Once you’ve chosen your paint colors for each area of your home, the finish of the paint is an important decision that is often overlooked and left to the kid standing at the counter at Lowes. There are benefits to each finish but determining which finish to use is largely dependent on the area to be painted.
Different types of paint finishes:
- Flat (0-10% gloss): This type of finish has a matte surface and does not reflect the light. It is typically used on interior walls or the ceiling. Flat paint is great for camouflaging small cracks or other imperfections on the walls. Some flat paints advertise that they are washable however they are more difficult to clean so keep some extra paint as you may need to touch up scratches or marks from time-to-time.
- Eggshell (10-25% gloss): This type of finish has a very low sheen like the shell of an egg. Eggshell is good for moderate traffic areas, such as family rooms, bedrooms, and hallways. It’s easier to clean than most flat paints, and slightly more durable, being a good choice for walls.
- Satin (25-35% gloss): This type of finish has a smooth, velvety look with a bit more gloss. Satin finish is sometimes lumped in with eggshells, since it also has a slight sheen, but satin finish is slightly glossier than an eggshell finish. Satin is great for kid’s rooms, kitchens, or bathrooms or in areas that get a lot of traffic as it holds up to cleaning and light scrubbing. It can also be used for trim.
- Semi-Gloss (35-70% gloss): Semi-gloss paints go on smoothly and have a nice gleam without being incredibly shiny. Semi-gloss paints are great for doors, trim, and cabinets. Semi-gloss is easily cleaned and has a nice, subtle shine.
- High Gloss (70% gloss and higher): High gloss paints have an almost reflective quality, as their shiny finish mimics the look of enamel or plastic. High gloss will magnify any surface imperfections so make sure careful preparation and sanding have occurred prior to painting. It can have a striking visual affect and is often used on moulding, trim work, and doors. High gloss is durable and easily cleaned.
Considerations when selecting paint finish:
- Cleanability and Durability: A general rule of thumb is the shinier the paint finish, the better it will stand up to washing and cleaning.
- Kid Friendly Finishes: For children’s rooms, we recommend using an eggshell or satin paint to withstand repeated cleanings.
- High Gloss Looks: Rather than choosing a high gloss finish for an entire room, use it sparingly in certain locations to avoid the room appearing cold and uninviting.
- Ceiling Finish: Most rooms are painted with a flat finish on the ceiling.
- Texture of your walls: The flatter the finish, the less the paint will show imperfections.
- Kitchens and Baths: Any area exposed to water or steam is best painted with a semi-gloss paint while a powder bath with less frequent use can use lower gloss paint such as satin or eggshell.
Painting the walls of a room can make a huge difference in your space and can transform the room in just a few hours. After spending time looking at a plethora of paint colors, the finish is just as important as the color and is a detail not to be forgotten. I hope this blog will help you out the next time you think about painting and finding just the right finish needed for your space.