to look for when choosing natural paints and stains.
Auro Natural Paints and Finishes
Working under the sponsorship of the German Federal Foundation for the Environment, one of the largest foundation trusts in Europe and a financial backer of innovative environmental projects, Petaluma, Calif.-based Auro USA has developed and tested its line of paints, lacquers and varnishes to ensure the absence of toxic materials such as solvents, petrochemicals, biocides, softening agents and the like. The company has also strived to develop durable, longer-lasting paints, which it believes adds to their sustainability.
Auro notes that one of its newest interior wall paints, called Air Fresh, contains a special combination of raw materials, including lime and natural pigments, that are designed to act as a catalyst, so that when exposed to light, any odors and air pollutants present in the pair are split into neutral substances. In addition, due to its alkaline content, it inhibits the growth of spores, viruses and bacteria.
Auro also makes an economy-oriented Natural Wall Paint that contains such ingredients as kaolin (a soft mineral used in ceramics, medicine and toothpaste, as well as paint), chalk, linseed oil, orange oil, rosemary oil and eucalyptus oil. For use in humid or mold-prone areas of the home, the company also offers a solvent-free, breathable anti-mold paint. Natural wood stains and satin enamels, as well as stripping paste, primers and exterior wall paints, are among Auro’s other eco-friendly products. For more information: 707-763-0662 or www.aurousa.com .
BioShield makes a wide range of paints and stains, including naturally colored clay paints available in both bright and natural colors; solvent-free wall paints that apply easily over gypsum board, Sheetrock, plaster, masonry or concrete walls; casein milk paints that come in a ready-to-mix power form (just add water); and solvent-free color washes that provide a silky, watercolor look when applied to gypsum board, plaster, stucco and other surfaces.
BioShield’s color washes are made from such ingredients as clay, Carnauba wax and silica, while the milk paints use casein milk solids, clay, asbestos-free talcum, salt and lime, among other ingredients. Lime is a natural antiseptic and helps in resistance to mildew and mold.
BioShield also makes Kinder Paint, designed especially for children’s rooms. The paints are made with chalk, marble and cellulose, among other ingredients, and contain no preservatives, VOCs, anti-microbial agents or ethylene glycol.
The Santa Fe, N.M.-based company also makes natural wood stains, floor and furniture finishes, oil primers and thinners, household cleaners and soap, and color pigments derived from rocks, minerals and the earth. Most of the pigments provide brilliant tones, disburse easily, have high resistance to ultraviolet light and weather well, the company notes. The paints sell for about $40 a gallon. For more information: 800-621-2591 or www.bioshieldpaint.com .
Green Planet Paints
Emphasizing the “organic beauty” and performance of its natural clay paints, Green Planet Paints uses simple materials in the manufacturing process, including clay, marble and cellulose. In addition, the company uses a soy-based resin as a binder rather than the petroleum-based resin used in standard latex paint.
Though the raw materials used in clay paint make it softer than conventional latex paint, clay paint generally applies like conventional paint. It can be rolled or sprayed, has an earthy smell when wet and feels smooth and soft when dry. The company does offer some tips when applying clay paints, such as diluting a second coat for easier application, and always maintaining a wet edge, rather than cutting in an edge (along a ceiling, for instance) and letting it dry before finishing a wall.
To retard fading over time as well as to keep the paint natural, Green Planet Paints uses mineral pigments for tint, rather than conventional tints, which are based on synthetic petroleum products. The paint, which is washable, is available in interior flat in 43 colors, for about $40 to $50 a gallon. For more information: 520-394-2571 or www.greenplanetpaints.com .
Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company
While its original Milk Paint products were generally formulated for use on porous surfaces such as wood furniture or masonry, the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company has recently introduced SafePaint, a milk paint designed for use on nonporous surfaces, such as previously painted walls or Sheetrock.
Like the original Milk Paint, it comes in a powder form and must be mixed with water using a portable kitchen beater or drill paint paddle before use. (Once water is added, the paint needs to be applied or it will spoil.) And like Milk Paint, it is formulated from natural ingredients, including milk protein, lime and mineral pigments. It’s also organic and biodegradable as well as permanent, durable and nonpolluting.
Unlike original Milk Paint, however, SafePaint does not have an uneven, mottled, Old World look, but rather is flat, more uniform and consistent over a large area. It’s also more water resistant than the original Milk Paint, and is washable once it has cured. A clear sealer can help improve its durability, especially if it’s used in humid or high-traffic areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
SafePaint comes in 20 colors, which can be mixed together to create additional colors. It’s also available in a base for those who want to add their own pigments. SafePaint is priced at about $10 a pint, or $46 a gallon. For more information: 978-448-6336 or www.milkpaint.com .
A number of other comp??anies manufacture natural paints, including the following:
YOLO Colorhouse. Concerned about the effects conventional paints have both on the environment as well as on the health of homeowners, Virginia Young and Janie Lowe, who are painters and plasterers by trade, began to make paint using old recipes, incorporating ingredients such as clay, lime and milk solids. The result was YOLO Colorhouse, which now offers a wide range of flat, eggshell and semi-gloss interior and exterior paints in 53 colors. YOLO Colorhouse Inside Paint, for instance, is a low-odor, zero-VOC acrylic paint that has no harmful chemicals and no added solvents. Green Seal-certified, it is available for about $40 a gallon. For more information: 877-493-8275 or www.yolocolorhouse.com.
SoyGuard Wood Treatment Products. BioPreserve’s nontoxic SoyGuard water-repellant sealers and stains for exterior wood are made from soybeans and completely biodegrade in 30 days should accidental spillage occur during application. The low-VOC products are nonflammable, do not serve as a food source for mold and mildew, and offer protection from swelling, warping and other water damage. Surface protection is guaranteed for up to two years. They are priced from about $30 to about $40 a gallon. For more information: 814-454-0328 or www.soyguard.com.
AFM Safecoat. Putting the health of homeowners first, AFM Safecoat paints, stains, sealers and finishes are made from natural ingredients such as limestone and kaolin clay. What you won’t find in the paints are materials such as solvents, heavy metals, chemical residuals, formaldehyde and other harmful preservatives, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone and odor masking agents. Recently, AFM Safecoat also launched its Ayurveda Essence palette of 108 earth-oriented colors, which greatly expands choices for homeowners. For more information: 619-239-0321 or www.afmsafecoat.com.
Freelance writers William and Patti Feldman are based in New York.