A recent change to Benjamin Moore’s product lines has us taking a closer look to the real differences between these zero VOC paint options.
If you’ve ever done any kind of painting, you’re familiar with the rules: keep windows open and the air circulating, wear a mask or protective gear for the fumes, and leave the area to cure by itself for 24-48 hours. This is the process with most paints that contain VOC, or Volatile Organic Compounds.
What is a Volatile Organic Compound?
While not just found in paint, Volatile Organic Compounds (also known as VOCs) are chemicals that evaporate into the air at room temperature, causing pollution.
When it’s particularly hot out, however, VOCs react with nitrogen oxides to create smog. These chemical gases can come from car exhaust, gas-powered equipment, building materials, and of course, paint.
When people come into contact with “too many” VOCs, symptoms can range from irritation in the eye, nose, and throat, dizziness, headaches, memory issues, and visual disturbances. It’s suspected that long time exposure can also cause cancer, which is good to know, but pretty scary.
Zero VOC Paints from Benjamin Moore
As a conscious company, Benjamin Moore strives to create VOC-free paints to protect their customers from unnecessary harm.
For those that love to paint with the lowest amounts of toxic fumes, Benjamin Moore’s lines of zero VOC paints have been a blessing (and are readily available at your paint supply Kahului location here at Da Kine Paints). When reviewing their current paint lines, however, as of March 1, 2021, Benjamin Moore decided it’s best discontinue Natura and suggested Eco Spec as the main “green” paint in the catalog. Let’s break down the differences between them.
Benjamin Moore Eco Spec vs Natura: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Available in thousands of colors.||Available in thousands of colors.|
|Available in Flat, Eggshell and Semi-Gloss finishes.||Available in Flat, Eggshell and Semi-Gloss finishes. (Note: Flat finish was special order at our location.)|
|Available in gallon size.||Available in quart or gallon sizes.|
|Zero VOC||Zero VOC|
|Zero Emissions||Zero Emissions|
|CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly®||CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly®|
|100% Acrylic||100% Acrylic|
|Quick-drying for same-day return to service||Quick return to service|
|Engineered with Gennex® Color Technology||Engineered with Gennex® Color Technology|
|Green Seal Certified||Provides a durable, washable film|
|Excellent touch-up||Self-priming on most surfaces|
What’s the difference?
After looking closer, these two paint choices are eerily similar, though there are a few marked differences:
AVAILABILITY: Since Benjamin Moore Natura has been discontinued as of March 1, 2021, it will be harder and harder to find. If you’re doing a small project, you could probably get away with using some Natura paint, but we’d highly recommend using Eco Spec because if you need more in the future, you know it’ll be available. You can get any of these high-quality paints right at your local Maui paint store—Da Kine Paints in Kahului.
PRICE: Fortunately, the more inexpensive of the two paints is the one that’s sticking around—Eco Spec. For an affordable paint job with no fumes or harmful chemicals, a gallon (or more) of this paint will coat your wall but won’t break the bank.
GREEN SEAL CERTIFICATION
Only Eco Spec earned this title, which means that its VOC output never exceeds 50 grams per liter for flat paint and 100 grams per liter for non-flat paints. It also means that this high-quality paint is helping reduce toxic pollution by meeting strict sustainability standards. Learn about other eco-friendly paints at Green Seal’s website.
ASTHMA AND ALLERGY FRIENDLY
Both paint choices earn this title and it’s worth explaining. These Maui paint options had to pass strict standards to be awarded this certification. Here’s a bit about their process:
- VOCs: specialists paint a sample surface and measure the VOCs released over 14 days
- Paint performance: paints should cover, dry in a reasonable time, and be able to be cleaned without breaking down
- Ingredient review: a chemical assessment of all elements in the paint, watching for any potentially irritating chemicals above a comfortable level
Once a paint has passed these three requirements, they are eligible for certification.
Both paint choices are the perfect choice for indoor spaces since they have no fumes during or after painting. Natura is the ideal choice for a bathroom, with mildew resistance and an easy-to-clean surface.
Check out our helpful article on using Natura paint in the bathroom.
Why was the Natura line discontinued?
We all know that the bottom line is one of the main reasons decisions are made in business. With Benjamin Moore Eco Spec vs Natura, the company had two nearly identical products (as shown by the chart above).
With Eco Spec showing to be the favorite among consumers (and the fact that Natura had to be produced in a separate facility), it only made sense to drop Natura in favor of Eco Spec as the main “Green Paint” in the line.
The Natura line will continue to be sold at locations that have extra stock, but Eco Spec will be leading the future of zero VOC Benjamin Moore paints.
Are Benjamin Moore Eco Spec and Natura self-priming?
Natura is the only self-priming paint in this fight, but Eco Spec has a wonderful zero VOC primer that will make the perfect base for your new project. A second coat is highly recommended for both paints for full coverage.
What is low VOC vs zero VOC?
There’s a bit of misinformation out there about these differences, so let’s clear it up. There’s always a lot of legality around these terms, so be sure to do your research first.
LOW VOC: This means that the paint has less VOC than “common” paints, so it’s only low in comparison to paints that typically have high VOC. This isn’t as big of an issue if you’re doing exterior painting, but any sort of interior paint should be truly zero VOC if you have the option.
ZERO VOC: These choices have no VOCs BUT do note that some brands and some colors may add colorants that do contain VOCs, making the paint low-VOC instead of zero. Benjamin Moore uses a patented Gennex colorant that contains no VOCs, making thousands of safe colors to use in your home.
Where can I get zero VOC paint on Maui?
Da Kine Paints is the place to go for VOC-free paint on Maui. Benjamin Moore carries “green paint” lines like Eco Spec, Natura, and Aura. All these paints use the Gennex Colorant, which contains no VOCs, making bright, beautiful colors that will last, but won’t smell as you’re putting it on. When your project requires a big paint supply Kahului store, Da Kine Paints has you covered.
A fun Maui paint story we heard about was a teacher who was in his office at UHMC as it was being painted with VOC-free paint. He said he didn’t smell anything, and it didn’t bother him at all. This is the amazing thing that zero VOC paint can do—bring freedom to when and where you can paint.
What colors does zero VOC paint come in?
With the patented Gennex Colorant (which is zero VOC), you can choose from thousands of colors without sacrificing your “green paint” status.
More questions? Reach out to your local paint supply Kahului location of Da Kine Paints and we’ll do whatever we can to find you the right paint for your next project.