Paint Quality Considerations

Finishers consider their choices for oil-based paint to be brush-applied to cabinets in a historic building. March 29, 2006

A customer who is getting a custom kitchen (furniture look in a19th century house) is debating whether to use BM Satin Impervo or Ace brand oil semi-gloss paint brushed over a sprayed primer. The assumption is Ben Moore is better. Is it, and why?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor B:
Ben Moore is in the paint business. Ace is in the hardware business.

From contributor R:
If you want to use house paint for kitchen cabinets (which I don't recommend), go to They are located in Vermont and sell a product called Dutch-Lac (used to be Schreuder) and it is the only house paint that would meet your needs. Benjamin Moore paints are not as good as they were before VOC regulations requirements.

From contributor W:
I've used Benjamin Moore paint for 25 years, including in Southern California where the AQMD regulations on VOCs appeared first. And every time I've tried something else, I kick myself and go back to the Benjamin Moore products. That included trying Ace brand paint (which Ace has offered since the 1930's but started manufacturing themselves in 1984). The Satin Impervo continues to be a great product. I like best that there is such a high percentage of solids in the Benjamin Moore products that the stuff has almost the consistency of pudding. Am I a raving fan of the Benjamin Moore products? You betcha.

From contributor D:
If you're going to spray a base anyway, why not finish the job properly with spray applied white conversion varnish? Why brush anything on kitchen cabinets? Mega work and it will not look as good as sprayed. If you simply can't spray, then go for the Impervo, but if you've already got the gun out, finish the job. Am I missing something here?

From the original questioner:
The reason the cabinets are being brush painted for the final two coats is because that is what the museum board specified. The project these custom cabinets are going in is an 1840's whaling captain's mansion... We know they didn't have kitchens then like we do today, so to give a sense of apparent age, the design is more in keeping with period details, and thus it is also appropriate to finish with oil paint and a brush. It was just easier to disassemble all the inset butt hinged doors and true divided light doors, etc. and spray prime. In this area, it has become the trend in the last several years in high end kitchens of older homes to brush at least the exteriors of painted cabinetry... the "made by human hands" look rather than the mass produced techno machined look.

From contributor A:
Only in America do the rich spend large sums to have what the poor do!

From contributor C:
I have been applying Ben Moore for over 35 years. It is not what it used to be, but for the money it is still the best. Fine Paints of Europe will give you the durability that BM had before they took the lead out, but it costs about $80 for about three quarts. It is a great product. They even brush their display cases with it, but it might read differently if it is against same color different material in the same room. BM makes a hardener gloss enhancer that can mix with SI to get durability.