This article is a quick product review of Valspar’s Zenith Waterborne Universal Amber Sealer and Pre-catalyzed Lacquer HAPs Free Matte finish.

The product was tried out in a basement finish with floor to ceiling rough timbers.  Considerations that lead to this product choice were:

  • Smell – A product with low smell and hazardous chemicals was highly desired
  • Time – A quick finish time was essential to keep the project moving along in a limited time frame
  • Quality – A durable, smooth, and high performing finish was desired.

According to the Valspar website, “Zenith Waterborne Precatalyzed Lacquer is low in VOC, HAPS-free and contains no formaldehyde or isocyanate, so that you can be assured you are using a coating that is not only beautiful and durable, but reduces hazards to workers, consumers and the environment.”  (Read More)

A couple final notes:

  • These products are specified for Professional Use Only.
  • These products are GREENGUARD (SM) certified.  This means that GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), as a third-party certification program, found this product meets air quality standards for low emitting products  



First, the Waterborne Amber Sealer was applied to provide a slight Amber color on the wood (clear is also available).

After the Waterborne Amber Sealer was dry, within an hour, sanding and puttying of nail holes was started.

Finally, a topcoat of  Zenith Waterborne Pre-catalyzed Lacquer HAPs free in a Matte finish was sprayed onto the woodwork. 




All three of the initial goals were met.  The smell was virtually non-existent on all other levels of the home, making it a safe and hazardous chemical free job.  The project was complete in record time, in one day the entire finish was complete.  The product is high quality; the durability and smoothness of the finish are excellent.

Check out this video to see clips of the project.