** This article was previously published on Examiner.
If you read the title to this article and said to yourself, “What’s a paint sheen?” – then you’re in the right place. Have you ever noticed that when you walk into the paint department of any store, the staff assumes you know all the terminology of what they sell? Of course you don’t know the difference between a flat finish paint and an eggshell finish paint. Why would you? And normally, you don’t need to know the difference. Until, that is, you decide to paint the interior of your home. Then, it’s a big decision.
So, what’s the big deal with choosing the right paint sheen? Well, the paint sheen you select will determine several things. Washability, durability, glossy shine, and ease of application. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular paint sheens so that you can pick which one will work best for you.
Flat – A flat paint sheen has a matte finish, meaning a ‘no gloss’ finish. This type of paint is good for low-traffic areas. This is not the type of paint sheen that is typically recommended for children’s rooms or high-traffic spots. A flat paint is very easy to apply, making it a great choice for a beginner painter.
Eggshell – An eggshell paint sheen is very similar to a flat sheen. The subtle difference is that it has a very light glossy finish. The type of paint is a bit more durable than flat paint and will work well in just about any room of the home. An eggshell paint is simple to apply, even if you have never painted before.
Satin – A satin paint sheen looks very nice on the walls, and has a glossier finish than eggshell. The name ‘satin’ very aptly describes the way the paint looks on the wall – smooth like a stain sheet. This paint sheen looks great in any room. Satin paint is very simple to use, so it’s a good choice for a beginner painter.
Semi-gloss – A semi-gloss paint sheen is PERFECT for high traffic areas. It’s easy to clean, durable enough to scrub, and is the type of paint sheen most people use for trim work, refinished furniture, or molding. Semi-gloss has a very glossy finish which shines and looks polished and clean. This type of paint sheen is often seen in children’s rooms, simply because of the washability factor. Semi-gloss can be more difficult to apply than other paint sheens, and it takes longer to dry, so take care in your application.
High-gloss – A high-gloss paint sheen is just that. High gloss. It is not commonly seen on walls, but is widely used on trim work, bookcases, furniture, cabinets, etc. It is EASY to clean; simply wipe down to remove any dirt or build-up. A high-gloss paint also is good for fighting dirt, grime and mildew growth. High-gloss paint can be difficult to work with and has a slow dry time, so it may not be the best choice for a beginner painter.
Now, you are armed with the basic knowledge on choosing the right paint sheen. It’s always best to know which paint sheen you would like to use before you choose a color, since not all colors are available in all paint sheens.
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Personal knowledge and experience