Is It Safe To Stay In The House While Painting?

Is It Safe To Stay In The House While Painting?

You’ve finally decided to tackle that big painting project.  Your dining table is filled with paint chips, and you’re making a to-do list when you suddenly wonder about something:

Will it be safe to live in your house while the painting is in progress?  

At Pinnacle Painting, this is one of the most common inquiries we receive from clients.  And the answer is…

…usually yes, but it depends on the specific circumstances.  

Let’s take a closer look.  


What Are the Variables?

When it comes to the safety of living in a space that’s being painted, there are several critical variables to consider:


Paint Type

While modern paint manufacturers are consistently improving their safety standards, the fact is that paints do contain potentially harmful chemicals (not to mention the solvents and other products that may accompany them).  


Many interior paints are water-based (typically latex), dry relatively quickly, have a mild odour, and emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Others, like oil-based paints, emit stronger fumes and more VOCs.  They also take longer to dry.  


Be sure to read the safety recommendations on the paint you will be using–or talk to your crew if you’re hiring professional painters.


Scope & Timeline of the Project

Painting your basement bathroom is one thing; painting every wall, ceiling, and moulding in your entire house is quite another.  Consider the length of time and amount of exposure you’ll have to paint fumes.


House Layout & Ventilation

Once again, every painting project is unique.  Are you able to effectively block off the area being painted from the rest of the house? Work with windows open?  Or use central fans to dissipate the fumes and increase drying speed?  Each of these factors will impact the safety of spending time in your home while painting is in progress.


Health & Age of Residents

Consider the needs of the people who live in your home.  While some individuals may find paint fumes a non-issue, those who are sensitive to odours or prone to headaches, respiratory problems, or dizzy spells may find it best to make arrangements to be out of the space.  Babies, pregnant women, and elderly individuals should also be extra cautious of exposure to chemicals.


Making a Plan

Based on the variables above, you should be able to make a plan that will suit the needs of your specific family and project.  At Pinnacle Painting, we recommend educating yourself about the type of paint being used, planning at least some of the painting for while you’ll be at work or out of the home for other reasons (or wearing a mask if you’ll be doing the work yourself), giving paint sufficient time to dry (anywhere from 4-24 hours, depending on the type of paint), maximizing ventilation, painting the house in sections, and taking proper health precautions for anyone who may be at high risk of reacting to paint fumes.


In most cases, it is safe and possible to stay in your home while it’s being painted (at least partially), but it’s important to assess the specifics of each project before getting started.  


Looking for professional painting contractors in Winnipeg?  Give us a call at Pinnacle Painting today!