Ah! If life were so simple that you could just choose a paint color, give it to your painting contractor, and be done with it. You could do that, but you might not be happy with the results. Once you have narrowed down your paint choice to a particular color, it’s important to consider the finish. A paint finish impacts how much shine you will see as well as how durable the paint is. So to select the best paint finish, consider the use of the room, as well as the amount and type of traffic a room will get.
There are five major categories of paint finishes:
- semi-gloss, and
The flat finish is the least shiny finish available. Light does not bounce or reflect off of this finish in a noticeable way. It is commonly used on interior walls and ceilings. However, it doesn’t clean easily and is normally not used in bathrooms, kitchens or children’s bedrooms or playrooms. In fact, some say that the only way to get rid of fingerprints and marks on a flat finished wall is to repaint. Low traffic, lightly used areas are best for a flat finish.
An eggshell finish has very little shine, similar to the shell of an egg. Because it is smooth like an eggshell, it may clean better than a flat finish but cannot be scrubbed. Eggshell is not commonly used in rooms such as kitchens and baths.
Satin finish is the most commonly used paint sheen. It cleans better than eggshell. It is often used for trim, such as wood molding, and doors. Because of the subtle sheen it is also frequently used in hallways, bedrooms, dining rooms and living rooms. Walls with a satin finish can be washed, but not scrubbed.
The semi-gloss finish has more of a sheen than a satin finish would provide. It is frequently used on moldings, doors and windows. It may also be used on walls in kitchens and baths. Semi-gloss paint can be scrubbed, making it an ideal paint for areas where there could be splatter or crayon marks.
As you might expect, the high-gloss finish provides the shiniest look. Because of the finish it is stain resistant and relatively easy to clean. These qualities make it a good choice for areas that are heavily used such as kitchens and bathrooms. One thing you should be aware of is that high-gloss finishes will show imperfections or irregularities in your walls more so than flatter finishes, so if this is a concern, and high-gloss was a consideration, you may want to dial back on the shine and go for semi-gloss or satin.
To sum up, a glossier finish is more durable than a less glossy finish and can be cleaned easier, however, it will show imperfections on the wall to a greater extent than a flatter finish. Also, be aware that a higher gloss finish may appear darker than the eggshell or flat version of the same color.
Commonly, the wood trim in a room will have a more durable finish than the walls. For example, eggshell might be selected for a wall, while satin or semi-gloss is selected for the trim. This makes since if you consider that, with normal use, wood molding around a door might be touched more frequently and collect fingerprints and stains, while walls might not.
With these tips, you can now more easily select the finishes you want to use in each room of your home.
If you have questions about what finishes to select, you can speak to your painting contractor or contact us. They can share with you what they see most commonly selected, but in the end, the choice is yours.