Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa

We always wanted to review Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa. We had the opportunity to spec the paint when painting this home in the east end of Toronto. This job was a recommendation from a good customer so this would be a good place to use it. The walls in the bathroom were close to the shower, so this would be an amazing paint for it .

Glossy paints have had their place.

Most people still like them on trim and woodwork. In the last few years, the glossier finishes have lost their popularity. Even for woodwork we now use the pearl finish from Advance waterborne. Eggshell has now become the new durable go-to finish. The majority of surfaces on a home are now painted with the new and more durable flat paints. Benjamin Moore’s new Aura paint was a game changer in the industry. There was finally a true washable flat paint in the market. After the initial popularity and the success of the Aura paint, the same technology trickled down to all their paint lines.

Flat in a Bathroom?

There was still a lot of hesitation about using a flat finish in a bathroom. A bathroom has a lot of humidity and the steam from a hot shower would usually mark the fresh paint. This was especially evident with dark colours. When Aura Bath & Spa came out, we very much wanted to make this our bathroom paint of choice. Benjamin Moore says that this paint is made for hot, steamy and humid environments. Like the original Aura matte, this paint has many other great characteristics:

  • Low VOC, which is great for enclosed small spaces like a bathroom.
  • Very good hiding abilities, two coats is fine for any colour.
  • The matte finish hides surface imperfections.
  • Benjamin Moore’s Proprietary Color Lock® Technology.
  • It is formulated to prevent water staining and lock out moisture.

Painting the wall and ceiling

We used the product in a Benjamin Moore colour called Harbor Haze. This is a cool, spa-like blue that works great in a bathroom. The price of the paint was about $65 per gallon. That is actually very expensive but if the paint was as good as expected that would still be great value. A gallon is usually too much paint for a small bathroom, but it was necessary in this case because the ceiling would be painted in the same colour. The surfaces needed a substantial amount of patching and repair. After some really good prep work, two coats were painted. We did not spot-prime the area intentionally to test its ability to hide surface imperfections. As expected, the walls looked really smooth and there was absolutely no visible “flashing” of the patched areas. The paint felt thick and almost substantial to apply. Despite that, it was very easy to make it look smooth, almost silky. The previous paint was an oil-based semi-gloss. We sanded and cleaned the surface well, but no bonding primer was used as a test of the adhesion properties of the paint. Even before curing, the paint passed the vigorous “fingernail scratch” test.

Water Resistance.

The following day the shower was used as normally as possible. No attention was given to the fresh paint on the walls and the ceiling. After close inspection, Aura Bath & Spa passed the moisture test with flying colours. Despite the velvety flat look and feel of the paint, it hardly looked porous. That is reason enough to think that it will pass this test every time there is a steamy shower in this busy bathroom. Benjamin Moore’s Aura Bath & Spa is a good paint. It is easy to work with and it looks great. The performance characteristics seem to be exactly as advertised. Considering the ease of use and the labour savings that it produced, it is also a great value for a painting contractor.

Update of the Aura Bath & Spa Finish – June 2015

We had an opportunity to visit the customer’s home because she wanted some more work done. This always presents an opportunity to check our previous work and in this case, the durabillity of this product. The verdict?

The paint looks as good as the day it was painted. There are no water marks, or any humidity stains from the busy shower. The customer said she had to wipe the wall couple times and we certainly saw no signs of that. It’s safe to say that Benjamin Moore has an undisputed winner with this product and we will keep using it!

Ecopainting is a GTA Painting Company also servicing Pickering and the Durham Region. Contact us for a Consultation at 416 733-7767
23 thoughts on “Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa
  1. Gia says:

    I was told we had to wait 5 dry days to use shower!! Not necessary? Sounds like it.

  2. Natalie says:

    I have this very paint in my bathroom in DownPour Blue. Gorgeous color, went on very nice. But the quality for me after drying is horrible. Surfactant leaching is continual. Being that this is a flat paint you must be careful in washing, which is the only way to get rid of the terrible lines that form from the surfactant leaching. So then I wash my walls and the next time I shower, they’re back. Plus this being a flat paint, just washing one part of it (i.e. Kids splash toothpaste on it) it washes the same as plain old flat paint. So if you just wash one part, you will have a ring around the spot you washed. This has been a terrible expensive paint for me. I was VERY excited when I found this paint. But my bathroom looks terrible and now it’s costing me more money to cover it with another paint.

