Paint, varnishes, waxes and other finishes

From reading publications such as The Owner Builder, Earth Garden, and Renew we had learnt that  paints and varnishes were chiefly made from petrochemical derivatives, had high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and could outgas for years after being applied. We also knew that this time we did not want to go down that path which we had merrily trodden many times in the past without realising. (before perusing such publications as the above).

A google of “Green paint” led to www.greenpainters.com.au which is a very thorough website with lots of information about voc’s, outgassing and lists of suppliers of different kinds of environmentally friendly coatings.

After visiting most of the websites and making comaprisons we came to the conclusion that if we were going to to the renovation properly then a totally natural coating would be our way to go rather than just low voc paints. Three manufacturers came to our attention. Bio Paints, Livos and Volvox.

Much downloading of information later we compared the different products looking at their Material Safety Data Sheets (MFDS), coverage rates, ingredients (which funnily enough natural paint manufacturers have no problem in listing and standard paint manufacturers are very reluctant to!), prices, were primers needed? and availablity in Tasmania. We decided that we liked the look of the Volvox Clay Paint range made strangely enough from clay. At the same time we were looking for products to put on our Tasmanian Oak floors and Volvox also make a hard oil wax finish that is applied very sparingly and dries in a very short period of time.

We looked for Tasmanian suppliers of Volvox but found none and only a couple that supply Livos Paints. Most of our information and comparative pricing between the products was found at Colours By Nature  a company based in Queanbeyan, NSW, and at Painted Earth, based in Northern NSW.

The next stage was to order some samples of the clay paint. They were only 100ml samples. We had ordered them from Colours by Nature who were very helpful both on the phone and by email. The colour charts they sent came in a couple of days but the samples took nearly two weeks. Colours By Nature were extrememly apologetic and refunded us the cost of the samples and explained that they were having issues with the warehouse where the samples came from.

The samples went onto the walls and ceiling very nicely with great coverage and a fantastic natural feel and look. The only smell present when applied was a faint one of vinegar. We then ordered tenlitres of Mont Blanc and ten of Ivory as well as 2.5 litres of Volvox Hard Wax Floor Finish. This is put on at a rate of 20ml per square meter and has a two hour drying time.

Cost wise the paint was only marginally more per ten litres than good quality acrylic paint from the hardware store and the floor finish was expensive at $185.00 for 2.5 litres but it should be enough to do the whole house so in the long run we will end up with a house with no voc’s and a great natural finish for not very much more cost that buying from traditional sources.

The paint was dispatched to Tasmania by Australia Post and arrived within four days of ordering.

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