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Product Preview: Behr Premium Plus Ultra interior paints

Consumer Reports News: June 11, 2009 12:09 AM

A self-priming paint can save you time and money, especially when you're painting surfaces that require a primer coat for optimal coverage and adhesion, including drywall and glossy cabinets. Behr recently debuted the self-priming Premium Plus Ultra line of interior paints, which should be in Home Depot stores by mid-July. Available in low-luster (satin/eggshell), flat (interior/exterior), and semigloss finishes, the paints will sell for $31 to $34 per gallon.

We haven't tested the Premium Plus Ultra products, but in our latest report on interior paints (ratings available to subscribers) Behr's Premium Plus Enamel was the top-rated low-luster and flat finish and the number four semigloss.

Behr claims the Premium Plus Ultra paints are all low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), with fewer than 50 grams per liter. Our tests have shown that some paints with lower claimed levels of VOCs don't perform as well, which is why Behr took longer than other manufacturers to roll out a low-VOC product. "We wanted to make sure the technology was there," says Tom Lee, vice president of marketing for Behr.

Behr says the Premium Plus Ultra paints provide superior hiding thanks to advanced colorant technology. The finishes are also supposed to resist moisture, stains, dirt, and mildew. We'll test those claims as part of our next report on interior paints.

We have tested the self-priming Benjamin Moore Aura in a low-luster finish. This claimed-low-VOC product scored very good to excellent in most test categories. At $57 per gallon, it also has a top-tier price to go with its strong performance in our tests.—Daniel DiClerico | | Twitter | Forums | Facebook

Essential information: No paint, no matter how good, can make up for poor prep work or sloppy application. Ensure a smooth finish by avoiding these common painting mistakes.

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