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 🙂
That’s great news, I really like the paint mixing service they offer, works out much more economically than buying about a million tester pots and none of them being ‘quite right’.
Not tried their paint yet but can confirm that they colour matched a Farrow & ball very well indeed
Valspar has mixed reviews online – some say VALSPAR IS TERRIBLE, others that its OK. Generally my husband who is in the trade won’t use anything other than dulux. However I have just had a stupid conversation with the B&Q member of staff who assured me she could mix to an old dulux colour: claret (I had already asked how- other than me scraping a bit off the wall) but she said she could, and so I stayed for the hard sell on the quality of the Valspar paint and then she admitted that she had no way of knowing what the dulux claret shade was as they didn’t have any of the dulux colour charts or records from when they did mix for dulux. So really a pointless ten minutes and I will go to Brewers on Monday and hopefully get more sensible service and hope their computer can match an old dulux colour (which I think it can)
I think that says more about the B&Q member of staff than it does about the paint?! 🙂
Please don’t waste your money on this paint, get a decent quality brand. Mix system Matt Emulsion covers really badly and matches the bad comments elsewhere on the net. Truly dreadful.
I completely disagree with you Paul. I’ve used the mix system in a dark grey and a deep blue this week and both give good coverage, without opting for the Premium range either. The only place I’ve had problems is on a panelled wall painted with the eggshell, but it was my fault for skipping the undercoat stage and hopping it’d be ok! Sian
Looking to buy some Pale Grey in Grey Morn for my living room – do you recommend the standard Valspar or the premium one. The current wall colour in the living room is cream.
I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the two, to be honest. If it’s an area which can scuff, low down with children near etc, maybe worth investing in the premium as its supposed to be more scrubbable 🙂
I painted my kitchen beat beet, a cardinal purple colour, in their best trade matt. Without reservation I will say it was the worst paint I have ever used. It took 5 coats to get a reasonable finish and I’m still noticing patches that need another coat. I have since been refunded half the cost of the purchase price because I could provide photos of each layer and its poor coverage. Back to Farrow and Ball for me next time.
Eek that doesn’t sound good. F&B is by far the best paint I’ve ever used too, but I’ve not had those issues with Valspar, even with the deep greys.
I usually buy the regular matt. What did B&Q say?