How To

How to Choose the Right Sheen

Choosing the right sheen for your painting project is a critical step for a lasting paint job.  The sheen level or gloss level of paint will have an impact on appearance and usability.  Sheen levels can also affect color perception.  Often the same color with a different sheen will appear as a different color.  Typically, the color will appear lighter when a higher gloss is used and much richer when a lower gloss paint is used.  

Using a paint with a higher gloss increases the durability of paints, resistance of stains and moisture resistance.  Higher sheen levels will also highlight defects and imperfections on a surface.

It may seem confusing having to choose from so many sheen levels. But once you understand what each has to offer, you’ll appreciate the luxury of being able to select the exact combination of paint attributes you want in every part of your home.

Paint Sheens and Where to Best Use Them

Flat
Eggshell
Semi-Gloss & Satin
Gloss & High Gloss

Flat paints have very little gloss. They help conceal small imperfections and are ideal for rough walls. Flat paints have good touch-up properties. They are a good choice for just about any ceiling, and for rooms and spaces that aren’t exposed to water, high humidity, or heavy soiling… such as bedrooms, home offices, and living rooms. It’s best to use flat paints in low-traffic areas; stains are difficult to remove from flat finishes.

Eggshell finishes are bit more shiny than a flat, but less “shiny” than either gloss or semi-gloss paints, they won’t highlight nicks and surface imperfections quite as much, but since they have at least a little gloss, they’ll be easier to clean and resist stains better than flat paints. Eggshell finish work well just about anywhere you need the blend of performance attributes they offer such as traffic areas, dining rooms, living rooms and kid’s rooms.

Semi-Gloss & Satin paints are extremely versatile, working well on windows and doors, trim, even cabinets. They can even be used on the walls of kitchens and baths, and various surfaces in children’s rooms and playrooms.  Paints with semi-gloss sheen are a smart compromise between the two sheen extremes, providing some of the benefits of each. Since they are not as highly reflective as gloss paints, they won’t show surface imperfections quite as much; yet they still offer good stain resistance and are easy to clean.

Gloss & High Gloss paints are very reflective and tend to highlight imperfections in walls and woodwork. But they are especially tough, durable, and stain-resistant – and, they are much easier to clean than paints with less gloss.  High gloss finishes are ideal for use on windows and trim, children’s rooms, and playrooms. And since they have better resistance to mildew, they also are a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

gloss range