Oct 21, 2007

Duration Exterior

This is a review on Sherwin Williams Duration Exterior Paint from 9/03

Are you looking for Sherwin Williams Duration Home for Interior?

Sherwin Williams Duration™ Review performed by an independent painting contractor.
Exterior Latex Satin Coating K333 Series

Retail Price: $40.00
Usage: Exterior

Front Label:
On the front of this product you will find a nice shiny silver label which is rather impressive. My initial thoughts gazing at the shiny label in the store were somewhere along the lines of, ‘No wonder why this product costs so much’, look at that label. The only thing it lacks is a nice black velvet jewelry-like case for packaging. I would think for $40 we would get some sort of nice carrying case. Personally, for a premium, I would expect this product to be Sherwin William’s top-of-the-line product and it should have been labeled in gold. Doesn’t silver represent something less than gold? The more I think about it, I wonder what product SW has that might supersede Duration for exterior expectations and I can’t think of one.

Back Label:
On the back of the label you’ll find some helpful tips on how to apply this product, what to apply it with, what to apply it to and when it’s most appropriate to apply along with preventing damage to surfaces not intended for this product in the event you should spill or spatter it on something you don’t want paint on, including your person. The label boasts this product has a “tenacious” grip almost like a bright red and white sign jumping out at you saying “BEWARE”!!!

· One Coat Protection
· Self-Priming
· Easy Application
· Superior Hiding
· Thicker. More Flexible
· Resists Blistering and Peeling
· Low Temperature 35º Application

It’s most intriguing feature is in the name Duration, kindly implying that this product will be on my home for the duration of its existence. Well, maybe not that long but it implies something along those lines but does not say what its life expectancy is. Five years? Ten years?... we don’t know, it just sounds promising. There is something to be said about calling a product ‘Duration’ but not specifically saying what duration you might expect.

Under the Lid:
I was anxious to get this product back to the shop. I had a lot of uses in mind. I grabbed my handy 5-in-1 tool and my nylon/polyester brush from my keeper and my viscosity cup from the work bench and proceeded around the lid. I gently raised the lid with two fingers peaking into the can as if it contained some sort of treasure, remember… I just paid a premium for this product. I quickly wiped the lid clean of dripping paint and dunked my viscosity cup in for a swim and pulled it out… one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand f… drip. I quickly realized that this product is way too heavily bodied for my vcup so I dumped the paint back into the can and swapped it for a nice birch stir stick from my vintage wood collection and began stirring. It’s just like the features say, “Thicker. More Flexible”. Yes it’s thick but thicker than what and more flexible than what?

The product was surprisingly thick but not quite like mayonnaise then I quickly wondered how it would spread as many heavily bodied paints do not spread well but Sherwin Williams boasts “Easy Application” so for now my mind is at ease. The limiting factor becomes the ability to spread the product evenly across the substrate and when you factor in the element of wind for example, heavy bodied paints become increasingly difficult to spread - add in low weather temperatures and you have a very difficult product to spread.

The Line Up:
For this test I will be using the following materials, cedar, redwood, pine, pre-primed man-made composites, pre-primed finger jointed southern pine, fypon decorative molding, PVC trim components and factory primed steel doors.

The Test:
This review will cover most aspects of the product except for the time in which it will last due to obvious reasons. We will be using the Satin version of Duration in plain White – stock off the shelf with no additives or preservatives.

In the shop Duration applied well straight out of the can to the above mentioned material however when we took the product outside to paint in 70-75º temperatures with a humidity level of 65% and a slight wind at 5MPH, we had strikingly varied results.

One Coat Protection/Coverage:
In this portion of the review I will sum up both Protection and Coverage.

Although the Data Sheet specifies that when applied to bare cedar, knots or redwood – the first coat may show some staining but assures the product will lock in the stains. We found redwood to show very little staining after first coat however the cedar boards tannin bleed through was very apparent and questionable whether or not a second coat will provide adequate coverage as our white coat turned a dirty brownish white color.

Cedar/Redwood 2nd Coat:
Some portions of our cedar samples did not cover the tannin fully with a second coat. My suggestions would be to disregard the self-priming aspect of Duration on Cedar and use an oil based primer specifically designed for blocking tannin. Even if you could get Duration to cover in two coats on cedar – chances are great that tannin will bleed through during the first week after the final coat was applied. I am failing Duration on this portion of the review to provide a nice seal to lock in tannin. There are very few oil based primers on the market that will lock in tannin. I think Sherwin Williams squeezed in the stain blocker portion into the specs where in my opinion should have been left out.

Reality Check:
Let’s say you have a project that requires 1 gallon of paint on cedar. Let’s say you purchased Duration because it says it can be used on cedar and you take your chances on a $40 gallon of paint only to realize you will need a second coat and even a third to really cover tannin, $120 plus labor 3 times - absolutely not worth it. I am thinking more along the lines of a $16 gallon of oil based stain blocker and a $20 gallon of finish. $84 savings plus a days work saved.

When applied to bare pine trim we were impressed at the ability to cover bare wood as the data sheet specifies Duration is self-priming. At this stage I would say so but looks are very deceiving when it comes to paints. Just because a product can cover bare wood in one coat nicely does not mean it will hold up well in the elements. Besides, pine is not a recommended material for exterior.

