Exterior Paint Questions

pnuttMarch 12, 2010


Looking at painting the house this spring and, after doing research, have narrowed it down to two choices for paint brands:

Benjamin Moore Aura

Sherwin-Williams Duration

Would love to get some feedback on which you feel is better and why.

Some details:

The house is located on the coast in Southern Oregon so the paint has to be able to take a bit of a beating with wind, rain, salt air. The siding is Hardie. We're hoping to be able to use a sprayer for most of the job. We have a bit of experience in painting, but not a ton. We haven't worked with the more expensive paints before, so expect it will be a bit different for us.

From what I've read, the BM paint is really thick but it sounds like more than likely it will need two coats.

From what the SW salesman told us (yeah, grain of salt), the Duration is a one-coat paint.

The above true from experience?

I know Duration runs about $55/gallon here, but I'm not sure how much Aura is yet and thinking that along with the work of an extra coat will factor into our decision (if Duration is really one-coat and Aura two-coat). The SW salesman also said that he believes the Duration will be included in the upcoming 25% off customer appreciation sale, so that will factor in as well (although quality of results weighs in higher than cost does for us).

Some additional questions:

We fell in love with a couple of paint colors that are from Pittsburgh Paint. Is there a good program out there, online preferably, that will do an accurate conversion to colors in the BM and SW lines?

Is there a good program out there that makes virtual painting easy and accurate? I've used the BM and SW online tools, but I'd like to be able to do/see more.

Guess that's it for now. Sorry this is so long, but appreciate any guidance you have to offer.

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Lori A. Sawaya

I'll speak to virtual painting.

In a nutshell, there is no virtual program that renders paint colors accurately on your monitor without some work. The average homeowner and average design/paint professional usually do not have the know-how nor the equipment (hardware/software) to make the virtual programs work with any respectable degree of color accuracy.

You can't use monitor color to select paint color schemes because a monitor emits color. In real life, paint colors reflect. It's the emits vs. reflects issue that makes those virtual programs a quite a challenge.

With some tweaking, creative color mixing, or just patient trial and error, it is possible to get paint colors on your monitor to look like real life paint color chips you can hold in your had. However, in order for it really mean anything substantial -- for it to be tangible color information -- you have to get the image *out* of your monitor. You do that by printing - more on that later.

For the average person, the color visualizers and paint programs are good for getting a general idea of hue. For example, you can paint your house virtually and determine if you like it better in some shade of blue or a color of green. The specific blue or green is something you HAVE to determine outside the color environment of your monitor because the color you see on your monitor is not tangible color information -- it's a broad swag at what in-real-life color will look like.

If you manage to calibrate your monitor and manage to *mix* color in one of those programs so it looks the same as the paint chips you can hold in your hand, then you're doing pretty darn good.

If you can also manage to figure out how to print your virtually painted images so the colors are spot-on matches to in-real-life paint chips, then you need to build a website and charge people a good chunk o'money to virtually paint then print a digital picture of their house because it's a task beyond the scope of the average person and the average desktop/laptop & print arrangement. ;)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 12:51AM
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"...the color visualizers and paint programs are good for getting a general idea of hue"

Yeah, that's what I really wanted it for. :) I know that monitors (nor printed paper, really) can accurately represent what paint will look like "in the real world".

I was also wanting to be able to visualize more easily the amount of contrast I wanted for my house (kind of a unique house where two expanses of color will butt up to each other without any trim in between).

I've been playing with BM's Personal Color Viewer a bit more today and located a stock photo in there that I can use to simulate the above arrangement. So guess that will have to do for now.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:05PM
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Sorry...that should've said:
"I know that monitors (nor printed paper, really) CAN'T accurately represent what paint will look like "in the real world"."

It's really the accuracy of drawing that I was after. Using PSP/PS or one of the paint company's programs makes that job tedious. Was hoping there was something better and easier out there.

