Guide

Using and managing solvents

Solvent limits in paints and varnishes

If you place paints and varnishes on the market that contain organic solvents (volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) you must ensure that they comply with the relevant limit value. These restrict the amount of solvent that the ready-to-use product can contain.

Manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers, including businesses that only mix paint, must check the VOC content of their products.

The table below shows the maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes. The limit values are stated in grams per litre (g/l) when the product is ready to use.

Maximum VOC content limit values for paints and varnishes

Product* Coating type VOC limit (g/l))
Interior matt walls and ceilings (degree of gloss ≤25 at 60°) Water borne 30
Solvent borne 30
Interior glossy walls and ceilings (degree of gloss >25 at 60°) Water borne 100
Solvent borne 100
Exterior walls of mineral substrate Water borne 40
Solvent borne 430
Interior/exterior trim and cladding paints for wood and metal Water borne 130
Solvent borne 300
Interior/exterior trim varnishes and woodstains, including opaque woodstains Water borne 130
Solvent borne 400
Interior and exterior minimal build woodstains Water borne 130
Solvent borne 700
Primers Water borne 30
Solvent borne 350
Binding primers Water borne 30
Solvent borne 750
One-pack performance coatings Water borne 140
Solvent borne 500
Two-pack reactive performance coatings for specific end use, eg floors Water borne 140
Solvent borne 500
Multi-coloured coatings Water borne 100
Solvent borne 100
Decorative effect coatings Water borne 200
Solvent borne 200

 

*For a more detailed definition of the products covered, read schedule 1 of the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2005 on the Legislation.gov.uk website.