How to Stay Safe While Painting
Although painting is not generally considered to be a dangerous home improvement job, there are some tips you can follow in order to make sure you stay safe. Just as with any other type of home improvement or repair project, a few safety precautions can sometimes make the difference between a quick and easy job and one that ends in disaster.
Always Follow Label Directions
Whenever you paint or use paint preparation products, make it a point to carefully read the label directions before starting on the project. There might be safety precautions mentioned that you might not be aware of, such as ventilation requirements, or warnings about not allowing contact between the product and your skin.
You should also be aware of any first aid measures that you might need before you start to use the product, because if an accident occurs, it will then be too late to read the label. You will also need to read the label in order to know how to use the product, and what solvents or other products you will need to clean up with after the job is complete.
Always Have Plenty of Ventilation
Although some paint products create more fumes than others, no matter what product you are using, you should always make sure to have adequate ventilation in the area where you are working. If you don’t have access to fresh air, such as in rooms without windows, use fans to pull the fumes out of the room, or use personal ventilation equipment. In addition to keeping yourself safe, good ventilation will also help the paint to dry more quickly.
Choose the Right Paint for the Job
Never use any paint designed for strictly exterior use for the interior of your home. Additionally, although in some cases alkyd or oil paint are preferable for durability, such as when you are painting kitchen cabinets, try to use latex paint and low VOC products whenever possible. Not only are these products generally less hazardous for you to use, but they are also better for the environment.
Additional Painting Precautions
You should always be especially careful when using ladders or step stools while painting. You should also take frequent breaks while painting, and avoid becoming too tired or dehydrated. Women who are pregnant should never paint, and should stay clear of any vapors from wet or drying paint. Always use drop cloths, not only to protect surfaces from paint, but also to absorb any spilled paint so that it doesn’t become a slip hazard.
Store and Dispose of Paint Properly
After you are finished with your painting project, you will need to either carefully store the leftover paint, or dispose of it properly. If you feel you need to keep some spare paint for touch-up purposes, save only what you actually need, and make sure to carefully label it and close the container tightly.
When disposing of excess paint, you should always check with your local government, in order to find out what the regulations are. Although in some communities latex paint can be disposed of as part of the regular trash pick-up, there are sometimes special regulations, such as making sure the paint is completely dry in the can, or there might be a special recycling program in place for paint.