What Is Low VOC Paint?

Do you ever feel as though you’re not quite in the know, especially in terms of what paint to choose? We’re sure you’ve probably heard the phrase low VOC paint, but do you know what that means? If you’re looking to be more environmentally friendly and really consider the air quality, this is definitely something to look into. When shopping for paint, you’ll likely see ‘low VOC’ on a lot of cans nowadays.

 So, if you’re looking to get a breakdown of what low VOC paint is all about, keep reading!

First Off, What Does VOC Mean?

VOC stands for “volatile organic compound”. Do you know that new paint smell that a lot of us know and love? VOCs are partially responsible for that. Only these carbon-containing substances, found mostly in various building materials, also let off gasses that can be harmful to people as well as the environment. So, with that in mind, the government now regulates them.

 In products such as paint, VOCs can actually assist in how they dry and the quality of application, like minimizing streaking. The big issue with VOCs though, and why they’re now regulated, is that there have been studies that have confirmed that interior painting use can cause health issues.

 The thing is that the potentially harmful gasses aren’t released just during application or the drying period, but over time. So, that’s something to keep in mind when picking out the paint for your next interior painting job.

Benjamin Moore Aura Interior Paint

Low VOC Paints

 When you see paints labelled as “low VOC,” they should contain fewer than 50 grams per litre of volatile compounds. That is if it means the Green Seal standards. It’s still important to consider that when it says “low VOC paint,” it’s simply lower in comparison to other paints. You’ll find that most low-VOC paints are latex based.

 Most of the popular paint brands, like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Dulux and Para, all have low VOC paint available. So, next time you’re considering what paint to choose for your next interior painting project, have a look at the label. You might be surprised at what it tells you.

Ultra Zero VOC by Dulux
Para Premium Zero Eggshell

Zero VOC Paints

Another label that you might find near the low VOC paints is zero VOC paint. Now, this doesn’t technically mean that there are absolutely no VOCs contained in this paint. When you see the label zero VOC paint, it means that the level of VOCs falls below the government-regulated standard. This is usually at or below 5 grams of volatile organic compounds per litre.

 For zero VOC paint, it’s important to consider that when you add pigment to it, that will usually increase the amount of volatile organic compounds. Usually by at least 10 grams per litre. You might also consider some natural paints for your interior painting, such as milk paint or chalk paint, as they contain no VOCs.

Top Low VOC Paint Brands

1. Benjamin Moore Natura®

Benjamin Moore’s Natura line is among the most respected low VOC paint options. It carries the Green Seal GS-11 certification, undoubtedly making it a leading choice for health-conscious individuals and green thumbs alike. This paint boasts zero VOCs and is available in various hues, catering to a broad array of stylistic preferences.

2. Sherwin-Williams Harmony®

Harmony by Sherwin-Williams is a zero-VOC option described as “a paint that helps promote better indoor air quality.” It’s a long-lasting, high-performance paint that comes in many colours and two finishes – flat and eggshell. Furthermore, this line includes a formula that helps to eliminate common indoor odours, making it an excellent pick for house spaces.


3. Behr Premium Plus®

The Premium Plus line from Behr is a low VOC, GreenGuard Gold-certified paint line. It boasts excellent coverage, durability, and finish, making it a great choice whether you’re redesigning your interior or adding a fresh splash of colour. Plus, it has many colour options and various finishes to fit every aesthetic taste.

Pros and Cons Of Low VOC Paints

There are many things to consider when you’re thinking about using low VOC paint for interior painting. First off, your family’s health and the air quality in your home will be better. And nowadays, you should be able to find premium brand low VOC paint options at many paint distributors around you.

 They offer little odour during application and even while drying as well. And though it depends on the brand, you might find some that require more frequent applications. But in this day in age, there are plenty of low VOC paints that offer up great durability and long-wearing applications. So, there’s no reason not to seriously consider low VOC paint for your next interior painting project.

Benefits of Low VOC Paint

1. Improved Indoor Air Quality

Traditional paints release high levels of VOCs into the air as they dry, leading to poor indoor air quality. On the other hand, low-VOC paints emit far fewer harmful compounds, reducing indoor air pollution and promoting a healthier environment.

2. Lower Health Risks

Exposure to VOCs can pose health threats like headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, and even more severe conditions in the long run. By opting for low-VOC paint, you minimize these health risks.

Painter Painting With Roller

3. Reduced Environmental Impact

VOCs are known to contribute to the creation of ozone, a prominent air pollutant. By choosing low-VOC paint, you help reduce the release of these pollutants, making a positive contribution towards environmental preservation.

4. Better Home Value

Home buyers and tenants nowadays are conscious of their living spaces’ environmental and health impacts. A property that has been painted with low VOC paint has the potential to increase in value due to its reduced impact on the inhabitants’ health and the environment.

Painter Painting the Trim

5. Beautification and Safety Combined

Low VOC paints come in a variety of colours and finishes. So, be it a bright, vibrant shade or a subtle, elegant hue, you can make your walls stunning and safe simultaneously!

Incorporating low or zero VOC paint into your home or workplace is not just about following a trend but about considering health, supporting the environment, and promoting overall well-being. With all these benefits, it’s clear to see why more and more people are choosing low VOC paint for their painting projects.

Also, check out Ecos Paints to learn even further about eco-friendly interior design.

If you’re in need of some interior painting inspiration, head over to our Pinterest page!


Of course, if you aren’t feeling up to the extra work, why not let Home Painters Toronto take a load off your back? With over 36 years of painting experience in residential and commercial house painting, call us NOW at 416.494.9095. Or shoot us an email at Brian@HomePaintersToronto.com to get a FREE estimate for your interior painting project and consultation about what paint to choose. Allow our professional house painters to handle all the hard work for you! And don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below!