MPI Manuals Frequent Ask Questions

Architectural Painting Specification Manual - ASM

Maintenance Repainting Specification Manual - RSM

What is a specification manual? A reference guide that helps you choose the appropriate coating systems!

Who wants a specification manual? Specification manuals are designed for people who write paint project specifications. It is also for people who need a technical coating reference. Using these manuals will help you make better decisions and will save you time and money.

What formats are the manuals available in? The manuals are available in both hard copy printed in a binder and as an online subscription.

What will I find in the hard copy printed manuals?  Different situations cross-referenced with different solutions. Each manual has over 300 pages, divided into 24 color coded sections by tabs, these include  Systems, Evaluation and Surface Preparation:



  • Coating system options based on substrate with the pros and cons for each coating
  • Appropriate surface preparation for different surfaces
  • Miscellaneous information like dew points, wood types, paint spread rates, concrete block standards, gloss/sheen levels, wall coverings and more
  • Guide specifications for painting, wall covering and abrasive blasting
  • Quality Products Listing of coatings approved by MPI
  • Full guide specifications
  • MPI Approved Products List and the MPI Gloss Standard.


  • Substrate assessments, and system choice through Surface Degradation determination
  • Identifiers - Defects and Failures, the most extensive review of coating failures available (using full color pictures)
  • Transitions between systems, "tie" coats and compatible systems
  • Surface preparation standards
  • Coating system options - pros and cons of each system and choices of quality paints
  • Full guide specifications
  • MPI Approved Products List and the Identifiers - Defects and Failures booklet

What can I expect from the online manual subscription? With the online subscription you will receive all of the same information as the printed ones, except in digital format. You have the added bonus of access to the online 'Decision Tree' which is a very useful tool for specifying paint right through to the products that you require and where to buy them. (only available for the ASM until further notice)

Why two manuals? The first is the 'Architectural Painting Specification Manual', this covers new construction and the application of coatings to newly finished surfaces. The second is the 'Maintenance Repainting Manual', this focuses on repaint  and maintenance projects, with an emphasis on determining surface degradation and necessary surface preparation before painting.

What is the APL (Approved Products List)? The APL is a catalog of coatings that have been tested to and meet our exacting standards. Within the APL you will find sections for each types of coating, showing the gloss levels, environmental information and the different listing manufacturers details.

What's in the Identifiers - Defects and Failures booklet? Recognize unwanted results in this full color 27 page catalog of coating failures. Learn the causes of each failure, any corrective measures available and the steps you can take to stop failures from happening again.

What can I use the Master Painter's Glossary for? Find out the terminology used for coating properties, conditions, preparations, techniques and decorations. Each one of the 1600 terms is clearly defined and organized alphabetically on 85 pages. This glossary is an essential tool for the professional and an excellent learning guide for new painters.

Are updates to the printed versions available?  Yes, once you have purchase and registered a printed manual you will be advised of any updates made and be able to purchase these updates at a reduced cost. The manual is updated regularly and includes the newest techniques and products.

How can I order the manuals?  Order via our online store for Canada or US (international) - for any bulk orders please contact us first for a quotation.¬†

How much do these manuals cost? Printed Manuals are $180.00 or $325.00 when purchased together. The online subscriptions are $110 each for one year or $176.00 for both for one year. You can also purchase them for two years at a discounted cost (see store for details)

Where can I get more information?  Check out the PaintInfo site or contact our offices for more information.

Do you have guide specs online? Yes. Simply download them for free from our Guide Specifications page