The Difference in Paint Sheen Options

Kansas City Commercial Painting

The Difference in Paint Sheen Options

Most people generally focus on color when thinking of their next painting project. But once your color is finally selected sheen can be a critical component as well. The sheen of paint is the basic measure by which light reflects off of the surface once it’s dry. The sheen of the paint can also determine if your paint looks how dull or how bright your paint looks in the light. The sheen of your paint is important regardless of whether you are interior painting, or exterior painting.

paint sheen options laid out site by side

There are five different sheens to choose from:

Flat Finish:
A flat paint sheen generally reflects about 5 to 10 percent of the light that shines on it. Its ability to absorb more light can often make it appear darker, thus lending well to hiding imperfections in the wall such as dents, dings and changes in texture. However, the duller surface tends to show dirt well and it doesn’t generally hold up to scrubbing. It is the easiest paint to touch up.

Eggshell Finish:
An eggshell paint is a bit smoother than flat, allowing it to reflect a bit more light than a flat paint will reflect. It hides many imperfections well, and is generally durable and easier to wash than flat paint can be. These factors make eggshell a good choice for interior walls such as a living or family room area. This is the recommended finish for most interior walls.

Satin Finish
Satin paint falls directly in the middle of paint sheen scale, meaning that it’s slightly more reflective than eggshell paint. When you hear satin, the first thing that should come to mind is washability. The silky finish of satin paint stands up well to heavy washing which makes it a popular choice of paint in kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, and children’s rooms. It’s higher sheen makes it show more imperfections than a flat or eggshell paint, however, its high durability makes it a popular choice in areas that can require extra cleaning efforts to keep the walls looking clean. Recommended for Kitchens’ and Bathrooms.

Semi-gloss Finish
Semi-gloss paint can reflect 35 to 50% of the light that enters a room, and many find it far too shiny for use on walls. However, it’s extremely durable and is well suited for surfaces that get lots of dirt or hand prints such as trim, woodwork, cabinets and doors. Semi-gloss is also a popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms because of its high durability. Recommended for Trim

Gloss Finish
Gloss paint can reflect 50% of the light or more, thus painting large walls with it can seem discomforting because of the glare that can occur. The high sheen also can make small imperfections in the walls appear much worse than they really are. Effective uses of gloss paint can be achieved in utility rooms, playrooms, or on trim.

Still not sure what is right for you?  Call us today for a free paint color consultation and we’ll help get you straight on what is the best fit for your home!

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