We’ve all been there, overwhelmed by colors, finishes, and ‘sheens’. Cut through the confusion and learn how you can choose the right paint sheen for you. The first time.
A matte finish that creates a reflection-free surface. The surface has a chalky appearance like unglazed tile. Because the matte finish diffuses light, flat paint tends to hide rough or dented surface imperfections better than higher sheen finishes. Flat paint sheens are easier to touch-up, since there is little contrast between the sheen of the touch-up paint and the weathered sheen of the painted surface. Flat sheens are perfect for low-traffic areas like master bedrooms, formal dining rooms, and the exterior body surface of homes. Flat paints show soil and scuffs readily and are not known for their washability. Their rough texture traps dirt easily.
This sheen gets its name from the texture of an eggshell. Eggshell has a slight sheen that is apparent when looking at the surface at an angle or when the surface is side-lighted. Having a very slight gloss makes eggshell surfaces more dirt-resistant and more washable than flat finishes. Eggshell finishes are good for living rooms, family rooms, and hallways. Eggshell is commonly used in bathrooms where large amounts of moisture are. This keeps the moisture from penetrating the paint and softening the drywall. Eggshell has to be painted from wall corner to wall corner while the paint is still wet to ensure color consistency. It is not a good choice if you want to touch up your walls once or twice a year, as it will not match up.
This sheen is considered the most versatile because its rich velvety surface has good scuff resistance and ability to be scrubbed clean. It performs well in any room or exterior surface because it has a surface texture that is just smooth enough to shed rainwater, but not shiny enough to reflect much sunlight.
This finish has a slightly glossy appearance but is not wet looking. Semi-gloss surfaces afford maximum durability. It is a good choice for walls and woodwork that get heavy use and need frequent scrubbing. Because its higher sheen value provides it with a harder, smoother finish semi-gloss is often used in high-moisture areas like laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and in children’s rooms. It is the most widely used exterior trim paint, highlighting features like shutters, doors, eaves, and porch ceilings. Its higher light reflection, however, accents surface nicks and dents.
Gloss is both the term used to define how shiny paint is and to characterize the shiniest paint finish. Gloss paint dries to a mirror-like finish. The easiest paint finish to clean, gloss finishes are good for heavily used areas where fingerprints, grease, or grime are common. The durable smooth surface is highly moisture resistant. It’s high light reflection does, however, accent every surface irregularity or imperfection. Gloss is most often used for trim work or on cabinets, banisters, door frames, windowsills, and window frames. The glossier the finish the more intense the color seems.