Pros: Can look wonderful when done.
Great color selections at Lowe's.
Cons: May need primer, especially for light colors.
Drippy and spattery.
More than one coat may be needed.
I recently repainted two rooms in my house with Valspar paint. I changed the light tan walls in my sitting room to a beautiful putty color, and painted an accent wall in my kitchen a handsome dusty violet. Having chosen the colors on a whim during a visit to Lowes, I decided to buy both wall (eggshell finish) and trim (semigloss finish) paints from their Valspar line. As the clerk mixed my order, she didn't ask me much about my painting experience or walls. For example, she didn't inquire if I was planning to prime the tan walls with primer before applying the putty color. Nor did she ask whether I planned to prime the wood trim before applying the semigloss paint. She quickly prepared my order and handed me a gallon of Valspar Ultra Premium paint in eggshell finish and a quart in semigloss for the trim and a few stir sticks.
Some Facts and Observations about Ultra Premium Interior:
* Washable, stain resistant (I can't verify this)
* Soap and water clean-up (yes, this is true)
* Mildew resistant finish (I can't verify this)
* 100% Acrylic durability
* Low VOC, Low Odor (Yes, I noticed very little odor during application)
* Available at Lowe's (A gallon of Ultra Premium costs about $22 at Lowes)
* Surfaces should be primed first before applying ~ you should be aware of this requirement, and the Valspar website does mention that priming is necessary. I should have known this first, so hopefully you will learn from my mistake!
* More helpful info about preparing surfaces for Ultra Premium paint is available on the Valspar website. Unless you've used Valspar paints before, it is a good idea to compare paints and know what kind of preparation and coverage you require before selecting one.
Drippy, Uneven and Unsatisfactory Coverage
I decided to tackle the front room first. I needed to get the painting finished that day, since our wood bookshelves and cabinets were scheduled for installation the following day, and the walls needed to be finished prior to the carpenter's visit. Almost immediately, I sensed something was not going right with the paint application. As I rolled and brushed the paint on the walls, my Ultra Premium Interior paint was not covering the tan color underneath! The tan color was showing through the paint, and overall the coverage was unevenly distributed. My brushed and rolled areas didn't mesh together well when dry. After the Ultra Premium coat dried, I rebrushed and rolled the areas again, and still didn't achieve full coverage of the tan underneath. To complicate matters, my old and new colors are about the same brightness (just different hues), so I was having a tough time seeing where I had painted and where I hadn't, since the new color wasn't covering completely.
Adios Ultra Premium. Why are you called Ultra Premium?
After about two hours of flogging the wall with paint, I decided to cut my losses and return to Lowe's. I needed that room finished, and at that rate, I would have required several more gallons and hours more additional work to achieve the number of coats for an even finish with no tan showing through. When I explained this to the return clerks at Lowes, they immediately refuned my money and sent me back to the paint counter. At that point, the paint clerk asked me if I had primed the walls first. "No, I hadn't." It's my fault for not asking her whether priming was necessary, and a little hers for not suggesting that priming was required. In any case, I didn't want to expend the extra labor and cost to prime the walls first and then paint ~ I wanted one-coat coverage!! I asked the paint clerk if they sold a paint with one coat coverage, and she recommended Valspar's true "PREMIUM" paint which is called Valspar Signature Colors, which I purchased and was very happy with my results.
Update: A second try (yesterday) with Valspar Ultra Premium in "Soho", which is a darker taupe in Base 2 tint, yielded better results. I found it covered the same tan color much more evenly after one coat, although touch-ups were still necessary. So, primer may not be needed when going from a light color to a significantly darker hue. The Soho paint, which I had left-over from a bathroom I painted several years ago, did make a nice accent wall (and matches "Woodrow Wilson Putty" extremely well.
Comparing Valspar Ultra Premium with Signature Colors
My first experience with Ultra Premium in the light base was that several coats were required to fully cover a wall area, and the paint dried unevenly and the undercoat showed through. In contrast, Signature Colors covered the tan underneath after the first coat, dried evenly, and brushed/rolled areas blended together nicely, although some touch-up was required in a few areas. My walls have knock-down texture which is fairly rough, so I probably need to apply more paint than someone with smooth walls.
I noticed a huge difference in the ease of application between the two Valspar products. Ultra Premium Interior paint dripped significantly during application ~ my clothes, hair and dropcloths were spattered with paint after two hours of applying Ultra Premium to my walls. And rolled and brushed areas didn't match up evenly as the paint dried. However, after upgrading to Signature Colors, I experienced very little spattering or dripping while painting. In fact, Signature Colors is a thicker consistency compared to Valspar Ultra Premium. I can report enjoying the painting experience much more the second time ~ not having to roll, re-roll and roll again to see results is much more fun than my experience with Ultra Premium!
Cost Comparison ~ is the extra $$ worth it?
From a cost perspective, the ten-dollar increase in price to purchase a gallon of Signature Colors seems worth it to me, especially if your particular project requires priming, or if you're using a light base color over another color. Depending on the coverage achieved (which may vary by the base tint you choose and your current wall color), you may need to paint fewer coats with Signature Colors. Less coats means purchasing less paint overall. However, since I did experience better results painting an accent wall with Soho in Ultra Premium, I recommend discussing your specific project with the paint clerk. You may be able to get by with Ultra Premium and save $10 per gallon. Definitely ask questions about how many coats you may need to apply before choosing paint. I say, the fewer coats, the better!
To read my Valspar Signature Colors review on Epinions: Click Here.
PS: Thanks to H&G CL Larry (gamblin_man) for adding this product listing super-quick :)