Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
Say Goodbye to Nasty Paint Fumes
Eco-friendly paints are becoming the way of the future in the painting industry, and more people are beginning to see the health advantages.
Regular paint is harmful to human health, even long after the paint dries. Spend a good ten minutes reading up on the potential health effects caused by paint exposure, and I guarantee you won't be buying regular paint for your home anymore, especially if children live in the house.
Zero VOC paint is the latest addition to the ProMar 200 series at Sherwin Williams. Zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) means that the odor and content of chemical compounds in the paint are very low. It should be noted that even though these types of paints are advertised as containing Zero VOCs, they do still contain them; however, these paints have the lowest levels of VOCs.
With my contractor discount, the zero VOC version only costs $1 more per gallon than the regular ProMar paint, so I have been using it for the majority of my interior painting projects with satisfactory results.
Like anything else, there are pros and cons, which I will share, based on my experience using this product, but overall, this is a pretty good paint with very few disadvantages.
Minimal Paint Fumes and Odor
I work with paint a lot, so for me, this is a huge advantage. As I explained earlier, Zero VOC paint does still include VOCs, but very low levels. This paint dries fast which means the odor and off-gassing of paint fumes are greatly reduced.
If you are looking to paint a nursery or a kids bedroom, I would recommend ProMar 200 zero VOC paint, for health reasons. While the paint isn't entirely odorless, the smell doesn't linger for a week like other paints. You won't be able to smell fresh paint in a room the day after painting the walls.
Faster Dry Time
The regular ProMar 200 paint at Sherwin Williams is a good paint, but it does take longer to dry than the zero VOC brand. Depending on the moisture and temperature in a room, it could take a couple of hours for a coat of regular ProMar paint to dry to the touch. If you're a painter, then you know this sucks when you're in a hurry to finish up a project. The zero VOC ProMar paint dries to the touch in less than 30 minutes.
Disadvantage: The fast dry time can also cause problems when rolling. If you wait too long to back-roll over the drying paint, it tends to leave roller marks on the wall, which are way more noticeable in the eggshell or satin finish. This problem can be avoided by rolling the paint faster and by only going back over the fresh paint once or twice, without waiting more than a few minutes.
Compatible With All Colors
In the past, deep-base and ultra deep-base colors usually weren't available in the regular ProMar paint, which required the separate purchase of an expensive product called ColorAccents. That is no longer the case because the zero VOC ProMar paint can be mixed with any paint color, even outside of Sherwin Williams.
That is also one of the main reasons I use this paint the most, because I don't have to worry about the inconvenience of having to buy separate paint just to get the colors I need.
Disadvantage: Darker blues and greens slightly shadow at the ceiling line and in the wall corners from the paintbrush. Be sure to combine all of the paint cans of the same color into one bucket and try to keep the width of the paintbrush cut lines as thin as possible.
Durable Paint Finish
As far as wall washing goes, ProMar Zero VOC paint isn't as durable as Duration Home, but it is durable and much cheaper than Duration. If you don't wash dirt marks from the walls very often then it won't make a difference, but if you'd like the ability to wipe the walls if necessary, the ProMar eggshell finish is plenty.
The true test is seeing if ugly marks appear after wiping the walls. If that is your concern, I recommend Duration Home interior paint, because it doesn't leave marks after washing marks off of a wall. ProMar 200 paint can reveal wiping marks, depending on how hard you wash it, but the finish of this paint is very durable and won't easily rub off.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I used Promar 200 low VOC and didn't know about fast drying and not to backroll well now I have a mess on the walls what can I use to go over all of it and hide those brush roll marks?
Answer: You can sand out the brush and roller texture with an electric palm sander, or skim coat over the texture with drywall joint compound (prime before painting). Don't use ProMar 200 on your walls. Upgrade your paint to Sherwin Williams Cashmere, or Duration. Cashmere levels out nice on walls. You can also reduce roller stippling and brush marks by using a 3/8-inch roller nap, or 1/2-inch, and you can add a little conditioner to the paint too to help with this.
Question: Would Sherwin Williams Promar be good on bathroom walls?
Answer: No, I don't recommend this product for anything. The article is a little old. For bathroom walls, Duration in the satin finish is good.
Question: I am looking for a paint that is low VOC, wipeable, and doesn't break the bank. My choices are Glidden, Behr, Promar no VOCs. Which brand would you suggest between Glidden, Behr, and Promar?
Answer: I wouldn't recommend any of them if you're looking for a washable paint that can be wiped without ruining the paint. You get what you pay for with paint. Duration in either the matte or satin finish is very washable and also low VOC.
Question: We are going to have a full interior paint job done, and my contractor suggested using Sherwin Williams ProMar. How does ProMar 200 Zero VOC compare to SuperPaint, in your opinion? Is ProMar worth upgrading to Superpaint?
Answer: I would go with SuperPaint out of the two, but an even better upgrade is Duration for enhanced durability.
Question: Is Promar 200 a high quality paint?
Answer: No. I don't use this product anymore for any of my projects. I used it a lot years ago, but moved on to better paints.
Question: So you are not recommending the Sherwin Williams Promar primer series at all or just the primer 200?
Answer: If you're looking for a durable, washable paint, then no, I don't recommend Pro Mar paint, especially the 400 and 700. I haven't used this product in a long time. There are far better options available.
Question: What do you suggest as a flat ceiling paint that truly looks white?
Answer: Sherwin Williams CHB. I've been painting ceilings with it for many years.
Question: Can I use Promar 200 on galvanized metal?
Answer: I'm not sure because I've only used Promar 200 on drywall. Check the product specs. I'd personally use a different paint though if you're looking for durability, and this paint is for interior use only.
Question: How about reusing stored paint from initial constrution?
Answer: You can use old paint if it was stored properly with the lid completely sealed, otherwise, it goes bad after a while. I've used leftover paint that was five years old. If the paint was exposed to below freezing temperatures, or corrosion formed on the lid and leaked inside, it's garbage. Stir the paint really well and see how the consistency looks. The paint should not be chunky or have a foul odor.
© 2012 Matt G.
Matt G. (author) from United States on August 22, 2020:
I would clean, scuff sand and prime with a good bonding primer. Paint two coats of latex or acrylic. Don't use ProMar. Pro Classic enamel, or Emerald urethane, will make the walls more durable and easier to clean, but a regular wall paint is fine too.
Joan on August 19, 2020:
Old house with Masonite walls what should I use
Paige on April 12, 2017:
Thank you for your review! Very informative.