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.

PROS

CONS

benjamin moore advance paint review

 

CONCLUSION

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.

STANDARDS

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.

RETHINK PAINTING

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 paint review

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8 Responses
  • Bob Beesburg Reply

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

  • 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?

  • 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…

  • 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?

    Thanks

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