Benjamin Moore Advance Review

The Art of Watching Paint Dry

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.

benjamin moore advance paint review

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.

benjamin moore advance paint review

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.

benjamin moore advance paint review

Low Viscosity

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.

benjamin moore advance paint review

Coverage and Leveling

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.

benjamin moore advance paint review

Spraying Advance

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.



benjamin moore advance paint review



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.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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.

Benjamin Moore Advance

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32 Responses
  • Bob Beesburg Reply

    Hi, I was wondering if you could elaborate on your system for spraying Advance.

  • LKHK Reply

    I’ve never come across a website with such thorough reviews of paint. Wow! I really appreciate this post as I want to paint my kitchen cabinets ultra white. I’d have been beyond frustrated to spend the time and money using a product that will yellow.

  • Richard J. D'Angelo Reply

    A very thorough analysis of the product. I am big fan of Advance, and a loyal Benjamin Moore painting contractor operating out of Morristown, NJ 07960. I have had a lot of success with Advance – brushing. I have never had the need to spray it yet. Anyway – a very in-depth review. Good job.

  • Chris Reply

    I’m looking to use Advance as my only cabinet finish. I’d rather pick a decent paint and stick with it so that I’m most proficient with it. The vertical spraying is my biggest stress as far as unpredictability goes. How do we find out more about your “system” for this issue? Can we subscribe? Buy a book? Please let us know!!!

  • Jennifer Reply

    Would love to find out how to spray Advance. Will you be publishing that information soon?

    • Pat Reply

      Advance is pretty easy to spray. You can use an hvlp setup, but it’s not needed. An airless will do great if you have the pressure set low enough that you can control your overspray but high enough that it doesn’t cause a fingering effect. It seems watery when sprayed and can sag, so spray a light coat. It covers very well. I’ve gone from black to white with advance with one coat sprayed through a Titan 440.

  • richard Reply

    Just finished a ceiling to floor DYI update on my living room. Although I used BM Regal Matte for the walls (removed existing wallpaper first) I wanted to preserve the look of solvent based Alkyd on all the trim (which was oil based). I chose Advance satin. I would agree with the reviewer’s comments. My prep involved (careful) sanding, deglossing, cleaning and priming (zinnser) the existing oil based trim and windows surfaces. I applied 2 coats of Advance, waiting 2 – 3 days between coats. I found that care had to be taken to apply thin coats on all surfaces but especially vertical surfaces to prevent sagging, drips and pooling in (window panes) corners. The work went slowly so I can see where the professional painters would mark Advance down since “time is money” all things being equal. The paint levels nicely and results in a smooth, beautiful surface. I painted in low humidity/high 60s environment and I found that the paint began dragging after container being open to air after about an hour. I only poured out what I could apply in that time frame and had no problems. You can thin with a very small amount of water without issues if you apply thin. Unlike Regal, Advance does not show much separation in the can but I stirred before use. My Purdy brushes tended to crud up a bit more than with Regal but they clean up easily with soap and warm water. The BM tech sheet recommends a final rinse after washing brushes but I didn’t find that out until after I finished.

    How did the job turn out? Beautiful! I am very impressed with the final finish. More important, my wife absolutely loves it! Advance does require care (and patience) when applying. It’s low viscosity allows it to flow smoothly and it’s longer open time lets the brush marks level out nicely. Although a low VOC paint it has a noticeable residual odor as it dries and cures that some might find objectionable. It takes about a week of ventilation to remove it to a tolerable level. The odor is not as bad a solvent alkyd but be aware it is not latex! Lastly is cure time. Recoat time is 16 hours which is more like next day. The surface sets within a few hours but the coat remains soft and the paint needs a good 5-6 days to set up and even longer to fully cure. BM recommends a light sanding between coats for a smoother finish but I found it not necessary if your room is clean. I used a HEPA vac before coatings. Using Advance requires some painting skill and patient effort to get good results but the finish is worth it if you want the “oil paint” look. It is more expensive that Regal and you do need 2 coats to cover as you must apply it thin. Hope you find this helpful…

    • Krystal Reply

      Richard, your review is spot on! My experience has been the same with Advance paint. Our cabinets look beautiful, but the drying time has been painful. We left the cabinets out to dry for 5 days because we learned that you cannot put them up after 24 hours since the paint is still slightly damp.
      Our Purdy brushes dragged, but not a paint brush mark can be seen on the cabinets. So far so good. I really hope the paint does not yellow after some time as Brian (the Reviewer) states.

