What is a VOC?

If you do any amount of research into paint products, you will likely come across the term VOC. If you’re not entirely sure what that is, this blog post is for you. Today we will define what a VOC is and whether or not you should be worried about them during your paint project. 

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VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are a large group of chemicals that are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. These compounds are commonly found in household products, such as paints, cleaning supplies, and air fresheners. While some VOCs are harmless, others can have harmful effects on human health and the environment.

To address these concerns, there have been a number of regulations put in place to limit the amount of VOCs that can be used in certain products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set VOC limits for certain categories of products, such as architectural coatings and consumer products. In addition, some states have implemented their own VOC regulations, which can be more stringent than federal regulations.


Many modern paints are labeled as “low-VOC” or “zero-VOC.” However, these labels can sometimes be misleading or outright meaningless. You will want to do some research to make sure the products you use are truly low-VOC or VOC-free. Heritage Custom Painting only uses premium low-VOC products.

That being said, most paint products these days are safe to be around short term. You may notice a bit of an odor, especially if you have an interior project being done. However, these fumes dissipate within a few days and pose no long-term threat.

If we are using a product that is a bit stronger, like a shellac primer, we will inform you so you have time to make the proper accommodations. Our technicians wear respirators during the application of this product, and the homeowner should not be in the house on the day it is applied. 


If you’re still worried about VOCs, the best thing to do is work with a professional paint contractor. A skilled professional will know what products are safe for you and your home.

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