FAQ and HOW TO

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about our products

How long have you been making your products?

AFM has been formulating and making safer building and cleaning products for 40 years. One of our first products, Safecoat Safe Seal, was developed and used in a government hospital to help seal in offgassing in a newly remodeled wing. When patients were then able to tolerate their environment, we knew we were on to something important. AFM now offers 40 products field tested and safely used even by many sensitive to chemicals.

Who uses your products?

From the very beginning, we have formulated products specifically for those with chemical or environmental sensitivities. Because such individuals are like the proverbial canary in the mine shaft, if AFM products work for the chemically sensitive, they must be better for everyone. In recent years, more and more individuals and companies have become interested in reducing indoor air pollution or simply just building or remodeling in the most healthful manner. AFM products have proved the perfect solution for these users.

Where can I buy AFM products?

Safecoat and SafeChoice products are sold through a national dealer network. Navigate to our dealer list or call our headquarters office (800-239-0321) and we will be glad to refer you to your nearest dealer.

What is your return policy?

As Safecoat products are sold only through independent dealers, returns should be handled through your AFM dealer. Most dealers adhere to our policies, which is that special or tinted products, discontinued products, opened containers and items over 30 days after invoice date are not returnable.

Do you give contractor discounts?

Safecoat products are sold only though independent dealers. Please consult your AFM dealer for special discount programs.

How does Safecoat differ from other so-called environmental paints on the market?

Other companies have introduced “no odor” or 0 VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, but none have been formulated with a view toward human health and the elimination of toxicity. These “environmental” paints can have toxic ingredients exempt from government regulations. The fact that something has no VOC does not mean that it does not contain ingredients which are toxic (for example formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone or odor masking agents) or that it is free from offgassing. If it contains masking agents, then that’s just another unnecessary chemical that is hiding whatever effects may be occurring from whatever is coming off the paint. We frequently receive letters and calls from customers who have used some other company’s O VOC paint and still can’t tolerate being in the room, because there is something coming off it to which they are sensitive. On the other hand, 99.9% of those using Safecoat tolerate it without any adverse effects when properly applied and cured.

Does tinting Safecoat paint make it less safe?

Adding small amounts of colorant to Safecoat paint does not compromise its safety. In addition, we supply many of our dealers with zero voc colorants. Please consult your dealer for details.

Is there formaldehyde in your products?

No. But formaldehyde is in many products because it is very inexpensive and it works extremely well as a preservative. In addition, many products contain ingredients which create formaldehyde as they are being used. We go to great lengths to make sure that neither formaldehyde nor such formaldehyde precursors are used in our manufacturing processes. This is just a basic standard we set for health and safety.

Can your products seal in offgassing?

Most of our products are structured to set up an extremely tight barrier against chemical offgassing through a unique process of molecular bonding. Independent tests have shown that even Safecoat Zero VOC paint reduces formaldehyde transmission by 90%. Moreover, all AFM products are formulated to cause the least amount of offgassing possible.

Does SafeChoice X-158 kill mold?

No. Safechoice X-158 acts as a sealer only. Surfaces must be decontaminated before applying X-158.

What is the shelf life of your products?

AFM products are extremely stable and should, with proper storage, last up to two years. Unlike virtually any other paint, our products do not contain heavy duty, toxic mildewcides or fungicides, so if they are subject to contamination then things like mold and mildew can grow in the container. The biggest source of potential contamination is when tools are repeatedly dipped directly into the can or bucket. It is recommended that you pour the amount of product you think you will use into a separate container. When the job is completed, tightly reseal any remainder in the original container and store in a cool, dry place.

How durable are the products?

AFM products are premium quality and perform as well as and, in many cases, better than most mainstream, toxic brands on the market.

How do you apply your Safecoat DuroStain on larger projects?

Successful completion of a large project often requires 2 or 3 people. Keep the working environment cool with moderate ventilation. Following the instructions below should make the job go much easier. 1. Test the surface for porosity evenness by sprinkling water over the wood. If you detect uneven penetration, a light coat of Durostain clear may be necessary to even up the differences. Allow this to dry for several hours and then lightly sand. 2. Damp sponge the entire working surface with water. While the surface is damp liberally apply the Durostain with the grain using a good quality, wide bristle brush. Another method is to use a squeege to spread the stain. Remember to work at a brisk pace keeping a wet edge. Have a spray bottle of water nearby to keep the unstained surface moist. 3. Allow the stain to penetrate for ten seconds. Working with the grain, have your assistants wipe off the excess with clean rags as you continue applying the stain. In a very large installation – hardwood floors for example – you will want to terminate a pass with the stain at a logical finishing point like the end of a plank or board. Work in a string pattern moving from one side of the room to the other until complete. Allow 24 hours to dry before applying a Safecoat clear protective sealer.