Any comments from anyone on the actual paint questions?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 10:38AM
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I used SW Duration to paint my house myself last year. I changed from a medium gray to a medium tan. It really did cover in one coat. It is very thick. I did use the one step down for the trim which I had to do a lot of scraping and they put on a primer so didn't feel I needed to use the duration with the primer in it, it was much thinner than the Duration. One problem that bothered me with the Duration is that it was so thick it tended to seal up the overlap on the siding which is probably not good to seal up so moisture can get out. So I had to be careful to put it on super thin, so I had to kind of do two super thin coats to cover, but just on the underside of the edge/over lap area.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:51AM
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I am only a DIY'er, but I would not dream of doing less than one coat primer and two coats of topcoat, regardless of the paint, especially outside. Even inside, I do not buy into "one-coat" paints.

In addition, I think a brush job is more durable that a spray job.

Hopefully, the pros will weigh in for you.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 3:51PM
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I agree with Pete. I prime everything first to give a clean, fresh finish for the paint to adhere to and then give two coats. I just don't think you can get perfect coverage in a single coat.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Thanks for the replies. You've given me more to think about (which is a good thing). Would really love to hear more about the downsides of using a sprayer. The house was painted about two years ago. The existing paint is in excellent shape and lighter in color than the colors we're going to...we're mainly doing this as we want to change color schemes. Is a primer really necessary or will the first coat of paint work as a primer? We plan to use top quality (Aura or Duration). Still would love more opinions on those as well. Also, does anyone know if Benjamin Moore stores ever offer deals like Sherwin-Williams is offering this coming weekend (25% off paint)? We're really leaning toward BM...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 7:42PM
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You don't need a primer if the current coating is in good shape. My rule of thumb for spraying is that for any wood surfaces, you need to back brush or backroll so spraying would only be used as a tool to get the material on faster...you would still need to brush it. Aluminum and vinyl siding can be sprayed and left so for those types of surfaces it is really worth it. Also, for most people, spraying is not just something you pick up the sprayer and go....takes a lot of practice to get the techniques down, learn where your overspray goes, learn how to adjust for varying conditions so that your product atomizes properly, etc, etc so I don't know that it would be something for a novice to do, especially outside. Yes, Benjamin Moore stores have sales. If you use Aura, keep in mind that this stuff dries fast and will dry faster if there is any wind. I would just do one or two laps of siding at a time, all the way across, then do the next two, working from the top down, maintaining a wet edge at all times and use their extender.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:58PM
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Hi paintguy,

We have Hardie siding. Can you share your experience with it as far as spraying, etc? My husband painted our last house a few times with the sprayer and is very good at it, but he's never worked with the thicker paints before...sounds like the extender will help with that? He's also never painted Hardie.

We do get wind here, so we'll have to plan very carefully. Thanks for the warning. Had read about the quick drying times with the thicker paints, but may not have considered the wind factor if you hadn't have mentioned it. (Did consider the temp factor, but it really doesn't get all that hot here.)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 2:16AM
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"We fell in love with a couple of paint colors that are from Pittsburgh Paint. Is there a good program out there, online preferably, that will do an accurate conversion to colors in the BM and SW lines?"

In partial answer to this: my interior was painted with a SW or some other brand (don't recall) and I wanted to use BM and get the same colour. The guy at the hardware store where I bought the BM paint looked it up in a chart and mixed it; it came out great -- a very good match to the SW colour.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:49PM
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Hi, I'm looking at either a green/gray or a blue/gray for our house color. The house sits up a little on a hill and is very exposed to sun especially the front and sides in the afternoon. I seem to think the greens are looking better with the brown and stone but I can't stop thinking about the blue.
I'm currently sampling SW Connected Gray, BM storm cloud gray and will convert a cabot mulberry stain into a paint. The siding is Hardie and I'm looking for a cream/white trim depending on the color. Don't want to go too bright but also don't want the house to look washed out at all. Any insight or pictures would help, I've also seen attitude Gray SW and Link or Rare Gray SW. I sampled SW Retreat and it's too teal/green and too much for the whole house.
thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 3:09PM
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