Green Paint – June 2006

Having recently bought our house in the parish we are obviously keen to make our mark on it. And that means painting. We are keen to think green at every step so investigated what that meant with house decorating. After all, we had little idea what actually made up paint; we guessed it was petrochemical based but beyond that?

We started delving into the wonderful world of, for want of a better word, ‘green’ paints. Let me share with you what we discovered. Firstly what green paints are not. Well, they are not all green (sorry couldn’t resist). They are not organic as such, since this definition could describe crude oil! They are not fairly traded, since they are produced either in the UK or the continent.

What they are generally described as are natural paints. They come in many different forms and the better catalogues will describe what they do and don’t contain e.g. solvent free, natural pigments, no petrochemicals, even vegan friendly! They tend to contain less synthetic chemicals, are produced in a less energy intensive way and work with the building i.e. some are designed to help the wall breathe, thus helping reduce damp.

So, we found a supplier, bought some and started; admittedly on the smallest room in the house. We started with a claypaint which went on so well we barely needed a second coat. The colour is fantastic and the big surprise is that there is absolutely no smell.

Well, there is no stopping us now and we don’t buy anything but green paints. Every sort of paint you could desire is available, from matt emulsion to outdoor wood stain, you can order online to save the scrum at the DIY store and it doesn’t cost the earth (no more eco puns I promise). Other eco-friendly decorating tools include a water based paint stripper which works incredibly well without even the need for gloves.

There are a few drawbacks but they are very minor. With outside green paints you have to keep an eye on the weather so you’ll need a couple of dry days and a relatively warm period for the gloss wood paints. But that’s fine, all part of working with rather than against nature. And you cannot buy these paints at the traditional DIY store, though I imagine they will catch on eventually. The two best suppliers we’ve found are;

  • The Green Shop, 01452 770629, www.greenshop.co.uk
  • The Green Building Store, 01458 854898, www.greenbuilding.co.uk