Breathing keeps houses healthy and safe to live in by letting moisture out from the walls. Over time, houses have been decorated inside and out using plastic-based paints. Whilst these paints look fine and work well to start with, the walls beneath begin to suffocate. This is because the paint creates an impermeable covering. In time, the walls begin to deteriorate.
A suffocating house tends to be damp, and the paint blisters and peels away from the walls. This happens because as buildings heat and cool, or as they settle into place, the movements cause small cracks to form in the walls. The cracks are actually harmless, but when water gets inside them and can’t get out again the problems will begin. When the water gets stuck inside the wall, and tries to escape through non-breathable layers of paint it builds up to cause damp and blisters, and it can completely push parts of the wall covering off.
Older masonry houses are particularly vulnerable to these problems because of the bigger gaps between the stones and other materials, but brand new houses also need to let out moisture.
There are a few ways to help a house to breathe, and one of the best is to paint them with breathable paints.
What is a breathable paint?
Breathable paint lets water out of the wall without the paint blistering and peeling away. It’s got no plastics or petrochemicals to clog up walls and make them suffocate, and it’s made up of natural ingredients like water, clay, and chalk. Whilst this is great for the walls, it’s also doing our health a lot of good, too.
How are breathable paints good for you?
Lots of common paints contain chemicals called Volatile Organic Compounds (usually called VOCs). VOCs are known to be harmful to health and can affect the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and some have the potential to cause cancers. Exposure to VOCs can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, dizziness, and breathing problems. Existing allergies and asthma can be affected by breathing in the chemicals, too. It’s VOCs that give common paints the typical ‘paint’ smell, but even for years after the smell seems to have gone the chemicals are still given off by the paint unnoticed by anyone, and are still potentially very harmful. The difference with natural paints is that they contain very low amounts to absolutely no VOCs at all so both you and your home can breathe easily.