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Vacuuming the ceiling – or why there are issues with some eco paints - Richard Bradford [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Richard Bradford

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Vacuuming the ceiling – or why there are issues with some eco paints [Jun. 2nd, 2009|10:11 pm]
Richard Bradford
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“What are you doing, Daddy?”

It’s the hottest day of the year so far. I’m standing on the edge of the bath, desiccating my inner nostrils with the rising exhaust heat from our vac, as I suck curled flakes of eco paint from the bathroom ceiling.


“No, don’t do that bit” screams my six-year-old. Too late. She sullenly informs me that I’ve just dpeeling paintisfigured beyond recognition the dog’s face she’s been imagining in the bare plaster left behind when the last lot of peeling paint was hoovered off.


I’m a self-confessed eco-nerd, and this whole ceiling peeling drama represents one of the very few regrets I have in following my green dreams to their ‘natural’ conclusions. When we moved in about 5 years ago, I was adamant we’d try really hard to only use eco materials in the very necessary tarting up of our apartment. I opted for the eco-paint supplied by a lovely bunch of French guys in Brighton. Even though the price per litre teetered on the brink of  Farrow & Ball fancy stuff, I was seduced by his offer to taste the paint before I bought it. The point being that the oils used are so very non-toxic, that it’s almost a culinary pleasure. The subtle earl grey tones of the bergamot oil convinced me that this was the paint for us. I recommended it to my eco-minded Brightonian mates, and generally sang its praises as I slapped it on joyously.


The argument with traditional paint generally is that it is full of volatile organic compounds, or fairly nasty resins and binders, colouring agents, metal oxides and gawd knows what. Similarly, the greenie’s argument is that paint creates many more litres of waste for each one litre which makes it into the can. So I was smug in the knowledge that the waste from my paint would simply be perfuming the sewers back in Germany where it was made.  I was also informed that the paint was micro-porous, so that it would breathe, and therefore be perfectly suited to the steamy bathroom it was destined for.

If you care to learn lessons from my misfortune, I suspect where I went wrong was in PVAing the plaster before painting. Any road up, w
ithin about six months, the two coats had begun to crack. Whilst this initially added to the shabby chic look, when the first bit fell off, the look was more ‘ell’s bells than Elle Deco. And, until recently we had imaginary dogs on the ceiling when viewed from the loo through the eyes of a child. I wouldn’t mind if we had a recognisable image of Jesus Christ, that we could flog to Take a Break for enough prize money to cover the price of a pot of Dulux Azure Fusion chemical nightmare.

How paint is made:




From: davey_monroe
2009-06-03 12:36 pm (UTC)

Don't buy dodgy French paint, eco or otherwise

Sounds like you were unlucky with your choice of paints. Either that, or painting directly onto plaster (or onto your PVA coating) in a very damp environment was a bit of a howler.

But nobody should be put off buying eco friendly paint on the basis of this misfortune. We've used Ecos paints throughout our house (including the bathroom) and they've been fab. Easy to put on, no smell at all and not as expensive as you might think. I can't fault the stuff.
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[User Picture]From: richardbradford
2009-06-03 02:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Don't buy dodgy French paint, eco or otherwise

I completely agree with you DM. I also don't want to dissuade people from going for eco products, and also accept this could be a one off incident down to some sort of stupidity on my part. If any eco paint specialists could put me right, I'd be grateful. Also, would you care to name names, and say which eco paint you'd recommend? Part of the reason I pva'ed the plaster first was that when I painted onto bare plaster in another room, it took so much paint and needed many coats.

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From: (Anonymous)
2009-06-03 06:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Don't buy dodgy French paint, eco or otherwise

The paints that we used were made by a firm called Ecos - check them out at www.ecospaints.com

Apparently, their paints are so good that a number of not-particularly-green painters and decorators use them as a matter of course.

Best of luck with your decorating,

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From: (Anonymous)
2009-06-05 07:43 am (UTC)

For eco paint try 'Ecos' Paints

When it came to decorating the whole interior of our refurbished home two and half years ago I plumped for Ecos Paints based in Heysham, lancashire.

The white matt and silk have worn very well with just two tiny flecks on the ceiling of a small shower room. They clean pretty well too.

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[User Picture]From: richardbradford
2009-06-05 09:38 am (UTC)

Re: For eco paint try 'Ecos' Paints

Thanks Paul. Much appreciated.
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[User Picture]From: richardbradford
2009-06-30 08:49 pm (UTC)

Ecos paints update

You'll be pleased to know that I instructed our company decorators to research ECOS paint, in the run-up to our office refurb. We've got an environmental policy in place which attempts to steer us to environmental best practice. Apart from that, we didn't want headache inducing offgassing in the office, as we all have to work there too.

Well specifying a particular brand of paint for a job is hardly difficult, is it? From what I understand though, getting a contractor to adopt it, like it, enjoy using it and be pro the change is a different matter.

The main man of the contracting outfit - I'll call him Mr T - said usually anything new gets totally rubished by painters, and they tend to want to stick to what they know. Others have also said that typically eco products have a bad reputation for not being as good as "regular stuff". I was talking to my friend Alice over the weekend, and we agreed that the challenge ahead was for green stuff to be every bit as good in terms of quality and reliability, as the nasty stuff people know and trust.

Well here's the breakthrough. I'm very pleased to report that the guys who've been painting our offices over the last 4 days are reporting that coverage is excellent, and that they're getting the kind of mileage per litre that they'd expect from a tin. The benefit is very little smell, and as Mr T points out, usually they're having to add in more chemicals to surpress the odour, and by the time they've paid for that, it's probably about the same to simply buy the ECOS paint. The first coat of our Magnolia-ish paint (Amaretti) has made a good job of covering a fairly deep purple emulsion.

I really do think the time has come for contractors to give it a go. If you're painting day in, day out, it has to be a lot better for their own health too.

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