Is there any way to "seal in" VOCs in floor paint?

Asked by Aaron
Columbia, MO

We recently rented an apartment that has a new coat of Valspar oil-based porch paint (claims 380 VOC) in two of the rooms, including the room of our 10-month-old daughter. Is there a coating we can put on to trap the VOCs? Do we demand the paint be stripped and repainted with low-VOC paint? Can it be painted over? What would you recommend?


Olga G. Alvarez, LEED-AP ID+C

Answered by Olga G. Alvarez, LEED-AP ID+C

Cooper City, FL

Project Coordinating Services, LLC

October 27, 2010

According to the EPA, indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air and paint finishes usually release toxic emissions for several years after their application.

The VOC levels of this Valspar product are high when compared to Green Seal standards for paints and floor coatings.

  • There are many manufacturers that provide low or no-VOC alternatives, and you may want to check manufacturers' recommendations on whether their product can be applied over the existing coating.
  • You may want to negotiate with your landlord to have them refinish/strip the floor and let you purchase and apply a more eco-friendly floor finish.

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?"

Tagged In: home air quality

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