When my husband and I set out to paint our kitchen cabinets and a deep windowsill in the same room, we assumed we'd be using Benjamin Moore Aura because of its scrubability and low VOCs. While oil paint used to be the go-to for such hard-wearing surfaces, we simply refuse to expose ourselves and our son to its noxious offgassing that can last for weeks and weeks. Yet we also weren't convinced that Aura could hold up in this application (kitchen cabinetry takes a beating!). That's when the guy at our local paint store clued us in on something that's blown my mind:It's called Benjamin Moore Advance. And no, Benjamin Moore didn't ask me to write this. I write this out of the sheer joy I felt in finding out that there's a paint extant that has the hard qualities of well-set oil-based alkyd without the toxicity.
Advance is a new (relatively: It's been about a year since its introduction) alkyd that's water-based. It goes on smooth and sets up hard just like an oil paint. But when it comes time to clean the brushes, water's all you need. And it's low VOC: our paint guy told us it's actually lower VOC than Aura.
After two coats on the kitchen cabinets, I'm just giddy. We used a satin finish and it's super smooth. You can already tell that it'll hold up fine to thousands of grimy fingerprints and damp-rag-wipe-downs over the years. While Aura will always hold a soft spot in my heart for walls, this is my new go-to for trim and woodwork.
Has anyone else out there tried the Advance line of paints? Do you love it as much as I do?
Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and son in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.
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