Product Review: Aura Paint by Benjamin Moore.

by Jamie Sanford on January 6, 2010

I have recently been slacking on a number of things, including this blog, because I have spent much time dealing with a recent move into another apartment.  One of the things I was most looking forward to in this moving adventure was the chance to paint some new colors on the walls.

The first wall that was painted in the apartment was completed with a Zero-VOC paint that I picked up at Lowe’s.  I picked the brand because I liked the color, there weren’t really other factors involved.  I really loved having paint without fumes, so I went back to the same brand to paint my bedroom this past week.

Unfortunately, I was unaware of the mystic qualities of grey paint that make it so paint that looks grey in one place looks like baby blue on the bedroom wall.  As I wasn’t convinced of my defeat, I went ahead and used a sponge roller to apply texture with a dark grey paint over the (alleged) light grey color.

Still looked blue, even started to look more blue when my husband came home and asked why the room was blue.

We tried texture in another color to add a third color to the wall in order to balance things out, but we ended up with what I can only describe as “country kitchen,” which is not in my taste at all.

I consulted with my trusted advisor, Google, to amend the situation.  A quick search of “best paint for paint coverage” resulted in many recommendations for the Benjamin Moore Aura paint line.  I checked out the site, and although using the Interior Paint Chooser suggested that I use the Natura line of paint, I decided to pursue Aura as it was the one I had read about and also mentioned “extreme hide” on the site.

As a side note, the Benjamin Moore website also has a great color-selection section on the site that allows you to pick a room with similar furniture, etc, as the room you are intending to paint, and you can then try the paint out in that room.  We had wonderful luck with this tool and soon settled on 546, Courtyard Green.

It’s nice, right?  I think so too.

A different experience was having to go to an old-school, non-chain hardware store to pick the paint up, as we don’t have Benjamin Moore stores in my area of New Jersey.  (I’ve heard from my good friend Alex that Benjamin Moore stores do exist, I am just not that lucky.)

I digress.

So on New Year’s Day, I got started on covering first the wall to which I had already applied 3 layers of paint, and right from the beginning, it was a beautiful application process.  Very smooth and I could tell from the first coat that the coverage was really excellent.

Slight downside that I noticed right away – this is not a Zero-VOC paint and there are some fumes.  They are minimal though.  As I mentioned, Benjamin Moore has Zero-VOC paint available, but I put more emphasis on the coverage of previous paint jobs.

I continued painting, other priorities and circumstance resulted in my bedroom painting project taking 3 days to complete (not full days, mind you, partial ones).  I am not 100% convinced that the Aura paint can cover a wall in 2 coats, without a primer coat or another darker paint color on the wall first.  The grey/blue paint that I started with acted as a great primer and let the Courtyard Green start on a darker surface.

Realizing this was a good thing, as I was able to use the grey/blue reject paint as a primer coat underneath the unpainted walls (we weren’t painting on naked drywall, these walls were covered with a white flat paint that had been applied by the apartment management company).  When this primer coat was in place, the Aura paint was well-saturated after 2 coats of paint.  I believe that part of my problem might have been that the Courtyard Green isn’t too dark, if I had been trying to go from white to yellow, I’m fairly certain that 2 coats would have been more then sufficient in terms of color saturation.

Here’s a really low-quality phone photo of the wall.  You can still see how beautiful the green is!

So, all in all, I’m really happy with the Benjamin Moore Aura paint that I purchased for this project.  It was quite expensive, costing around $60 for the gallon, 3 times more than the paint I had previously used successfully in my living room.  However, the colors I was able to review on the Benjamin Moore website and in person on the hardware store color wall were beautiful and I would certainly go back to Benjamin Moore products again.  I would hopefully NOT be in a rescue situation for my wall the next time I’m buying paint, so I’d probably lean to Natura (have also heard good things about the Affinity Colors from Benjamin Moore) for my paint needs.

I’m pleased with the results of this project, it was a long week of painting, being disappointed, painting some more, making another plan and finally finishing.

Do you have a paint brand that you are loyal to?  Do you do your own painting or do you leave it to the professionals?

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