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The Inside Story: Influential Paint-Rating Report Issues Verdict on Winners, Contenders

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

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Products from Benjamin Moore & Co. earned top marks in Consumer Reports’ latest rankings of interior paints, but Behr Process Corp. paints delivered in the value department, the independent, non-profit organization concludes in its most recent evaluation of interior paints.

Consumer Reports Interior Paints

Consumer Reports 

The Consumer Reports ratings of interior paints are based on a range of performance tests addressing hiding, stain resistance, gloss change, scrub, smoothness, mildew resistance, resistance to “sticking,” and resistance to fade.

Consumer Reports said Benjamin Moore’s Aura Satin and new Regal Select Semi-Gloss excelled in retaining their gloss, standing up to scrubbing, and several other performance-test measures. But at $50 per gallon, even the “less pricey” Benjamin Moore semigloss costs almost $20 more than the Behr paints, “which performed almost as well,” the organization said.

Products from Benjamin Moore and Behr topped the overall interior-paint ratings, but they were joined by a number of other paints in earning Consumer Reports’ verdict of “recommended” or “best buy.”

Products getting the “recommended” label are defined as “high-scoring paints” that “did well overall in our tough performance tests,” Consumer Reports said. The “CR Best Buy” products “offer the best blend of performance and low price,” and all are recommended.

Consumer Reports says it ran 57 different paint products through a gauntlet of performance tests, including procedures to judge hiding, stains, gloss change, scrubbing, smoothness, mildew resistance, resistance to “sticking,” resistance to fade. VOC content also is listed.

While Durability +Design reviewed the report, published in the March 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, representatives of the Consumer Reports organization ask that media outlets refrain from disclosing extensive details about the report and the rankings. The publication is available by subscription only; see Interior Paint: A new Winner Tops Our Tests.

Some highlights of the rankings, however, include the following.

Satin and eggshell paints: Products from eight manufacturers are listed as the top performers (recommended or best buy). Benjamin Moore’s Aura Satin and Behr’s Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel were ranked 1 and 2, and were joined by Kilz Casual Colors Satin, Glidden Premium Satin, Behr Premium Plus Satin Enamel, Benjamin Moore Regal Select Eggshell, Royal Interiors by Ace Satin, and Valspar+ Satin. Judged “Best Buys,” with the top blend of performance and price, were Kilz Casual Colors Satin, Glidden Premium Satin and Behr Premium Plus Satin Enamel.

Flat and matte paints: Products from six manufacturers are listed as the top performers, with Behr’s Premium Plus Ultra Flat winning the top overall rank and Benjamin Moore’s Natura Flat finishing at No. 2. Also winning strong ratings were Behr Premium Plus Flat Enamel, Benjamin Moore Natura Flat, Glidden Premium Flat, and Valspar Signature Colors Matte. Judged “Best Buys” for combination of performance and price were Behr Premium Plus Flat Enamel and Glidden Premium Flat.

Semigloss paints:  Products from 10 manufacturers are listed as the top performers, led by Benjamin Moore Regal Select Semi-Gloss at No. 1 and Behr Premium Plus Ultra Semi-Gloss at No. 2. Strong ratings also were earned by Benjamin Moore Aura Semi-Gloss, Royal Interiors by Ace Semi-Gloss, Glidden Brilliance Semi-Gloss, Behr Premium Plus Semi-Gloss Enamel, Glidden Premium Semi-Gloss, Better Homes and Gardens Semi-Gloss, Benjamin Moore Natura Semi-Gloss, and Olympic One Semi-Gloss. Given the “Best Buy” vote were the Royal Interiors by Ace, Glidden Brilliance, Behr Premium Plus, Glidden Premium, Better Homes and Gardens, and Olympic One semi-gloss products.

‘Bargain’ Prices and the Growing Array of Green Labels

In addition to performance ratings, the Consumer Reports evaluation of interior paint products included discussion of and recommendations on several issues related to selection of paint products, including environmental considerations, buying products on the basis of price, matching gloss level to intended application area, and gaining economies by estimating paint purchases more accurately.

The report included a cautionary note about rock-bottom prices that can be found for paints at big-box retailers, observing that some low-cost paints fared poorly in performance tests and might require more coats for adequate hiding, adding to the actual cost in terms of material and labor.

Other suggestions included the following.

• Don’t assume greener is better: while low-VOC paints got high marks for performance, low ratings were given to “many subpar low- and no-VOC paints.”

• Brand is no guarantee: Performance can vary considerably among finishes and product lines.

In a “Behind the Green Labels” section accompanying the primary report, Consumer Reports noted the “growing array” of “green” logos that are attached to products, but added that “some of those certifications are self-awarded.” These logos and labels include the relatively new “Asthma and Allergy Friendly” certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; the certification is based on VOCs emitted during application and absence of certain chemicals. Companies pay to have paints tested and to use the logo.

Other “third-party” green labels include Greenguard, Green Seal and Greenwise, while Sherwin-Williams affixes its own “GreenSure” label to certain low-VOC products, and Benjamin Moore offers its “Green Promise” pledge on paints with VOCs of 50 grams per liter or less and use of zero-VOC colorants.




Tagged categories: Coating performance; Coating types; Coatings manufacturers; Coatings technology; Construction; Consultants; Contractors; Performance testing

Comment from Robert Burke, Burke Painting Company in Wilmington, DE, (3/26/2012, 7:19 PM)

Boy Sherwin Wiliams

Comment from Robert Burke, Burke Painting Company in Wilmington, DE, (3/26/2012, 7:20 PM)

Boy, Sherwin Williams did well.....

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