Protective Measures while Painting: Safety and Gear
Painting is a relatively user-friendly home project if you take the proper precautions to ensure safety. This expert guide will help you get the job done safely. Painting a house is often perceived as a fun activity that not only revitalizes the environment of your home, it also increases its longevity by protecting it from wear and tear. However, before you head out to have a colorful day with family and friends, it’s important to note that painting a house can be dangerous. The materials used in paints that protect your home from the atmosphere can also be hazardous to health. Here at Painters in Austin, we're here to help walk you through this process.
For those who are eager to paint a house, here are some necessary precautions that one must take to keep it safe for themselves and others.
- Use safe equipment: Painting is just one part of the process and equipment is available to make your paint job as safe and easy as possible. Some of the items include: cloth or leather gloves for skin protection during sanding and scraping, eye goggles, glasses or masks to protect your face from chemicals, anti-dust masks to keep your lungs healthy, ear protection if your painting equipment is noisy.
- Take advantage of protective gear: When sanding or scraping, wear work gloves, a dust mask, and safety goggles. If you are using any solutions containing chemicals, such as strippers or cleaners, wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, and an approved respirator. Also, wear a respirator if the area being painted cannot be adequately ventilated and work for only short periods.
- Choosing the right kind of paint: When it comes to painting, it’s important to know what paint to apply and where. Many brands readily available for homeowners can create dangerous fumes caused by volatile organic compounds (VOC). Overexposure to VOCs can cause nausea, headaches and irritation. To reduce exposure, use only paints with low-VOC or no-VOC (in some cases 0-VOC) printed on the label indoors. There are basically three types of paints: Latex paint is water based. It has fewer VOCs than most others and is best for indoors. Natural paints have ingredients such as citrus, oil, chalk and casein and can emit some VOCs. Oil-based paints are highly durable and are best for outdoors. They emit the most VOCs, since they have a petrochemical base.
- General precautions: Further ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones by taking the following precautions:
- Pregnant women are advised to stay away from wet paint till it is fully dried and outgassed.
- Don’t mix painting with food, drink, or smoking.
- Keep children and pets away from painted areas and equipment.
- Use ladders safely.
- Keep painted areas and paints away from heat sources.
- Make sure there is ample ventilation available before, during, and after.
- Give painted areas 24 hours minimum and 3 days max to dry, keeping home dwellers from sleeping or working there until it’s safe.
- Beware of chemicals and poisons: Clean up carefully and thoroughly when you are done for the day. Don’t leave materials, tools, ladders, or rags in work areas that are accessible to children or pets.
- Avoid fire hazards. Do not paint or store solvent-based paint, thinners, or strippers near any heat source such as a water heater or fireplace. Never smoke while painting. Don’t use a heat gun indoors. If you use one outdoors, be sure you have a fire extinguisher handy. If rags have alkyd paint or thinner on them, leave them to dry outside on a non-combustible surface to avoid any chance of spontaneous combustion. Choose an area inaccessible to children and pets, and when they are thoroughly dry, take them to a toxic-waste dump site.
- Airless spraying with flammable materials may cause generation of static electricity. This will require grounding of both the spraying equipment and the object to be sprayed. Do not point an airless spray gun at any part of the body. Do not clean airless spray guns while there is pressure in the system. Inspect and clean all gauges, gaskets, and valves on all spray equipment to ensure that they are in good working order.
- Dispose of surplus paints and solvents by approved methods only. Removal of lead-based paint requires additional personal protective equipment, and air sampling to determine lead exposure.