a guide to different types of paint sheens
When you are thinking about giving a fresh look to your home, you realize that there are myriads of the kinds of paints to choose from and you don’t know which one is best for you. There are different colors, different solvents and different curing mechanisms in the paints. You need to consider all these factors while choosing the best paint for your requirements. In this short guide, we walk you through different types of paints based on the sheen, glossiness or finish of the paint. This guide will help you to determine the best paint for your each room based on your lifestyle, family and other requirements.  

Types Paint Sheens or Paint Finishes

There are many different ways to categorize paints based on various characteristics. One method of classifying paints is based on the finish, glossiness or sheen of the paints. The gloss level or the sheen is a determined by the ratio of binder and other materials. As the amount of binder in the paint increases, the surface will become smoother. When the binder is less, the pigments of grain become visible, and the surface becomes rough. Based on the levels of sheen or gloss level, paints can be classified as follows.  

#1 High Gloss Finish

The ratio of binder compared to in the paint pigments of grain is very high in high gloss paints. As a result, the surface becomes extremely smoother and glossier.

Benefits of high gloss finish paints

The benefits of high gloss paints are it reflects more light, and it is easier to clean and more resistant to stain. The durability of the paint is very high.

Drawbacks of high gloss finish paints

On the negative side, high gloss paints are easily susceptible to damages. Moreover, the small cracks on the surface will be more visible. High-gloss paints take a long time to due to the high amount of binder.

Uses of high gloss finish paints

Generally, high gloss finish paints are not used on walls. It is used for doors, window sash, wooden trims, etc. It is also used for kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, and other storage spaces.  

#2 Semi-gloss Finish

This is more common than high-gloss finish paints, and it is also used on doors, trims, cabinets, etc. It also gives a harder surface.

Benefits of high semi-gloss finish paints

Similar to high-gloss paint, semi-gloss paints are also easier to clean. Then, it is not glossy as high-gloss finishes which make it a perfect choice for those who don’t like the extreme glossiness of high-gloss paints.  The durability of the paint is high.

Drawbacks of high semi-gloss finish paints

Due to the smoothness, scratches and cracks on a semi-gloss painted surface will become easily visible.

Uses of high semi-gloss finish paints

Trims, doors, window sashes, cabinets  

#3 Satin

This is one of the most commonly used types of sheen or finish. Satin paints give a smooth surface but not very glossy. The satin finish is in the middle of high gloss and matte finishes.

Benefits of satin finish paints

Satin finish gives a smooth but not glossy surface.  The durability of the paint is very high compared to eggshell or matte finishes.

Drawbacks of satin finish paints

Due to the smoothness of the surface, a satin finish will highlight the imperfections on the surface.

Uses of satin finish paints

Satin finish is best for the walls without any imperfections.  

#4 Eggshell

The eggshell finish gives a nice rough surface and very subtle glossiness. The smoothness is very less which gives almost a rough surface. The roughness is a result of the less amount of binder. As the amount of binder decrease, the bumps of the pigments in the paint become visible.

Benefits of eggshell finish paints

The unsmoothed surface hides the imperfections on the wall. Moreover, it hides small cracks and scratches to an extent.

Drawbacks of eggshell finish paints

It is difficult to clean the wall painted with eggshell. Moreover, the durability of eggshell surfaces is less compared to satin or gloss paints.

Uses of eggshell finish paints

Eggshell can be used on walls of living rooms and bedrooms.  

#5 Flat Enamel

The flat finish has a rough surface, and it reflects less light. Some paint manufacturers claim that their flat paints are washable.

Benefits of flat enamel finish paints

Flat enamel finish reflects less light, and therefore the imperfections on the walls will be less visible.

Drawbacks of flat enamel finish paints

It can’t withstand regular washing. Moreover, the shine is less compared to glossy paints which is not good for brightening the rooms

Uses of flat enamel finish paints

Flat enamel paints are usually used for the ceiling. It is not recommended for kids rooms because the surface can’t be washed.  

#6 Matte Finish

This gives the most extreme roughness to the surface due to the less amount of binding. The matte finish is a major trend in contemporary design. It is the least glossy finish and reflects less light.

Benefits of matte finish paints

The surface can be retouched locally. You don’t need to paint the entire surface for repairing a small portion. The matte finish can create a particular style or character for the interior design.

Drawbacks of matte finish paints

Matte paint surfaces can be easily marked due to the roughness. It is very difficult to clean matte surfaces. Moreover, it is less durable and not washable.

Uses of matte finish paints

It can be used for walls and ceilings. Old houses with imperfect walls can also use matte finishes because it conceals the imperfections.  

Final Words

These are the major paint sheens available in the market now. You should remember that the glossiness and roughness of the finishes may vary on the same category based on manufacturers. The flat enamel finish of one manufacturer may be similar to the eggshell finish of another manufacturer. Therefore, you should give importance to the final result of the paint rather than these terms when you choose paints.