About MPI

MPI aims to raise the performance of paints and coatings produced by manufacturers and applied by painters and contractors by holding them accountable to higher industry standards mandated by asset owners, architects, and specifiers in the architectural, commercial, and industrial coatings industries. 

MPI also works to reduce the architects, specifiers, and asset owner’s risk, assure the public of the skill, reputation, and probity of the paint applicator (master of craft), while ultimately yield a better product for the owner.      

MPI is the only independent third-party organization that sets performance standards for commercially available paints and coatings that has been adopted by the US and Canadian governments.

Additionally, MPI provides education on the quality and application of paint and has developed a decision-tree software that aligns the selection of coatings to the intended building substrate and service environment. 
MPI has been providing these services in North America for over 20 years.

Mission statement

An Institute dedicated to the establishment of quality & performance coatings standards, plus quality assurance in the painting and coatings application industry. With an aim to elevate the Industry through standards, guides and training.

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MPI History

Founded in 1995, The Master Painters Institute (MPI) was formed to provide services and information on behalf of the Master Painters and Decorators Association (MPDA), founded 1885.

The Master Painters Institute published the Architectural Specification Manual and the Maintenance Repainting Manual, now considered vital tools for the Architectural Coatings Industry, at the end of the 1990’s.

MPI have since gone on to develop and expand the publications, plus add new online tools and training, with the Essentials of Paint and Painting Technology course considered the industry minimum requirement for architectural coatings.

The acquisition by the NACE Institute in 2017 will allow MPI to continue to expand, in both North America and the International market. Additionally, the synergy between the organizations allows for the opportunity to continue elevating the Architectural coatings industry through excellence in education and training.

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Approved Products

MPI Standards and Performance Testing

MPI develops technical standards and executes paint testing in accordance with the standards, using ASTM compliant testing equipment and methods.
There are over 200 Standards for coating performance, each of which are required to pass all the specified tests for the applicable standard. These tests evaluate the performance of each product in a variety of ways, which include:

  • Hiding Power

  • Reflectance

  • Alkali Resistance

  • Scrubbability

  • Burnish Resistance

  • Cleansability

  • Applicability and Appearance

  • Flexibility

The paint testing is performed at an accredited laboratory to ISO17025 for a specific scope of paint analysis.
Once the approved products have met or exceeded the performance standard(s) that they are tested against, they are listed in the Approved Products List (APL). A list of all the current Approved Products List is available via the MPI website.

High Performance 

The APL includes High-Performance alternatives for many categories which are tested against a much tougher set of requirements and testing procedures. The US government will generally only allow products from the High-Performance categories to be used on their projects. There are also Low VOC category alternatives for use in low VOC areas.

X-Green products

Paint suppliers who already have products approved in an MPI Detailed Performance paint category can be listed in the corresponding X-Green category (For an additional fee) by meeting:

  • MPI’s GPS 1 requirements (no carcinogenic ingredients)
  • MPI’s GPS-2 requirement, which requires a maximum 50 g/l VOC,
  • Submit a third-party test result verifying they meet CHPS emission requirements.

Confirmation testing 

Confirmation testing is carried out within a 2-4 year cycle, depending on the category. Products that no longer meet the requirements of the MPI standards will be removed from the APL.

For more information on listing with MPI – LINK

MPI Standards

Can be purchased from the MPI Store

MPI Specification Manuals

Written by industry experts, the MPI Specification Manuals are in daily use by architects, engineers, interior designers, specification writers, government agencies, property managers, paint contractors, coating inspectors, paint manufacturers and suppliers. The manuals Include evaluations on system options, descriptions of interior and exterior finishing systems, surface preparations, an approved product listing, and more.

The manuals are intended to be used step-by-step by substrate, or as a reference guide to promote quality assurance in products and workmanship, where specified painting systems in new or repaint construction are used; it contains information necessary to choose a coating system:

The MPI publications (manuals) are available ONLINE or in the PRINTED version. Two of the major benefits of the online versions of the MPI Manuals is that the version viewed is always the most current, plus you have access to the MPI Decision Tree Specification Tool.
There are other, additional MPI Publications available from the MPI store.

Choosing an Architectural System – the steps: 

  • Interior or Exterior project
  • substrate being coated
  • Type and level of surface preparation required
  • Opaque, clear or a stain finish
  • Conditions of the surrounding area (environment)
  • Gloss level required
  • Budget or performance grade
  • Green coating / performance level

Choosing a Repaint System – the steps: 

  • Interior or Exterior project
  • Substrate being coated
  • Defects in the surface
  • DSD level (Degree of surface degradation)
  • Type and level of surface preparation required
  • Opaque, clear or a stain finish
  • Conditions of the surrounding area (environment)
  • Gloss level required
  • Budget or performance grade
  • Green coating / performance level

MPI Training Program

Education in the coatings industry is not limited to the “hands-on-trade-application training” for coating contractors. 

While understanding paint application methods are undeniably important, there are many other aspects of paint/coating that can be beneficial to learn, not just for contractors, but for anyone in the coatings industry. 

Note: The MPI courses and examinations are all online, with 90 days allocated to complete each one. Additional resources, downloadable content, and assistance is provided. 
Below we list some of the benefits of expanding your coatings knowledge:
  • Credibility
    Arming yourself with the best knowledge available within the industry gives you additional credibility amongst peers, clients and potential clients. Being able to provide informed answers to questions proves your dedication to your career and enhances your future opportunities.
  • Competition 
    Having an industry-recognized accreditation from a third party organization will set an individual above competitors, showing their desire to elevate the quality of their work and knowledge within the coatings industry.
  • Reputation 
    Acquiring the knowledge necessary to assist in helping to achieve a high-performing coating project will increase the reputation of, not only the individual, but also the company that they represent.
  • Time 
    Being fully informed will reduce the amount of time spent researching and solving avoidable problems. This also gives greater professional independence.

The MPI Online Courses

MPI has evolved a comprehensive education program to assist in the continual elevation of the coatings industry, specifically in architectural coating.

Essentials of Paint and Painting Technology
The first course in the training program has been described at the 'Industry minimum requirement' for coating knowledge. This is the fundamental course that would assist everyone in the Industry such as coatings contractor, paint sales representatives and project specifiers.

Architectural Painting Specification
For anyone that is involved in new build projects. This course provides the knowledge required to specify products, plus prepare and coat a wide variety of new substrates, providing a quality finish that will give the performance level required. 

Maintenance Repainting Specification  
The knowledge obtained from this course can help to prevent coatings failure from incorrect surface preparation on a repaint project. It provides the information required to not only assess the degree of surface degradation but also information on how to prepare it for recoating and what products should give the best performance. 

Paint Quality Assurance
The final course in the training program focuses on the quality control of a coating project, providing information on the inspection aspects required to maintain a quality, high performing, and long-lasting coating project. 

For more information on the MPI Training Program please visit the MPI Training Site 

eNews Publications

MPI current have two eNews subscription options:

For more information please view our Advertising MEDIA KIT

MPI Approved Products

A monthly publication that lists all of the recently approved products listed in the MPI Approved products list, plus any updates to standards or testing carried out by MPI.

Paint Matters

A semi-monthly publications that provides industry updates, articles and coating tips. Plus a list of the new students to pass the MPI training program courses and a selection of the new approved products.

MPI Advertising

There are placement advertising opportunities in both publications throughout the year, plus spaces on the MPI Websites.
There are special volume discounts and discounts for new manufacturers.