What Are the Different Types of Paint Sheens?
What's in this great painting article...
Choosing which paint sheen you want to go with is going to be the difference between washable and non-washable as well as $17 and $27 per gallon for the contractor grade paint you’ll need to buy. So let’s go through the differences real quick to see what you feel may be the right paint for you.
First off, we have the flat paint
Flat paint is going to be the cheapest of all your paints, but as we know…cheep is not always better. Flat paint has absolutely no shine at all. You can use flat paints in areas that you will never need to wash such as a ceiling, or a storage room that will never be seen.
Any time that you even touch the surface area that is painted in flat, you have made a mark that will be there from now on. Just the oils from your hands will make a mark and you will need to touch it up all of the time or live with it. They have to build the home with the least amount of cost, and with flat paint they can just prime the surface and then put one coat of finish on the top rather that the primer coat that I would use and then the two coats of eggshell or satin finish that I recommend.
Some will tell you that you cannot wash eggshell surfaced paint but for the most part, it is a washable paint. There are cheaper quality paints that you cannot wash in an eggshell finish such as Valspar because Valspar is poor quality paint. If you want to have a professional result then you need to go to professionals such as Sherwin Williams or C&S paint. They are the specialists, so if they are not carrying certain paints then there may be a reason.
Eggshell paint obtained its name by the look and feel of the finish. The finish looks like the sheen you would see if you looked at the shell of an egg. In addition, the feel of the egg on the surface is similar to that on the finish of the wall. Henceforth…eggshell paint.
Satin paint has all the benefits of eggshell. Satin paint will wash better than the eggshell paint, but satin does not hold up to any vigorous scrubbing. Satin paints do not show brush marks like the glossier style so touch up is easier in the center of a wall. I personally recommend that you use a small roller and feather out the edges when touching up a surface that has been previously rolled, and a brush where it has been brushed. This should be done no matter what sheen of paint you choose.
Low luster is right in the middle of an eggshell and a satin finished paint. You are going to have a shine to the surface but not quite, as much as the satin finish. It is also a washable finish and in my business, it is not really use all that much. I can tell you that the best time to go to a low luster is going to be when you have a lot of dark pigment in the paint that will naturally break down the shine of the eggshell when applied but at the same time; it will not create such a high shine as the satin. It will often look as if it is an eggshell finish in this case so you do not lose that effect on the walls. Again, that is in the case of high quantities of color pigment such as a darker brown.
Semi Gloss Paint
Semi gloss paint is generally reserved for trim, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchen where you may prefer to have an extremely washable surface. I personally don’t like to put it on walls anywhere else because it will show all of the walls imperfections. We live in an area where the quality of the build is so bad that there will be plenty of imperfections on the wall even if it has never been touch by anyone but the builders.
Finally, the gloss finish
Gloss finish is mostly reserved for things like cabinets, possibly metal doors, but to have a gloss finish on more than my truck to me is just too much of a shine. But to each their own.