Breakthrough by PPG Paints, No Longer Recommended

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) DRE# 00949880

     Breakthrough, the name itself suggests a product that is something special.  For a number of years, it was a great product.  My paint company specialized in painting cabinets with Breakthrough and we never had any complaints or product failures over many years.  We liked this product so much that it was the only product we would use for cabinets..  I even recommended Breakthrough in this 2010 ActiveRain article. Unfortunately, PPG had to change Breakthrough a few years ago to comply with California regulations.

    In 2017, we received multiple complaints.  Clients would call saying the product was getting soft and sticky in multiple areas.  Some complaints began as early as six months after we completed the project.  The paint was deteriorating on trim, doors and cabinets.  The fix was not easy.  We had to remove the sticky paint, prime those areas and repaint all the surfaces with a different paint product.

    Initially, PPG Paints was reluctantly helpful.  They compensated our company (labor and material) to fix four of the jobs. Early on, we did not know their was a problem with the paint so we repaired some jobs on our own.  Recently, those projects have started turning soft and sticky again.

    I reached out to a PPG representative for compensation to fix these projects.  The representative responded with an email explaining their limited one year warranty and attaching the following label showing the warranty.

Breakthrough by PPG Paint label

     Basically, it says they will stand behind their product for one year, materials only.  When I first purchased Breakthrough, the salesman highlighted these two areas of the label.

PPG product promise on label     PPG Breakthrough Front label

     The label states that Breakthrough is "Ultra D-Durable" and "Adhesion and hardness on the most difficult substrates."  The label also says "At PPG PAINTS we are dedicated to helping you do your best work on every job.  We stand behind every product and give you our best BECAUSE EVERY JOB MATTERS."

     It is frustrating when a product changes.  I only promote products that I really believe in, sold by companies that I know will stand behind their products. I do not know why, but the new formulation of Breakthrough does not hold up well to hand oils (per the PPG representative).  The product becomes a gummy mess in areas. Sometimes very quickly. Even more troubling, I do not believe the company is adequately standing behind their product.  I have clients that spent thousands of dollars to completely remodel their kitchen and repaint their bathroom cabinets.  They have already had me repair their cabinets and door trim once and now are having paint failure problems again.  PPG believes they only need to supply the paint to fix the cabinets.  It is up to me to strip the gummy paint, prime as needed and repaint the whole kitchen. They spend a few hundred, I spend a few thousand and my client has to endure losing their kitchen for a week.  I believe a high end product should hold up well for much longer than three years.  It should certainly hold up longer than the one year limited warranty stated on the label and quoted by the PPG representative.

     For the reasons above, I can no longer recommend this product for painting trim, doors or kitchen cabinets.  PPG does have a lot of other really good products, but I can no longer recommend them either.  Every job does matter and when you put that statement on your label, it should mean something.

     If you are looking at painting your cabinets, I understand (per a contractor friend) that Aristoshield, by Dunn Edwards is a good product for cabinets. I have not personally used the product, though.  I have retired my painting business.





Posted by

             eXp Realty of California, Inc

Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, e-Pro

Past Client Testimonials   

3412 Babson Drive

Elk Grove, CA 95758




Comments (31)

Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Thank you for sharing! Now we can all stay away from PPG's Breakthrough. What a pain for you though!

May 24, 2020 05:21 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI ,

Well I learned something today about PPG's Breakthrough. I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week.

May 24, 2020 09:40 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I get discount from every name manufacturer. The best according to area painters is Sherwin Willams. They have the best service. Years ago I left my passport at a store there. They called college and drop off at Dean's Office. 

I get 35% off which is probably the highest discount rate I know of. My profession as a realtor is the justification.


May 24, 2020 10:24 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Someone I met on the street thought I work at a paint store. He asked about binder on primer etc.  Then he says you don't talk like a paint store worker. I say my shirt says "Keller Williams". 

May 24, 2020 10:28 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Wow Raymond now a situation I heard of makes sense to me. I'm guessing my clients bought a house where one room had been painted (with this product) at some point before putting on the market.  They called about a month or so after closing saying the paint was coming off the wall. What?  How could that be?  Seriously?  It all got redone with Dunn Edwards materials and all is well once again.  Thanks for heads up......very good to know.

May 24, 2020 10:36 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Roy Kelley,  it was painful to share.  We have had a very good relationship for a long time.  Thank you for your input.