  • Fred Bassin Reply

    do you have a guide for spraying Advance paint ?

  • Teresa Reply

    Hi, this was informative. My painter wants to use oil based paint in my kitchen because he says it will look really smooth and be more durable. However, I am willing to sacrifice a little of both to use a paint that is low voc’sversus high voc’s. As it is I have kids that get sick very easily and adding these voc’s in our air will not help their already weak immune system. He says it was already painted in oil based paint and has to repaint it that way. I am stuck. What advice can you offer me?


  • Pjc Reply

    Very disappointed with Advance! Used it on trim and doors and even though I prepped like crazy, I found it to be very poor in hiding previous coats, requiring several coats to do the job. Also found that it simply does NOT adhere very well. Even after a couple of months I have found that it is prone to flake off after the slightest scratch. I am constantly having to touch up. I rolled my doors on a flat surface with the gloss finish, and will admit that after several coats they do look outstanding. As noted, the leveling properties are outstanding. But the lack of durability, the time, the effort and the expense make this one paint I will not use again.

    • Nick Reply

      Worst paint I have ever used.

  • Chris Reply

    How well does Advance go on a builder grade vanity in a bathroom? Will there be air bubbles? I only have one bathroom and it doesn’t have an air vent.

  • Charles Dobbs Reply

    used Advance to paint vintage furniture. Ruthlessly and patiently prepped. After two coats of primer and super fine sanding the Advance in Winter White showed every shadow and streak until I was at coat # 4. The owner of the Harding Twsp., N.J. paint store was a real curmudgeon when I asked for advice. I used top notch brushes, took my time, slightly, and I mean slightly thinned out the last coat, and the finish does not compare with my furniture painted with the old B.M. oil base. Altogether an unpleasant experience.

  • Kevin Reply

    I have had benjiman moore store try to sell me on the advance for awhile now .i have been refinishing cabinets now for about 14 years . I sprayed out some samples and I didn’t like the way it sprayed ,leveling, dry time and recoat is horrible , the fact it’s oil and it will yellow over time . Compared to muralo satin this is real junk . Muralo satin dries faster and levels like a champ. Kem Aqua is a good product as well , but not designed for repaints . But if primed well , I have had great results with this ….. But you must spray everything . Muralo can be sprayed , rolled or brushed …….. In fact I can roll out muralo with foam roller and house painters swear I spray painted them

  • Richard Reply

    I wanted to update my experiences with using Advance that I posted one year ago. As I posted earlier, the living room turned out looking beautiful. Initially I commented that there was a residual odor which seemed to disappear. I was too optimistic. A distinct odor has persisted the better part of a year! It finally seems to be gone. I have no doubt it was Advance. Recently I have seen extensive peeling in areas of the crown moldings on one wall. Sadly I have come to the conclusion that the Advance waterborne paint is seriously flawed. I would not use it or recommend it to anyone. Sadly, the BM stores do not acknowledge the problems and continue to”highly recommend ” it.

  • JENNIFER Reply

    Has anyone experienced Advance (the water based product) yellowing over time in the can ( i AM REFERRING TO UNUSED PAINT. I PAINTED WITH THE PRODUCT 5 MONTHS BACK and it was fine… Recently- I painted some crown molding with it a few days ago and it went on much yellower than before- THE CAN (WHITE DOVE) HAS YELLOWED. NEVER HAD THIS PROBLEM WITH Satin Impervo.

