What is eco and natural paints

natural paints

Modern commercial paints are the product of the petrochemical industry and the formulations with which we are familiar today have been on the market for a comparatively short time. Before the postwar boom in thes industries, most domestic paints were ‘natural’ to some degree- although they may well have contained harmful
ingredients such as lead. Synthetic paints, on the other hand such as emulsion or latex paint, contain a high proportion of plastic. When you paint a wall with a coar of emulsion, essentially you are sealing it with a thin layer of plastic and compromising the wall’s ability to ‘breath- content of the paint means that it is static, which in turn
means that the surface will attract dust and bacteria.
Despite the heavily promoted practical advantages of conventional paint-ease of application, quick drying times, vast colour range, specialist textures and finishes –
increasingly we are counting the environmental cost. Ther are three serious issues: impact on human health, means of production and waste.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are found in most conventional synthetic paints (as well as seals and varnishes), and which offgas into the atmosphere affecting
indoor air quality, have been shown to cause allergies, asthma and skin irritations, as well as more serious disorder.

It is often impossible to tell exactly what chemicals paints formaldehyde, fungicides, bactericides and heavy metals are common additions. Polyurethane is presentin
most non-drip’ paints. It is estimated that about 15,000 different chemicals are used during the manufacture of paint, varnish and cleaning products. The sheer surface area
involved means that the effect of such ingredients is not negligible. Given that we spend a large proportion of our time indoors, that amounts to a significant exposure to
pollutants whose long-term effects are not fully understood.
Commercial paint production is extremely wasteful Like any petrochemical process, it devours fossil fuels. The production of polyurethane, for example, a common type
of varnish, involves a process fst results in 90 per cernt wastage. The waste is stored nks because there is no other way of disposing of it. scher is there a safe or biodegradable way of disposing of old or unused paint, which means that the toxic chemicals used in these formulations represent a significant pollutant.
Until the last decade or so, natural paint ranges were rather limited in colour and texture. This is no longer the case. Natural paint suppliers now offer a range of beautiful vibrant colours, either pre-mixed or made up using natura pigments. Different textures are also available and application has markedly improved. Best of all, natural paints are biodegradable and can be disposed of safely
without causing any damage to the environment.

PAPER

Wallpaper has seen a revival of interest in recent years, with large-scale motifs and photo-realist patterns supplanting more conventional ge1 ǐc and floral designs. Paper
comes from a natural ,roso resource and is eminently recyclable, which mears ihas wallpaper is an acceptable cover-up for the eco decorator, provided that the adhesives
and pastes used are water-based and natural in origin.
Avoid papers that are coated with vinyl to make them water-resisant, as wellas designs that feature blocked foil.

Greener still are papers woven from a range of natural fibres, including mulberry, hemp, arrowroot, jute, bamboo, seagrass, sisal and wildgrass. Most of these are overtly
textured, which adds to their appeal. Colours tend to be muted and neutral, with the exception of bamboo and sisal papers, which are available in stronger shades.

Greener still are papers woven from a range of natural fibres, including mulberry, hemp, arrowroot, jute, bamboo, seagrass, sisal and wildgrass. Most of these are overtly
textured, which adds to their appeal. Colours tend to be muted and neutral, with the exception of bamboo and sisal papers, which are available in stronger shades.

CLADDING AND PANELLING


Other options for interior decoration include cladding or panelling using solid materials. Wood is the classic example and many different types of format are available, from tongue-and-groove cladding made of softwood to hardwood- faced veneers. Tiles and mosaic – stone, ceramic and glass are also common choices, particularly for areas in the home, such as kitchens and bathrooms, where ease of cleaning and a high degree of water-resistance is required. For a soft, upholstered look, walls can be lined in fabric, which also has insulating qualities. Natural fabrics, which absorb moisture, are compatible with breathing ll construction.
As with all surfaces and finishes, the eco designer has to take into account whether the materialstion comes from a renewable resource, is low in embodied energy and recyclable, and whether the means of application andinstallation is environmentally friendly .
Depending on the material chosen, cladding or panelling walls and ceilings can add an insulating element Impervious materials, however, such as ceramic tile, may affect moisture regulation and cause a build-up of condensation. Many eco designers recommend that tiling extends only part of the way up the wall for this reason.

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