Inspiration

LOW VOC AND WATER-BASED PAINT: WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Every tin of paint in the Annie Sloan range is the result of Annie’s fine art and colour expertise. Her colour palette is inspired by some of the most beautiful interiors from around the globe and it might be safe to assume that choosing the perfect one for your home is first on your list of priorities.

It is also likely that the eco-friendliness of the paint is another important consideration for you. With some companies making claims about selling “eco-friendly,” or “green” paint, you might be thinking: Does that really exist? And how “green” is Annie Sloan paint?

Annie Sloan Chalk Painted Outdoor Chairs in Olive Side by Side and Green Plants in Background
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Low Voc Paint Used on Shelves and Plant Pots against an Athenian Black Chalk Painted Wall

It’s important to us at Annie Sloan to be open and honest about the ever-evolving practices involved in making our range of paints the best they can be: for you and for the planet. So, here are the facts:

All paints in the Annie Sloan range – Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan, Annie Sloan Wall Paint, and Annie Sloan Satin Paint – are water based and contain low VOCs.

And if that doesn’t make things any clearer, let’s get into it:

WHAT ARE VOCs? AND WHY IS LOW VOC IN PAINT IMPORTANT?

VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, are essentially solvents, emitted as vapours into the air from certain products or processes. VOCs are present in lots of things commonly found in the home: from deodorants to carpets, not just paint.

Some VOCs can be harmful to the environment. But there are minimal levels (i.e. less than between 0.1% and 0.29%) in our Chalk Paint® and Satin Paint, and low levels (1.35%) of VOC in our Wall Paint. And even this is unavoidable. Which brings us quite nicely to our next topic:

ZERO VOC VS LOW VOC?

You might have seen some companies claiming that their paint contains “zero VOCs.” The British Coatings Federation (BCF), unfortunately, consider this to be a false claim. They say:

“It’s impossible to ensure that every batch of paint is completely free of VOCs  [as even water can contain trace amounts of VOC] just like it is impossible to ensure that every batch of a chocolate bar is nut-free because of the potential for trace nuts to be introduced at any point throughout the supply chain.”

However, the BCF have recently (as of May 2022) adopted the use of “trace” in regards to VOC levels in paint. We’re in the process of making some changes to our formulas in the hopes of achieving this rating for all paints in the Annie Sloan range soon. Watch this space!

WHAT IS WATER-BASED PAINT? ARE WATER-BASED PAINTS ECO-FRIENDLY? 

Water-based paint (as the name suggests!) uses water as its primary solvent. It contains low levels of VOC in comparison to solvent-based products. These typically contain high levels of VOC. For this reason, it’s considered the more eco-friendly paint choice. The BCF also notes lots of other benefits to water-based paint:

  • It has a quicker drying time
  • It has less odour
  • Easier clean up from brushes and rollers

More on that last point: Washing solvent-based paint from brushes requires the use of white spirit or solvent-based brush cleaners. These, in themselves, release VOCs when used. They’re also difficult to dispose of because of their hazardous nature. You can rinse water-based paints, on the other hand, with soapy water. This makes the entire decorating process more eco-friendly (and simpler!)

All paints in the Annie Sloan range are water based. They’re also certified Toy Safe and have at least an A, if not A+ (i.e. highest possible), EU indoor air rating.

Overall, we’ve designed and manufactured our range of Annie Sloan paints to give you the utmost confidence in our pigment-rich colours, unparalleled coverage, and environmental considerations. We also constantly re-evaluate our production processes as technology develops to ensure we’re at the forefront of planet-friendly paint production!

And ultimately, claims of “eco-friendly,” or “green,” paint you might see from some other companies are often just marketing claims used to entice eco-conscious customers. At Annie Sloan, we know you care about the environmental impact of the paint you choose to use in your home. And in order to respect that, we’ve chosen to only use statements about our paint that can be proven.

Read more of our FAQs, here!

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