Benjamin Moore Aura Paints: A Review

I've seen lots and lots of designers talking about Aura and how great it is, but precious few user reviews. I know why designers love this stuff: because it's low-VOC, and until Benjamin Moore came out with a low-VOC product it was hard to get contractors to agree to use low-VOC paints. (Benjamin Moore now also offers a no-VOC paint, Natura, which lacks some of the features of Aura, most significantly its fast drying time.)

Anyway, regular readers may know I am a huge Benjamin Moore junkie, so I was already inclined to like this product. But most of the information I could find on it was people quoting the marketing materials and not really a detailed user review. So I thought I'd give you my impressions of Aura. Just to make it clear: I have no affiliation with Benjamin Moore and pay full price for all my paint, though I would happily accept free paint or coupons of anybody wants to offer them to me, because I love repainting rooms.

First, some of the claims made by Benjamin Moore (lifted verbatim from their web site):

# Extreme hide, never more than two coats in any color
# Provides a mildew resistant coating
# Color Lock Technology, no color rub-off
# Stains wash off easily
# Excellent touch up
# Self priming
# Easy application
# Long lasting fresh look appearance
# Easy clean up

I can't say anything about claims they make about resistance to fade, resistance to mildew, washability, or seamless touchups, because I have not had the paint on my walls more than 48 hours.

So of these claims, I'll talk about these four:

# Extreme hide, never more than two coats in any color
# Self priming
# Easy application
# Easy clean up

They have a video presentation on their web site for contractors (because everybody knows contractors can't read *eyeroll*), and here are some additional claims they make about the paint (not lifted verbatim):

# Thicker paint
# Excellent flow and leveling
# Virtually spatter-free
# Uniquely smooth finish
# Paint dries harder
# Virtually no odor


# Extreme hide, never more than two coats in any color
First, contrary to Benjamin Moore's claims, I found that with all three colours we used we needed a second coat. Part of this might have been the short nap on our roller, which means less paint applied in the first go. And maybe we just are sucky painters (this I would not doubt). But we inevitably ended up with lots of white primer showing through. The ceiling we did three coats on, but one of those was not Aura (I bought sample cans of the cheaper Benjamin Moore Regal).

Verdict: don't count on it.


One hour to re-coat
However, despite the less than perfect coating, drying time is also very very fast. One hour to recoat doesn't tell the whole story: within minutes of applying the paint it was drying. This meant we had to work faster, and feathering together edges could get touchy, but it also meant that by the time you had gone around the room and done one coat, you were practically ready to do the second. The other thing it means is that if you spill paint on anything and want to clean it up wet (like on woodwork), you better drop everything and do that right now because the paint is already drying. And cleaning tools is a lot harder because the paint dries on them so fast. If you're using a brush you want to keep, have a jar of water on hand to put it in so the paint doesn't dry all over it.

Verdict: true, but can be as much a minus as a plus.


# Easy clean up
And on that same subject, I submit that the fast drying time makes cleanup harder, not easier. Compared to Benjamin Moore Regal, I spent more time cleaning brushes and rollers and so forth with Aura, simply because there was more dried-on paint.

Verdict: definitely not true unless you're only comparing it to oil-based paint.


# Easy application
Similarly, selling this paint with "easy application" seems a bit misleading to me. It's as easy to apply as any water-based paint.

Verdict: easy, but not easier.


# Self priming
Now the weird one: self-priming. I have heard this claim from lots of paint manufacturers, and unless you are buying tinted primer, it's pretty much never true. In this case, I had some areas of the front parlour that were not primed because I wasn't sure I wanted to paint them (they will end up under window trim, so I wasn't sure it was worthwhile). Given this claim I decided to give it a try, and I would say that while it is technically possible to paint unprimed surfaces with Aura, I would not. The paint went on much less smoothly and I had to use a lot more on the bare drywall. Primer does the job much better at a significantly lower cost.

Verdict: not recommended.


# Thicker paint
About the qualities of this paint. First, yes it is a thicker paint, in some ways. I didn't notice a dramatic difference. The thing that was nice was that it really didn't need stirring when I brought it home; part of that is that it gets shaken for longer at the paint store. I don't know how well it stores, but even overnight I didn't feel the need to stir it the next day, and that is unusual. (We have some weird stripes on our library walls where the paint came out of the shaker at the paint store incompletely mixed, so I'm kind of particular about making sure paint is thoroughly mixed now.)

