We are painting the house. It's not a new decision - it's actually one several months in the making. My husband has been so wonderfully patient with me as I decided paint colors for each room, changed my mind on almost each of the decisions several times, and decided many other renovations would be necessary in the process. Back to the main topic though. The hardest decision by far was what brand of paint to go with. I'm the typical craigslister. I bargain shop as much as possible. So you might be shocked and appalled when I say we are using Benjamin Moore paint. Oh and not just their regular priced paint. We went with Aura! Gasp. Every time I go in to buy a new color I still cough and take in a deep breath when the clerk tells me the price. But after all my research and all my experience, I have to say I know I'm making a good choice. Here's my list of the benefits of Aura paint:
ONE COAT. Here's the story of my Master Bathroom. I made the mistake of choosing a beautiful but way too dark color (AF-720, Sparrow). It was so pretty and so dark in such a small area. But over the original cream color it was perfect in one coat. Despite how quickly the room was painted (3 hours) I had to change the color. It was way too dark! This scared me as now I would be putting a lighter color over a dark one. This time I went with Cape May Cobblestone (1474). As I began painting over the dark color I was trying to go quickly. After about half an hour I stood back for a break and surveyed the wall to my right. It was drying already and I was shocked - none of the dark color was showing through. 2.5 hours later I was done. There are two spots I have to go back and touch up (fist size) where there is a little dark showing through, but that is all. Once again it only took one coat. Now I must say as a side note that painting white over the dark color did not completely cover in one coat. (Touch ups on the ceiling as I haven't learned to paint like a pro.) I'll let you know soon if two does it.
LOW VOC. There were some fumes while I painted. It is a bathroom with no window. I kept the fan running. But compared to other paints I have used it was nothing. After the paint dried (3-4 hours tops) I could barely smell the paint anymore. The next day you'd never know we had painted. (Benjamin Moore does have a NO VOC paint.)
FAST DRYING TIME. This is such a fast drying paint. Perhaps it's because it only needs one coat, but compared to other paint jobs this was speedy.
EASE OF USE. I wasn't sure how to describe this but I think that's the best way. The paint is thick and as such drips and spills less than other paints. Honestly - I did the walls and ceiling and got one paint smudge on my arm but nothing on my clothes, hair, or anywhere else! That's saying a lot for me - last time I painted I had paint all over me for weeks.
LOOK AND FEEL. I know this might seem weird but it's true. The Aura paint has a way different look and feel then the rest of the paint around the house. It's smoother, richer looking and feels softer. OK so paint feeling softer is crazy but it's true.
OVERALL TIME. Aura takes one coat and it dries faster so what does that mean? Less time with a room out of service! Need I say more?
THE REAL COST. So to start out I must explain that I did a true comparison test. I went to Benjamin Moore and bought a small sample of the Aura paint. Then I headed over to Home Depot and bought a sample of Behr (also has good ratings and I've used it on other occasions) in the closest color match and eggshell too. I came home and rolled a patch (1 coat) of the Aura on. Then I did the same thing with Behr (again 1 coat). I cleaned up and walked away. Several hours later I returned to the room and checked out the results. The Aura sample was perfect and needed no touch-up but the Behr sample did. But I couldn't quit there. If Behr would take two coats it still might make more sense to use Behr. So I painted over it again, cleaned up and came back. Boy was I ever disappointed to realize that the cheaper paint was going to need a full third coat to get even close to the same coverage as Aura's one coat. (I even have pictures to prove it.)
Calculations: Aura costs just over twice as much as Behr. Behr takes 2 coats more than Aura. (That means painting 2 extra times and waiting for the paint to dry 2 extra times.) Results: Choosing the Aura brand over Behr was not really more expensive. While you pay more per gallon you will be using less paint (depending on the color, less then half the amount) and spending less time painting. So - with cost justification and all the other benefits of Aura it wasn't a tough decision. I know! It's completely enthralling. Alright, some of you may be wondering why I would spend so much time blogging about paint. You do not know me well. If it has to do with Interior Design I'll be at it for hours. I hope that my experience will be beneficial to those of you trying to decide what paint brand to use. I'll try to post before and after pictures soon. Now, if only I could solve the color dilemma. HA HA HA. Benjamin Moore sells their color fans for $20! You might want to do what I did and pick one up. Enjoy!