House Painting – How to Choose a Paint Sheen

September 30, 2018

Choosing a paint colour is one of the important things you need to decide on before starting your house painting project. However, do not just solely focus on which hue to use; make sure you put careful thought into the selection of your paint sheen.

What is a paint sheen? It basically refers to the shine or glossiness of the paint. Basically, each paint has different gloss levels. Those with higher gloss level are shinier or more reflective in appearance and are more stain-resistant. Also referred to as “finish”, this paint element has an impact on the overall appearance as well as the longevity of the paint job.

So, how do you choose the right paint sheen for your house painting project? An important thing to keep in mind is that different areas of the house require different paint sheens. High-gloss finishes work well in high traffic areas since they are easier to clean. Meanwhile, low-sheen paints are ideal for walls with imperfections. This is because glossier finishes tend draw attention to the surface. Hence, if the wall bears flaws, they become easily noticeable when it has a high-gloss finish.

There are five major paint finishes – gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell and flat. Read on to learn more information about these sheens and where in the house you should use them.

Gloss: Also referred to as high-gloss, it is the shiniest of the five paint finishes. Being highly reflective, it has a glass-like appearance or finish. For your house painting project, use this paint sheen on surfaces which are highly used like doors, windows and cabinets. You can also use it to highlight details such as decorative mouldings and trims. A high-gloss sheen is also recommended for furniture and areas where a distinct ambience is sought. However, keep in mind that this finish is unforgiving when it comes to wall imperfections. It’s going to easily show bumps and cracks. Hence, proper prep work must be done on the surfaces prior to applying the paint.

Semi-gloss: This has a smooth finish but with a less radiant appearance as compared to the high-gloss sheen. Since it is easy to clean, it is often used in high-traffic areas like children’s rooms. It is also best for high-moisture spots like bathrooms because it withstands water well. Due to its durability, this paint sheen is highly recommended for houses with young children and pets.  When using a semi-gloss paint, avoid applying one thick coat of paint if you want to achieve a smooth finish. What you should do instead is to apply several thin coats of paint.

Satin: If you want something durable but not too shiny, go for a satin finish. It has a pearl-like appearance and warmer feel. It is a very versatile sheen and works well in any room. However, given its ability to withstand repeated cleaning, it is ideal for areas where foot traffic is moderate or high like in living or family rooms and kitchens.

Eggshell: Just like satin, this paint finish is also hard-wearing but slightly less durable than satin. It also has a lower sheen (around 10% to 25% gloss). It is often used in rooms with moderate traffic as well as the ceiling and woodwork. Its appearance is velvety or resembling that of an eggshell, hence the name.

Matte or Flat: Compared to high-gloss finish, this sheen is on the opposite side of the spectrum, bearing minimal or no lustre at all. If you wish to hide surface flaws, then this is the best paint finish to use because it is non-reflective. When applied on walls with imperfections, it can give the surface a smooth appearance. This sheen is also recommended for surfaces which you do not want to highlight like ceilings. Bear in mind, however, that a flat sheen is not easy to maintain or clean. It easily traps dirt and does not tolerate repeated scrubbing or washing well. So, it is best to limit its use in areas which are not frequented by a lot of people like a master bedroom and a formal dining room.

Embarking on a house painting project and can’t decide on a paint sheen? Our professional residential painters can help you! Call us at 086 608 1817 / 085 139 0233.