Verdict: thickness didn't make as much of a difference as a thoroughly mixed paint did.


# Excellent flow and leveling
# Uniquely smooth finish
Does this paint actually fill in small gaps and cracks? It sure seemed to for us. You do need to apply it fairly thickly (we used a 1/4" nap roller, but we should have used a thicker one; it would have gone on thicker if we had), but it does sort of smooth itself out and fill in little imperfections, something I noticed particularly when I was cutting in and doing the corners. Not anything big, but some funky places where the sander made little scrapes are invisible now, and the somewhat lumpy texture you sometimes get from the roller was not as lumpy.

Verdict: definite win.


# Virtually spatter-free
Also, I will agree that it was remarkably spatter-free. We did have some drips and drops, but did not get the usual fine spray of paint on the floor around the base of the walls.

Verdict: definitely true, and almost worth the extra cost right there.


# Paint dries harder
I don't know if it dries harder. I do know that within a couple of hours of painting I was able to tape over the paint and none of it came off on the tape. I also did not get that fun stretching and ripping action when removing tape that had been painted over.

Verdict: probably.


# Virtually no odor
As for virtually no odor, I would almost agree. There was definitely a smell of something, but it was not the excessive fumes of the primer we used, for example. While priming we had to open windows to keep from passing out. While painting we could have stuffed our heads in the can of paint and been fine.

Verdict: you will like this a lot.


Now, some other things to discuss (not Benjamin Moore marketing claims):

Richer colours
I did read somewhere that Aura offers richer colours, but as far as I could tell the sample cans of Regal and the Aura paint were the exact same colour (actually, this was pretty impressive, since I got them at different stores). I did not use any of the "Affinity" colours which were specially formulated for Aura, because they are all very grey, and I don't care for toned-down colours like that. So I would say that this is not true if you just go with your basic Benjamin Moore colours.

Verdict: maybe.


Fewer sheens available
The other thing you might want to note is that Aura is available in fewer sheens than Regal. Now, I personally think the sheen thing has gotten a bit out of control. You have high-gloss, gloss, semi-gloss, pearl, eggshell, matte, flat, ultra-flat, blah blah blah. For the most part you can hardly tell the difference between two similar sheens (like matte and flat). So the fact that Aura is only available in matte, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss satin does not really bother me. We used matte for our walls, because it hides a multitude of sins in the plastering work.

Verdict: non-issue for me.


Not for use in HVLP spray equipment
I admit I am a bit bummed that this paint can't be used in HVLP equipment. Not that we have any, but I'd been thinking of buying some given the amount of painting we have to do. But they do have information on using it with an airless sprayer so maybe that would be the way to go. We're considering renting some spray equipment for our next big painting job, because that will be the hallway and dining room, so I may do some research and see what we'd need to get. Spraying would be so much faster and easier than rolling all that paint, and would help with all the tetchy little corners we have.

Verdict: not technically an issue for us, but a negative.


Other things that irritate me
While I'm on the subject of things I don't like, why can't you get small colour samples of all the Benjamin Moore colours? Maybe not right off the rack, but I'd be willing to wait a bit to get samples of the entire range of colours. As it is, I end up buying quarts of paint and stacking them up in the basement until I get to a room where I can use them up (like the Accordion Room and the pantry). Get on it, Benjamin Moore! (For the record, all the Aura Affinity colours are available in small sample sizes.)


So, would we use this paint again? Yes, yes, YES! Let me tell you why, and it has little to do with most of the marketing hype.

Apart from the ceiling, which required more paint than seems entirely reasonable (but also was subject to the Curse of the Pink), we did two coats of wall paint in aqua, at about 500 square feet each, and used less than a single gallon of paint. Contrast this with the library, which has a similar amount of wall space, and required two and a half gallons of Benjamin Moore Regal. The paint goes on much thinner, which means you get more mileage out of it. So with a full roller of Regal, for example, I would get about nine square feet of wall space thoroughly painted (plus feathering around the edges). With Aura, I was getting more like 20 square feeet of wall thoroughly covered. That makes a huge difference, and makes up for needing to do two coats. I half wondered whether a heavier roller would make up for that.

