California Paints tops Consumer Reports’ new ratings for durability of exterior paints and stains, with finishes by Behr and Sears close behind.
California’s Fresh Coat Velvet Flat was rated “Very Good” after testing, in which paints were subjected to the equivalent of nine years’ wear under rain, snow, sun and other conditions. Stains were subjected to three years’ wear.
The results, published in CR’s June issue, gave “top honors to California, a relatively small brand that isn’t sold in California.”
Several other products were rated Good:
“At $19 per gallon, Home Depot’s Behr Premium Plus Flat almost matched the $35 California Fresh Coat Velvet Flat at fending off cracking, dirt, and mildew,” the magazine reported. “Behr also won out among stains: Its $26 Deck Plus Solid Color Deck, Fence & Siding topped our charts for the second straight year.”
“But at just $21 per gallon, Sears’ Weatherbeater Solid Deck, Fence & Siding is a bargain if your home doesn’t face intense weathering.”
Also rated Good were Behr Premium Plus Flat and Valspar’s self-priming Duramax Flat and Duramax Satin.
For paints that had reached the six-year mark in testing, all of these (listed here in alphabetical order) were reported to have equal, above-average durability. The price per gallon is in parentheses.
• Dutch Boy Extreme Adhesion Satin and Semigloss ($20)
Premium Flat, Satin and Semigloss ($18-$22)
Spred Flat, Satin and Semigloss ($23-$30)
• Sears Weatherbeater Ultra Satin ($35)
• Sherwin-Williams self-priming Duration Semigloss ($58)
• Valspar Ultra Premium Flat ($19)
Benjamin Moore’s Aura Semigloss ($60) was the only paint to rate an “Excellent” after three years’ wear.
The report also gave a thumbs-up to the growing number of self-priming exterior paints, if used in shadier properties, singling out Valspar’s Duramax Flat ($33) and Satin ($33).
The publication also noted that all but one stain that was oil-based in last year’s ratings was now lower-VOC and water based. Oil-based Sikkens Cetol SRD Semi-Transparent was the exception, but it also notched a “top pick” rating for its wear after three years.
The article also warns homeowners with children under 6 in pre-1978 homes that any painters they hire must be certified lead-safe by the Environmental Protection Agency.
All of this year’s fully tested finishes meet expected federal limits of 100 to 250 grams per liter for paints and 250 grams per liter for stains, the magazine noted. Some meet Southern California’s tighter VOC limits.
For more information, see the June 2010 Consumer Reports.