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Welcome to The Painters Library. An easy to search venue for healthy sustainable finishes.
We have found that the most effective way to get the job done right is to not get poisoned while painting! So, while performance is mandatory we measure that with healthy sustainable finishes. Our open bias is towards Earthpaint coatings because they are usually the best. Yet, this library will focus on ingredients so people can make an informed decision, no matter what product is selected.
There are paint review websites in disguise. These sites may recommend only products they sell on other sites. That’s just misleading. We want people to choose the best coating for them, regardless of what product it is. But there has to be a way to make an informed decision. So, The Painter Library is a place where people can learn about the raw materials in coatings. As well as the best way to coat things. Health and Sustainability must be taken into account. Sacrificing a painters health just to have a pretty house is simply unacceptable.
The best coating for a project is a determined by what the best options are. In order to discuss non toxic coatings it can be necessary to compare them to toxic coatings. To talk about methods that work we have to talk about methods that don’t work. So we look into the most toxic of all possible chemistry for certain coatings and compare that performance to less toxic alternatives. When carefully crafted, a healthy sustainable finish is ALWAYS going to outperform something that is watered down for profit. This is simply because a well crafted formula will have more quality material in it. It will take into account performance, health and sustainability.
For instance, we don’t use lead in paint anymore. Lead is natural and was a great drier in oil based paint. It has other effects on mold and such that made a great paint. Compare that to a healthy sustainable coating. Lead is replaced with a non toxic drier like a zirconium. The end result, when carefully crafted, is a less brittle coating that may actually last longer, since it has less tendency to chip and peel. There is a trade off. The dry time is slower. Dry time can be accelerated if needed but it’s important to decide in advance, “Do I want my surface to dry one day faster or last 5 years longer?” “Do I want to use lead regardless of the toxicity, just so my coating dries a day faster?”
People don’t generally think in these terms when strolling down the aisle to select a paint. Usually, it’s “grab the fastest drying, cheapest paint you come across.” The assumption is that toxic paint works better. To disprove this (where appropriate) we look at it.
We offer reviews and side by side comparisons of other coatings but avoid mentioning other manufacturers by name. It is better to review the paint and stain ingredients than to name a manufacturer. Many of our customers have used other finishes in the past and they often have questions about those specific products. Generally, we address those products if asked but again, going by the ingredients is still the best way to decide on a coating to try.
Testing and comparing that coating on your specific project is the best way to make a final decision.
A word on paint companies and the “big box” distribution model. It’s easy to want to place blame on paint companies who put the health of others at risk unnecessarily. However, after decades of scrutiny, I cannot find any evil paint companies. They are almost entirely staffed by good, hard working, well intentioned people. The problem comes when profit is placed ahead of the “right” decision. For instance, using ethylene glycol in any consumer based paint today is just a “wrong” decision. Most companies have replaced this highly toxic ingredient for safer alternatives. Those who still use ethylene glycol probablyl use it to offer a cheaper product.
Going down the aisle of the local big box store, look at the labels. If the ingredients don’t meet the need don’t buy it. If the ingredients aren’t listed – don’t buy it! It’s also important to know that NONE of the premium coatings I know of are sold in big box stores. What we generally see in big box stores are watered down versions of a once good product. Most “Mom and Pop” stores with quality products are are online now.
Painters Rule of Thumb:
“Always select the best coating to get the job done right, in the fastest most effective way.”