Painting is a simple, inexpensive way to freshen up or completely alter a space, but it can be inconvenient! Room painting takes time to apply and dry, causing concern when homeowners need to continue with necessary daily activities such as eating and sleeping.
Is It Safe to Sleep in a Freshly Painted Room?
So the real question is, how long will it be before things return to normal? How long after you paint a room can you safely sleep in it? Most commercial and home paints emit gases as they dry, and some of these gases are toxic. These harmful chemicals make it unsafe to sleep in a newly painted room. You must wait at least 72 hours after painting before sleeping in your room, and double-check to ensure the paint is fully dry!
There are several factors to consider when thinking about room painting. Are you painting one room or your whole house or apartment? Are you only painting your cabinets? If you are painting the bedroom, consider relocating your sleeping space to a spare bedroom or couch for a few nights until the paint dries. Painting your whole home at once can be more logistically challenging. Consider the clean-up time and the multitude of harmful toxins in the air. Can you divide your project into parts or stay in a hotel for a while until your home is safer? Both options are a better solution than sleeping in a freshly painted room.
What Affects Paint Dry Time?
Several aspects affect how long paint takes to dry. When comparing room painting, you will find that each room takes a different amount of time to dry. Here are some things to consider:
Type of Paint
Different paint types have a wide variety of properties. These properties make some paints suitable for external use, some more durable, and others have a higher gloss or sheen, amongst many other potential differences. These different factors can vary the dry time of each paint type. In general, if you need paint that dries quickly, latex paint is a good option.
Temperature of the Room
It is critical to start your room painting at the right temperature. If the temperature is too low, it will take longer for the paint to dry. About 60 degrees Fahrenheit is the lowest temperature you should paint at. Anything lower than that will take far too long to dry.
Humidity Levels in the Air
Your home’s humidity level impacts how long your paint takes to dry. If the humidity is high, don’t expect your walls to be dry anytime soon. It is essential to track humidity in warm months to ensure your paint can dry adequately. Alternatively, humidity-optimized paints were developed for high-humidity climates. These paints are often oil-based colors and are ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and other moisture-rich areas.
Air Flow Availability
Constant airflow is helpful to ensure that all fumes and toxins exit the rooms. If possible, keep windows and doors open to maximize air movement throughout the space. Fans and air conditioning are a great addition and can help remove those harmful chemicals, as well as help the drying process.
What are the Risks of Sleeping in a Freshly Painted Room?
Drying paint releases volatile organic compound (VOC) chemicals. These chemicals are toxic to adults, children, the elderly, and even your pets! VOCs off-gas as the paint dries, making it unsuitable to stay in the room for at least 72 hours after room painting. Here are some ways VOCs and drying paint can affect you:
VOC exposure is correlated to cancer in studies with cats and dogs. There are beliefs amongst the scientific community that VOC exposure can also be responsible for cancer development in humans.
Paint contains a multitude of chemicals – even water-based paints commonly lead to adverse allergic reactions. Those with latex allergies can have severe symptoms caused by latex-based paint. Additionally, VOCs can cause allergy-like symptoms such as teary eyes, rashes, hives, intense headaches, and eczema. These allergic reactions can also lead to further respiratory problems. Studies show that children exposed to VOCs are especially at high risk.
VOCs can damage your internal organs as well. Your thyroid, liver, and kidneys can be easily affected by VOC exposure. Your liver and kidneys are vital organs responsible for filtering and removing toxins from your body. Overwhelming them with VOCs can lead to organ failure.
Nervous System Damage
Paint fumes pass through your internal systems as you inhale them – through your respiratory system, cardiothoracic system, and onto your nervous system. They can seep into your brain, causing disruption in function and potentially leading to central nervous system damage. It can make you dizzy, cause brain fog, and even more severe problems such as memory loss or mobility and balance issues.
What Paint Types Are Best for your Health?
When trying to purchase paint, first check the labels. Often, paint labeled as eco-friendly means it has no or low VOCs. Without this label, assume it has high VOCs and that you should avoid sleeping around the new paint anywhere from 3 days to two weeks after completion.
A good rule of thumb is that water-based paints, such as latex paints, are lower in VOCs than oil-based paint. However, it does come down to composition and the number of grams of VOCs per liter. Consulting with a professional painting service such as Paintmaster Services can help you find the optimal paint for your home and budget while keeping your VOC exposure low.
How Paint Master Services Can Help
Room painting can be complicated, especially trying to paint your whole home! The edging, cutting in, rolling, drying, and clean-up processes are all time-consuming. If you want to sleep in your freshly painted house faster, Paint Master Services can help! Visit our website to get a free estimate for residential house painting. Let the pros at Paint Master Services take care of your interior room painting for you!