Picking the right sheen can be as important as picking out the right color for your room or painting project. Sheen refers to the gloss factor – there are generally four to five levels of gloss: flat (or matte), eggshell and/or satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.

Did You Know: All paint starts out as gloss and is worked down from there!

Flat: This is the most common sheen for interior ceilings.  They are not really wiped down often (when was the last time you cleaned your ceiling?!) and more often than not, they do not require a lot of light reflectivity. A benefit to a flat finish is that it hides imperfections such as bad drywall tape, uneven drywall, poor texture and dings. An additional benefit is that flat paint covers better – which means fewer coats – because of the higher percentage of pigment. Flat finishes are usually not found in exterior painting as it is not as durable as glossier paints and does not fare well in humid environments.

Eggshell and/or Satin: Eggshell is more often found inside, while satin is the most common exterior sheen. If a paint supplier has both sheens, satin is the glossier of the two.  Satin finishes hold up well against the sun. Eggshell, when painted interior is ideal for most living spaces – bedrooms, dining and living rooms, and hallways. It’s more washable than flat paint and tends to look very nice.

Semi-gloss: This is an ideal finish for use in bathrooms, kitchens, trim, handrail, etc. These are high-traffic areas that need to be cleaned often. The semi-gloss finish will be durable to the regular scrubbing of these areas.  It makes trim stand out and looks great against an alternate sheen on a wall. For exterior use, semi-gloss is used minimally. Front doors make a great candidate for this finish – remember if there are dings or heavy scratches in the door or wood, semi-gloss would not be the best sheen.

Gloss: Often reserved for very smooth surfaces, this is the shiniest of the paints. Gloss paint requires extra coats and the correct application method must be utilized because brush and roller marks may become visible. This sheen is very durable and reflects the most amount of light. A surface will take on a glass or plastic look if painted correctly. The biggest drawback is that it will accentuate any flaw.

Design Tip: Alternate a flat and semi-gloss in a stripe pattern using the same color. The result is a very unique, beautiful and subtle interior design. Contact us to learn more!

Remember, this is a guide only. Please contact us for a free estimate and consultation.

Mile High Coatings is house painting contractor and specialty coatings contractor that serves Colorado from north Denver to Fort Collins, including Greeley, Loveland, Longmont, Windsor, and Boulder.