Progress on the cabinet project and Advance paint from Benjamin Moore

The paint I chose for this project was Benjamin Moore’s Advance, a waterborne alkyd. It’s a latex paint that acts like an oil based paint. I first cleaned the cabinets with TSP and then sanded with fine sandpaper to scuff up the surface before painting. I wiped off all the sanding dust and then painted. On the upper cabinets and doors that were new, unfinished wood, I first primed with BM Fresh Start primer. When I ran out of BM primer I used what I had, Kilz.

 products for painting cabinets

I applied the paint with Purdy brushes and sanded between coats with a sanding block.

BM claims that Advance paint is easy to clean up with soap and water, has low VOCs,  outstanding flow, and  is self leveling. It’s low odor and available in unlimited tinted colors and dries to a hard durable finish.

My experience has been that it is easy to clean up with soap and water, but not on your skin. I tweeted about cleaning my hands after using Advance and someone suggested using a magic eraser. It worked great. Magic eraser was the only way to get it off my hands. I definitely didn’t want to use smelly turpentine.

The flow of the paint was fine with the proper amount of paint on the brush, but the leveling was hard to get right. I have a definite love/hate relationship with this paint. It was hard for me to determine the right amount of paint to put on the brush. Too little made brush marks and streaks and too much left sagging and brush marks. A small roller left an orange peel look. You can’t brush back over it or it will gunk up.  I wish I had researched paint techniques for using Advance before I started painting. I’ve since found youtube videos on brush techniques when using Advance and lots of mixed reviews.  Seems I’m not the only one who had problems getting a streak free finish with this paint which claims to be self leveling.

As far as odor, I didn’t really notice much at all.

paint drying

This is how it looks as it’s drying. The streaks almost look like they are raising up, but they do level out a bit.

orange peel look

I call this the orange peel finish.

paint drying 2

It doesn’t look that bad in person. Thank goodness! And the finish is tough after it cures. There’s a definite leaning curve and I got better as I got further into the project. Some areas are perfect and others are not.

cabinet doors

Progress continues a little every day and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We decided to add another set of doors on the pantry wall and I’m excited about the extra storage space. There are a couple of doors to finish and then the cabinet painting is finished! Yippee! I still have to touch up the walls where the blue tape failed. I finished up the project with Frog tape after that.

Chugging along but Almost done!

As far as Benjamin Moore Advance paint, it’s hard to work with so I honestly don’t think I’d use it again.


Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))


  1. Hi, I used a similiar product from Ace Hardware. It was endorsed by Lou Manfredini..home guru guy on NBC but a local guy here in IL. My hubby painted two doors. The first one was perfect. The second had drips and streaks everywhere. The difference? He had had 2 glasses of wine as he painted the first! No wine for the second!! Can you imagine the directions on the can. Shake well, apply evenly and drink liberally.

  2. Can’t wait to see the full reveal, Debra! It is looking good so far.

  3. Thank you for the critique. We need to know these things. Interestingly, my daughter just hired a painter to finish up the high spots on her three-story home. He said he’ll use the color she’s chosen, but he will not use the paint. (S. Williams) He has years of experience and he has found what works. Wonder if he’d share. I’m almost to the point of hiring a painter for my cupboards. My skills for painting are limited and only on things that don’t matter much. I’m impressed with your initiative and hard work!

  4. Hi Vee, I’d love to know what the painter uses. Don’t be too impressed by my initiative and hard work, at this point it’s become drudgery! I just want it done.

  5. Natalie Clark says:

    Hi there! I appreciated this post a great deal as I just finished repainting my knotty alder cabinets with BM Advanced paint. I loved using it! I sanded all the doors with a palm sander and 100 grit paper just enough to get a tooth on the doors but I didn’t remove all of the old finish. I used Kleen Strip deglosser/liquid sander on the molding and crevices and then wiped everything down thoroughly to remove sanding dust. By suggestion of the salesman at the paint store and against every instinct, I skipped the primer and painted the BM Advanced right onto the wood. I used foam rollers and the cheap, foam craft brushes and had outstanding results. I found that three very thin coats of paint with 18-24 hours of drying time between each coat produced exceptional results with absolutely no streaking, brush marks, or other flaws. I plan to use this paint again when I refinish the bathroom cabinets this summer. Maybe these tips might help. Thanks again for sharing your opinion. Have a wonderful day!

  6. Debbie…which type of Purdy brush did you use. The True value salesman told us to use the Purdy stiff brush for oils. We didn’t like the way the oil brush applied the paint. So my wife called BM and they said we should be using a nylon/polyester. We also are having problems with it gobbing up in places, but overall, it’s not too bad, but I was expecting more…don’t know what, but better…thanks, Dave

  7. I want to renovate my kitchen, to make it look clean and bright. I want to paint my kitchen cabinets but I thought that I should call professionals for that. You just saved me much money. I will paint my cabinets on my own thanks to you! Thank you!

  8. OMG! Your experience could have been mine EXACTLY!I am pulling my hair out trying to get RID of the brush marks and seriously doubting my painting skills as I write this! I am going to try to brush it on then go over with a foam roller as my last resort.I have found d this paint VERY difficult to work with and hope it holds up like it is hyped to.Very disappointed so far in this product and would LOVE to know what I am doing wrong….

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