    • georgezaro says:

      That’s too bad Natalie, it shouldn’t happen. Being painters, we don’t always go back to see every paint colour. I love that colour by the way, too bad it didn’t work, because it would have looked so good in matte. You now have to use a pearl or something with a similar sheen. I would ask Benjamin Moore for a free gallon, they have excellent service. it won’t help with your effort to repaint but it would help. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      • Natalie says:

        When I contacted BM about it they suggested we wash the walls to remove the leaching and so we did. Multiple times. It just keeps coming back. Here I am a year later and it still comes back every time. We are repainting very soon, and I was just looking into the pearl sheen. This blue is gorgeous and I’m so worried it will look completely different in pearl. I have eggshell on my wainscotting and trim (in the bathroom) and I never had a problem with the leaching. Wonder if I should try that on the top of the walls? To avoid the sheen of pearl? I worry it will be close to semi gloss. I really do need to be able to wipe my walls….and certainly don’t want to keep repainting.

        • Adele says:

          I totally agree. That’s why I came here… to see if I could find any tips on cleaning these walls that were just painted a few months ago with Aura Bath and Spa Matte. I had to wallpaper a wall in my powder room already because of the staining, from hand washing around the sink, which I could not remove. . I have painted the room in Metropolis which is dark and I can’t believe what a mess it looks like. Just in my office bathroom today (Aubergine)and wiped a dusty looking spot with my shirt sleeve and its left a big spot on the wall. It looked great when it was brand new.

          • georgezaro says:

            For now, these common experiences are helpful to future users of the product. At some time, I am going to incorporate them into the blog.
            a)dark colours are not washable.
            b)darker colours allow surfactant leaching.
            We have painted a Moksha Hot Yoga facillity twice now. The walls were hot and humid and had to be painted overnight. The following day the place was steamy and the walls were practically sweating every day for a year between paint jobs. The paint is in excellent shape. The difference seems to be the colour. The Yoga studio colour is a white.

        • georgezaro says:

          Considering all the issues you had, the pearl should be good. They also have a Kitchen & Bath Paint and a Kitchen & Bath paint should not give you such issues. Whatever you use,
          give it sometime to cure before a steamy shower. And keep it ventilated until cured. Good luck!

    • Shauna Clark says:

      I had the very same experience – twice!! Benjamin Moore said that I needed to repaint it because it didn’t have time to cure before I wiped of a little toothpaste. So, I repainted it (I had to do the whole room of course) and let it totally cure for 6 months. What happened?! The same thing!! This is a terrible paint! DON’T USE IT!!!! Oh, plus, Benjamin Moore gave me a whole long spiel about the color technology, blah, blah, blah…. Don’t believe them. You will not be happy with this paint!

  3. Janice Leung says:

    I am considering using the Aura B&S to redo my bathroom in sterling silver. It was previously done in matte in a cheaper Ben Moore line, and it has bubbled and split on the wall near the shower. The contractor is recommending Regal Select in at least an eggshell finish. I want to use the best product to prevent similar issues in future. Wondering if you’ve had more experience with this paint, and reached a further conclusion in terms of durability and performance feedback? If so, what would your recommendation be?

    • georgezaro says:

      I hope this is not too late to respond. The reason it bubbled may not have to do with the paint used. It may be internal moisture or not enough ventilation. If these problems don’t exist, it is a good idea to remove any non adherent paint, clean the area and spotprime it with a good acrylic primer. After it’s paint ready you can use Aura Bath and Spa. If your contractor thinks you need more sheen, Benjamin Moore makes a Kitchen and Bath paint. The sheen is between eggshell and pearl. I hope this helps.

  4. Rick says:

    I absolutely DESPISE this paint. My wife had the bathroom repainted in Old Navy which is obviously a navy blue. It has been nothing but aggravation. Water drip lines so bad I had to skim coat the area to get rid them of them. Ive touched this color up several times allowing for a WEEK’S drying time before we used the shower again. You can not so much as heavy breathe on an area and you have a PERMANENT water spot. This paint has made me so frustrated I’m on the verge of ripping all the sheet rock out and starting again for fear that this rubbish paint will keep on producing theses issues even with another color overlay. PLUS “I” now have to repaint the entire bathroom which I loathe doing and the cost of a painter in the first place was money wasted.

