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Differences in paint finishes

You finally select the perfect shade of paint for your latest decorating project, you hand the color chip to the salesperson to mix up your color, when he asks you what finish you would like. What finish? You have a choice?

The most common choices are matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and glossy, ranked in terms of how glossy (or shiny) the paint will appear to be on the walls.

Matte finish is the best choice is you have walls scarred by bumps, dents, cracks, scuff marks, and many other disasters that have come in contact with your walls over the years. Matte is the most commonly used paint in most houses, particularly in high traffic or damage rooms such as hallways and playrooms. But if you anticipate washing the walls often, you should probably choose eggshell instead.

Eggshell is the next step up, with just a touch of "shiny". So what exactly is eggshell? Picture the low degree of sheen on an actual eggshell, then picture that sheen on your walls, and voila, eggshell paint.

Satin finish has a little more added gloss. Satin tends to be used more on mouldings and doors, but it can be used for walls when you need to do light scrub downs of the walls.

Semi-gloss is also used for mouldings and doors, but tends to be a bit shiny for walls, particularly when they do have scratches and bumps that are not properly prepared before treating.

High glossy paint tends to be used more for furniture and accents in a house, due to its high gloss. It is very reflective, meaning whatever you use it on needs to be properly prepared before painting, otherwise every imperfection will be highlighted with the paint.

Related articles:
Types of paint finishes
What color should you paint your closet?
Removing paint smell from your hands
Preparing walls for painting
How to paint over wallpaper
What color to paint walk-in closets


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