For as long as I can remember, I have used Benjamin Moore colors for myself and my clients’ projects. They have a superior range of products at a great price! Until a few years ago, I wasn’t very familiar with their new line of low-VOC eco-friendly paints (VOCs stand for volatile organic compounds), so you can imagine my hesitation in using these eco-friendly products.
My first thought was “Oh no, my customers are going to ask me to use this paint because they saw it advertised as low VOC or no VOC paint, and being the great designer that I am, I was going to have to oblige (or have a very good reason not to use them). So, I went out and bought a can of each, to try them out, as I was working in a kitchen at the time that was in desperate need of new paint colors.
First off, the price of the new green line of paints was marginally higher than Benjamin Moore’s “regular” primer, so I was happy that they were providing an environmentally friendly product that didn’t break the bank like other products. ecological. There are three of them: Aura, Nature and EcoSpec…I applied each one to the walls of the kitchen I was renovating, and this is what I found…
- Will have: Aura paint is low VOC, low odor and mildew resistant. The best thing I like about using Aura paint is that the paint contains the primer, so there is no need to prime the walls first. That saves time and money, and pretty much offsets the higher cost of Aura paint, since you’d have to buy primer with your standard line base paints. Aura paint covered better! The color was not saturated and it dried very quickly. If I had needed to add another coat, I probably could have done it just two hours after the first application!
- Nature: If you’re really a VOC fanatic, Benjamin Moore’s Natura paint contains NO VOCs, unlike Aura’s LOW VOC content. It was also virtually odorless and dried very quickly, just like Aura paint. The Natura paint, when I applied it, did not cover well. It was as if he was painting with watercolors! (Well, not too bad!) However, in Natura’s defense, I applied a second and third coat, all in the span of about four hours, and was finally able to achieve the desired result. However, remember that Natura does NOT contain a primer, so I had to prime the walls first. If you are painting a lot of walls or ceilings, you are going to have to buy a lot of Natura paint!
- Eco Specs: Eco Spec, being a commercial grade paint, was excellent. Benjamin Moore’s Eco Spec paint line contains NO VOCs, is odorless and mildew resistant. It is the paint of choice for most commercial interior jobs. Although I had to prime the wall first, Eco Spec covered very well and was about $10 cheaper than Natura.
So, there you have it! Simply put, Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint was the best and least time consuming coverage since the primer is already on the paint. If you personally feel, or if the job you are working on requires the paint you use to be completely VOC free, then Eco Spec is your best choice!