  • Amy Reply

    Oh how I wish I had read these replays before I started painting with advance. I hate it. I m finally trying 2 coats of primer so I only have to do 2 more coats of the Advance. Very disappointed.

    • Kelli Reply

      I know this is a late reply. I just came across this comment as we are currently painting our cabinets with BM Advance. We asked the salesman at our local BM store about yellowing. He said it will yellow if it has no contact with sunlight. So I guess paint stored in a closed can could yellow with no sunlight after some time.

  • Ellen Reply

    Soooooooo disappointed in using this paint. I wish I would have read all above reviews as I would have gone with Murelo instead. I bought into all the hype, which is a bunch of baloney. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing special about this paint and the dry time is REDICULOUS!

  • Ron Reply

    I recently re- painted Louver doors & Bi-Folds with Advance Semi-Gloss. They were finished in oil and were in good Cond. but yellowed. Prepped by washing W/TSP then wiping down W/de-glosser (no sanding). I used a Fuji HVLP w/a ” Aerojet RS-1″ Non-bleed gun & the 1.3 needle/cap it came with. Even though the BM store said thinning was not needed or recommended I still got better results after I did. I didn’t want to go w/a larger tip for fear of laying on too much . Anyway I thought the first door which was done un-thinned & had some orange peel would level out it didn’t. After thinned a small Ammt. it was fine. Covers well, doesn’t run & seems to dry to the touch in 1-1/2 Hrs. Sprayed in a garage @ 80 degrees outside w/ 80% humidity. Believe it or not It didn’t equal the finish I got using a Wagner burp gun & oil paint I used 15 yrs. ago. But there was almost No overspray or obnoxious smell & clean up a breeze. Verdict- expensive, takes a bit of time to dial in,levels well but you must be mindful to having a uniform wet look W/out putting on too much. I’ve got as good results using less expensive products so I may not use it again.

  • Deborah Reply

    I have really been disappointed in Benjamin Moore Advance. I had a large book shelf painted in June. It was sprayed on.
    After waiting over a month to return the books to the shelves I realized they were sticking. I removed the books and put a large fan on the shelves … We have tried everything to dry them… It’s now November and the books and knick knacks still stick… When I called the Benjamin Moore help line they told me to sand and paint a thin coat of their low lustre polyurethane…
    I have painted lots of furniture and never had this happen before! This paint literally doesn’t dry!

  • Lisa Reply

    Ok, today when I went to a hardware company that sells Ben Moore paint. I explained that I needed to use a latex paint to avoid yellowing on white kitchen cabinets.
    The paint person recommend the advance hybrid paint. It levels great, and doesn’t yellow over time.
    I paid a premium.
    Now I read in your blog that it does yellow over time. Is this true?
    Please let me know before I start painting!!!
    Thank you

  • Kelli Reply

    LIsa, the salesman at our local BM store told us BM Advance will yellow if it does not have contact with sunlight. He said any sunlight in the room (even if it doesn’t make direct contact) should keep it from yellowing. I have a personal friend who said her kitchen cabinets did yellow after using BM Advance. I also noticed after taking down some hanging art pieces from my walls that our BM Simply White has also yellowed/looks dingier where the paint was exposed (i.e. the paint behind the hanging art was whiter than that which was exposed). So it seems that it just yellows whether it’s Advance paint or not. In our bathroom we have Behr paint and prime in Polar Bear and that too seems dingier than when initially applied. Is it possible that white paint just doesn’t stay white? We are currently painting our cabinets in BM Advance in Snowfall White. So we haven’t had time to see if it will yellow or not but it seems that the possibility is there.

  • Tom Reply

    As to the yellowing, there are a few other factors at work as well….off-gassing as the paint ages contributes to yellowing if the painted surface has limited fresh air flow (like behind a wall-hung picture frame or a baseboard covered by heavy upholstered furniture)….heat and humidity (as in a small bathroom with a tub or shower) as well as airborne contaminants like hairspray, cigarette smoke, cooking fumes, etc. The yellowing is compounded if you use oil-based finish like BM Satin Impervo.

