What is paint sheen?

What paint sheen do I need?

Are you getting ready to tackle a painting project and not sure what sheen paint finish to use?  You’re not alone. In this blog I will list some of the main paint sheens and where they are typically used.  

What will you be painting?

The first thing we need to know is what you are planning on painting.  Are you painting walls in a bedroom, kitchen or bathroom? Are you painting trim, doors or maybe your kitchen cabinets?

 

As little as it may seem, these are the details that we need to decide what sheen paint will be best for your project.  When visiting your local paint store be sure to go prepared with the details of your project.

What exactly is a paint sheen?​

When we think of sheen typically we think of how glossy it looks.  The more glossy or shiny the paint finish appears the more scrubbable the surface is.  This can make a huge difference if you have kids.

There are roughly 6 different kinds of paint sheens. Below I will go into some of the details and common uses for all the different paint sheens. 

 

Flat or Matte Sheen (1-9% gloss)

Flat / Matte sheens have the least amount of shine in the bunch.  Flat sheen paint work great for hiding minor imperfections in drywall and in low traffic areas.  This sheen is typically what is used on 90% of your homes walls & ceiling.

If you are concerned with getting fingerprints or scuff marks on your wall you may want to skip the flat sheen paint finish.

Typically used for:

  • Walls (low traffic areas)
  • Ceilings

Eggshell (26-40% gloss)

Eggshell paints are great if you’re looking for a sheen that is not too shiny but is more washable than flat.  This will make life much easier when dealing with fingerprints or scuff marks on your walls as you can wipe them clean.

Typically used for:

  • Walls (low traffic areas)
  • Trim
  • Cabinets
  • Doors 

Satin (26 -50% gloss)

Satin is typically my go to paint. It is not too shiny and can be washed. I find that is is also more durable that then some finishes. 

Typically used for:

  • Trim
  • Cabinets
  • Doors 
  • Furniture
  • Walls (High traffic / moist areas)

Semi-gloss (40-69% gloss)

Semi-gloss paints really start to show a noticeable shine. This sheen also delivers more durability than the previous sheens. This sheen is often a go to choice for baseboard trim as it can take a beating. Although you can use it on walls I tend to stay clean of that simply because it does show any imperfections your wall may have. 

Typically used for:

  • Trim
  • Cabinets
  • Doors 
  • Furniture

High-gloss (70-89% gloss)

High-gloss paint are very similar to a semi-gloss but are highly reflective. This sheen offers the most durability compared to the other sheens.  High-gloss paints are typical used for trim working, doors or cabinets but can be used wherever you’d like. To ensure the best results be sure to properly prepare the surface removing any imperfections prior to painting. 

Typically used for:

  • Trim
  • Cabinets
  • Doors 
  • Furniture

.Ceiling flats

 

Ceiling paints are just that. Paints that are designed for the sole purpose of painting ceilings. Ceiling flats are able to hide many imperfections that you may have. 

Typically used for:

  • Ceilings

Hopefully this information has been helpful.  Happy Painting

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I am a seasoned woodworker with many years’ experience creating custom furniture among other projects. In 2015 my family and I relocated from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to sunny Saint Johns, FL. It is here that I refined my skills into fine woodworking & home decor. I currently specialize in rustic home decor & furnishings. This has given me the opportunity to explore the creative side of woodworking to a different level.

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