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Old 06-03-2013, 04:30 PM   #1
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Several of you took the time to give me your advice on a number of painting issues recently during my effort to tackle a big trim job in four rooms of my home. My biggest hurdle was with the paint. I wanted to use a water-based paint and achieve the look of an oil paint. I know, who doesn’t?

So, to relieve my guilt of having asked so many questions on this board, I thought I would share what I have learned. This is long and may only be of interest (maybe) to DIYers, as all of this is common knowledge to professionals. It’s also all my own amateur opinion and may not necessarily apply other peoples’ situations or skill levels.

So, for what it’s worth, here goes:

WHAT I WANT: SW ProClassic High Gloss on my new poplar trim – three-piece baseboards, crown, passageway crossheads and casings. I also want to use SW if possible, as BM stores are very inconvenient for me to visit.

MY PROBLEM: Hard as I try I cannot successfully paint with ProClassic High Gloss. I have read about various techniques. I am patient. I have tried every conceivable combination of rollers and brushes. I have used Floetrol (can’t get XIM latex extender here) but it doesn’t help enough. After all this I have not been able to bring my skill level up to what it takes to use this paint to my satisfaction.

WHAT I ACCEPT/BELIEVE: High-end trim should be sprayed if you want the best results.

Brushing is going to leave some brush marks no matter what I do.

Brush marks are better than orange peel.

Stay out of Lowe’s and HD paint departments except to steal their stirring sticks.

Enamel paints like ProClassic and others are enamel paints while other types of paint are primarily wall paints. Some new, high-end paints may certainly be suitable substitutes for trim enamels and may come close to them, but in the end they are still primarily wall paints and will not look and feel like the good old oil paints.

You cannot cut corners with prep by failing to sand, using and cheap brushes and the wrong primers, and then expect some expensive paint to forgive your sins. Every step of the process affects the following steps.

MY LIMITATIONS:

I cannot afford to hire a top-notch pro to come in and do this for me. I don’t want to hire hacks, and my area is full of them.

I am a DIYer – an obsessive, determined one, but an amateur just the same.

I am determined to use only water-based paints: no oils, no hybrids.

Everything had to be brushed. No way I’m buying a sprayer and opening that can of worms.

MY NOTES on the various paints I’ve tested:

Brushes: I tested professional versions of Purdy, Wooster and Corona brushes. When I used soft brushes with ProClassic I could not spread the paint evenly. I would end up with thin areas interrupted by puddles. A stiffer brush was required to spread PC evenly. My favorite was the Corona Chinex.

Primer: The primer I used for all of these tests was SW Premium Wall and Wood primer – two coats, sanding after each coat.

SW ProClassic High Gloss – I love the look and hardness of this paint. When applied correctly it looks and feels much like oil-based paint. It has the characteristics of a true enamel, and if it were not so difficult to use I think it would win over the painters who love their oil-based paints.

Much has been documented online about the difficulties that even professional painters encounter with this paint. It dries too quickly, even with Floetrol. You have a very short window in which to brush out this paint and deal with any sags or runs. Once it starts to dry you can’t touch it without disastrous results. Since I am painting long pieces of baseboard, casing and crown, I can’t get the paint on fast enough to go back and brush down the entire length of the piece, even if I roll on the paint first then lay it off with a brush. Pro Classic does not flow off the brush easily, either. Even my best work with this paint left me with artifacts I didn’t want, like roping, runs or sags.

SW ProClassic Gloss – Just slightly less difficult to use than the high gloss version. Lots of gloss. Same problems with drying to quickly.

SW ProClassic High Semi Gloss – Not much gloss, and still difficult for me to use.

SW ProClassic Satin – Completely flat and quite a bit easier to use than the high gloss version.

SW SuperPaint satin – I had read that a few people use this for trim but IMO it’s strictly a wall paint. Very easy to use, stays wet a long time but quite runny right out of the can with no Floetrol or thinning. You can keep brushing it for a long time if you feel you must without a lot of problems. I really like this paint for walls but on trim it has no qualities of an enamel paint.

BM Aura satin – Has more gloss that the PC satin. Shares some of the same difficulty issues as the Pro-Classic, but to a lesser degree, in that it dries quickly and can’t be overworked, but the window for laying off and fixing problems is longer than the PC. Flows off the brush better than PC and has more sheen than the same gloss levels as PC. It levels fairly well, maybe not as well as the PC, but with good brush technique I could keep the brush strokes to an acceptable level and I had just enough time to fix drips and other issues that I would not have been able to fix with PC because of PC's almost instant drying. Some people say you can repaint Aura in an hour but I tried after 2 hours and made a mess of the baseboard, even though I was inside with the AC on. Now I wait overnight for all recoats – I don’t have to be in a hurry.

