This post covers non-toxic waterproof paint for all applications. Most people use the term waterproof to refer to paints that will protect the substrate (like protect wood from rotting) and hold up to outdoor weather. However, if you need waterproof paint that can be submerged you need to look for that quality specifically. This article covers both types by application.
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Waterproof Paint for Exterior Projects
All of ECOS Paints exterior grade paints are 0-VOC. I’ve tested out all of their options. ECOS has a general exterior paint which is very low odor. The general exterior paint is for exterior walls, including stone, cinder block, brick, concrete, and concrete siding. It’s not suitable for floors, or areas which are permanently wet.
I also tested ECOS Paints’ Exterior Vinyl Siding Paint which is ideal for use on vinyl siding and shutters. It’s extremely hard-wearing and highly washable. It’s not suitable for wooden surfaces.
Their Exterior Porch and Floor paint is for covered concrete porches and floors, not for wood porches/decks.
AFM Safecoat exterior paint is another high-quality paint brand for exterior purposes and multiple sources claim this is as durable over time as a conventional brand when used to paint siding. It can be used on exterior walls and trim made of wood, stucco, masonry, and primed metal. This paint is low-VOC at 17 g/l.
AFM Concrete Floor Paint is for use on dimensionally stable floors and decks including interior or exterior concrete, masonry, stone, and brick. It is ideal for walkways, breezeways, tennis courts, patios, and playgrounds. (It can be used on primed and properly prepared wooden surfaces with varying degrees of success depending upon the environmental conditions and nature of use).
Waterproof Sealers to Add Over Paint
For abrasion resistance on outdoor tables and wooden porches, a paint and sealer combo would work well: AFM Safecoat All Purpose Exterior Satin followed by AFM Safecoat EXT Exterior Polyureseal, a low VOC clear polyurethane.
Waterproof Epoxy Paint (for Ponds and Birdbaths)
Pond Shield by Pond Amor is a two-part epoxy coating that is non-toxic to birds. It’s also low-VOC and very low odor. The company says it’s lower odor than latex paint.
It’s a two-part product that is very thick and totally waterproof to line ponds and bird baths made of concrete or stone/rock. It comes in Black, Charcoal Gray, Chocolate Brown, Clear, Competition Blue, Delta Blue, Gray, Moss Green, Sky Blue, Tan, and White.
Waterproof Natural Sealer for birdbath
Tung oil can also be used to waterproof the bowl and outside of a concrete, stone, or terra-cotta birdbath. This all-natural oil doesn’t need a solvent on very porous surfaces like concrete and terra-cotta.
The complete instructions are in the article on sealers for a birdbath.
Waterproof Paint for Tiles
For tile floors, I really like Rustoleum HOME. It can actually be used on tile, wood, laminate, concrete, vinyl, and linoleum floors. Apply the Base Coat in your desired color and then apply the required Top Coat in one of two sheens. Both the Base Coat and Top Coat are low VOC (under 50 g/l) and are low odor.
Waterproof Paint for Bathroom Walls & Ceiling
In the bathroom, you want to use a stain-blocking primer which provides more resistance against moisture than a regular primer. Follow with a pearl or satin paint which also is more waterproof than regular eggshell paint. This helps to prevent moisture from infiltrating your walls and makes it easier to wipe down.
The article on non-toxic bathroom paint has more options.
Waterproof Paint for Exterior Pet Hutch
ECOS Paints Pet Dwelling Primer and Pet Dwelling Paint are a 0-VOC acrylic paint and primer that are safe for all animal enclosures, though for some pets like rabbits, you should only use this on the outside side.
Milk Paint followed by pure Tung Oil is another great waterproof option for wooden pet dwellings. For some animals that chew on paint, we need to use the Toy Safe Colors which are Scarlett (bright red), Marigold Yellow, Mustard, Pumpkin, Salem Red, Barn Red, Bayberry Green, Tavern Green, Lexington (dark green), and Pitch Black. The other colors can be found here.
Tung Oil over Milk Paint will make the paint durable enough for outdoor conditions and durable enough to be wiped down and cleaned. It is also durable enough for the floor of the hutch.
The article on non-toxic paint for a rabbit hutch has details and application instructions.