Pre-Primed Composites:
I could not get Duration to cover an off-white factory primer in one coat on our test materials. I expected better coverage over a pre-primed surface. In fact, the coverage on bare pine was better vs. over a primer coat. Regardless, two top coats should finalize the project without a problem.

Both our PVC and Fypon materials come from the factory in a fairly clean white color. Duration covered both PVC and Fypon nicely in one coat. I experienced a lot of drag when painting fypon materials (cast foam) but painting PVC went without a hitch.

Steel Doors:
Our test doors are ThermaTru six panel factory primed steel. We could not successfully paint a steel door with this product. Duration sets up much to fast to get through one side of a door. We immediately washed the mess off the door and fail this product for brush use on a steel door. Suggestions would be to spray Duration per Data Sheet specs but we will not be performing any spray work in this review.

Easy Application:
I found Duration to be one of the most difficult products to spread in all of my 20 years of painting. I understand the data sheet recommends not painting in direct sun but let’s face it, is that really reasonable to ask a consumer or painter? Easy application to me means this product will spread easy, flow nicely, have sufficient glide and will not have restrictions on when or where I can paint. I have to fail this portion of the review because it was not easy to apply, at all in indirect sunlight.

Superior Hiding:
The hiding aspects of Duration are only achieved with a heavy mil thickness. The Data Sheet states this product can be applied wet at 7 mil. I could not get Duration to cover an off-white primer nicely with 2-3 mil. Our average tested mil thickness was between 2-3 mil/w evenly. While we were able to achieve 7 mil on our vertical sample boards, we could not spread anywhere near 7 mil evenly. I am however confident Duration can with a bit of finesse cover a fairly dark color in two coats but I would not call that superior hiding as most paints on the market cover in two coats. I won’t fail Duration in this portion of the review but rather caution the consumer that your expectations may be too high for what Duration will hide.

Over Spray Paint:
We also tested Duration using readily available black and red Krylon spray paint applied as graffiti on both vinyl and wood siding. Two coats covered with an initial light sanding.

Sheen Level:
Our first coat on all our sample boards looked like a satin finish however the second coat I would call semi-gloss.

Low Temperature 35º Application
Does anyone really have the ambition to go outside on a nice sunny cold day with snow on the ground and crack open a can of Duration and paint their porch rail? May I suggest a movie instead? First off, I don’t care what low temperatures Duration can be applied because no matter what – the materials outside in the cold that you intend on painting are by no means in any condition to be painted. While a 35º temp paint sounds impressive, as a professional paint contractor – take it from me… do not paint in the cold. We took a gallon of Duration and placed it in the freezer bringing it to 35º temperature relative to what you might experience painting with this product outside in 35º weather. If you absolutely must apply this product in the cold – plan on using a putty knife instead of a brush.

Application Methods:

We used several different nylon/poly brushes during our review from Wooster and Purdy and found only one to work well with Duration.
When taking a dip out of the can, the paint does not release from the brush – instead it hangs from the brush. I am an extremely neat painter but I managed to get paint all over the floor from where the can set to the sample boards. Release is a very important factor to me when painting outside in the wind. If the paint does not release from the brush when you pull it out of the can - the wind will blow any hanging material all over things you don’t intend on painting. Another important factor to consider with the release of this product is the fact that Duration does not release from the brush onto the surface you are painting. The best way to describe it would be how snow moves from the two edges of a snow plow – pushing through the product creating ridges along side of the brush. I found painting exterior door casings very annoying because I would get the edge looking nice then face off the front of the casing then mess up the edge, over and over and because Duration dries so fast - I ended up making a complete mess.

We took the labels recommendations and used a 3/8” nap synthetic roller cover. I will never try that again.

As I mentioned earlier, Duration is heavily bodied. Sherwin Williams might consider suggesting on the label to use a (extra firm) nylon/polyester brush because without one you will be fighting with this product.

I found many uses for this product (inside) a home rather than outside however this product clearly states on the label, ‘For Exterior Use Only’.

There is a bit of a trick to using Duration properly and that is to always work as fast as you possibly can in one direction and do not look back. The painted surface looks good from a distance, but looking at it up close; you can see that you really have a mess due to the quick set-up and no leveling. Duration as specified on the data sheet dries quickly and because it dries fast – there is no time for the paint to level. You will have brush marks in your finish that are unavoidable with this product. You can instantly take a brand new piece of wood and make it look like it was painted 50 times. While this product may exceed in the elements but was not tested over a period of time, I feel there are many other products available that provide professional long lasting finishes and are easy to use.

Here is another review/experience with Duration.


Micknic said...

Great post; thanks for the research and analysis. Have you had any experience with Duration causing the problem of pulling old layers off on repaints? I have a painter friend in Wisc. who says he doesn't get any warranty work with SuperPaint but $30-$40K with Duration Exterior on repaints. The theory is that it is drying so tight that it pulls the old layer that was not peeling when it was painted (releases at a later date.)

ashley said...

Wow, thank you for this overview. I only wish I'd seen it before painting my cedar house with Duration. Big mistake; your review describing its performance on cedar is spot-on! It absolutely needs primer. Sherwin Williams claims a lifetime warranty, but despite the fact that our paint never covered properly and severely peeled 6 months after application, they say our cedar is "too old" and it's not the paint's fault. Please tell people not to use this ridiculously overpriced and underperfoming paint.