Choosing a Paint Finish

Choosing a Finish

Have you ever touched up the paint in your home only to find that the color looks completely different? Surprisingly enough, it may not be the color that is off. Paint also comes in a variety of finishes that give your walls a different look depending on the amount of sheen mixed into the paint. When choosing a paint finish, it’s important to consider the area/room you are painting.

If you thought choosing the color was difficult, choosing the right wall paint finish may be just as confusing. Here are a few simple tips to help you make the right choice for your home. Each finish offers a different level of reflectivity and durability.

Paint finish comes in four general categories:

 Flat Finish

If you are looking for a well-saturated wall that has rich results, you’ll want to go with a flat finish. Flat paint is the most forgiving finish with the best color payout. If you need to cover imperfections, patching or joints, flat paint can absorb light, making your dings and flaws less noticeable.

Note that this kind of paint finish has no sheen to it. The drawback to a flat finish is the lack of durability. Flat paint needs to be cleaned carefully, as scrubbing may remove some of the paint. This can cause an uneven or patchy look on the wall.

Best places to use flat paint: ceilings, low-traffic areas, and rooms that don’t require extensive cleaning.

Durability: medium to low

Washable Flat

Washable flats come only as Premium Flats, like Sherwin Williams Cashmere Flat. In addition to offering all the great attributes of a flat paint, like hiding imperfections and having good color saturation and durability, a washable flat also allows for easy touchups, and is washable and burnish-resistant.

Best places to use Washable Flat paint: general living spaces.

Durability: medium

Eggshell/Satin /Low Luster Finish

Eggshell finish is one of the best home paint finishes to use in areas where you’re more likely to wash and scrub. Eggshell has a subtle sheen that gives your room a great coloring, but it is faint enough to still hide imperfections. This finish reflects light and has a low-angular sheen. It doesn’t have the chalky appearance of a flat paint or the sheen of a semi-gloss.

Eggshell finishes appear truest to the color of the swatch when they’re applied to the wall. Eggshell has one other feature that makes it a favorite for homeowners, too: Its strength allows it to dry just a bit harder than other paints, which helps the paint protect itself from environments that have more moisture in the air. Eggshell finish is also resistant to mildew, stains and dirt, and is a good finish for washing walls.

Best places to use Eggshell paint: living areas, kitchen, entryway, mudrooms, laundry rooms, bathrooms, playrooms, kids’ rooms, and other high traffic areas.

Durability: medium to high

Semi-Gloss, Gloss Finish

Semi-gloss finish has a higher sheen, typically 40-70% more than other types of paint finishes. Semi-gloss finish is known to reflect light and have a beautiful glow, without being too shiny. Most durable of the finishes, semi-gloss holds up well in humid environments and is extremely easy to clean.

There’s a basic rule when it comes to paint finishes: The greater the shine, the more durable the paint will be. However, the higher the gloss, the more imperfections will show on your walls.

Best places to use Semi-Gloss paint: wood trim, kitchen cabinets and doors.

Durability: high

Choose the Best Finish for Your Most Important Areas

Ask your paint professional what paint finish is best for each room in your house. We also recommend you visit the manufacturer’s website to explain each paint finish and where it should be applied.

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