When you look at costs, one gallon of Aura costs about $55 after tax. Three gallons of Regal cost over $100. So even though Aura cost more per gallon, that gallon went a lot further. And we used a different colour for the library ceiling, so for that room we ended up buying three gallons of one green, and two gallons of another green in the Regal paint. When we repaint the library later this year we'll use the rest of the gallon of pink paint I bought, and we will probably have to buy another quart of aqua; I'm actually guessing we won't need to buy a whole gallon given how much of the aqua we have left. So to paint two rooms in Aura, we'll spend $150, whereas to paint one room in Regal we spent somewhere around $175 (I don't actually remember how much we spent on paint for that room, but Regal is around $35 per gallon with tax right now). That can make a huge difference if you are reusing colours from one room to the next and can get more mileage out of each can.

Ultimate verdict: this is a great paint. I will definitely use it again. I'm actually looking forward to painting some rooms really dark colours.

Technorati Tags:


posted by ayse on 03/26/09

47 Comments

We're using the "mid-grade" low voc Benjamin Moore paint, and it seems as good as their regular paint. I think they have slightly different products in Canada though. It's the same price as Behr paint, and is much better quality in my opinion. I don't know if the Aura is better, it was a lot more expensive though. I guess it depends on how long you go before re-painting.

Derek, the thing about the Aura paint is that it ended up being less expensive, because I used fewer gallons of paint. So the price per gallon was higher, but the lower number of gallons per square foot more than made up for it. The price difference here is about $20 per gallon, taxes taken into account.

That's a very thorough review. I have some painting to do at our house and have been very interested in Aura.

I'm using a quart of exterior Aura right now to paint my 6-panel front door (Dinner Party Red, an affinity color), in a semi-gloss. Did 2 coats of deep primer first, to cover the previous dark green paint color, then sanded with 300 grit sandpaper and wiped clean with a tack cloth.

Used my 3" purdy brush to put on the Aura. It went on uneven with streaky coverage -- I needed to keep reloading my brush and working it in on spots I had just done...well that's a problem because within 10 seconds this paint is setting up already so what you end up with is streaks if you go over ANYTHING you just painted. You somehow need to get this paint on perfectly in the first 2 strokes of your brush and then leave it and not touch it at all.

I did the best I could and let it dry. It ran a little bit as it was setting up so there are a few run blobs in the edges of two of the door panels. There must be some magic balance between getting good coverage in the first strokes of the brush and not getting any runs as it sets up. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the exact balance for this.

Waited a couple hrs or so and did a 2nd coat, this time using a sponge brush and being very careful. It's drying now and I think that's a better way to go when using the semi-gloss Aura formula on a door, as there will be fewer brush strokes appearing.

While I appreciate the low fumes (none I could detect), the application was NOT what I considered easy or smooth. I would consider trying Aura for interior use, but I don't think I would ever use the exterior formula again. Once this quart is finished (I still need to paint the storm door in and out), that's it for the Aura exterior formula experiment. I'd rather have a paint that has a longer and more forgiving setup time and can handle one or two brush strokes over one just put down on the substrate.

Thanks for the thorough reviews. I presume Aura is water-based. If so, can it be used to paint over oil-based paint, on the exterior?

Aura is water-based. And I don't see any reason why, with proper surface preparation, you can't use it over oil-based as you can any other water-based paint. But see the earlier comment on the exterior Aura: apparently it's not much fun with a brush. (And you can't use it in a sprayer.)

I have been using BM Aura in a Fuji HVLP three stage sprayer with no problems. Using the standard HE #4 tip with the paint thinned a minimal 10% and the air control valve removed from the air supply line with the paint supply dialed back a bit --- not sure I need to thin it but I just always have. I doublecheck the viscosity with the viscosity cup and shoot for 30 seconds to empty the cup.

Atomization is excellent. I am spraying cabinets in an unairconditioned shop (really a boat house) in Texas summertime temperatures with no problems.

I rolled the paint on some backsides of Hardi Plank (very porous cementitious exterior sheathing boards which drink up paint) with no problems. I use Purdy Classic skins with a bit longer nap to hold a lot more paint. This seems to be particularly useful on the Aura as it really loads up the paint.

I do observe that this is a paint which requires very little handling. Lay it down and get out of the way. I learned to paint from a guy who used to say: "The homeowner is buying paint. Give them a lot of paint for their money. Let the paint do the work."

Use good equipment (sprayers, rollers and brushes) and put it down with a purpose and let the paint do its job. Don't overbrush so the paint can level itself.

