Advance Waterborne Enamel

This was a very large home in the Bridle Path area of Toronto. We painted the entire home in Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. The existing colours were very strong and the transformation to white took a primer and 2-3 coats of Aura Paint. The doors were already white, which was not appealing to the new homeowner. The new colour she chose for the doors was Benjamin Moore’s Black Iron. A very deep charcoal black, an “almost black” colour. The frames were to be painted in Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace, nice elegant choice!

We wanted to achieve that straight from the factory look without spraying the paint. In the past this was achieved by using a melamine finish or Benjamin Moore’s Satin Impervo. That sleek finish, with no roller or brush marks was almost flawless in appearance. Most Professional Painters liked working with these products, but the smell was a problem. They contained very high levels of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). These levels of VOC had a negative impact on both our health and our environment. A Satin Impervo headache is a term we used after a day at work.

For both our painters, and our customers indoor air quality, we are always in search of the latest paints. When Benjamin Moore came out with their new Advance paint, we really wanted to try it. It promised to be a premium waterborne alkyd with the flow and characteristics of a conventional alkyd paint. It also provides a tough finish that stands up to repeated washing. Advance paint can be used on trim, doors, walls and even ceilings. It can also be used for previously painted or primed wallboard, plaster, metal, masonry and wood surfaces.

Our painters found it to have excellent hiding properties, only two coats were needed. The finish quality we produced at this project was stunning. The Black Iron and chantilly Lace combination was brilliant! It was easy to apply and the smell was acceptable. Being waterbourne, it was easy to clean up with soap & water. Yes, a full alkyd being cleaned up with soap and water. If this becomes our go to enamel paint, there will be no reason to carry paint thinners and mineral spirits. Overall this was a very promising product.

Advance Waterborne – Update 2015

Benjamin Moore’s Advance is now our go to enamel paint for interior trim. After getting familiar with it’s characteristics, it’s very easy to use. It comes in three finishes, pearl, semigloss and gloss. We used the gloss and semigloss but our preference is the pearl finish.

What we like: It produces that “hand rubbed” look the Satin Impervo was famous for. It has good hiding properties and drying time between coats is acceptable. After allowing enough drying time, sanding before the final coat is almost as easy as the old alkyds were. Leveling is good but not as good as traditional oil paints. The paint is versatile enough to use on any woodwork but it looks amazing on fireplace mantles and wainscoting. It’s also performed well on kitchen cabinets.

What we don’t like about it: there is a smell to it but it is acceptable to most people. Considering the fact that it’s a full alkyd it’s not a big problem with some ventilation. Curing time is longer than usual and it says soft for as long as an acrylic does. It does harden a lot after curing so it’s definitely worth the wait. Adhesion could be better. On glossy surfaces, good prep and a bonding primers are a must. This is more of a problem with very dark colours that contain a lot of colourants. A good super adherent primer, tinted to the finish colour is an easy solution.

There are more hybrid type of enamels in the market now and most of them are good products. What makes Advance superior is the fact that it’s a full alkyd and not a hybrid.

At any rate, it’s been a few years since this original experience, and we still use this product. We look forward to updating this blog in 2018


2 thoughts on “Advance Waterborne Enamel”

    • Hi Josh, we never had to prime over Aura. It’s a water based paint and Advance will adhere well. It never hurts to sand the surface and dust it well before painting. That’s a good idea for any paint anyway.


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