After posting a link to the NYT's article reviewing no VOC paints, Hue readers spoke up with all sorts of juicy details about their own experiences with low to no VOC paints. I thought I would compile them here for an easy reference. Thanks for sharing, everyone! It's this collaborative dialogue that we've got here that I absolutely adore.
(disclaimer: since I have not tried all these paints, I can't personally vouch for their value- just passing on info from others, for what it's worth)
Benjamin Moore Aura (low VOC)
People (including yours truly) have been happy with results
thick enough to fill in the hairline cracks in old plaster walls
Props for Affinity color palette
Some did not care for the surface quality
Smell was pretty much non-existent (reminiscent of Play-Do)
Colors were not as rich as would have liked
less expensive than Aura
dries super fast
great value; above builder's grade but not quite a designer paint
Virtually no smell within 1 hour
Great surface quality -- a velvety texture
Excellent "hiding" quality that improves the look of walls
(now known as Glidden Professional as they were bought out)
good surface quality
Some say more odor, others say none
Loves eggshell finish, and hears the matte is nice too
coverage and workability is awesome
tough as nails
Super quality coating
Will do custom colors keyed to Pantone
large paint chips available
almost no odor
hardly any smell at all
more limited range of colors, but palette selected carefully
One important consideration: ask your paint retailer whether the tinting process adds VOCs to a zero-VOC product. Some do, thereby totally negating the whole no-VOC goal.
Jane Freiman, founder of AtticMag, makes an excellent point, "There's so much really good paint out there I don't think it is easy to generalize. So it's a matter of good for what?"
Yes, volatile organic compounds are important to consider when you are purchasing a paint. But don't forget the surface quality after your paint dries. What is left behind, and how that performs over the long run, is equally important. Also, color range varies from brand to brand, something to keep in mind. Sometimes, deeper colors are harder to produce in the low to no VOC formulas. It would be fun to compile Hue readers experiences with the different palettes across various brands, to discuss where the strengths and weaknesses lie.