Benjamin Moore Advance Paint Review. Today, if paint doesn’t have self-priming abilities, anti-matter shielding, and built-in room deodorizer, it can seem downright boring. And if it happens to be top of the line, you’d pretty much expect at least that much. Fortunately, we have a few strong characteristics in this low viscosity waterborne alkyd to make up for the lack of the former.
NEW: Find out exactly how we create silky smooth highly reflective finishes with Benjamin Moore Advance using our step by step paint guide.
When we reviewed Advance in our trim paint roundup almost two years ago, we concluded we needed more time with the product before we felt comfortable opening our mouths about it. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but who’s walkin’ the walk? We benchmarked each product to separate pretenders from contenders, and offer up our own hands-on conclusion.
Feature-rich and ready right off-the-shelf, it’s no wonder Advance users take exception when people refer to Advance simply as an alternative trim paint—understandably so. Some of the lesser-known products typically have unique features more mainstream products lack, but with Advance it appears to be the other way around. Advance lacks some of the features and characteristics other trim products seem to have in common. Although lacking more mainstream features is not necessarily a bad thing, its simply something we need to be aware of.
Achieving consistent quality results with Advance depends largely on the environment.
Our last feasibility study on Benjamin Moore products conducted 12 years ago placed the Montvale New Jersey company as a niche product supplier and we parted ways after a 10 year-long run. Today, things seem to be the same as we remember. Unfortunately Benjamin Moore never made it back into mainstream for us and seems to struggle with targeting a larger audience with more user-friendly and well-rounded products. Zinsser managed to pull it off in the niche market with a great line of primers many paint contractors rely on—so we know you can dominate and be niche at the same time.
Thin film, 37% RH @ 69˚F (film too thin to get a reading)
Being the trade snobs that we are—everything needs to be just right and in-sync for our systems to maintain a high level of standards and efficiency.
We have a very low tolerance for inconsistencies and variables both of which we feverishly attack like a nasty horde of zombies.
We simply can’t be watching paint dry, but if we had time, Advance would be the ideal product to watch for hours of entertainment. The environment in which we do business here in Cleveland is often humid, Advance only plays a small role in the scheme of things.
About the only thing Advance can’t do well as far as usage goes—is maintaining acceptable and consistent results in uncontrolled environments, but if you can live with this limitation, or willing to work around it (see Paint Guide), Advance is one of the most durable water cleanup paints currently on the market although that durability doesn’t happen over night—you’ll need to wait sometimes as long as 30 days or more depending on wet film thickness and environment. Our first test samples took 60 days before it felt hardened enough to resist picking at it.
Not included in the five star rating system is printing and blocking resistance which typically occurs with harder dry films and Advance does a great job preventing both. There are a total of 24 criteria we look at when reviewing paint products for hand brushed finishing, but we only rate paint on five.
If you’ve painted any length of time, you know thick paints are production killers. We avoid them like the plague and we’re pleased to find Advance is at the other end of the spectrum—but the question is—does Advance meet our production demands? Production and finish quality are typically two benefits of low viscosity paints. In our world, where every load counts, low viscosity is crucial for efficiency. It’s never a good thing when you can scoop paint out of the can like pudding and hold it in your hand. If we can place a paint stick in the center of a can of paint and it doesn’t move, it’s too thick.
Advance has good hide and leveling capabilities but that depends on how you apply it, with what and over what. As expected, we’ve seen varying results with leveling over a range of substrates. This is normal. The guide provides tips on how to gauge proper millage over different surfaces in varying environments to assist with having a great experience applying it.
We’ve been known to lay down some impressive vertical millage, but there is a trick to it. Advance stays in place better with a help-along product. We will discuss spraying Advance in a separate guide. We use different systems and products for hand brushing vs spraying. We put together a unique system designed to allow Advance to be applied with consistent results by removing some of the variables which cause unexpected results.
