We love to use Benjamin Moore’s Aura Exterior Paint. There is no better paint on the market (meaning it’s worth every penny of the $60/gallon it costs us). We’ve been using it since it came out in 2008, and would never choose to use anything else on the market (until something better comes out). Aura retains its color for years, resists sun fade, is self-priming (we still prime beneath it anyway, but it’s good to know that the resin is tough enough to stick to surfaces on its own without primer). It also has a nice sheen, especially in Low Luster, which we prefer (it’s the equivalent of eggshell in interior paint sheens).
Most of the time, we use Never Peel exterior primer made by Triangle Coatings. We buy it at Mission Paint, Missoula’s local Benjamin Moore dealer, who brought it in specially for us to use. Never Peel is a really great primer, especially on wood and wood-based siding materials. It’s sort of thin, so it seeps into cracks and into soft wood surfaces. When it dries, it becomes really tough yet stays flexible, sort of like hardwood floor finish (it’s clear). Never Peel is the best exterior primer we’ve found yet, and we’ve tried everything we can find in our search for the best materials.
Elastomeric Patching Compound:
On almost every exterior paint job, especially our restorations, we use Benjamin Moore’s Elastomeric Patching Compound. It is a stucco-patching product that we use to seal and re-surface primed wood, stucco, and other masonry surfaces. It’s a thick, flexible patching material that resembles brushable caulking and adds a level of waterproofing. If you look through most of our exterior projects, you’ll find us applying elastomeric to all sorts of surfaces, especially window sills.
These days the best caulking we have found is GE’s Infinity Caulking. It stays flexible over time and lasts really well. Caulking is often the weakest point in a paint job, whether the project is new Hardi Plank siding or 100-year-old wood, and we’ve had great luck with Infinity. For years we used Benjamin Moore’s Lifetime Caulking, but they reformulated it around 2009, so we started looking for something better. After trying every caulking we could find, we learned that this product is actually the exact formula Benjamin Moore used to use for their Lifetime caulking, so we switched back to it.