BM Aura semi-gloss – Almost as much sheen as the Pro Classic Gloss. This semi gloss may be a little more difficult to use than the Satin but I still get much better results than I did with Pro Classic. It also looked fantastic on an inexpensive six-panel door.

SW Solo - Well, having initially written that I had chosen to go with Aura, I picked up can of SW Solo last night, took it home and brushed some out. I really liked what I saw.

Solo has a nice, creamy feel to it and stays workable long enough to brush a long piece of baseboard. I intentionally overworked it to see how soon I got into trouble and was very happy to find I had plenty of time to search around for any drips or mistakes I might have made and correct them.

30 minutes later it was dry to the touch and the brushstrokes were minimal. I need more testing but I may like this better than Aura. In places where I applied it too heavily, it did sag. Solo has a longer open time than Aura.

THE BOTTOM LINE (Finally):

Pro Classic, in the right hands, creates a beautiful enamel finish, but I am just not man enough to apply it. After experimenting with Aura for a while, and finding that it also has a learning curve not unlike Pro Classic, I went back to PC and tried it again and immediately realized why I started looking for something else.

I’m switching to either Aura semi-gloss or the glossy version of Solo. I need to test the Solo a little more, but I think I'm going to like it best.

Thanks to all of you who gave me advice on my little journey.


Last edited by davej77; 06-04-2013 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Thanks for posting your results.

Aura is marketed as a fast drying paint, so it wouldn't be my first choice for a glossy trim paint.

I'm surprised you didn't try SuperPaint in a higher gloss.

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Old 06-03-2013, 05:39 PM   #3
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


After one test felt Superpaint too runny. After five minutes I would discover drips on the sides of casings and pools in the corners of door panels. Is this typical or just me?

I just wanted to see what Satin looked like.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:09 PM   #4
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


I haven't found SuperPaint to be runny. Are you sure it was well mixed?
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:21 PM   #5
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


I think so. I'm pretty good about stirring.

You know the one paint I should have tested is Solo. I haven't heard a lot about it.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:10 PM   #6
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Before you give up on your gloss, I have had very good results with C&K http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...id=body_rv_img Levels out very well, with a good brush and doesn't dry extra fast.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:15 PM   #7
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Quote:
Originally Posted by davej77 View Post
You know the one paint I should have tested is Solo.
Hmmm, me neither.
http://www.jackpauhl.com/sherwin-williams-solo-a76-51/
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:54 PM   #8
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Thanks for sharing. Knowing what little I know I would have gone with BM Advance over Aura for trim. I did with my trim and I liked the results. That being said it will tend to sag more than Aura probably would. I'm glad you found something you are happy with as well.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:10 AM   #9
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


I looked at Advance. It's a hybrid -waterborne but still an oil paint. So I ruled it out. Trying to go all water-based.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:38 AM   #10
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Just out of curiosity, what's the reason for requiring water based?
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:18 AM   #11
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


The problem you are having with the pro classic I encountered the same the first couple times I used it. Went back and told my SW rep I hated the paint. Here's what I learned;
1. DON'T use Flotrol, XIM, or any additive this paint already has levelers in it and when you add these it changes the make up.
2. DON"T overwork the paint. I found if I put the paint on and kept going over it to smooth it out it would really get stiff. I found if I put it on and just a couple brush strokes to even it out, then leave it alone and let the levelers do their job and the brush marks would go away.
Since doing it this way it has become my go to trim paint.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:28 AM   #12
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


I'm sticking with water-based paint partly for laziness (less mess) and part because oil is going away. My house had never had oil paint so I remember where the oil is or test for it before painting. I accept the wb stuff won't be as good.

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Old 06-04-2013, 07:31 AM   #13
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But this isn't "oil based" in that sense. It's still soap and water cleanup.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:45 AM   #14
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Quote:
Originally Posted by davej77 View Post
I'm sticking with oil part for laziness (less mess) and part because oil is going away. My house had never had oil paint so I remember where the oil is or test for it before painting. I accept the wb stuff won't be as good.
A few years ago your statement about WB may have been correct. But in the last few years paint along with about everything else has improved. Some to the point that once applied you can't tell the difference between WB and oil. You already have a great paint just work out the bugs.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:06 AM   #15
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Results: SW ProClassic vs BM Aura for interior trim


Well, having written that I had chosen to go with Aura, I picked up can of SW Solo last night, took it home and brushed some out. I really liked what I saw.

Solo has a nice, creamy feel to it and stays workable long enough to brush a long piece of baseboard. I intentionally overworked it to see how soon I got into trouble and was very happy to find I had plenty of time to search around for any drips or mistakes I might have made and correct them.

30 minutes later it was dry to the touch and the brushstrokes were minimal. I need more testing but I may like this better than Aura. In places where I applied it too heavily, it did sag. Solo has a longer open time than Aura.

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