All About Low-VOC Ceramic Wall Paint

Couple painting on a house wall
Gary Houlder / Getty Images

No, ceramic paint is not intended to use on ceramic stoneware or tiles. This is a wall paint intended for use around the home, on walls, ceilings, and woodwork. Ceramic Paint is a newer, alternative paint product that provides both fewer VOCs, high durability, and in the case of this product, Ceramic Coat by O'Leary Paint, it also comes with antimicrobial protection. The results are a paint that is healthy, able to withstand scrubbing without loss of its rich flat finish, and which also prevents mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing.

Where would such a paint be recommended?  It can be used extensively throughout a home but is especially good for spaces like nurseries, bathrooms, kitchens, or dining rooms, where the antimicrobial protection is especially helpful.

Let's take a look at what makes this ceramic paint different and why you'll want to use it on your next significant interior painting project or room renovation.

What Is So Ceramic About Ceramic Paint?

The thing that makes ceramic paint so special are the tiny ceramic spherical beads used as pigment extenders in the paint. Ceramic paint uses ceramic beads that are so tiny they look like a finely ground powder when poured in your hand.

Why Do Pigment Extenders Matter?

Pigment extenders are the "filler" used in paint pigmentation. Traditional pigment extenders are made from things like clay, talc, chalk, and other organic materials. They are added to the paint in order to improve certain aspects of its performance—such as durability.

 

The problem is that these materials have jagged edges. And jagged, rough edges translated into problems with scrubbing.  Organic extenders tend to make it easier for dirt to embed itself into the paint. As you wash a traditional flat paint made with traditional pigment extenders, you wind up creating a sheen.

That's why it's recommended not to use a flat paint where you have to scrub a wall. Until that is, ceramic paint came along!

Why Ceramic Beads?

What makes using ceramic beads better is that because they are smooth and round, they pack closer together. And because they do not have an irregular shape, the paint film on a ceramic paint made with a high-quality 100% acrylic resin is smooth and hard. This all means better hiding power and the ability to scrub the wall without losing its flat finish.

And since the ceramic bead extender pigments pack together tighter, they create a paint film that is not very permeable. And that means odors, dirt, microbes, and bacteria have a much harder time finding their way into your newly painted wall.

Antimicrobial Protection

Another feature of this paint is the antimicrobial protection built into the product during manufacturing. Standard paint films can harbor dirt, smoke film, odors, and bacteria. The ceramic paint film, on the other hand, is harder and smoother, so these problems are significantly reduced. But coupled with built-in protection against microbes, mold, and mildew,  you now have a paint with a significant advantage over anything else in the market if health issues are a concern for you.

That is, provided the paint has a low VOC content (and ceramic paints are very low indeed in VOCs).

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

VOCs are the nasty side of traditional paint. See this tutorial for a more in-depth review of why VOCs are so dangerous and what safe paint alternatives are available for you.

But you don't have to worry about VOCs with ceramic paint, either. This brand by O'Leary Paint has a VOC level of 20 g/L,  according to their company technical data. This is a very low level for house paints. 

Ceramic Paint Summary

Ceramic paint is, in a word, fantastic, especially if you aim at a "green" home and also are concerned about the paint's performance. Ceramic paint, especially when coupled with an antimicrobial agent such as offered by O'Leary Paint, provides you a healthy paint alternative, durable and safe enough for your baby's nursery, your kitchen, dining room, bedroom, or bathroom.