Ultra Spec SCUFF-X Review - Scuff Resistant Paint from Benjamin Moore

Will the Ultraspec SCUFF-X paint make life a little easier for facility managers and building owners?

Benjamin Moore describes SCUFF-X as A high-performance, one-component latex coating specifically engineered to deliver outstanding performance and protection for the toughest high-traffic areas in busy commercial spaces. This breakthrough product offers superior durability and more scuff-resistant properties than traditional 2-component coatings.”

Building managers are always on the lookout for tough coatings that make maintenance easier. There are a few good paints out there and the performance of acrylic paints is improving. For example, the “Ultraspec 500” is a very good, multi purpose paint for facility managers. If you wanted scuff-resistance in high-traffic areas, the go to product was always alkyd or epoxy based. The customers’ environmental concerns and subsequent regulations made oil paints obsolete. On the other hand, painters never liked the short pot life and expensive waste of two part epoxies.

When Benjamin Moore introduced SCUFF-X in 2017 the industry was ripe with expectation. Contractors wanted an easy to use out of can alternative to alkyds and epoxies. The building industry responded positively as evidenced by the impressive awards in leading publications.

The Review of Ultra Spec SCUFF-X

In 2017 we picked up some of the eggshell Scuff-X to test on some projects. Some of our projects consist of painting the interior of churches. In the summer of that year we were painting the interior of The Church of the Transfiguration. This beautiful church is located in the Davisville Village of uptown Toronto.

We tested SCUFF-X on this church project

Churches are busy places and they need their walls to stay clean and easy to maintain. The main product line we specified for this project was Benjamin Moore’s Aura. Since Aura is the benchmark of quality, what better paint to test this “new kid on the block” paint against?

We used Scuff-X on some of the lower wall sections, next to the walls that had the Aura eggshell. Overall our experience was positive, at least the application part of it. It felt thinner and not as full bodied as the Aura, which not many paints are. According to the Technical Data Sheets, it’s volume solids are 40%, which is respectable, just not as high as the Aura (47.2%). The real test of this type of product is how durable it will be on the field. Some other observations:

  • As easy to use as any regular paint.
  • Spatter resistant.
  • Good leveling.
  • Low odour but smells a little more than the Aura.
  • It hides well (two coats off white over beige).
  • It dried fast, one hour to touch.

Ecopainting’s Field Experience with the Product

In our commercial painting experience, every coating has it’s appropriate use and place. We had a few opportunities to use Scuff-X and we are confident that it will not let the customer down. Recently we used it in two schools for walls and trim. The first time when the school was out and recently while the school was in operation. Both times it was easy to apply, dried fast and the hiding was very good. We used the pearl sheen on baseboards and door frames and couldn’t think of a more appropriate surface to test it’s durability. Since we haven’t tested it’s adhesion qualities, we primed the surfaces with a bonding primer. The facility manager at one of the schools commented that the smell was fairly noticeable in the activity room we painted. When we repaint the school in the summer he suggested using it in the hallways and classrooms, while sticking with the Ultra Spec 500 for the office. Taking his observations into account, we definitely recommend painting schools during the summer.

Scuff-X is quickly becoming an easy product to recommend to the commercial client. During the last few months we used the product in office hallways, washrooms and cafeterias. We painted the hallways, stairways and laundry area of an apartment building as well as the doors and baseboards.

Office space with Scuff-X paint

Uses of SCUFF-X in Different Industries

Hospitals and Care Facilities. Having to avoid harmful solvents when servicing the health sector is a game changer. The hallways and common areas in healthcare institutions accommodate a lot of service carts and wheelchairs. Busy professionals and patients prioritize on things more important than wall maintenance. Washrooms, examination rooms and cafeterias have to stay constantly clean.

Sports and Fitness. The fitness industry is growing and new spaces are constantly being built. Gymnasium walls and arenas see balls thrown at them, they use sports equipment, while thousands of people enjoy games. The locker rooms and shower areas need constant washing and upkeep.

Retail stores and floor space. Stores stay open for long hours and seven days a week. This is good for business and customer convenience but not so much for the maintenance people. There are only a few hours available to maintain and paint the interiors, so the durability of the paint is critical. Clean walls and change rooms may be as important as the merchandise being sold. For that reason, the paint has to withstand constant wash cycles and still look like new.

Ecopainting painter at a city museum

Public Institutions. Ecopainting has a lot of experience painting museums, art galleries, exhibits, and public transit locations. All these public spaces see thousands of every day users, many of them in a hurry. Maintenance and upkeep of public spaces is a constant concern.

Closing Thoughts

Benjamin Moore’s Ultra-Spec SCUFF-X is an excellent new product. It was definitely designed for facility managers and they will learn to appreciate its durability. For the painter this is a great alternative to any epoxy product, especially the two part solvent epoxies. The cost is about $50 CAD which is a good value compared to Aura or any 2 part product. For the estimator and specifier, this is an easy product to sell and insist on.  