Waterproof Paint for Wooden Toys
ECOS Paints and other acrylic paints can be used on toys. For the most waterproof and washable finish you should use either a semi-gloss interior paint or an exterior paint. Once this paint is fully cured it doesn’t offgas any VOCs. ECOS Paints are EN-71 certified for use on children’s toys. It’s washable but not for submerged items.
Milk Paint in Toy Safe Colors followed by Tung Oil, Linseed Oil or Hemp Oil is also a very durable finish. Tung Oil is the most durable of the oil finishes that go over Milk Paint. This was historically used to finish wooden boats. In terms of durability, Linseed is next and Hemp is last. Items with a thick layer of Tung Oil can be submerged in water temporarily. (If toys will be used in a bathtub play time I would also use a very rot-resistant wood).
The article on paint for wooden toys has more info.
Waterproof Paint for Plastic Toys
Pintyplus Evolution water-based acrylic spray paint is marketed as an environmentally friendly general-purpose spray paint. It’s very low odor during spraying and once dry it has no odor. It is solvent-free. certified Toy Safe EN-71 (Europe) and ASTM F963 – 17 (US). It works on some plastics. Not for submerged items.
ECOS exterior paints can be used over a BIN Shellac primer for plastic toys, playhouses, play sets, decor items, and crafts used inside or outside. ECOS Paints are certified Toy Safe EN-71. Not for submerged items.
You can also use an all-natural linseed oil paint which is weather-proof once cured. Allback paint is one line that is solvent-free. The manganese direr makes it likely not safe by European standards for toys that will be chewed on but for other toys and play sets as well as decor, crafts, and plastic furniture this is a great option. It can be used on interior and exterior items.
Waterproof Paint for Metal
AFM MetalCoat Primer is a low-VOC formula that can be used on interior and exterior bare metal including galvanized steel, aluminum, and non-ferrous metal.
It can also go over: lead, nickel, tin, titanium, iron, zinc, brass, gold, silver, platinum, cobalt, tungsten, bismuth, cadmium, and zirconium. It’s not recommended for copper, cast iron, or any metal that has rust. All rust must be completely removed so that you are down to the bare metal.
This primer is for bare metal and can be followed by any of their paints. If the metal is already painted use AFM Transitional Primer, followed by their paint.
It is safe to use on pet cages, like bird cages, parrot aviaries, dog crates, etc. It’s not for submerged areas.
Tung oil is an all-natural oil that can be used to rust-proof some types of steel. It is often used to rust-proof garden tools and can be submerged, like in a metal birdbath.
Waterproof Spray Paints
Pintyplus Evolution water-based acrylic spray paint is marketed as an environmentally friendly general-purpose spray paint. It’s very low odor during spraying and once dry it has no odor. It is solvent-free. For beyond crafts, this water-based acrylic spray paint is more durable than the brand’s other lines. It can be used on outdoor projects.
Liquitex comes in traditional artist colors and is compatible with the brand’s other acrylic paints and mediums. It’s low-odor and less toxic than most solvent-based spray paints. This is my top pick for artists. This is a high-quality water/alcohol-based formula for fine artists with a matte finish. This can be used outdoors including for murals. Once dry it is permanent and water-resistant.
Montana Colors is a polyurethane-based paint as opposed to the usual acrylic-based options. It’s also a water-alcohol-based hybrid. You will have a polyurethane paint smell and alcohol odor (which offgasses quickly). It has good resistance to outdoor conditions once dry (water-resistant, not waterproof).
Evolve Agua this water-based spray paint is marketed as odorless & eco-friendly. It’s intended for both indoor & outdoor use and comes in vibrant colors with a flat finish.
Waterproof Fabric Paint
Designer Accents Fabric Paint Spray Dye by Simply Spray is the new version of Simply Spray Upholstery Spray Paint. This is a permanent fabric spray paint/dye that is non-toxic and non-flammable and is safe for use by children and adults. It’s even got a non-toxic propellant. The spray dye is applied like a spray paint. It soaks into the fabric and leaves it with the original texture. For use on indoor and outdoor fabrics.
Waterproof Paint for Ceramics
A Maker’s Studio makes a water-based paint for ceramics that you can use on dishes and mugs/cups. It’s microwave-safe but not dishwasher-safe. This is a no-bake formula that cures in 12-14 hours for use on glass, ceramics, porcelain, and china.