Whilst dashing in and out of one of the Manchester B&Q’s before Christmas on a bonkers renovate-a-house-in-21-days mission, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a large new Valspar display where the Dulux colour cards and mixing desk had previously stood. I’d heard whisperings of a partnership between B&Q and a new paint company a year or so ago, but this was the first I’d seen of it. We buy a lot of paint, usually either Dulux or for *special* uses Farrow & Ball, so I was interested to find out more and to try it.
Valspar is a 200yr old US company but for you, ahem, older decorators who know the name, they used to be quite well known here. Apparently only recently did the US arm buy back the branding name in Europe (so I was told) and thus their paint is back on UK soil, now as one of the flagship ranges in B&Q. Gradually they will take over the mix stations instead of Dulux and I was told this was a lot to do with the fact that the B&Q headhonchos were really impressed with the company on a US visit, customer service, standards of paint etc.
What did we think? Firstly their rep in the Manchester branch we visited was very helpful and knowledgeable. One of my issues with Dulux in B&Qs was the utter randomness of staff on the mix desk and the often long wait time – but I guess that’s mostly down to store staffing not the brand. Be interesting to see whether there will be dedicated staff on the Valspar sections. So often people need good advice when buying paint, people who aren’t ‘in the trade’ but are doing a spot of DIY at the weekend. To my mind there should always be a paint expert available for customers in B&Q stores, but often there isn’t. Can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve helped people make their decisions – they ask me ’cause I’m usually covered in the stuff!
So what did we try? Started off with their water based primer undercoat and here’s a tip – there’s a white version and also a tintable one, which is very handy if you’re using a coloured paint, especially darker tones. Went on fine, much as other similar brands. Hard to comment on longevity for obvious reasons.
We also had about 40l of the matt emulsion for walls in a shade called Seven Sisters, a creamy off-white which worked well with the Ikea Stat kitchen units and the tradition yet fresh vibe to the interior design. My very experienced decorators on site noted that it gave great coverage but was very similar to other durable trade paints in that it is essential to either immediately paint after cutting in or touching up OR leave to dry completely before rolling or brushing over again with a second coat, otherwise it’ll lift and spoil, with less experienced painters blaming the paint. It’s not the paint’s fault, don’t make that mistake.
In the bathroom I chose a shade of water based eggshell called Ocean’s Froth, a lovely pale blue, for the panelling and detailing like picture frames & shelving (not seen on images). The below is a single coat, which was good, but not quite enough so I’m doing a second coat this coming week. Nice to use, not too drippy, that’s a technical term 😉
So, it’s all change for 2014. First impressions are that we liked the consistency and coverage of the Valspar paint and also liked the fact that they can colour match to swatches you take into store, although I’ve not tested this out yet. They might need to work on their paint names, I liked one shade only to find it was called Bluebottle!?! Now that’s just wrong 🙂