Is It Safe To Paint Indoors in the Winter in Portland, OR

Posted by Sam Sundeleaf on Saturday, August 28, 2021

We hear a lot of awesome questions during the fall interior painting season. Most have to do with surface prep, repairs, colors, and developing a strategic plan. But we also encounter questions about paint fumes, indoor air quality, and whether or not it's safe to paint inside during the colder months.

This is a legitimate consideration, especially since not all that long ago paint fumes could render a space unusable, lingering even after the paint had dried.

So, let's dive in and take a closer look.

What Causes Paint Fumes?

And more, specifically, what is a VOC (volatile organic compound)?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) aren't just found in paint; they're common in a variety of household materials, cleaning supplies, and more. 


Well, these compounds can be used to prevent the growth of mold and mildew (very helpful for paint in spaces where the airborne moisture content is higher, like kitchens and bathrooms). They also help your paint to dry more quickly. As the paint industry has advanced, however, many new, non-toxic paints are proving you don't need VOCs in a product for professional looking results and exceptional performance.

Does Low-VOC Paint Perform Well?

It used to be that low-VOC paint took longer to dry, slowing down the painting process, and sometimes didn't perform quite as well over time. As we touched on above, that's just not the case anymore. Today's low odor interior paint products are workhorses, just with the added benefit of minimal fumes so that you can enjoy your freshly-painted space even faster.

Low-VOC Interior Paint FAQ

Q. Does low-VOC paint still contain chemicals?
A. It may have chemicals and solvents that are just not classified as volatile organic compounds. If you have unique sensitivities, talk to your painter! You can find truly all-natural paint, or look for another solution to meet your needs. 

Q. How long does low-VOC paint take to dry?

A. Honestly, it depends on the brand, but you can expect it to be dry to the touch within an hour, and ready for a second coat in a couple hours (generally speaking).

Q. What makes interior paint eco-friendly?

A. In large part, it comes down to the airborne chemicals it creates, and the gases it emits. Or, more specifically, the lack thereof. We always recommend being cautious to not breathe fumes unnecessarily, but it is nice to know that modern formulas have lower levels of chemical ingredients.

Q. Do low-VOC paints still smell?

Just slightly, until dry. But the difference is pretty substantial, compared to older paint formulas. That's why interior painting right through the winter months is really a non-issue, even with minimal air circulation. 

Have Any Other Interior Painting Questions?

Contact us today at Sundeleaf Painting to get started. We'd love to put our skill and craftsmanship to work for you, along with our nearly 100 years of local service.

Sundeleaf Painting, Inc.
2037 SE Ochoco Street
Portland, Oregon 97222
(503) 236-9797

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