Can I still paint in oil based paints in New York?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A common question we are asked here at PNP Craftsmen is whether oil based paints are still permitted in New York, and the answer is YES. That is, if you want to use them for their unique advantages of durability and fine finsh, you most definitely can.

Until water based finishers were created, oil based paints were used for centuries in New York and around the world. The oil based paints that are used today are different and less harmful than those of yesterday, and still have several uses for painters, as well as artists.  In general, oil paint is well known for its durability, exceptional smoothness and reputation for being easy to clean.

Oil based paint is a form of slow drying paint consisting of small bits of pigment balanced in a drying oil. Rather than using water as a medium, oil paint consists of either natural or synthetic oils, as well as resins as a base. When compared to water paint, oil paint typically has a much stronger odor, and can take more time to dry. This is because oils dry by evaporation when exposed to air, rather than oxidation. Although oil paint is more durable than water paints, it is higher in VOC’s, otherwise known as Volatile Organic Compounds, which are the molecules that vaporize as the paint gradually dries. These increased levels in VOC’s are considered quite harmful to the environment and especially for those who work with oil paints on a regular basis.  This can become an indoor air quality issue in apartments, especially in the winter and if you are staying home while the painting is done. 

Consequently, from a collective effort, new laws were developed that aim to reduce air pollution in certain parts of the country. These VOC restricted affect New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and several other states. Both environmental and consumer demands along with advancements in technology have developed “low VOC” and “zero VOC” paints. These paints are widely available everywhere and carry out their durable performance without harming the health of its users and the environment. Thus, although these restrictions are present in New York City, oil based paints that meet the VOC restrictions are permitted to be used.  This means for the most part that the oil based paints are sold in quarts. 

When painting, interior and exterior coatings are placed into two general categories: water or latex based paint and oil or alkyl based paints. While both paints are used widely throughout the States, each form of paint has its pros and cons. Oil based paint is considered a traditional standard for ornamental and decorative painting that is suited for advanced techniques of painting today.  However, because of its slower drying time, the project may take longer because you may have to wait longer before recoating the surface. Oil paints are also considered to have an extremely durable finish such as a hallway, baseboard, or wall molding, which are all places that you might find yourself struggling with a vacuum cleaner quite often. Even though oil paints are durable, cleaning up after a project make take more than with water based paints. As mentioned before, oil based paints are less environmentally friendly than water based paints, and tend to have several safety precautions because the oils in the paint disperse fumes that are flammable.  Oil based paints can also yellow sometime quickly in the absence of sunlight or in the presense of certain chemicals. 

Here at PNP Craftsmen, we have the experience to use oil based paints efficiently, as well as the more environmentally friendly substitutions. 

For many projects, we  use Benjamin Moore’s Satin Impervo, a premium quality, oil based paint, that holds excellent leveling and hiding qualities.

PNP is also a Fine Paints of Europe Certified Painter, an American company focusing on high quality imported paints, all with exceptional level ing and durability and some with superior shine. With the Fine Paints of Europe, PNP has a variety of options for you to choose from when it comes to oil based paints. 

Although oil based and latex paints are distinctly different, all paints do share similar qualities. It is important for you to base your selection on the specific characteristics of a certain project. When understanding the difference between paints and selecting the right one for the job, it is good to know that you still have the option of painting with oil based paints in New York.  Either way the most challenging painting projects can easily become a stunning success.

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“Thank you both for all your hard work and taking care of Lane's bedroom. It looks beautiful and she will be absolutely THRILLED when she returns tonight. ” Michele A. , New York, NY
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