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Understanding Paint Finishes Can Help Ensure the Perfect Paint Job

Satin, high gloss, eggshell, matte, flat…most major brands of paint come in at least three or four different sheens. If making sense of the different options has you seeing stars, read on for our pro tips on when–and how–to use different paint finishes for your interior and exterior painting projects.

Know Your Options When it Comes to Paint Sheen

To understand how paint finishes will affect the final look of your paint job, it helps to know more about the different options. The most “shiny” option is typically called high gloss. Glossy paint has a higher proportion or resin binders, which leads to the shiny, reflective surface. One step-down on the glossy scale is the aptly named semigloss. Next is satin, then eggshell (sometimes called low-lustre). Each of these paint sheen categories has increasingly less resin, leading to increasingly less glossy sheen. Finally, at the other side of the sheen spectrum, you have flat or matte paint. This paint has a relatively higher proportion of paint pigment, and relatively less resin.

Best Interior Applications

A high level of sheen reflects light and draws the eye, so it’s best to use high gloss paint on trim work and other details you want to highlight. If you have a surface that is dinged or damaged, consider choosing a slightly less glossy finish that will hide flaws better. High gloss paint formulations are typically the most durable and resilient, so they are great for high traffic areas.

When it comes to walls, many people choose satin or eggshell paint. Satin offers a slightly higher level of sheen and better washability, while eggshell offers a deeper level of pigment and hides flaws. Flat or matte paint offers a superior ability to disguise flaws and the deepest level of pigmentation. It is not recommended for high traffic areas, as it can be difficult to keep clean and doesn’t wash well.

High gloss paint reflects both natural and artificial light.

Let’s Talk Exterior

When it comes to the outside of your home, satin is a great choice for siding. It’s less reflective finish hides any imperfections, but the small amount of gloss allows for easier cleaning. Semigloss is your best choice for the bulk of your home’s trim, including windowsills that take a beating from weather. It’s easier to clean and more durable and moisture resistant. Save the high gloss paint for accent trim such as shutters and doors. high gloss paint is beautiful and durable, but it can magnify imperfections. We recommend saving that high luster paint for eye-level accent areas such as shutters and doors.

If you’re still not sure which finish to choose for your project, take heart. An experienced painter will be able to give you good advice when they come to evaluate your job. Look for someone who has lots of local expertise–our abundant Panhandle sunshine can really up that reflective factor with high gloss paints!

If you’re ready to find a great painting contractor with no hassle or fuss, Check Local can help. Get in touch and we’ll hook you up with a vetted and reviewed painter who’s perfect for your job!