    My entire home is trimmed in BM Satin Impervo White Dove, but the color differs from room to room based on its age and the other environmental factors at work. Some are whiter while others are creamier.

    By the way, I actually work for a BM dealer, but we don’t normally stock Advance. Our go-to recommendation for all trim and cabinet painting remains Satin Impervo. Many of our pro customers, however, stick with Regal pearl or semi-gloss as they are latex (time is money).

  • Maggie Reply

    Great article, and I was looking forward to receiving the Benjamin Moore Advance 792 Guide that I purchased. BUT, the download button didn’t work, I didn’t get a confirming email, and now I’m out $5 and have NO GUIDE. I can find no place on your website to contact Customer Service or send an email. Please anyone advise how I can get the guide that I purchased. I really would rather not file a complaint with my credit card company–all I would like to have is the guide. THANKS!!

    • Tanya m Harville Reply

      Tom….I am using a very bright white called Chantilly Lace on all of my perimeter cabinets, trim and crown. I like a lower sheen and absolutely no yellowing. I’m leaning towards the BM waterbourne Satin Impervo. Is this the product that you reccommend? Also, my island will be BM Iron Mountain (dark charcoal) which can’t be mixed in Water bourne Satin Impervo…what paint should I use to get a correct match in sheen?

  • Maggie Reply

    Guess there was just a significant delay in email arriving–I did get the link and downloaded the guide. THANK YOU!!!

    • Brian Havanas Reply

      Great. You can use your receipt to download the Guide should you ever misplace it. Save the email receipt.


  • Pam Jacobson Reply

    I LOVE this product! I always research and read reviews before purchasing almost every product I purchase. I read the positive comments and then go to the negative ones to make sure I haven’t missed anything. I was planning to purchase this based on information I had read, however, when I started reading the negative reviews for this paint, I was skeptical about purchasing it because I was doing a HUGE project.
    I went to our local Hirschfield’s Benjamin Moore Dealer and the salesperson was extremely knowledgable about this product. I decided to go with the white Advance for my project. I am absolutely THRILLED with the results! I have done a lot of painting projects and with MANY different kinds of painting products. I was most concerned that this paint look perfect on woodwork, cabinets and shelves. The results are as good, if not better than with an oil base product! There are no brush or roller marks and it levels beautifully. I used a sponge type roller and a natural Corona angled paint brush. Putting on the first coat was easy, smooth and perfect. I put on the second coat with no sanding in between coats. I did not have to use a sealer or any other product to seal the wood after I had put on 2 coats of paint. The people who wrote negative reviews for this product may not have prepared their wood by sanding, priming 2 coats (sanding between coats) and wiping the surface before application. I wiped all of my surfaces with Windex window cleaner. Better than a tack rag!
    I would HIGLY recommend this product and will be using it again! No fumes, easy application, easy clean up and beautiful results. I believe it is all in the preparation and using the correct brushes for the job. The one brush I used was about $25.00!!! Don’t skimp on preparation and you won’t be disappointed!!!

  • George Reply

    I just finished painting some cabinet drawer fronts and cabinet doors that had previously been painted with BM Iron Clad oil base paint about 10 years ago. The finish was in excellent shape, but had yellowed a bit. The problem I am having with Advance, is that it is forming small pinhole bubbles, I go back and rebrush to get rid of them, but they come back in some spots. You can only re brush so much before the paint sets up. Anyone else having this problem?

  • Leigh Owen Reply

    George, I have been painting furniture for several years and recently started doing cabinets. The little pin holes I presume are because the surface have a product on it preventing it from adhering. This happened to me (not with BM paint) to my closet doors I had originally painted with a high gloss paint and I didn’t sand or reprime before painting again and the paint was pulling away. If it had a shiny finish that could have been your issue. I have used Advance to paint cabinets and have had no trouble I love the product so far, Its final finish looks like I sprayed it. good luck

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