I find that sanding between coats is a far better investment than dragging the brush across. I get the paint on, sand it flat and make the final coat very thin. I clear coat everything these days. I am mad about matte finish clear coats which I then wax. Sometimes I even use a car buffer to work the wax. I can get it to Pottery Barn sheen, smooth and level. It just takes some very simple work.

I learned everything by experimentation.

I have always been a huge fan of primers and have sometimes applied up to 3 coats of primer to get the base flat and neutral before the color paint is applied. This has always served me well and its seems to make the actual paint behave better.

I seem to be either distressing simple Pottery Barn type furniture or doing fairly low sheen cabinets. The paint must be hard because it is difficult to get the paint off when distressing.

I recently did a "whitewash" with blue paint on a couple of benches for a lake house to mimic some existing Pottery Barn furniture and I had to sand off the paint to get it right.

I clear coat everything I do and this paint is very nice under a clear coat finish. Some paints change colors a whole lot.

Thank you so much for the review!

Regarding Natalie's June 12, '09 write up, I've read some pro opinions on the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America boards (http://www.pdca.org/forums/) that say the exterior flat is a dream to use but the other sheen options can be a bear to work with. Not unusable but they need practice, the right brushes/rollers, and an experienced hand. I wouldn't give up on Aura due to the performance of the semi-gloss formulation.

This is the best review ever! Nice post-posts too.

I usually do all my own painting, but since we're having our floors sanded, I need to get the whole 1st floor done FAST. To that end, I'm hiring the people who did the outside of my house a couple of years ago. They are planning to use Benjamin Moore, but not Aura (they noted the expense).

If I did it myself, I was going to try Aura... but I don't know if I should ask them to use it. It seems that, as pros.. they have a comfort level with some products, and I should just let it go. Or should I offer to pay the extra amount and have them use Aura. I don't want to repaint anytime soon. What do you think?

Robin,

If you care about the VOCs in the paint, or if you want to be able to wash your walls (I admit, there are not many rooms where I have needed to wash the walls, but we don't have kids), Aura is a good choice. Otherwise you could just stick with what your painters like best. You're not going to have to repaint sooner with the regular Benjamin Moore paint; with a professional application you'll get tired of the colour before it fails or fades.

I painted child's room with Benjamin Moore Natura ("fresh air"!!!)almost 2 months ago... Still smells very badly, don't know what to do.

Greg, I suggest you contact Benjamin Moore directly and tell them your problem. They're really quite good about resolving customer issues.

Of course, I find it hard to believe Natura smells badly; several of my clients have used it and it doesn't even smell in the can, much less on the wall.

DO NOT use Benjamin Moore Natura Zero-VOC paint, we used the flat paint in a few rooms and there was a horrible chemical smell for five months (as opposed to only one week w/ their regular paint.) The company had the audacity to tell me there is nothing wrong with the paint, even though there are dozens of other people compaining about it on the internet. Some of them had to move out of their homes because they couldn't tolerate it. As a residential interior designer I've specified B. Moore paints for ten years, but not anymore.

thanks so much for your independent review of Aura--I have been a housepainter for 15 years and a committed Benj.Moore girl. I have been using the Aura for the last couple years but sometimes get frustrated with BM corporate speak in regards to getting some real info on Aura. Similar to you, I have mixed reviews of the stuff, sometimes it performs great (covers really well:mostly in dark colors; goes on nicely: in ideal weather conditions;) . I have found especially when painting a light color over darker colors the two coat promise does not hold up. Frustrating. And I have even had problems with picture framing in warmer weather that required the special Aura extender. Frustrating. Self priming?--I say it's a great way for BM to get people to prime their walls with $55/gl paint. I have not found much benefit and like you pointed out, it's hard to get it nice and smooth with feathering and cut-in's, when your using it over raw drywall. Over regular pre-primed wallboard and plaster it does great, like the "Regal" matte does too.
I love it for trim painting and use the Aura Satin for a lot a projects. I work fast, so it works for me. It goes on smooth and has a great satin finish. There again though I ran into trouble one time when my paint store had to match it to a bright white and it was so transparent I had to do 3-4 coats on trim everywhere. The paint store finally admitted that they were having trouble with matches and getting the coverage that BM promised. So what do you do with that? It's frustrating because they make these promised (so that one is willing to spend $55 on a gallon of paint) and I write my bids accordingly and you end up eating it.
So my list of problems I have run into is:
-light colors do not cover well over medium to dark ones (not the guaranteed 2 coats)
-not a good "primer" for wallboard
-sensitive to matching: it seems to tweek the color technology
Benefits I have found:
-does great coverage in dark colors (you get the "wow this is only two coats" effect)
-has a great durable finish for trim (decent alternative to oil) if you can work it.
-applies really nicely with min. splatter in normal weather conditions
-nice colors, nice finishes
So I guess my biggest gripe with Aura is that it is a bit tricky and like any new paint I try, I have to get used to it's quirks. But after using it for 2 years I have to say it has presented more quirks than any other paint I have used. The problem is that BM presented it as a "fool-proof" paint, guaranteeing ease of application and great coverage. So one was willing to spend $55 a gallon over the $36/gl "Regal" line of paint . I did not have as many expectations with my Regal, it's just great paint at a decent price. No doubt the Aura is great paint also it's just not that great and it's been a bit of trouble.

