ANDOVER, MA - California Paints' "Fres~Coat" Velvet Flat House Paint earned the top ranking among exterior paint for 2004 by Consumer Reports magazine. Also scoring high rankings for exterior paint performance were Pratt & Lambert's "Accolade" eggshell paint and Glidden's "Endurance" semigloss paint.

Consumer Reports published performance results for premium paints and stains in its June edition. Among the stains evaluated, the top scores were posted by PPG's Olympic Premium 596XX, Sherwin-Williams' Woodscapes Solid A15 and Behr Plus 10.

The rankings were based on results under accelerated outdoor weathering, with evaluations for mildew resistance, color change and dirt-pickup resistance. The magazine said the testing was roughly equivalent to nine years of actual outdoor exposure.

California Paints, based in Andover, MA, said test results for its Fres~Coat flat were "excellent" in all categories. Dave Lohr, president of the California Paints division of California Products Corp., said the company views the results as "an extremely important resource for consumers."