    • georgezaro says:

      Hi Rick, the theme that is recurring here is that Aura Bath and Spa is not the paint to use with strong colours. We as painters can share our own experiences, but in real life what matters is how the paint works every day in bathrooms. After all these comments, we suggest the traditional Kitchen & Bath acrylic paint, at least for darker colours. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  5. Ann Curry says:

    I have the same issue with the Aura in my bathroom, painted in Charlotte Slate, a strong color and so beautiful, until I attempted to wipe water splatters and/or toothpaste off the walls. Leaves marks and CHANGES THE COLOR. I will have to repaint and will try the Kitchen and Bath, but really liked the Matte Finish. C’mon Benjamin Moore.

    Will share this with my local dealer.

    • georgezaro says:

      Hi Ann, maybe Benjamin Moore should sell the product in light tint bases or inform the buyer of the problems with deep tint bases. Maybe you use a dead flat acrylic urethane over the paint to protect it. An expensive solution for people that want a matte in the bathroom. Otherwise a kitchen and bath product is best. I am leaving these comments here for now, but I will update the blog itself with some user experiences.

  6. Margie says:

    Hi, We painted our bathroom in linen white about two months ago, and the color and walls still look good. We don’t have toothpaste splattering due to a large mirror, but even the area around the shower is holding up nicely. Our bathroom doesn’t have great ventilation, so as far as I’m concerned, the paint is doing what it’s supposed to do.

  7. john says:

    Five days after using BM Aura Bath & Spa paint I already have water streaks. I don’t understand how it works for some and not others. What a waste of time and money. Color was off white so I don’t think it matters what shade you use. Very very frustrating! Should have stuck with a semi gloss.

    • georgezaro says:

      Hi John, I don’t know how user experiences can be so different for everyone either. We didn’t have any issues as a contractor and we have used a lot of Aura Bath & Spa. It’s even been our paint of choice for Hot Yoga studios where walls are “sweating” within hours of dry time. Yet, there are some users that did not have the same experience, you included. Different and updated formulas maybe? Who knows… The main problem seems to be with stronger colours but yours was an off white. Thank uou for sharing your experience.

      • John says:

        Talked to the dealer and this is what they told me:
        “After the paint cures in 2 weeks you should be able to wipe it down. Sometimes it can take up to a month to cure depending on the environment. What’s happening is the extra moisture is mixing a bit with one of the compounds in the paint. It will eventually go away, no longer being visible when dry.”
        We will see!

  8. mike says:

    I used the BM eggshell (Manor Blue – nice color, but dark) in a well ventilated bathroom, waited two days, and it streaked after the first hot shower. Wiping it down doesn’t make much of a difference, not sure if due to paint or darker color. For my next bathroom, I went with the Aura Bath & Spa (Seaside Blue – lighter). Waited almost a MONTH before I let anybody shower in there, and first hot shower, streaks again. Wiping works better, but you can still see some streaks. And honestly, why the heck should anyone have to do this.. I spend enough time painting it to begin with, and the paint is expensive. So, what I would like to know, has anybody found another brand of paint (not BM) that can be used that won’t streak ?
    Note that I had BM eggshell on walls in bathroom for over ten years, never a streak. They messed with their formula…

    • georgezaro says:

      Hi Mike, you shouldn’t have problems like this but they seem to be common with lower sheen finishes and dark colours (and a lighter colour in your case).
      We are painters, we don’t always have the opportunity to go back months later and see everything we painted, so we assume a customer would complain with such issues. It seems that whatever manufacturer you use, when you use colour in a bathroom, maybe increase the sheen. A Kitchen & Bath paint that comes in Satin or Pearl. If your surface is in good condition, even semigloss? Still let it cure first. Too bad you would have to go to back to shiny walls but that’s what we used years ago. Maybe someone else has a better suggestion.

  9. Simon says:

    I have been painting full time for the past 13 years and spent 6 months working at SW. I can say that surfactant leaching has been a constant frustration for me too. Have used Kitchen and Bath specific paint in light colours, eggshell, semi-gloss, BEN eggshell in dark colours, Regal Eggshell in medium dark colours, epoxy, and have had leaching issues. Where as cheap flat contractor paint has shown water absorption, but without the leaching. Was tempted to try Aura Bath and Spa but after this thread, I’m not sold. Doesn’t seem to be a guaranteed solution regardless of cure time or tint base.

    I would personally warn against thinking that higher sheen equals less surfactant leaching, in my experience seems to be the opposite.

    The only sure fire solution for me was semi-gloss oil. But of course thats no longer a practical solution for a variety of reasons.

    – Simon

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