Quarter-inch sub-flooring never looked so good.
The system provides more control over the product for the vertically challenged in uncontrolled environments. Painters like to use Advance on kitchen cabinet repaints and areas where more regular use occurs. It’s common to see guys laying cabinet doors flat to spray to avoid sags, but that is not necessary with our system.
If you’re looking for a durable trim paint, the decision is more difficult than ever with a new generation of products from Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore and BEHR. Yes, BEHR has a waterborne alkyd too. (product No. 3900) All three offering incredible performance and the widest set of features ever before seen in water cleanup products. But, inevitably, each brings its own unique strengths and weaknesses. With Advance, you are somewhat tied to thinner coats. In other words, another brand could allow you to apply a wet film twice as thick essentially accomplishing the equivalent of 2 coats of Advance in one coat of the other.
Advance is a nice product but the TDS clearly states the product is situational and to get the best experience with Advance, it should be applied within Benjamin Moore’s “optimum” guidelines discussed in the guide below.
The crisp sharp lines seen in the photo at the top of the page produce an overall appearance homeowners always comment on. Sharp blue dotted lines reflect the pale blue sky coming through the window blinds from 6 feet away. The darker shading between the blind slats can also be seen—pretty impressive.
We maintain a high level of standards and push production, efficiency and ‘quality of finish’ to extremes. Collectively, our systems quickly expose weak standards and old school 80′s mentality. Advance in its current release would never have received the go-head from us, but that’s not to say you would not be able to produce exceptional results, we certainly did—although, not how we need to.
We’re a painting company moving progressively forward. To take any steps backwards in quality and efficiency today would be foolish. We liked the old days of Satin Impervo oil on everything—but not that much to re-live that experience all over. Paint contractors know painting is a competitive business. As much as we take pride in our business being built on 95% referrals all year round—we are not excluded from competitive pricing at times.
The bottom line here is, other options. If for example option #1 and option #2 were equal but from different paint brands, both have weaknesses but one allows you to produce the same finish as the other in under 2 hours vs 2 days, maybe 3…. (we paint entire houses in 2 or 3 days) I can only conclude—keeping it real here—I would opt for the faster option even if that option was twice the price of the other. In our feasibility study submitted to Benjamin Moore 12 years ago—it read… “we would pay $50 a gallon if the paint did what we need it to.” Back then, we were paying less than half that for a gallon of paint and shopping other options because the paint was costing us money to use.
When it comes to labor and moving quickly to the next job, price of paint is almost irrelevant.
Our systems and deadlines demand more out of product especially in the price range of Advance combined with the recommended Advance alkyd primer 790. The Advance system would push jobs further out unnecessarily and would certainly increase lead-time to completion-time as well as holding up other systems dependent upon trim and woodwork being completed. That is a system that would never work with our efficiency. Just some food for thought, because you are not likely to find that position anywhere else. Going to bat for industry standards with a pissed off homeowner can be an epic fail—its not always difficult to take sides. It’s our job to exceed those standards and make sure the product we sell keeps our customers happy and keeps the referrals coming.
It is rare to find carefully designed paint products that deliver. Having a significant difference that matters in the industry is critical. Fine tuning any product is a process involving a reduction in variables by a systematic and analytical deduction of competing forces. I know from working with companies and paint contractors just how rare it is to find product, systems or solutions that deliver any real impact. Every company must ask whether you have one—if you don’t, create one.
Our industry is polluted with excessive knock-off products, copy-cats and products with no real purpose behind their design—many far from innovative. In order to reshape the industry, the process would involve the elimination or subtraction of almost everything that currently exists.
Learn more about our standards, add Jack Pauhl on Google+ and get in our circles. We talk about getting jobs done right and fast while taking quality to new standards.
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Discover tips and tricks for achieving silky smooth hand brushed finishes with Benjamin Moore Advance 792 Satin in this unique, simple to follow, product specific, HOW TO Guide.