Can You Live In A House While It’s Being Painted?

If you have ever painted your own house, you will know that the chances of getting headaches from the fumes are a reality that you need to consider. Fumes from the paint can also cause various other health problems. These facts make me wonder if you can live in a house while it is being painted.

You can live in a house that is being painted, especially if the house is painted in sections and you have taken control measures to get rid of any toxic fumes. In some cases, it is better to vacate the house, especially if the paint you use is known to give off toxic vapors that can be harmful.

Expert painters often paint while people are still living in their houses. We will explore the control measures that the experts use in this post. I will share my research and the expertise from the professionals on the topic of living in a house while it is being painted.

Living In A House While It’s Being Painted

According to sources, you can stay in a house while it is being painted if you can control the exposure to the vapor release of the paint that you are using. A proper risk assessment will need to be done to manage the risk properly. These are the considerations that you need to think about:

  • The type of paint that you are going to use.
  • The time and the type of exposure you and your family will have.
  • The ventilation and drying needs for the type of paint you will use.
  • The layout of the house needs to be painted.
  • The labor needed to paint your house.

Some people prefer to paint one room at a time to make sure that the fumes can be confined to that room, but it’s not always possible to do it that way.

Finding honest and good labor is also a challenge because it is necessary to keep valuables safe. We will be looking at the considerations above in more detail in the rest of the post.

Can It Be Dangerous To Stay In A House While It’s Being Painted?

Many indoor paints can cause the release of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, as they are also known. It is these compounds that create dangers to a person’s health.

The volatile compounds can cause health risks when people inhale these organic compounds, although many improvements have taken place in the industry over the past years.

Most people use water-based latex paints for indoor use because it releases less volatile organic compounds. Unfortunately, most paints still have fumes or release compounds potentially dangerous to people or even pets.

 If you choose to stay in a house while it is being painted, you should also remove your pets from these areas.

What Are The Risks Of Exposure To Paint Fumes?

The risk that the release of the volatile organic compounds can have will be dependent on factors, for example:

  • The amount of paint that is being used at the same time.
  •  The time frame that a person is exposed to the paint.
  •  Pre-existing medical conditions that a person might have.
  • The age of certain individuals and how susceptible they are to certain conditions.

Some of the symptoms that you may have when you are exposed to paint fumes are, amongst others, irritation to the lungs leading to coughing, headaches that appear out of nowhere, you can feel dizziness, and you can struggle to see before you become unconscious.

Can Paint Type Affect If You Stay In A House Being Painted?

The type of paint you pick to paint your house with will affect whether it is safe for you and your family to stay in the house while it is being painted. Some types of paint take longer to get dry, and the fumes take longer to dissipate than other types of paint.

Interior paints are either oil-based or water-based, and the experts suggest that you get a data sheet from the manufacturer to see all the related data about the product, like chemicals or solvents that were used when they manufactured the product, as well as the risks that the product can pose to the users of the paint.

Oil-based paints like gloss paint take a long time to dry, and the fumes are normally strong. It is manufactured from solvents that can be harmful to people and animals. Some people can develop medical problems if they inhale paint fumes.

Water-based paints like Sheen paint dry faster than oil-based paints and do not have such a strong odor either. Some water-based paints can still be harmful to people or animals, so data sheets are important.

Can I Stay In A House Being Painted If I Limit Exposure?

If you limit the time that you are exposed to the area that is being painted, you can live in a house that is being painted.

Some experts suggest that you paint a house in sections or portions so that you are exposed to the vapors of the paint for a limited time. When it is not possible to paint the house in sections, you will have to bring in better control measures.

When people are exposed to vapors for extended times, it can cause irreversible medical conditions; some more confined areas can even cause people to lose consciousness when they do not receive enough oxygen. Confined areas can also pose a fire risk and could be very dangerous if you have ignition sources in the area.

If you paint your house and still want to live in it, then it is a good idea to stay on one side of the house where there is no painting going on. All the inner doors and ventilation holes must be covered up so that the fumes can not reach that part of the house.

When the paint is dry, and the fumes are gone, you can live in the painted area while you paint the other sections.

