Monday, August 11, 2008

What's The Deal With Aura?

I'm all confused about Aura paint by Ben Moore.

I've used it successfully in my own home- both my entry and living room had the good 'ol Aura treatment and I loved the way it took to the walls and had no odor. No complaints here. I also love their very Farrow and Ball inspired color palate and modern approach to neutrals. But....

On the Eco Kitchen project it was time to bring in the big guns- the skim coaters and painters last week. I met with a rather large local contractor who'll be supplying her painting team. We went over all the details of the patching, the schedule, the cost and when I told him I could give him the paint schedule whenever, he asked what kind of paint I was asking for. I said, of course, Aura. It's an ECO kitchen, after all. My heart nearly stopped when both contractor AND client alike sounded a resounding no.

Imagine my shock. This is a client who will be spending the time while messy sanding and plastering is happening, upstate at an Ashram doing yoga, eating raw foods, and meditating four hours a day. How could she not want a more earth friendly paint? The Client says she read a NYT article about the low quality of Aura and other low VOC paints in the long haul. She said if she's spending the money she wants it to last. Word on the NYT reading street is that Aura's dirty secret is that it lasts about two years and not much more. The painter said he never uses Aura and pretty much refused to budge. He reason? The nearly double price tag. He went on to say there is a general silent boycott of Aura and other similar paints in the professional painting world. They just plain hate it.

So Eco kitchen will get oil based trims and Ben Moore Regal walls. I could have never seen that coming.


emily said...

The painters I have talked to out here love coats extremely well and there is very little odor. I have used it all over my own home, and while it has been only one year and not two, it has held up incredibly well.

Leah said...

I had a horrible experience with Aura -- it was water-thin and splashed and dripped like crazy, and the finish scratches off if you so much as touch it. Granted, it could have been a bad batch -- but I've read about people with experiences similar to mine elsewhere.

I usually get Ben Moore's other low-VOC version, which I think is called Eco-Spec, and like that just fine. I'd be curious to try YOLO and Devine eco paints as well. So I have no objection to the concept -- just the product itself in Aura's case.