Painting Tips: Learn About Paint Finishes

Article Posted By: Caroline Inge

of The Home Depot

Painting Tip: Deciding on a Paint Finish

If you’re going back and forth over picking paint finishes for your interior walls, consider the varying degrees of sheen, moving from flat to eggshell to satin to semi-gloss to high-gloss.

  • Flat has the lowest sheen with a more chalky texture. It won’t highlight the imperfections on a bumpy wall like a high-gloss finish.
  • Eggshell is the most popular for living and dining rooms.
  • Satin is great for rooms where stains or hand prints are likely to get on the wall (or a room that gets a lot of moisture, like a bathroom). Satin is the lowest sheen option that still makes for easy wipe-ability.
  • Semi-gloss is extremely wipe-able and easy to scrub, though you may see brush or roller marks if you aren’t careful. High-gloss is the paint finish with the most sheen.

By determining how much wipe-ability you need (and therefore how much sheen you need), you can figure out what type of paint finish will be the best for your space. Notice in the above image you can see the shine of the high gloss paint (on the right), whereas the finish on the left (which is flat) has no sheen at all. It’s also worth mentioning that if you have very uneven walls with imperfections, a high gloss paint is going to emphasize those imperfections by reflecting light onto each and every dimple. A flat paint will camouflage the imperfections because it absorbs the light, rather than reflecting it.

For an even more in-depth discussion on paint sheens and how and where to use them, visit our Community Forums.

Get more painting tips from our Painting Quick Tip series here on the Apron blog, and shop The Home Depot for all your paint and painting supplies.

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