Joan Cox,  I think Breakthrough is just about everywhere.  There are only two states that have the new formulation (per one of the salesmen).  Thank you too for stopping by.  

May 25, 2020 09:05 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Kathy Streib , thank you so much for featuring my article.  I really appreciate it and am always surprised when my writing is ever acknowledged.

May 25, 2020 09:08 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Kat Palmiotti, it was a pain and so stressful, especially when I had no idea what was going on.  The first job to fail was a huge house, every door, casing and cabinet had to be redone.  It was a huge job and thankfully, my clients were understanding

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR,  I believe the original formulation is in your area.  I would just ask first.  

May 25, 2020 09:12 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Sam Shueh,  lol, I had the same thing happen when I worked at Keller Williams.

 Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana! , there can be so many reasons.  The the wrong paint(latex over oil paint the most common), inexpensive paint, poor prep and foreign substances on the wall.  One issue I have noticed over the years is over zealous cleaning.  Acrylic paints and ammonia (or ammonia products)  do not work well together.  The paint gets gummy.  I actually thought that is what was happening in this instance, but the each and every one of my clients had received my caution against using these products and they did not use them.  Dunn Edwards paint company does have some excellent products at their top end.  I just painted my Goodyear home with Dunn Edwards paint.  It looks great!

May 25, 2020 09:20 AM
Dario Ferreira
Attleboro, MA
Internet Marketing & SEO

PPG brings back memories.
I used to work at a Pittsburgh Paints store in late eighties/early nineties. We pretty much just served professionals, and PP was highly regarded back then.

Learned a lot about paint :)

May 25, 2020 12:56 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I am glad that Kathy Streib featured your post because I have now learned something about Breakthrough - too bad the paint had a breakdown

May 26, 2020 04:19 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Why is it when, so many times, the government steps in results are less than desired Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI (Not to say all things the government does produce poor results) "I'm from the government and we're here to help you" wasn't that Ronald Reagan?

May 26, 2020 06:18 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  I can see why Kathy chose to  highlight it this week!

May 26, 2020 06:43 AM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525

Raymond, thanks for the heads up to inform everyone.  Though not in an affected state, the PPG brand here is not well known.

May 26, 2020 01:32 PM
Maralea Norden
eXp Realty, LLC - Sedona, AZ
Sedona/Verde Valley Pricing Strategist

I'm not in CA and I know that you have much heaftier safety standards in your neck of the woods than any other state - which is both AWSOME and not so awsome.  

I really like a product called Advance Self Leveling.  I use the high gloss on cabinets and the results have been nice.  The self leveling is terrific, too.  Definitely sand and prime first.  But I don't know if it's CA available.  

So sad that the company doesn't stand behind the product as stated.  :-(  But let us know when you find a really great product that you love again, please!  

May 27, 2020 10:14 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Dario Ferreira, PPG has been a good company.  I have a tough time understanding why they are not standing behind a customer that has used their product and recommended it for years.  Definitely, a good place to learn the business.

 Lise Howe, yes, Breakthrough had a breakdown in CA for sure. 

May 30, 2020 11:56 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Doug Dawes, one of my favorite quotes.  It has been an issue here in CA for years.  They get more strict every year and it has created real problems for those that want to paint their home.  

 Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, thank you very much. 

May 30, 2020 12:00 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Kris Collis, Associate Broker,  Thank you for stopping by.

Maralea Norden, I wish I knew of one.  I just spoke with a cabinet manufacturer that I used to finish cabinets for.  They are also having issue.  I wonder how much the regulations are helping when the paint does not last as long and needs to be redone again so quickly.  I used to be hired by people that told me they had not painted in twenty years, but were tired of the color.  Their implication was, your job better last too.  Those days are long gone.  I would be surprised if you product was available here in CA unless it is manufactured differently.  Thank you. 

May 30, 2020 12:06 PM
Tom Coyan

PPG Breakthrough now comes in 2 formulas: 250 VOC and 50 VOC. They only sell the 50 VOC in California and yes, many professional painters here are bemoaning the change.
Most everyone I know (myself included) has had tremendous results with Benjamin Moore Advance. The downside is it has a 16 hour recoat time, which is brutal if you're a professional. It levels tremendously, however, and cures quite hard.

Jul 24, 2020 01:41 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you for your input Tom.  Yes, a 16 hour re-coat time is a little problematic, but if it works, it might be worth it.  Is it enough to put two coats on cabinets or does it take three coats?  

Jul 27, 2020 12:54 PM