Satin and Eggshell and Flat — Oh My!

Picking the perfect paint is not an easy task. If you thought you were finished with your journey when you finally decided on a paint color, you were wrong. The next step is choosing a paint finish, and this step can be overwhelming for both homeowners and designers alike. Surprisingly, the decision is just as important as what color to use. Understand all the pros and cons of each option below.

Flat

A flat paint can be applied anywhere, but the finish is often less than desirable. Learn more about the:

  • Pros. Flat paint is cheap and easy to apply. Any do-it-yourselfer can roll flat paint onto a wall because it is very forgiving and hides imperfect walls well. 
  • Cons. While easy to apply, flat paint is not always easy to live with. Scuff marks, scratches, and crayon drawings are very hard, if not impossible, to remove. Repainting is often easier to do.    

Flat paint is best used in utilitarian situations, like a garage or unfinished basement. It is also used in apartments where new coats are applied each year as residents move in and out.

Eggshell

An eggshell finish has slightly more luster than a flat paint and has a warm, matte finish. Discover the benefits of choosing an eggshell over a flat: 

  • Pros. An eggshell finish can hide flaws in the wall as well as in the paint job. It is a very forgiving paint and offers a very subtle luster.
  • Cons. Like flat paint, eggshell can be difficult to clean. Scrubbing scuff marks off an eggshell finish is difficult and may cause the luster to dull in spots.

Due to the above cons, eggshell paint finishes are not the best choice for people with dogs and small children. 

Satin

Satin and eggshell paint have many similarities. However, slight differences exist between the two:

  • Pros. Satin is a durable paint and can withstand a good scrubbing. 
  • Cons. Satin has a nice sheen but does not draw attention to the flaws in your walls’ surface the way a gloss or semi-gloss can. 

Satin is the most popular choice of interior paint finishes. It is a happy medium between matte and gloss finishes.

Semi-Gloss

Semi-gloss is a step up from satin and offers a polished finish. It also offers the following:

  • Pros. Semi-gloss is very easy to scrub clean. Sticky fingerprints, crayon drawings, and muddy paws are all quickly cleaned up with a sponge. 
  • Cons. Semi-gloss does have a tendency to highlight flaws in the walls, however. If your drywall mud job isn’t perfect, it could show. 

Many people use a satin paint for the walls of their home and a semi-gloss for the molding and trim. 

Gloss

A gloss paint, also called high-gloss, gives a remarkably high-end finish that many designers and homeowners love. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult to apply. Here’s why: 

  • Pros. Gloss paint reflects the light in a magical way. The surface is often compared to mirror or glass. Deep, dark colors look exceptionally well in a gloss paint.
  • Cons. While gloss paint can look fabulous, it magnifies every flaw in your wall. The drywall or plaster must be sanded to perfection without any nail pops, cracks, or indents. 

When you install drywall in your home, you have the option to finish it in one of five grades — level 1 through level 5. In most homes, a level 3 or 4 is a suitable finish, but a level 5 is required if you want a high-gloss paint. For this reason, gloss paint is best left for the professionals to apply. 

You have so many paint finish choices, each with specific qualities and applications. The above primer (pun intended) should help you choose the best finish for your room. If you need a professional opinion, we’d be happy to help. Call Fagan Painting LLC today.

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