What is the best interior paint? Is it even possible to make such a statement without conducting tests for durability, adhesion and hiding qualities? What about the look and the sheen? Interior decorating is all about the look afterall. Some people prefer the smoothness of a matte finish and others the silkiness of eggshell. Even after ticking all the required boxes, does the paint represent good value to the user? What about availability to consumers and the contractors?
As professionals painting interiors every day for years, we have our favourite products. If money was not an object, what paint would we recommend to our best customers? We think the best interior paint money can buy is Benjamin Moore’s Aura Eggshell. This is clearly a subjective point of view, albeit based on solid empirical experience.
What Makes Aura Eggshell the Best Paint?
- Zero Volatile organic Compounds, low odour. There was low and zero VOC paint way before Benjamin Moore introduced their proprietory Gennex colorant system. The problem was that the colourants we used for tinting paint were the universal colourants of the past. The stronger the colour, the higher was the VOC content. With the Gennex tinting system available now, you can have low VOC at any colour, yes, even red and orange tones.
- It has better hiding characteristics. By using fewer coats (layers) to hide the previous colour, you save time and use less product. This is especially helpful when using darker and brighter colours. Aura uses better raw materials and claims an incredible 46.3% Volume Solids. Before Aura was introduced, it was common to expcect 5-6 coats of red to achieve 100% hiding. In the following picture our painters look amazed that they two coats of red was sufficient. This was not just any red but Benjamin Moore’s Caliente AF-290. Caliente is a strong, radiant colour and the colour of the year for 2018.
- Better ingredients. Quality paints have better ingredients that cost more money but make better paint that is supposed to last longer. Paint includes pigments binders and additives. According to the Rohm & Haas’ Paint Quality Institute, quality means better binders. The type and amount of binders affect things like adhesion, flexibility, and stain resistance. Better paints contain good qualty and more expensive pigments that help with hiding. One of the most important (prime) pigments is titanium dioxide also called titanium white. Cheaper coatings use “fillers”, also called extender pigments that provide bulk but not much else.
Benjamin Moore manufactures and their own binders, pigments and colourants. They have eight research and development labs staffed with more than 100 chemists, engineers and support personel. Their research facility is in Flanders, New Jersey.
Benjamin Moore’s Proprietary Colour Lock™ Technology
Is Aura Really Self Priming?
All of a sudden the paints with primer in them were supposed to be superior. We used to just call it the “first coat” no matter what the brand of paint was. Early conclusions were that this was mostly a sales gimmick. Professionals never bought into it. New drywall still needed PVA primer, new wood needed some alkyd or hybrid. Glossy surfaces should get a bonding primer and stained surfaces a specialty primer or shellac. So what priming exactly were these wonder coatings meant for?
When Aura claimed to be self priming, some of us took notice. In the past Benjamin Moore stayed away from gimmicky claims so what was that about? From their website: “Aura® Eggshell Finish is self priming on most surfaces. Aura® will act as its own primer, providing the optimal foundation for the subsequent finish coat. On bare substrates two coats are required; previously painted surfaces can be finished with 1 or 2 coats”
We tried using Aura straight on new drywall with just one finish. Surprisingly, the holdout was good and the finish looked really good. I am not sure it’s wise to prime new contruction with such expensive paint but you can get away without priming or spot-priming once in a while. One thing is for sure, you don’t need a primer for drastic colour changes.
Aura is Expensive Paint
Conclusion – Why Aura Eggshell is the Best
For us the painters, it hides well, very well. Benjamin Moore’s Caliente AF-290 in two coats guaranteed! Bring it on!