Benjamin Moore Aura Bath & Spa
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.
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!