Friday, 16 May 2014

Forget The Hype - Is Annie Sloan Durable Compared to Store Brands? Check Out This Experiment...

Many of you know I am a little anti-Annie Sloan, not because I don't like the paint itself, but because I think the pricing is ridiculous! I was horrified to hear that a client went to a paint store 45 minutes away to grab supplies for a DIY project and spent over $180 on BASIC supplies like the paint, brushes and wax! This is not ok! Well, perhaps if you were painting in 24k gold it would be ok....but for regular 'ole paint??

Maybe it is because I am cheap and not willing or able to spend $40/quart, but I just feel that pricing any paint that high is unjustified, unless it is some miraculous paint that will save me oodles of prep time.
Annie Sloan claims to do this and that is why people are flocking to spend an inordinate amount of money for the stuff.

But, has anyone really done their homework to see if in fact Annie Sloan IS more durable and time-saving than the store bought versions??

Trust me, I WANT to believe in miracle paint, I really do! Doing this for a living means that time is money, and I am always looking for was to work smarter and be more efficient - so a paint that can help me do that is well worth the money. I have used LOTS of different versions of paint - I have tried nearly every brand I can buy in my area, and every combination. I talk to paint experts weekly, almost daily, and I have found what works best for me, and you might be surprised at what that is.

In order to put a few arguments to rest (if even in my own mind) I decided to conduct a little experiment that I could share with all of you.

I decided to take an UN-SANDED and NON-PRIMED side table that had a semi-gloss finish, and paint overtop of it with 4 different kinds of paint:
Annie Sloan
My homemade chalky paint made with calcium
Benjamin Moore Regal Brand (paint and primer 100% acrylic)
Regular Beautitone Latex Paint

I painted 4 strips onto the side table and let them dry thoroughly. I wanted to put the surfaces through their paces to see how the paint holds up UNSEALED (I did not wax or poly these surfaces, I wanted to see how they performed all on their own).

First I just dragged the half empty quart of paint across each surface, and this is what it looked like after...note each brand is labelled.

As expected, the regular latex on the far right came off super easy, the other 3 paints performed about the same.

Then I decided to experiment more with the chalk on the surface of each one, since I often make my own chalkboards out of my homemade chalky paint. I wanted to see how each surface held up to the friction of the chalk being dragged across it. This is where I had some interesting results...

Note how the Annie Sloan and the regular latex came RIGHT OFF when I used the clean off! The latex I expected, but was actually surprised by the ASCP and how easily it rubbed right off. I took a piece of chalk and drew a line straight across the surface - there too you can see that it took the paint off of the ASCP portion, yet wrote very well on the homemade chalky paint and the Ben Moore Regal.

I also did some sand paper testing and wet distressing on each surface. Very unfortunately I can't seem to transfer those photos from my phone so I can't share them with you now but will try to upload them soon. The results were similar - the ASCP and the latex rubbed off (in my opinion) way too easily - the homemade sanded off appropriately and the Ben Moore was actually difficult to sand because it stuck so well to the surface!

The wet distressing was the same - Ben Moore Regal reigned supreme in terms of durability and "stickiness".

So, to sum up my non-scientific experiment - the claim that Annie Sloan makes about no sanding and no priming, seems to be unfounded (which I knew from my own experience as well). I have talked to a number of refinishers who will NOT use ASCP for the fact that it is not durable enough. The consensus among the more experienced painters is that 100% acrylic is the way to go, as it enamalizes onto a surface and hardens much more effectively than a vinyl based latex.

Side note, Benjamin Moore Regal is 100% acrylic, but their Ben line is more vinyl (for anyone interested!). Paints that are 100% acrylic are naturally self-priming and stick like the dickens to nearly any surface!

Note: Self Priming does NOT mean that it covers in less coats, or that is covers stains on the surface (e.g. nictotine, mahogany, etc). This goes for ASCP as well. Realistically, "self-priming" is a bit of a misnomer and it really misleads a lot of DIYers.

I could go on forever about paint composition and prices, etc, but moral of the story is - DON'T believe the hype that paying $40/quart of any gourmet chalk paint will get you anything more in terms of durability and performance than your local paint store. The one bonus of ASCP is that it does distress nicely, but add a little plaster of paris to your Ben Moore and you've got the same thing! And don't forget to get the "ulti matte" in the Regal paint!

Benjamin Moore Regal line runs about $25/quart  - compare that to almost double for ASCP and I don't know why anyone still buys it! Not to mention Ben Moore has SOOOO many colours to choose from, but ASCP only has 30 pre mixed. Hmmmmm...

You make the choice, but just know there ARE options!!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great info!!! I have always wondered about ASCP but could not afford the price tag of all the supplies needed for it.

  2. It seems to elitist eh? I definitely don't agree with that - too much of a niche market.