The Ultimate Quick Guide to House Paint Color Finishes

Picking the perfect color is important but there is more to it than just color…

If you’ve ever shopped for house paint, you’ve probably seen something on the paint container called a finish: flat, high gloss, satin, or semi-gloss. What do these words mean and how do they affect the paint you need for your home? Here’s a quick guide to house paint color finishes that’ll help you easily navigate the paint aisle like a Jacksonville, Florida paint contractor!

What Does House Paint Color Finish Mean?

There are generally four types of paint finish or sheen. Each finish has its own characteristic and adds a unique element to your paint. Here is a simple chart explaining the type of finish, its benefits and disadvantages, and where you should use it in your home.

Guide to House Paint Color Finishes or Sheen

HIGH GLOSS

High-Gloss reflects the most light and has the highest finish/sheen of the option listed. It also holds up well in humid environments and is extremely easy to clean.

  • Finish Type - High-Gloss - Definition - Has the highest level of sheen or shine. Bounces the most light off a surface
  • Pros - Provides the most durability and is scrubbable.
  • Cons - Shows all imperfections of the surface; most durable and easy to clean
  • Where to Use Finish - Furniture and appliances for a lacquered look and Interior or exterior trim


SEMI-GLOSS

Semi-Gloss reflects 40-70% more light than other types of paint finishes. It also holds up well in humid environments and is extremely easy to clean.

  • Finish Type - Semi-Gloss - Definition - Has a bit less gloss than high-gloss
  • Pros - Easy to clean, durable
  • Cons - Shows most imperfections of the surface; most durable and easy to clean
  • Where to Use Finish - Interior trim and doors, kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors; exterior front door, trim, and shutters


SATIN/EGGSHELL or LOW LUSTER

This silky, smooth paint finish retains its eggshell/satin/pearl sheen when dry. It is one of the best paint finishes to use in any area of your home that you would like better cleanability. Eggshell and Satin tend to show the colors your using in a much more vibrant finish (the true color).

  • Finish Type - Satin/Eggshell/Low Luster - Definition - A low amount of sheen
  • Pros - Makes paint appear warmer; gives color greater depth than the glossier finishes; resists stains better; makes the room brighter, cleans well
  • Cons - Shows most imperfections of the surface; most durable and easy to clean. This finish doesn't hide imperfection and it's harder to perform touch-up
  • Where to Use Finish - Bathroom, kitchen, children’s rooms, mudroom, laundry room, hallways, family room; kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors; exterior house body, exterior front door, body trim, and shutters


FLAT or MATTE

These paint finishes deliver smooth, rich results that look and show little to no sheen when dry, and this finish also helps hide imperfections. Flat/Matte paint is the most forgiving finish with the most color options.

  • Finish Type - Flat/Matte - Definition - A low amount of sheen
  • Pros - Allows the color to be the main focus. Flat and Matte finishes help hide and or reduce imperfections in your walls and ceilings.
  • Cons - Flat and Matte tend to hold dirt and shows marks and fingerprints; not as easy to clean
  • Where to Use Finish - Ceilings; dining room; formal living room; master and guest bedrooms; exterior house body


What to Consider When Selecting House Paint Color Finishes

Most of our customers use one finish throughout the interior of their home for a consistent look. However, you can select a different finish for certain rooms, too. A general rule of thumb choosing paint finishes is the higher the gloss, the higher the shine and durability. When considering what paint finish to use, envision the look and feel you desire for the room. If you want the color to stand out, consider flat paint. It won’t add any additional depth to the room or any additional light but will enable the color to be the main focus. The downside of using flat paint is less durability. Stains will be harder to clean and the texture of the painted surface may appear more porous.

Another thing to consider is the activity level that will take place in the room. For rooms with a high level of traffic, like a mudroom, bathroom, or child’s room, consider a satin sheen finish because of its durability and ease of cleaning. But remember, when using paint with a gloss level, be it high, semi, or satin, it will draw attention to imperfections in the painted surface.

For rooms in which you plan to use darker paint color, use paint with a lower gloss level like a satin sheen. Darker paints tend to add additional sheen to any gloss level.

The Best Jacksonville FL Painting Contractors

We hope you found this guide to house paint color finishes helpful. For additional information, check out Sherwin-William’s detailed account of finishes. Don’t let your paint color “finish” you! If you are in doubt about paint finish or color for your home, give your Jacksonville Painters, A New Leaf 1-888-Painting a call at 904-615-6599. As a full-service painting company in Jacksonville, Florida, we offer superior painting, carpentry, and color consulting services. Some of the areas we serve are Julington Creek, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Fleming Island, as well as Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach.

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