Many homeowners in Newton and surrounding Boston suburbs want to know—can you sleep safely in a freshly painted room? You probably already know if you take a deep breath over a paint can, you'll likely feel headachy or dizzy. But can those paint fumes be more harmful than simply giving you a headache?
It's wise to be cautious around fresh paint that is full of VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. A VOC is a gas that various products or processes emit into the air. They're both dangerous on their own and when they mix with other pollutants to form new gasses.
So, no, you don't want to sleep in a freshly painted room unless you've used low-or-zero-VOC paint products. It takes time for VOC paint fumes to dissipate.
The Type of Paint Makes The Difference
First, you can choose a safer alternative like low VOC, zero VOC, or oil-based paint. If you use a low VOC paint you can sleep in the room the same day it's painted as long as the paint has dried. The paint smell will likely linger, so be careful if you're sensitive to smells.
If you really need to sleep in the painted room on the same day, make sure you let your painters know this information so they can make the needed adjustments. For example, Benjamin Moore makes a great quality zero VOC paint, called Eco Spec. Sherwin Williams makes a similar product called EcoSelect. If you communicate these needs to the ProTEK Painters team, we can be sure to select these paints for you.
The only downside about low VOC or zero VOC paints is that these paints are considered to be "premium," which means that your paint job will be a little more expensive.
Massachusetts VOC Laws
Massachusetts limits VOCs. For example, primers and bonding agents sold in the state of Massachusetts are limited to 200 g/L. The state even regulates VOCs in repair products like painter's putty.
As a homeowner, you don't need to pay attention to this. If you live in Arlington, Auburndale, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chestnut Hill, Jamaica Plain, or anywhere else in our service area near Newton, MA, then any paint sold in the local area should adhere to these regulations. Certainly, any paint that we bring to your home will.
Nevertheless, it's possible to live with even fewer VOCs than state regulations permit simply by using paints labeled as low VOC, zero VOC, or oil-based paints.
How Long After Painting Can I Sleep in a Room?
Even if you choose zero VOC paint, we'd recommend allowing the paint to dry before you sleep in any room. This helps protect you from fumes and protects your paint job from smudges and handprints.
Water-based paints take roughly four hours to dry. Oil-based paints take roughly 24 hours to dry and require ventilation to dry safely. Oil-based paint is generally going to be a higher-VOC option.
Sleeping in a room after the low VOC paint is dry is a good guideline for healthy adults. If you're one of the 1.3 million people in Massachusetts who suffer from respiratory problems, you should wait two to three days. You should also wait two to three days if the person sleeping in the room is a child or elderly person.
What Are The Harmful Effects of Breathing Paint Fumes While Sleeping?
Breathing paint fumes in your sleep can lead to severe respiratory problems, including asthma attacks, breathing difficulties, and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Breathing in these fumes may also lead to headaches, a loss of coordination, and nausea. In addition, VOCs are also known to damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.
You can be aware of these symptoms and take action against them while you're awake, but when you're asleep, you'll tend to be unaware of them, and so remain exposed for far longer. This can lead to long-term complications, even death in rare cases.
Effects of Paint Fumes on Children, Pets, and the Elderly
Paint fumes will impact children, pets, and the elderly far faster, and these groups may suffer longer. They're also at the highest risk for death after sleeping in a freshly painted room.
It's a good idea to let a room dry out for two to three days if a child or an elderly person is expected to sleep there.
A Safe Interior Paint Job in Newton, MA
When you choose ProTEK Painters, you're choosing an environmentally-friendly house painting company who will work with you to ensure that your interior paint job is as safe as possible. We'll help you choose the paint options that best meet your goals and project time table.
House Painting Service Area
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