Oil based paints, paints containing heavy
metals such a s lead, cadmium or mercury, marine paints,
artist's paint, aerosol paints, and most solvent-based stains,
sealants, and paint solvents.
Paints dating prior to 1978 should be considered lead paint and
treated as hazardous. They may also contain other heavy metals.
Wood preservatives such as pentachlorophenol and creosote are
really pesticides and should be treated as a hazardous
If the label on the can says any of the following, the product
should be treated as hazardous: enamel, clean up with mineral
spirits, contains petroleum distillate, combustible: keep away
from heat or flame, harmful or fatal if swallowed.
Read the label and follow all of the
Use all toxic products in a well ventilated area that exhausts
to the outside. Work outside whenever possible.
Avoid breathing sawdust from treated and painted surfaces. Use a
proper face mask when sawing these materials. Ventillate your
Do not mix different products, it may make them unrecyclable,
and increase the disposal cost.
Label and seal all cans and containers.
Wipe the excess paint off the rim before replacing the lid.
Store cans of opened paint with the lid side down for at least
three days. The paint will seal the can to prevent hardening or
Store products in a safe, dry place which is moderate in
temperature (freezing can damage paint, make it unusable and
Store away from the wall on a shelf or place cardboard under the
cans if stored on the floor.
Do not dispose of hazardous products or
waste down the drain, on the ground, or into a water supply.
These substances can contaminate ground and surface water,
poison aquatic life and make water unsafe for drinking or
Do not remove lead paint yourself. Contact a Lead Removal
Contractor certified by Mass. Dept of Labor and Industries.
Save all hazardous waste for disposal at a hazardous waste
Save all types of paint and related products in which the cans
are more than 3/4 full, and the paint has not been frozen or
mixed with any other paint or product for a paint swap or
Use up all paints (except for mercury and lead based paints) and
paint products (except for pentachlorophenol and creosote) on
touch-ups or on another project. Give leftover good quality,
labeled paint and related products to a friend or to community
Do not burn wood or sawdust treated with wood preservatives,
paint or stain
Water based (latex) paints, recycled
paints, and "natural" paints (made with beeswax, plant
waxes, and linseed oil instead of petroleum based solvents).
Contact your town to find out if they will
accept your paint cans for recycling.
Dispose paint cans that are empty or have dried paint in the
Recycle all types of paint when the containers are more than 3/4
full, and the paint has not been frozen or mixed with any other
Dry out water-based latex paints and dispose in the regular
- If the can has an inch or less
of paint remaining, pour some kitty litter (clay type
without chemical additives) or sawdust in the can, and mix
until there is no free liquid. Cover the can.
- For larger quantities of
water-based paint, half inch layers of paint can be poured
into a card board box lined with plastic. Allow each
successive layer to dry before adding the next.
Interior and exterior latex and oil-based
Latex or oil-based trim, deck, and floor paints.
Paint is not only expensive to buy, it is
expensive to dispose of properly. Paint is the largest component
of the household hazardous waste stream.
For most jobs around the home, latex based paints are the least
toxic, easiest to use, low odor, quickest drying, and durable.
They are also easy to apply and clean up.
Try these other tips to save paint and money:
- Plan your painting job.
- Buy the right type of paint
for the job.
- Buy only the quantity you need
- Store the paint properly
Consider type of surface to be painted
(wood, metal, sheet rock) and what basic performance
requirements are needed.
Consider weather conditions (temperature, humidity, sun
exposure) for painting. Deeply pigmented paints can separate
during application if painted in direct sunlight.
Research paint quality. A high quality, more expensive paint may
require fewer coats and can last up to twice as long.
Avoid purchasing exotic colors that you will not be able to use
for another project. You can return leftover, unopened cans of
Tint primer to match the finish color. If you are not using a
primer, consider the color of the surface to be painted and the
color of the paint to determine amount of coverage needed.
Consider equipment to be used for application. What type of
finish and coverage do you need? Purchase appropriate roller
covers: 3/8" leaves a smooth finish, 1/2" leaves a
textured finish and uses more paint.
Fill holes and dents with wood putty, then
sand. Prime putty before painting.
Tape sheet rock seams and plaster surfaces, and fill nail
gouges. Completely dry newly applied plaster before painting.
Wash, rinse, and dry surface. Sand or scrape if necessary
Coat knots on wood with a primer.
Avoid applying paint too thickly.
Do not dilute paint unless you are sure that the quality will
not be affected.
Wait at least 24 hours between coats. This allows the paint film
to harden, maximizing the coverage of the second coat.
Measure the rooms you need to paint,
including the door and window sizes. Insert your figures into
the following calculations to measure interior and exterior
Width of all the walls added together (in feet) x Height of the
wall (in feet) = total wall surface (in square feet).
Height of window (in feet) x width of window (in feet) x number
of windows = total window surface (in square feet)
Height of door (in feet) x width of door (in feet) x number of
doors = total door surface (in square feet)
Walls - Windows + Doors = Square feet of area to be painted.
Multiply the height (in feet) of the gable x its width (in
feet), and divide by 2 (two) = (feet).
Multiply the width (in feet) of the overhang x its length (in
feet) = (feet)
Once you have calculated the total square footage of paint
required, divide this total by 400 (number of square feet one
gallon of paint will cover, also called the Average Spread
Rate). This will provide a good estimate of the total number of
gallons necessary for an average one-coat painting. Once you
select the paint you want, use the spread rate written on the
can (it may be different) to better estimate what you need.
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