The one exception to the focus on all-natural finishes is the section on nontoxic latex paints. There are a few paint companies making an attempt to create actual nontoxic latex paints; while these are a vast improvement over petrochemical paints of the past, they are not entirely clean and free of petrochemicals, nor can the chain of production be guaranteed to be clean and nontoxic. However, because there is increasing interest in truly nontoxic latex paints, we include them as a category in this home design. They will offer homeowners the same level of performance expected from commercial paints with greatly lowered impacts.
This category of finishes captures a wide array of materials. They share in common a mixture of some form of pigment, filler, binder, and solvent that is applied in a thin layer that dries to become a solid film.
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Paint mixtures can be applied by brush, roller, sponge, and/or trowel, depending on the consistency and the desired appearance of the finish. Application techniques such as rubbing, sponging, and trowel burnishing will lend the finish different appearances, even using the same mixture.
There are commercially produced versions of all the natural paints included here, but homeowners can also mix their own from the raw materials.
Oil Suitable for interior and exterior surfaces, including plaster, drywall, wood, and some products can be used on metal.
Natural oil paints are those in which the resin is natural, siccative (oxidizing) oil (typically cold-pressed linseed, but can be semi-siccative oil like walnut, hemp, poppy, tung, sunflower, safflower, soya, and even fish oil). Linseed oil (pressed from flax seed) is by far the most common.