Jul 23, 2012

Do you know about paint sheen?

Using the proper sheen of paint is as important as selecting the right color. Gone are the days when all kitchens and baths need to be in semi-gloss sheen for protection from moisture.  Here are the common sheens available and where to use them.

FLAT: This is the best choice for walls with many imperfections. The lack of sheen 'hides' wall imperfections whereas a sheen often calls attention to them. Ideal for use on ceilings and bedroom, dining-room, and living-room walls.  Flat finishes are easy to touch up but they are a bit hard to clean since you'll see the rub marks. 

MATTE: A wonderful sheen for kitchens and hallways where frequent touch-up may be required It's my most often recommended sheen. Benjamin Moore Regal Matte Finish or California Paints Super-Scrub Matte Finish, has good washability.

The ceiling of older homes are best
painted in flat sheen to hide cracks and
nail heads.

EGGSHELL:  This low-sheen finish is an ideal choice for living-room or bedroom walls. Do not use in high-traffic areas, like hallways, because the delicate finish mars easily. Eggshell has a washable finish but in areas where you touch up, the sheen will be slightly bolder than the rest of the walls. If you use this paint, then touch up in a large area so you can hide the 'seams'. When doing a faux finish, I often use Eggshell as the one of the color coats. With a flat base, you then see differences in gloss level.

Semi-gloss paint makes this bench
durable and easy to clean.

SATIN: With a silky, pearl-like sheen, it's a good choice for woodwork as well as walls in the family room, children's rooms, laundry room, kitchen, and bathrooms. Satin has a warm finish that's scrubbable. Like Eggshell, it's more difficult to touch up because any difference in sheen will be apparent. A favorite sheen for durability.

SEMIGLOSS: Semigloss is a popular choice for trim and moldings, and is also ideal for kitchen and bathroom walls because it is more resistant to humidity and withstands stains, chipping, and scuffing.  Durable and easy to clean, it's the most scrubbable sheen for walls. However, semigloss is difficult to touch up because the difference in sheen from the original coat to a touch up coat will show.

GLOSS: This sheen is rarely used on walls because it shows imperfections like a mirror does. It is typically used on woodwork, trim, moldings, and works well only for surfaces that are truly smooth. It's the most durable finish and the easiest to clean, yet is the most difficult to touch up because the difference in sheen tend to be obvious.