Erica and Greg, I also have major issues with Benjamin Moore's Natura paint. I painted 13 months ago, and I am STILL waiting for the outgassing to stop (which is insane considering that this paint is marketed as Zero VOC). We have to air out the house more than once a day with strong fans and all windows open for several hours a day. Even though I have found dozens of similar complaints with some people going as far as replacing the sheet rock, or moving out of their homes, Benjamin Moore claims to know nothing about the problem. I suspect, since some people are happy with their Natura paint, that Benjamin Moore has had some bad paint batches. Believe me, this is 100 times stronger (even a bit fishy smelling) than regular paint, but the fact that it doesn't seem to ever completely outgas is what is most annoying.

Elisabeth-
I am an employee at a BM dealer, and last week we had an Aura color matching representative in to explain a few quirks with matching. What he explained with the coverage issue is that Aura has a minimum amount of tint that needs to be added. This poses a problem with pastel colors that usually only take maybe 10/32nds of an ounce to get the color. What needs to be done in a pastel base in Aura is for 2 oz. of white to be added immediately, and then begin the matching process. The Color Rx Program does not account for this when doing a computer match either. This was not made known to retailers until lately. The Regal and Super Spec lines did not have this requirement, so matching a color in Aura is a little trickier. Also, after being so familiar with the colorants, its hard to get perfection with a new colorant system when all BM tells you is that a tint in the Gennex system is "deeper" than the equivalent CP tint. For example, the Gennex orange is 2x stronger than the CP orange, but if you look at them next to each other, the CP orange looks darker. I'm presuming a lot of retailers are having some trouble adjusting to new colorants.

In response to the original post, within the last few months, BM discontinued their 2oz sample program in favor of pint size cans that can be tinted to any BM color. What we were led to belive is that the pint samples contain Ben, not Aura, which is why they can sell them at resonable cost (retails around $8), and still give you the benefit of the Gennex platform.

In response to the gentlemen painting the door, the Aura ext. semi gloss is probably the hardest Aura product to work with. I'm sure that next time you want to paint a door, you could talk to your BM dealer about sampling the Satin finish, which has just become available. It is a beautiful product, and is 10x easier to work with. Also, it seems as if you were working your paint a little too much. Your best bet would have been to take the door down so it was horizontal, and then put it on. It is common to see brush stroke when you're painting, but if you just leave it be, it will level out. That is just one of the drawbacks of Aura, consumers can not change their habits to adapt to its performance.

We had our children's room painted with Natura 3 months ago, and while I wasn't there while the walls were painted, I have never smelled anything from that paint. As another poster wrote, it doesn't even smell in the can. (It can't -- otherwise it wouldn't be zero VOC!) Sounds like BMoore has a quality control problem. If your natura paint smells at all, return it, because it's a bad batch. And if you just moved into a house that was built in the last five years, it just might be the chinese drywall -- yikes.

I can assure you the paint is smelling, not bad sheetrock. I have painted the inside of glass jars with the Natura paint, it smells BAD. If you put the lid on even for 15 minutes, it builds up to a headache producing level, even though the paint has been dry for several months.

