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Taking odor out of painting projects

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(ARA) - Homeowners can scratch off one more concern from their list when tackling a painting project: Nearly every paint manufacturer now offers no-odor or low-odor alternatives. Combined with sensible steps to reduce odors and speed drying, painting today doesn't have to be the stinky business your parents experienced.

Home improvement expert Gordon Blickle notes that painting is a growing trend in decorating. "In today's market, homeowners are staying in their homes longer and redecorating more," he says. When decorating, homeowners want simple, low cost, but dramatic home improvements to renew and personalize their space. As a result, Blickle notes, "changing and upgrading room colors has become one of the hottest decor trends."

But with all this decorating, exposure to chemical fumes has opened the door for a new wave of smart paints, caulks and spackling that please the nose as well as the eye.

Decorating with a clean conscience
Traditional paints create chemical fumes that can harmfully affect people - and the environment. Chemical fumes can affect the earth's ozone layer and increase hazards to those with breathing problems.

Eliminating these fumes to protect air quality is a hot-button issue for lawmakers. Local, state and federal laws now limit chemicals that affect air quality, and legislators have helped reduce volatile chemicals in paints and coatings dramatically in the past decade.

Choose healthier, zero-VOC products
In most paints, caulks and spackling, the drying process means chemicals like ammonia and mineral spirits evaporate into the air. They can irritate many people and even prove dangerous for small children and people with asthma and chronic respiratory conditions.

Many popular water-based paints and caulks emit these odors, produced by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals that are now limited and in some areas, virtually eliminated. While not completely odorless, new zero-VOC water-based latex paints have extremely low odor. Coupled with Smart zero-VOC primers, caulks and spackling, painters and homeowners now have the ability to create a complete zero-VOC painting project.

Air it out and start early
When beginning a painting project, open windows and doors for proper air flow. Create cross-ventilation by opening doors and windows outside the room. While that may mean spreading the fumes throughout the home, good ventilation means that odors will be gone faster. Add fans and a dehumidifier for even faster drying and reduced fumes. Keep doors and windows open during the entire drying process.

Time of day can make a difference too. "Since most of us want to close up our homes at night," Blickle adds, "painting in the morning will give you the longest time for drying paint to air out."

Clean up right away ... with water
A final way to lower fumes and odor is to seal containers immediately and clean up painting tools right away. Most brushes, roller covers and other painting tools are reusable, saving you money and keeping them out of landfills. The longer they air-dry, the more paint fumes escape into the air your family breathes. If you clean them immediately, you can use water; waiting means either using smelly mineral spirits, or throwing them away.

The removal of VOCs and odors from paints, caulks and other painting necessities creates a healthier and more pleasant way to decorate. Painting projects have never smelled so sweet.

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