Can I Stay In A House Being Painted If I Ventilate It?

A house that is being ventilated will be safer than a house that is not being ventilated. When you ventilate your house while it’s being painted, your house will have fewer vapors in the immediate area. Specialized ventilation fans can effectively remove the vapors and the smell of the paint from a room.

Ventilation is normally done using fans and extraction systems that will help to control the effects that harmful substances can have on people or animals, but in most cases, it can be an expensive exercise.

Professional painters will use specialized methods to protect their employees, so they comply with legal requirements.

You can ventilate a room by opening the windows and having standing fans angled at different locations in the room. Ceilings fans combined with floor fans work well to ventilate the room better.

The paint also dries up a little faster when you ventilate a room. Paint can take between 5-7 days to dry if ventilation methods are not used.

Can Layout Cause Me To Not Live In A House Being Painted?

The layout of your house can impact whether you can live in a house while it is being painted. If you have a small house where you can not isolate yourself from the smell and the fumes of the paint, then it will be wiser not to stay in your house while it is being painted.

If the layout of the house allows you to create isolation, then it is safe to stay in the house if it is being painted.

The layout of your house can affect your choice to stay in the house that is being painted when you have big open spaces that don’t have separation walls or areas where the fumes can be trapped. Areas that lead to basements can offer catchment places for vapors, which can be dangerous to your health.

Can The Manpower Effect If You Stay In A House Being Painted?

Many people prefer to paint their own houses because they can not afford contractors or feel that they can not trust other people with the safety of their personal belongings.

Because of these facts, people choose to stay in a house while it is being painted even though they know that it may have a negative effect on their overall health.

Whenever you feel that you can not stay in your house while it is being painted because you want to get the contractors in and out, you can move the bigger pieces of furniture into the inside of the room and cover the furniture up to protect it against potential damage. You will also need to lock valuable possessions up inside a suitable area like the garage, attic, or basement.

It is also helpful if you look at reviews that contractors get from other members of the public to give you an indication of how reliable and trustworthy the contractor might be. You will also have to find temporary space for your pets because they can also get affected by the fumes and the vapors of the paint that the contractors use.

Measures You Can Take Painting A House While You Stay There

The research we have gone over shows that you can stay in a house while it is being painted as long as you follow a few guidelines. These guidelines will help you protect your family and pets from harm.

Here are some extra expert tips to make sure that you, your family, and your pets are safe when you are painting the inside of your home:

  • Always read the instructions on the paint tins, and ask the retailer for a copy of the MSDS. The MSDS is the material safety data sheet used to tell people about the hazards of chemical substances.
  • Choose the perfect time to get your painting done. If you can manage to get this done, you will be able to limit the time that you, your family, or your pets are exposed to the effects of the paint.
  • Ensure that windows and ventilation holes are open and not blocked so that fumes can exit the house.
  • Limit the exposure time by taking breaks at certain times while painting. If you don’t do this, prolonged exposure will create unwanted effects entering your body.
  • Do not enter the newly painted rooms; give the paint time to dry up and the fumes to leave the area. It usually takes around half a week for the fumes to dissipate completely.
  • You can use an air purifier or fans to draw out the toxic fumes created by the paint; you get air purifiers with filters to remove noxious fumes from the air in a room you are painting.

If you follow the guidelines that are listed above, you will be able to control the hazards more effectively. It is nice to know that we are living in a day and age where we have access to information with a push of a button and the moving of a cursor.

These guidelines will also help if you decide you want to take on painting your home as a DIY project. It might take you a few weeks if you are still living in the home, but it can be rewarding when you are done.


If we bring all the information in this post together, it is clear to conclude that it is possible to still stay in a house while it is being painted. Unfortunately, this can only be done if you use several measures to control the fumes and the smell of the paint. If you can’t take these measures, it can lead to many symptoms severely affecting your health.

Professional painters prefer if their clients to vacate their house completely, but as we know, it’s not always possible, especially if you are concerned about your personal belongings. I hope that this piece of literature helped you with enough information to make an informed decision on if you still want to stay in your house while it is being painted.


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