RUSSELL

I loved painting with the Natura paint, good coverage and no smell. I had a terrible time getting the paint to match the color deck. I have worked as an interior designer for 30 years. I finally gave up and used the regular paint to get the color I wanted.

seems like I am the only person who HATES that color--maybe because I have no clue about painting...we moved into our freshly painted house a year ago...but shortly after living in house I noted "staines" on wall, they looked like the kids just moved along the wall with a pencil and made lines...I was ready to yell at them but fortunately I figured out that they were innocent...if you "bump" into the wall and scratch it it leaves "pencil-colored marks"...they are very hard to get clean if even at all...it's the paint...it is not forgiving...I wish I would have known...maybe it is great for the person who needs to apply that color...less labor intensive...for the person living in the house it is a horrible color--but our walls are all pretty white...maybe that problem does not occur on red, or green or darker colors...I wish we would have used Behr...consumer report does not have Aura in their evaluations...maybe it was not worth it...

Irene, I've never heard of anybody having that issue with Aura, and I have many, many clients with it on their walls.

Also, "colour" refers to the colour of the paint, not the brand, so a lot of your comment doesn't make any sense.

I have painted the trim on my older Cape Cod style house with Aura exterior flat finish in white (Chantilly Lace) including garage doors and the front door. Aura paint is fast drying and the big advantages with the flat finish are that there is no streaking and the flaws in the woodwork are largely hidden. I am very pleased with the result.

Our painter has now done 3 coats of aura and we still see white from the primer peaking through.
We were told that he didn't put enough paint on the first 2 coats. Well now after the 3rd coat it is better BUT we have drip marks anfd still see white spots .
What a mess. Never again.
We are not sure how to fix the problem.
Any suggestions?
Please!

If your Painter isn't seeing good coverage after two coats he isn't applying enough material. Last week I did a burgundy over a ight tan and it was almost good enough after 1 coat! Drip marks and poor coverage is not a good sign for a painter! This paint covers better than anything I have seen in 20 years and its very dramatic in dark colors. The new gennex colorants provide a finish appearance is that is second to none. I guarantee if you know what your looking for you can spot it very easy in comparison to a much less expensive paint! Having used a lot of cheap paint and a lot of good paint I now use Aura almost half the time! The other is Regal select! If my clients want to use less expensive paint the need to use a different painter! Labor is the big expense of most of most jobs and a standard master bedroom takes no more than 2 gallons of paint for a difference of maybe $50 a couple weeks of coffee at starbucks to protect your most expensive asset. Its a no brainer and you can paint a room two coats and I would be surprised if you have more than a couple small spots on your hands. In addition this paint covers so well on cut in and rounded corners its makes the job go faster!

Well done Bennie!

I used this paint to paint a bedroom and hated it so much that when I went to get paint for another bedroom I specifically said no Aura - just give me the Regal.It dried so fast it was absolutely impossible to keep any kind of a wet edge. If I had known ahead of time this would be a problem I would have gotten an extender when I bought the paint but by the time I figured this out I was committed. Because of this I do have some "ropes" showing that I was not able to roll out and I never have this problem. To its plus it did cover very well - a dusty rose color over white primer covered nicely in one coat. But not enough to make me want to buy it again.

I also have decided that the Benjamin Moore Aura product will never go on one of our walls again. The adherence is absolutely terrible, and the paint does require multiple coats. If you have doubts, paint a test surface (properly prepared) and let it dry for as long as you want. Then try using some tape on it and watch it peel off in sheets. Or just brush lightly against it and see how it rubs off! What a waste of money this was for us - we need to redo all of the work.

This is an update on my remark of September 6th 2011. Nearly a year later the flat white Aura exterior paint on my house is still as good as new. I have now painted exterior shutters, some wood some plastic, in dark blue flat over light blue. One coat did a perfect job. Hopefully they won't fade as we are in a sunny location.

I'm with Connie. Aura never again. Painting two bathrooms. The paint either runs, so load up with less paint, and then it wont cover. Looks like a minimum of three coats to get the rooms done. Plus having to wait between painting the edges and then the rest of the walls is silly. What should be a couple of hour projext is now over six. And make sure you paint in vertical lines, not in the classic "W" style or the paint may lift. Very unimpressed with this product, especially for the cost.

BM dealer talked me in to using Aura on some trim iso oil.
The semi-gloss is a streaky bubbly mess.

Does anyone think I can put oil base over the aura or will it have to be stripped off?

What a nightmare!

