A paint job is only as good as its finish. But when it comes to what look you want your paint job to have, understanding the differences in the various finish options is key. A paint’s finish often also referred to as the paint’s “sheen” is the texture the paint creates after it has dried, when light bounces off of the painted surface. The finish not only displays the smoothness of the painted wall or object but it can also affect the shade of color that is seen by the eye.
To best determine which type of finish to choose for your DIY paint project, you’ll want to consider the paint color, the texture of the surface you’re painting, and the look you want to achieve with the final product.
To get you started, here is a brief rundown of the types of finishes and the visual aesthetic they give a painted surface.
This finish is ideal for formal rooms such as the living or dining room. Flat finishes have a smooth and uniform look and do not reflect light from their surface. The perk of a flat finish is that it can conceal dents, holes, and patches very well and they require fewer coats than other finishes. Plus, if you’re looking to paint ceilings in your home, a flat finish is the most ideal choice.
This is the most commonly chosen finish because it has a soft look and feel. It is very durable and can be easily washed without tarnishing the paint quality, which is why it is often chosen for hallways. Eggshell finishes provide some light reflection but are low gloss.
The finish of your paint can change the feeling of an entire room, so choose wisely
With a very durable characteristic, satin finishes are ideal for high traffic areas in the home and can be used for exterior surfaces as well. Satin finishes are able to prevent mildew growth and are much easier to clean than either flat or eggshell finishes. When it comes to sprucing up your home’s exterior, satin finishes are great for repelling water and don’t fade quickly in the sun like other finishes.
This is one of the most reflective paint finishes but can be a great choice for any surface that you want to appear shiny and bright. Semi-gloss finishes are ideal for high humidity areas such as the bathroom or kitchen because they have a high moisture resistance quality. This also makes it the easiest type of finish to clean or scrub as needed. However, because of its high light reflection, semi-gloss finishes will show every imperfection of the painted surface.
If you’re looking for the highest reflection ability, then gloss is the paint finish to choose. Though most painters avoid using it for walls, it can be a highly effective accessory paint for trim, molding, shutters, cabinets, and doors. Due to the high shine quality, gloss paint often requires more prep and more paint coats than any other paint finish.
The good news is… you have lots of paint finish options to choose from. Just consider what level of durability, shine, and overall look you want your final painted surface to have and select the appropriate finish accordingly.
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