Say Goodbye to Nasty Paint Fumes
I work with paint a lot, so for me, using zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints with less odor is very important. 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. These paints dry faster too which means the odor and off-gassing of paint fumes goes away sooner.
The Zero VOC Advantage
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 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. My article "VOC Free Paint Reviews" covers this topic in-depth and provides additional eco-friendly paint reviews.
ProMar 200 Zero VOC Paint
In 2015, the ProMar 200 series at Sherwin Williams was reformulated and became a zero VOC paint. Having used the original version many times prior, the odor with the new version is definitely a lot less pungent than the original.
If you are looking to paint a nursery or a kid's bedroom, ProMar 200 zero VOC paint is cheaper than Duration Home low VOC and worth considering, for health reasons. The cost is $72 per gallon for the eggshell finish, as of this review update. While the paint isn't entirely odorless, the smell doesn't linger for a week like other paints I've used. You won't be able to smell fresh paint in a room the day after painting the walls.
The zero VOC version costs a little more per gallon than the original ProMar paint and the cheaper 400 and 700 series, but the quality is way ahead of those paints. In the past, I used ProMar 200 for the majority of my interior painting projects with great results, but I've since upgraded to other paints I like better.
In this review, I cover the pros and cons of this paint after painting many homes with it, so you can decide whether or not it's a good choice for your project.
Faster Dry Time
The original ProMar 200 paint at Sherwin Williams was a good paint, but it took longer to dry than the zero VOC brand. Depending on the humidity and temperature in a room, it could take a couple of hours or more for a coat of regular ProMar paint to dry to the touch. If you paint for a living (like me) using paints that dry as fast as possible is important. 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 wet paint, it will leave roller marks on the wall. The roller mark imperfections are more noticeable in the non-flat finishes. You can avoid this problem simply by rolling the paint faster and by only going back over the fresh paint once or twice with the roller.
Compatible With All Colors
In the past, deep-base and ultra deep-base colors were unavailable in the regular ProMar paint, so that meant having to use a different paint altogether for those colors. That is no longer the case because the zero VOC ProMar paint can be mixed with any paint color, even colors outside of Sherwin Williams.
That is a big advantage over the original version and similar paints in its class that only come in one base.
Disadvantage: Darker blues and greens shadow at the ceiling line and in the wall corners from the paintbrush, even after combining and mixing all of the paint together in one bucket. This blemish from cutting in is known as banding.
Durable Paint Finish
ProMar Zero VOC paint is washable to a point, but for walls in a high-traffic living space, I would opt for Duration Home or Regal Select instead. Both paints are more washable and also low VOC. If you don't wash dirt marks from the walls very often then it won't make a difference how washable the paint is, but if you want the ability to wipe down the walls on occasion, the ProMar eggshell finish is smooth enough.
However, in terms of long-term durability, frequent cleaning of walls painted with this product will definitely leave noticeable marks on the surface. If that is your concern, I recommend either of the interior paints I recommend as alternatives. Based on my experience, ProMar 200 paint does cover really well in one or two coats. It is important to note that when you remove your masking tape from the baseboard, don't forget to score it along the edge with a razor knife otherwise the paint will peel right off with the tape.
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: 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.
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: 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: 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.
© 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.