Gary, it's not clear how you managed to make a streaky bubbly mess out of latex paint, but my best guess is that you mixed it with an aerating mixer, and didn't mix it for long enough (though if you had you would also have had clumps using an aerating mixer). That'd make a mess out of any kind of paint, and I usually suggest that when people make that kind of mess they admit they are no good at home improvement and hire somebody to do the work for them.

In other words: the problem is between the can and the wall, buddy.

I used Aura satin to paint a previously painted off-white builtin wood cabinet. It required two coats and then a few touchups to cover the off-white with Forest Moss, a darkish green. The paint leveled nicely for a smooth finish, and the touchups are invisible.

The Aura does dry fast, but once I figured out how to work with it, it was fine. Don't go over an area more than once until it's dry to the touch. It's when you try to go over it again when it's in that sticky in between stage that's a problem. Do all your cutting in first, and then by the time all that's done, you can go back to where you started and begin rolling. Forget about keeping a wet edge. Aura is different from other latex paints, and if you try to work with it like you would any other latex paint, then yes, you'll have problems.

Unlike some, I am a huge Aura fan. I painted over a denim blue with ONE coat of a light grey Aura. No holidays. At. All.

The secret? I ponied up for Bennie Moore's Aura roller cover. It does make a difference. I normally use Purdy roller covers, but didn't want to chance $55 a gallon paint by saving a few bucks on a roller cover. That may or may not be the reason, but I can assure you the Aura paint went on flawlessly.

Our bedroom is a kind of caramel color. I replaced the thermostat last summer. I did the original paint job Thanksgiving of 2008 (I think). I was able to touch it up (the old stat was a different shape than the new one) and the patch disappeared. This was nearly a full 4 years later... in a room with a SW exposure and walls of glass.

Durability? It's bulletproof. No signs of wear at all.

I see people rolling up and down and cringe.... the nap puts on paint in one direction and removes it in the opposite. If you watch a pro, they always draw down a wall in a single run - in the same direction - to smooth it out - once it's filled in.

NOT RECOMENDED:
We converted a bedroom into a bathroom. Put up aqua board, did everything our local paint specialist sugested right down to the roller and brush. I painted 2 coats on the walls and have shiny and dull spots as well as well as streaks. Being a old house we had to remove a small portion of the paint for the marble to fit and using a putty knife scratched the paint surface and peeled the paint off the ceiling. This project took 2 gallons at 70.00 each. Unbelievable. Sadly I can vision the paint peeling off the walls.

I've painted all manner of exterior and interiors over the years, with all manner of paint. I know my way around a paint brush and roller. I'm good at it, and don't cut corners on tools and materials.

Although I'll generally agree that you get what you pay for, I'll say that I hated the Aura paint.

Some people take great pride in using difficult or tricky products. Some of us just want to get the job done quickly and easily.

If you're the former, and feel it's worth spending time and money to figure out the EXACT perfect application for this paint, then go ahead. And yes, I mean EXACT. It is far too unforgiving for those of us with better things to do.

If you're used to other premium brands that just go on the wall, cover, and don't require endless touch ups and tweaks, then look elsewhere.

Our experience: the paint was purchased by my partner based on the price (expensive) and the recommendation of the paint dealer. It allegedly has "better" colors.

Despite BM's "one coat" claims, we wound up doing three coats on all most every wall of a small bathroom. When we tried to lay it on thick it dripped and ran. When we laid on on thinner it didn't cover.

I'm sure there some perfect amount of this paint that should be applied (or "floated" as someone once claimed), but we never found it.

Honestly, there are dozens of very, very good paints out there that apply easily - why on earth would I bother with the hassle or Aura?

I am a novice painter and hate painting. Give me any other home improvement job and I'll take it. With that said, I painted my interior ranch house with Aura. It looked like pudding when I opened the can. It didn't splash or drip much. I rolled it on ceiling with great coverage. My walls one coat. I did apply heavy. Used a lot of paint. Not sure what feathering is, but I don't have any lines or odd textures.
I love the colors. I think I used the affinity colors, they change color when the lighting changes. They look great from room to room. The roller was heavy and I did break a sweat, but it was well worth it.
Out side needs to be painted next. The posts here worry me about the exterior Aura. Should I try it there as well?
Advice? Thanks!

Trace, I have never seen people get as worked up about paint as they do on this thread. If you had no trouble with interior Aura, I suspect you would have no trouble with exterior Aura. The worst thing that happens is you have to repaint.

