Test Between Scuff X and Aqua Guard Satin

Updated Jun 15, 2024 | Posted Jan 15, 2023 | Product Reviews, Paints | 5 comments

Over the New Year, I did an opacity test between Benjamin Moore Scuff X and Aqua Guard Satin, as I keep reading things on DFUK like “Scuff X is ‘On another planet’ compared to other water-based woodwork paints”.

But before we start, I think it is important to point out to all the oil-based paint lovers, or anyone else who thinks that water-based is poor, and doesn’t compare to oil for opacity, application, or durability, you need to stop being a Fred Flintstone and recognise that the technology for water-based is far superior these days. I would do an opacity test on white oil-based paint, but I don’t want to be waiting 36 hours in between each coat 🤦‍♂️


The Test


I painted a bathroom door at home with Tikkurila Otex in black as a base coat for the paints. Otex is a foundation primer, NOT a system primer, so is ideal for the tests. I then applied 2 coats of Scuff X Super White on one section, 2 coats of Aqua Guard in Super White in a different section, and 2 coats of Aqua Guard Brilliant White in another section. I wanted to see how much difference an off white makes to opacity.

I then invited my wife, daughter, and her fiancé, separately to look at the door. I asked them to feel the samples and tell me which ones they thought had covered better. I asked them which felt deeper, or better finish.


They all picked out the Aqua Guard as the best finish and ironically, Sally and Amanda both preferred the Brilliant White sample as the best, even though the opacity of the Aqua Guard mixed to Super White was the best opacity. They both described The Super White as a ‘dirty white’, which is important to a lot of people, but there are quite a few who prefer a ‘softer’ white which is why F&B colours have been so popular.

In my professional opinion, the best opacity by far was the Aqua Guard Super White and both of Aqua Guard Brilliant White and the Scuff X clearly needed a 3rd coat, especially on the mouldings.

Another interesting point was that I found 3 small runs on the Scuff X panels, but none on the Aqua Guard panels. It was cold when I did this testing as I have seen decorators saying, “Aqua Guard runs easily”. When paint is cold it takes longer to dry, but when you’re doing an opacity test you can’t flick over edges as the black will flash through. So, I just painted them as normal and then waited until they were dry to see the result.

The only thing I can think to explain this is that some say they add a drop of water to the Aqua Guard which stops it running. I don’t think it’s anything to do with water. You just need to stir it up, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. I always stir Aqua Guard and have no problem with runs.

is benjamin moore scuff x worth the money?
Benjamin Moore Scuff X Vs Johnstone's Aqua Guard
is Johnstone's Aqua Guard a good paint?
the best satinwood for a door

So, now we have done durability and opacity testing and Aqua Guard wins hands down on both counts. I have no problem with anyone using Scuff X as it is a good product. I just don’t think it’s better than Johnstone’s Aqua Guard.

If anyone disagrees with what I have said, then please join me in doing some of these tests with me. Incidentally, I did a durability test with Aqua Satin and Scuff X and it was virtually a draw. That’s the level for Scuff X with durability but that doesn’t make it a bad product. I would easily choose either over an oil-based paint.

Click here for more information on Johnstone’s Aqua Guard.

Click here for more information on Benjamin Moore Scuff X.

Updated Jun 15, 2024 | Posted Jan 15, 2023 | 5 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.


  1. Rich Moog

    AQUA Guard all the way. I agree with the opacity, just superb. Due to the (slight) oil and water mix, it definitely needs stirring — I re-stir if the tin has been open a while. Great product.

    • David Miller

      There’s no oil in Aqua Guard as it’s a totally different product from the Aqua paint that’s shown in the picture and is only available in satin.

  2. Richard

    Fair dues good review, the Johnstones Aqua guard lot easier to obtain also it’s probably £20/30 odd 5l tin a 5 l cheaper too if you on price then obviously can score with this.

    Let’s face it price is a major point for most people nowadays.

    I had issues with it running but possibly a touch too cold for it as you say.

  3. Michael

    I painted our kitchen with BM Advance about 4 years and was very pleased with the results despite being an amateur. Used Two Fussy Blokes mini rollers (smooth). It’s really, really held up well.

    I have offered to paint my son’s kitchen and would use the Advance again, but I think choosing colours from their massive range is difficult. Our kitchen was a light grey, but looks more white than grey.

    I was thinking of using Teknos Futura Aqua (as it’s a hybrid like the Advance) and getting mixed to a F&B or Little Greene colour.

    I’m looking for something durable. Is the Johnstone’s as durable as the Advance? Would I buy Aqua Guard or the Aqua?

    Is the Teknos as good as Advance?


  4. Carl bridge

    Interesting I wasn’t aware johnstones can mix bm super white.. I’ve been using both for a couple of years now.. And whilst I do like the durability of AQ the runs can certainly be an issue on mouldings/spindles in the winter months and it definitely takes alot more labour to apply via brush than scuff-x.. Not a big fan of the sheen level on Aq guard aswell looks around the 40% mark.. Just wish they did an eggshell or a 20% finish..
    Have had good results recently in mixing matt and satin.


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