Benjamin Moore make some pretty big claims about their Aura matte paint. They are wipe-able, mould resistant, have a recoat time of just 1 hour and cover in no more than 2 coats, no matter what the colour!
I have to say that I owe Craig Shaw, of Shaw paints, the UK distributor of Benjamin Moore paints, an apology. I didn't believe him. These are big claims and speaking direct he does have the knowledge of the products to back it up.
I think my problem is that so many manufacturers make big claims, but in practice the products don't live up to the hype.
So in order to find out for sure, I ordered some Aura Matte to trial at home and here's what I found.
The test was over yellow emulsion. The colour of choice was called Normandy, a lovely blue/grey colour. Blue on yellow and vice versa are a known problem for coverage - along with reds.
I applied the paint using the fox paint brush from Mypaintbrush and a hamilton long pile roller sleeve. I couldn't believe my eyes, cutting in and rolling. Below is a video of rolling out a wall. I have to admit, I applied the paint a little too heavily on this first section, I later on spread the paint much further. Covering a wall 6.88 sq metres in 1 dip of the roller! As you can see from the video the coverage excels all expectations - you could potentially get away with just one coat!
I can't obviously comment on the mould resistance or long term durability of the paint, but can say that although a 1 hour re coat is claimed, the paint is still wet in the corners 2 hours later. Another thing I notice is that the paint did run in a couple of places, so perhaps I had applied the paint too heavily, though it was applied how I would normally apply any emulsion, perhaps due to coverage this needs to be spread further?
The filler didn't flash, I got a nice even finish, without too much shine, ,which is associated with many wipe-able finishes. After the first coat there is no boxing around the cutting in areas, just a nice even finish.
On the first coat I managed to cover around 26.58 sq metres total area in around a quarter of a tin. The paint cost me £57.60 for a U.S. gallon (3.78L). Although at the upper end of paint prices I'd say this is good value for money. It goes a very long way and for the time saved on recoating is well worth it.
This paint is potentially everything that it is hyped up to be, putting me in mind, yet again of how paint in the UK used to be. This paint is a joy to apply and I can't praise it enough. Its a very exciting time to be in the decorating industry at the moment and I can only thank Craig Shaw and his team for bringing these excellent paints to our shores.
Having now applied my second coat I just wanted to add a few comments.
The paint does seem to separate very quickly. Here are some pictures of it when I opened the tin to second coat and then shortly after using it in my scuttle (click images to enlarge). This doesn't seem to effect the finish, but does mean it needs a regular mix up.
I tried spotting in between coats, but must admit you could see where I'd done it, so not 100% sure that future touch up would be a great option (though it rarely is.)
The finish is outstanding after the second coat. Its very even, with no boxing around the cutting in areas, like you would get with a lot of other brands. It is also quite a matt finish for a wipeable paint. It has a lovely feel to it it once dry and is really nice to work with.
The room was approx 2.8 by 2.6 with 1 door and one window. I have used approx 2/3rds of the tin which as mentioned was 3.78L (a U.S. gallon).
Through coverage alone and time saved on extra coats with certain colours I don't think this would work out any more expensive than other wipeable finishes and in some cases may even be cheaper. The paint also benefits from mould resistance.