We hope you found this review useful. Ecopainting is an experienced painting contractor servicing the Greater Toronto Area. We paint daily in the facility maintenance sector and are happy to discuss your building’s paint requirements.

43 thoughts on “Ultra Spec SCUFF-X Review”

  1. Not sure what the chemist have put in this product to make it so durable but it is extremely durable and washable. Looking forward to the new semi gloss which is coming out soon and supposed to be even more resistant to Scuffing and dings. This paint is worth every penny and then some, great for walls and trim alike. We painted walls at large dental office and everyone there can’t believe how nice it looks one year later. We used the eggshell finish and you can tell just by the feel of the wall that it is different from other paint. Very easy to work with, covers well, and walls look seamless.

    • Hi Jeff, indeed it’s an amazing product. It now has become our go to paint every time durability is an issue. After curing it’s really hard and easy to maintain. With the semigloss sheen available you can spec an entire system for commercial jobs. This summer we used a lot of it in a school that we regurarly maintain. All the hallways and stairways got two coats of Scuff-X. They will iast a long time!

    • It doesn’t cover well, this paint as whit any strong paint will required several coats on light colors to equal the job of other products. So you will have to charge extra for labor and that is when you see the expense.

      • Thanks for your comments Ray. This hasn’t been our experience with Scuff-X. It hides really well and it’s a very thick paint. In fact in the last two months we used over 200 gallons in a large office complex and a private school and it defilitely saved us time and paint. The colours were a creamy beige, medium gray and white. I understand every painter has different methods and there are colours we didn’t try.

  2. Benjamin Moore continues to make products that are in a class by themselves. Just curious, have you used the Aura Bath and Spa?
    It is by far the best paint for bathrooms, especially if you have ventilation issues. I’ve also enjoyed using the Aura but I feel like the Scuff X will be used instead now. Also the Scuff -X is a bit cheaper. I have the scuff X matte finish in my stairwell at home and it looks great and wears very well. I have wiped it down several times and it cleans up great… Feels like oil base paint to me.

    • Hi Carmine, thank you for your question. I don’t see why you can’t spray SCUFF-X with a Titan cup sprayer. We never sprayed it before but the consistency feels like most paints. If you thin your acrylic enamels usually, maybe go ahead and thin it a little. According to the Benjamin Moore Technical Data Sheet, you can thin it but it’s not necessary. “Thinning is unnecessary, but if required to obtain desired application properties, a small amount of clean water may be added. Never add other paints or solvents”.I hope this helps.

    • Sorry about the late reply, we have been off work, then slow for a while. Yes, the paint looks great as interior trim paint within a high end home. Treat it like regular paint, use the right sheen that you prefer and prep surfaces as Benjamin Moore recommends.

    • Hi Linda,thank you for your question. I don’t see why you could not use it on a ceiling.
      It does come in a flat finish as well, which will produce less glare and hide imperfections. The Scuff-x wouldn’t give you a “dead flat” sheen like a true ceiling paint would but if you need a durable coat that you can wash, why not.

  3. Hi, can scuff x be used straight on properly prepared woodwork and doors which has oil gloss without any issues.
    Clean, sand / de gloss etc then 2 coats of scuff or 1 primer 1 scuff or does it need 2 scuff.
    New to this stuff and want a water based which is actually good.

    • Hi Brett. we find that Scuff-x has very good adhesion but I would still do a test on the surface with just sanding and cleaning it. We normally use a bonding primer going over anything with gloss oil. Light colours bond better as the high volume of colourants affects the performance of the paint.

      • George, I agree with priming first. There are a few good bonding primer’s you could use that are water-based. I highly recommend the Benjamin Moore primer “Stix”. If you are trying to do one coat of primer and one coat of paint it is sometimes doable if primer is tinted to match your Scuff-x. The Scuff-x is so good that I have found one finish coat is very durable.

    • We have used the eggshell version in a bathroom and worked out great! I am sure it will last well. I do prefer the Aura Bath and Spa in a bathroom because it’s formulated fot humid environments. The Bath and Spa has a pleasant matte finish that looks great in most colours. The only time I would not use the matte is when it’s a deep base colour.

    • Hi Leslie. Scuff-X is an interior product so I don’t think UV protection is one of it’s benefits. I definitely would not use it outdoors. Benjamin Moore’s exterior Aura paint has excellent protection against fading.

    • Hi Leslie, Scuff-X is an interior product, I am not sure how it is formulated to protect from UV fading. Maybe use an exterior ptoduct like Benjamin Moore Aura to get protection from colour fading.

  4. I have a question about using more than one layer of scuff x on trim.

    My trim was stained, but old, and already pretty roughed up wood. For prep I didn’t sand it but I did prime it with Zinsser Smart Prime x2 layers. I have just finished painting 1 layer of scuff x satin finish and could use another. Do you you think I have to sand in between the layers of scuff x if things are looking smooth but just need a little more coverage?