What's the difference between WaterShield and Penetrating WaterStop?

Safecoat WaterShield is a film forming sealer composed of a hydrophobic acrylic resin and emulsified silcone suspended in water. WaterShield reduces surface tension promoting water repellency on wood and masonry surfaces. Porous material may require multiple coats to obtain the desired protection. WaterShield dries clear and will slightly darken the surface.
Safecoat Penetrating WaterStop is a penetrating type sealer composed of potassium silicate and a modified hydrophobic acrylic suspended in water and is designed to chemically bond with the salts and minerals in cementitious surfaces. Penetrating WaterStop is recommended for concrete, stone and lime or cement plasters. It dries clear and does not discolor the surface.

How do I safely refinish a wooden door with old DuraSeal on it?

DuraSeal contains aniline dye. Any finish with an aniline dye will bleed through a water base finish. To transition between these types of finishes, it takes a multi-step approach. Begin by fog spraying a low-solids coating like shellac. Allow this to dry and then fog spray Safecoat Transitional Primer, followed by a 2 coat fog spray of shellac and then another single coat fog spray of Safecoat Transitional Primer. This layered approach isolates the aniline dye in the layers and eliminates its migration. Spray coats must be very thin as too much material overly activates the dyes causing them to float to the surface promoting the bleed through problem. Once the priming phase is complete, applying a couple of coats of Safecoat Trim and Door Enamel should finish the job nicely.

Can Safecoat Roofguard be walked on?

Safecoat Roofguard is designed to be applied to roofs. It is reasonable to assume that maintenance people will walk upon the coating to repair and maintain the roof. The coating is not designed to withstand nor support constant traffic. Roofguard is rubbery and elastomeric. This is a design feature that allows flexibility with large temperature shifts normally found on roofs. To impart slip resistance to Roofguard an aggregate can be broadcast-applied while the coating is still wet.

What should I know about using Safecoat paint in dark colors?

Anytime you use a dark color, it is mandatory that you first prime the surface to give yourself a white or neutral background to which you can apply your dark or accent color. Priming aids in two ways. 1. It gives the paint better coverage properties, 2. It keeps the color true to its formula. Painting over an unprimed surface can and does affect the look of any color. Many light but intense colors (considered Accent Base colors in the Safecoat line) actually are fairly transparent.This makes it doubly important to prime.

Does Safe Choice Super Clean kill mold spores on carpet and furniture?

We do not market any products as disinfectants. While we have seen certain "green living" organizations suggest that a good cleaner and very hot water work as well as most disinfectants, we do not make any claims in that regard for our cleaners.

Occasionally I will open a can of paint and see some separation of ingredients, particularly if the can has been sitting for awhile. What is this, and what causes it?

This a common condition, especially with water based paints, known as syneresis. Simply put, it is a separation and striation of ingredients. Most noticable is the clear liquid on top and the white heavier ingredients at the bottom. Gravity pulls the more dense ingredients to the bottom of the can and the lighter, less dense materials move to the top. Syneresis is a normal process, naturally occurring in all water based paint products (and zero voc products are particularly prone to it), and not an indication of a problem in any way. If separation is detected, simply thoroughly stir, or if possible shake, the paint into a homogenous blend before application.

How much drying time, etc. will pass before the odor is completely gone and persons who are chemically sensitive can return to the home?

Q: I recently purchased some of your Safecoat zero VOC interior semi-gloss wall paint. I downloaded your information about how to properly apply it, but I didn't see where it said how long it takes for the odor to dissipate. According to the dealer I bought it from, they say that it will have no odor after it has been cured. What does this mean - how much drying time, etc. will pass before the odor is completely gone and persons who are chemically sensitive can return to the home?

A: How long it takes a product to cure depends upon environmental conditions, the thickness of the coating when applied, and air flow. If the temperature in the room is warm and the humidity dry, it will take much less time to cure than if the temperature is cold and the humidity high, for example. If the coating was applied in multiple thin coats, with several hours or a day between coats, it will cure more quickly than if it was applied in a very thick application.

The most important point is that strong air flow will cause the coating to cure much more quickly than if the house is closed up and there is no air movement. We recommend setting up fans to blow over the painted surface, preferably at 25 - 40 cfm, and and any residual odor should be eliminated very quickly.

We cannot make a specific recommendation because of the above and the fact that people who are sensitive show a wide variation - some can actually paint with the paint, others need to wait till it's dry, others until it is fully cured. With good air flow, it should be very quick. Please test first.