|House washing, gutter cleaning
and render repairs
removal and anti-graffiti coatings
Painting is a highly
hazardous occupation, some of the materials we use can be
seriously toxic. When sanding/scraping old paint, I try to
contain and collect the debris and dispose of it properly.
Lead paint is a popular issue nowadays, and rightly so,
though it is by no means the only toxic substance we need to
deal with and try to protect ourselves, our clients and
their neighbours from.
Oil based glossy paints on trim are easier to use,
have better coverage, there is greater margin for error, so a
lot of painters use them without worrying about health effects
for themselves or the residents. Oil based gloss also looks
smoother and is slightly harder wearing than its water based
alternatives. On the other hand, oil based paint is more
susceptible to yellowing, fading, cracking, mould and rot. It
acts as a vapour barrier and doesn't allow trapped moisture to
With regards to the paint itself, I always recommend lower
VOC alternatives for interior projects.
When I do need to use oil based paints, I go to great length
to minimize my (and my workers', if any) exposure to the toxic
fumes. Powered air-purifying
respirators are the most practicable means to
this end. Of course the residents will still be exposed to the
However, I recommend water based alternatives (Dulux
Aquanamel or similar) for interior woodwork, which offer
similar results, but are much less toxic, though they require
more skill, patience and greater attention to detail. I have
also experimented with Zero VOC paints and endorse them
happily, especially to customers with breathing allergies and
other relevant health concerns.
On exterior surfaces, particularly in the harsh Australian
summer, modern water based acrylic paints provide the best
protection, especially for wood, largely because of their
flexibility and permeability.