    Thanks for this article and your help.

    • Hi Ellen. No you do not have to sand between coats if the surface is smooth already. The product adheres very well to itself. Make sure it is dust free. Using a tack cloth will help you remove any dust. A wet lint free rug works as well.

  5. I just used it to refinish my kitchen cabinets in a satin finish. They were stained before. Prep was clean everything well 1st, sand and scuff the surface. I have had very good luck with Zinzer BIN primer. It sands effortlessly to a very slick surface and takes all topcoat over it. This is my 1st use of Scuff X, and I found it to spray well and flattens nicely and sands easily between coats. If this product is as durable as it seems, I will be using this over lacquer that I have always used in the past. Thanks for the invention of Scuff X

    • I heard a lot of people are using this product for cabinets and other woodwork around the house. It is a durable product but I am not sure it dries as hard as lacquer. Maybe it doesn’t have to. The benefits of not having to clean with lacquer thinner and the lack of that horrible smell may be worth it. Time will tell.

  6. I just used three coats of scuff x white mat to cover green walls. I’m noticing a strong chemical odour three weeks later. Any other complaints about this? What do you suggest to get rid of the smell.

    • Hi Jim, it does have a light smell and usually goes away after a while. There maybe something wrong with that gallon, talk to Benjamin Moore. Paint over it with a good acrylic primer, wait a few days and if it goes away use a zero VOC product over it.

    • I experienced this same issue with Scuff-X both times I used it, (different sheens, purchased at various retail stores, purchased the second gallon roughly seven months after the first to give it another shot).

      I painted bedroom walls with two coats after all prep was completed to a highly meticulous level. Literally, every environmental factor was ideal (the walls were perfectly prepped, the humidity was perfect, temp was perfect, and the room had constant airflow from an open window) yet, two months later, we (multiple people having the same experience) were still unable to enter the room without quickly getting a headache from the overwhelming smell. So I repainted the walls with Regal Select, and the smell was sealed in immediately.

      Wanting this product to live up to the hype, I decided to try it again. This time, the exact same (perfect) conditions arose, in a different home. Yet after one week I could already tell that it was the same issue happening again. So, as I did previously, I covered it with Regal Select and the smell was gone by the end of the day.

      Any thoughts on this?

      • Hi Malcolm, thanks for sharing your experience. We didn’t experience such an issue yet.
        Our most recent job was couple of weeks ago in a restaurant kitchen (we used colour dove wing in pearl/satin finish) and the customer did not experience any odour issues.
        Formulations chenge constantly and we hope they are tested enough before they hit the market.
        Having said all this, it’s good to be reminded that these commercial coatings are just that and we should be using caution when using in residential settings. I am glad “good old” Regal took case of the problem.

      • All Scuff-X paint is now more VOC compliant than before. VOC content is now under 50/ml per gallon and it definitely has reduced smell a lot. We use the eggshell finish and semi-gloss at a large hospital where I work and patients are able to use rooms we paint the next day with no issues. I believe the new VOC compliant Scuff-X is available everywhere, but check with your representative in your area. By far the most durable water-based paint on the market.
        Nothing like it out there, whatever you pay per gallon it’s worth it.
        I also have used it residentially for trim, doors, cabinets and walls and it is great to work with.

  7. I am looking for a exterior scuff proof paint. This is for some Axel trim boards we used around the deck and the toe board of the stairs. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Glen, thank you for your question. Why not try the new Floor and Patio Enamel by Benjamin Moore. The new formula seems to be very tough and is acrylic urethane based. It comes in low sheen and gloss. According to benjamin Moore:
      “it is also scratch and abrasion resistant”. I think it will be okay. If you need any tougher than this maybe try a garage floor epoxy

  8. I am looking to purchase scuff x Matt finish for hallway, stairs and landing. We have a dog, who can be messy when she’s eating her food. How durable is this paint if we want to get rid dog slobber of the walls?

    • Hi Ashley, the matt finish will be more durable than most matt finishes but I am not sure how well it will withstand repeated scrubbing of dog slobber. I know it’s recommended for veterinary clinics but I would think they use the eggshell or satin version. If you like the matt look maybe try it in a smaller area where the dog is very messy and see how it works there first. Let me know how it works out.

  9. Wanting to use scuff x matte or eggshell on residential walls but have heard it’s a little more shiny than a typical eggshell or matte. Any thoughts?

  10. Question-on this Ultra Spec Scuff-X- Does vinyl lettering adhere to this paint without peeling? Say, If we wanted to put a inspirational quote on a wall painted with this product, Using self adhesive vinyl lettering.

    • Hi Anne Marie. Yes, vinyl lettering should adhere well to the Scuff-X. We never had to do it before but I don’t see why not. I know when we mask on it for our purpose, the masking tape sticks to it like on any other surface. I know masking tape is not vinyl lettering but it should be okay.


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