Will repainting with a low or no-VOC paint stop outgassing from prior paint?

Question

Will repainting with a low or no-VOC paint stop outgassing from prior paint?

Asked by Kelly Peterson

I'm moving into a new home that was just repainted to make it look more appealing. If I have good ventilation, will the off-gassing be an issue? What about painting over it with a low or no VOC paint stop the outgassing from the earlier paint? Similarly, new floors were put in that I am sure are not up to the flooring standards I would have chosen. Is there a safe sealant that I can use to cover over it?

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Answers

Jason Kliwinski's picture

Generally painting over prior paint will seal in the VOCs.

I would still suggest you vent the house for a couple weeks prior to painting which means windows open, fans on to circulate a lot of fresh air through the place and remove the VOCs. After about two weeks of this, you will have vented a substantial portion of any VOCs and can paint over and seal in the rest.

Regarding the new floor, it depends on what it is, wood, tile, painted or prefinished composite/engineered system. Without knowing what's installed exactly that is a harder question to answer.

For more information:

Debbie Sek recommends ventilation in her Q&A "Our painter used traditional paints instead of non-VOC. Should we strip the walls and start over?"

Read Steve Rush's Q&A "How do you remove or encapsulate non-green wall and floor finishes?"