Some More Thoughts on Aura

We went to Turkey for three weeks and the thing that was supposed to post this post for us never did (because nobody installed it, so this didn't exactly come as a total surprise), so now it's appearing now but with its original date on it. Hope that's not too confusing and if you want to see photos of Turkey check out my Flickr page.

After we painted the front parlour, I wrote up a review of Benjamin Moore Aura paint. Since then, we've done the dining room and the back bedroom with Aura, and I wanted to write up a bit more about using this paint.

First: we have no dog in this fight. We pay full retail for all our paint. We choose paint based on what we want the paint to do and past experience, period.

Second: we're big fans of Benjamin Moore. I really like all their paint, and I think there's not a bad paint in the lineup.

So given that, it's not very surprising that I love this paint, still. Coverage has consistently been twice as good as Benjamin Moore Regal, which is usually twice to three times as good as cheap paint. This has been a problem for me, because for the dining room I totally underbought paint on this weird assumption that the paint would somehow be magical rather than just very good. But we've been re-using colours, so it doesn't matter as much if I buy too many cans of paint; I can just save them for a future painting project.

(For the front parlour we bought two gallons of wall paint and used one and half; for the dining room we bought one gallon of wall paint and needed to go back for two quarts; for the back bedroom we bought two gallons of wall paint plus one gallon of wainscoat paint and used about a total of one gallon of wall paint and half a gallon of wainscoat paint. Benjamin Moore does not appear to have an Aura-specific paint estimator but the reason I'm so bad at estimating is foolishness rather than any real gripe with their web site.)

When I wrote the original review, I had no basis for saying anything about the longevity of the paint, and really, even after 1 1/2 years with the paint in the front parlour, I still don't have much basis (paint that has problems with fading after that time is clearly inferior). I said: "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."

But I can speak to washability and touchups, both of which I have experienced. Yes, this paint can be washed, and I buy matte finish so most of the time you can't really wash it without making a shiny spot. But after a particular pet-related incident I washed a spot on the dining room wall and now you can't tell what happened (thank goodness). I even used Nature's Miracle on it (I have no idea whether that would be recommended or not). So a big win on washability. Barf away on the walls, cats, I will only laugh.

And for touchups, I have two comments. First, I rarely do touchups on paint because I am flighty and change my mind about room colours all the time, so usually I'm willing to totally change a room colour rather than touch up the existing colour. Touchups require getting the can of paint, mixing it up with the mixer, cleaning the mixer, using a brush and then cleaning the brush. Not worth it.

But here's something crazy. When we went to paint the back bedroom, we grabbed the leftover can of Jamaican Aqua from the basement shelves and brought it upstairs. I got out the mixer, opened the can, and... it looked as if I had just closed it last March. The paint literally did not need re-mixing (though I did, anyway, because as I have mentioned I'm a little paranoid about paint mixing). So if I had needed to do a touchup, I could have just done one. Amazing.

The second thing is that yes, touchups are pretty seamless. Unless you have fading (and it depends on how long the paint has been up whether that fading is reasonable or not), I can't see how they would be obvious unless you really screwed up on the painting. When we were cleaning up the back bedroom at 2am last week, the garbage bag full of nasty scraped-off wall mastic chunks busted open right next to a freshly painted wall, where they embedded themselves in the wet paint. Yum. We had to scrape the chunks off the wall, and I left the big spot until the next day (dude, it was 2am already). A few quick swipes with the roller later, and the spot was completely invisible. How true that would be after a longer time period, I don't know. Honestly, I still think that if you need to cover a spot you might as well repaint the entire room. I do things the hard way.

Another thing I talked about in the review was the splattering factor. I've had mixed results with this, though it's possible that those mixed results are the result of higher expectations. When Noel was working over my head in the back bedroom, I got fairly covered in splatters of aqua paint (as did Dot, who was living up to her name, I guess). I think it has a lot to do with roller technique. But it could be that after using this paint over and over I am expecting miracles, rather than reality. All paint splatters if worked on vigorously with the roller. And I will say that the level of splatters is nothing like what I've gotten with Regal.

So I still love this paint. I still pay the extra money for each can, because I am still saving money overall. I am very intrigued to hear that it can be used in HPLV sprayer systems, but seeing as how I've been contemplating buying some kind of paint sprayer for three years now without doing anything about it, the issue is kind of moot for me.

posted by ayse on 09/20/10