As a professional painter with nearly 30 years in the trade, I have used most brands of paint, interior and exterior...our company won an award last year from Angie's list for being in their top 5% in the country for service and quality. Part of that is because we use Aura almost exclusively inside. Aura matte for the walls, Aura satin for trim. This paint definitely has covered in two coats no matter what, in every single case we've used it. To the original reviewer, I say two things - tint your primer if you need it, and stop using 1/4 inch sleeves on the walls! A 3/8 in. sleeve is all we ever use - and to that note, we don't reuse them - once we are done with that roller and color, they get tossed out. Cleaning them takes too long and causes the fibers to release onto the surface, which is a bad scene, unless you like walls to have bits of fuzz all over them...anyway, in comparison to any other paint, the Aura interior matte and satin are well worth the high price tag. They apply easy, dry fast, retain their color a lot longer than other brands, cover amazingly well ( a prime and two finish coats are standard fare when doing new surfaces, by the way) and they adhere way better than other water based paints. Outside, we have less experience but some of the issues posted here have been addressed as far as I can tell...bottom line, this paint is by far the best we've found...products with similar claims don't even come close...

In response to some of these posts I will say that each paint project has its own challenges. Going over oil? Use Krud Kutter gloss off, Zinsser 123 latex primer (tinted if changing the existing color) and one or two coats of finish with the Aura satin, and you'll have a bullet proof surface. Some of the posts saying it didn't stick make me wonder if someone used it right over oil, and that's something we see novice/homeowners do ALL THE TIME. As far coverage goes, maybe they used a 1/4 inch sleeve? On walls and flat ceilings they will leave you with skips every time...they just don't hold enough paint...I don't EVER have problems with Aura and I've used hundreds if not thousands of gallons of it. If the surface ALREADY HAD ISSUES, there isn't a paint on Earth that will miraculously solve them...but if you're nota professional to begin with, you may have no clue how to solve them. Any painter who does call themselves a pro ( and trust me there are hacks ALL OVER this trade who think they are) and can't get GREAT results with this paint? Go back to paint school...!

Used select semi-gloss select over interior oil semigloss and after sanding and wiping with will bond the paint is not bonding got me in a real mess

I think Aura is too difficult to apply and can leave your walls a hot mess because of that. It starts to dry as soon as you get it on, so there is virtually no working time or forgiveness. Who can work like that. I shudder to think what happens when sloppy professional painters do their thing. I don't think I was working slowly but still my finish did not come out nice and smooth supposedly because I worked it too much, so I am not happy with the results.

It seems the person who wrote this doesn't have a ton of experience with paint. Or maybe not a lot of experience with other paint manufacturers. If you purchased Dulux Diamond Or Sherwin Williams Emerald paint you would know immediately that Benjamin Moore's product are of a lower caliber for the most part. Yes Aura is a good product, no doubt about it. But there are others on the market that would out perform it for a lower price. Advice to amateur painters. Look for products that have a 2 hour recoat time. Gives you a opportunity to work the product without scrambling to fix or cover a mistake.

Yeah, I hardly have any experience with paint. *snort*

Got sucked in. Hate aura. It is impossible to work with.

We painted four years ago with Aura and it still looks great on the walls. The ceiling is beginning to peel, but I think that's because of the crappy paint we had to go over, and the incredibly dry heat of our apartment. Not sure. But the walls look fantastic. And the thickness was fantastic. The former owner of our apartment had used a hideous combination of dark orange in the living room and incredibly dark purple in the bedroom. Amazingly, we were able to get a pure white to cover the dark purple in two coats. I REALLY didnt' think that would happen. Paint was thick, but didn't seem any harder to work with than anything else I've used, so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.

I just painted with aura, and it costs over 80 CAD a gallon! (they didn't mention that at the store until we were at the cash) Probably won't use it again for that reason. It took me a while to get used to using it, so a few places need a second coat, but I won't do a full second coat on the room as I'd have to buy another gallon.

I've used Aura twice. Five major problems--

1) It doesn't dry. I painted a door a month ago, followed the direction on temperatures and drying time between coats, and it is still tacky.
2) It doesnt' adhere well. After sanding the surface before painting, I found that it sticks to the weather stripping, door jam, etc. and flakes off.
3) It required two coats.
4) The price.
5) Customer service: I complained to my hardware store. They called their sales rep and never heard back.

I won't be using BM Aura again.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

Leave a comment

« Previous
Home
Next »