As a professional Birmingham painting contractor I am often asked what are the different types and sheen’s of interior paint. There are several different types of interior paint finishes, but all refer to the finishes reaction to light. Because latex paint is the most common used type of interior paint, I will only be referring to latex paint.
Flat paint finishes have no sheen once the paint dries. Flat paint absorbs all light and does not reflect it. Flat paint finish is great at hiding any imperfections that you may have in your walls and also looks good in most colors. The best rooms to use a flat finish is rooms that usually receive little traffic such as bedrooms or closets. It usually not a good idea to use flat paint in a room that will require a lot of cleaning because it is difficult to clean when it gets dirty.
An eggshell paint offers about as much sheen as an actual eggshell, hence its name. It is mostly flat but does have a small amount of luster. It is also much easier to clean than flat paint so it would be better suited for areas of your home that have higher traffic such as a living room or a hallway. Another benefit of eggshell paint is that like a flat finish it also looks good in a variety of colors.
A satin paint finish is much easier to clean than flat or eggshell paints, just be careful not to scrub too hard because you could possibly remove some of the sheen which will leave an uneven finish in your wall. A satin finish will not hide imperfections near as well as flat or eggshell finishes will. Since satin paints stand up better to cleaning they are a great choice for a playroom, a kitchen or a bathroom.
Semi gloss paints are a step up from satin and reflect more light. It is a good choice for painting trim but could be used for a kitchen or bathroom because it does not absorb kitchen greases or bathroom condensations as much as the other paint finishes do. Semi gloss paints generally look better in a lighter shade of paint.
Gloss paints offer the most sheen of all of the other finishes and is also the easiest to clean. Gloss paint is most often used for painting trim and is generally not a good choice for walls. Gloss paint is also most often used to paint cabinetry in kitchens and bathrooms.
Choosing a paint finish ia a matter of personal choice, just keep in mind that the more sheen a paint has the more durable it will be. Always use a good, quality paint regardless of the sheen that you choose. Using good paint will make your paint job last longer, is much less likely to yellow over time, goes on easier and also leaves a great finish. If you are still having trouble finding the right sheen for your interior painting project, consult with your Birmingham painter and ask his advice.