Paint Sheen Levels Explained
Have you ever noticed that the color of your wall looks different throughout the day? The reason behind this is the sheen of the paint. Paint sheen refers to the amount of light that reflects off a surface, and the higher the sheen, the shinier or glossier the finish. Sheen plays a crucial role in determining a room’s brightness, durability, and ability to mask imperfections. Furthermore, it can make colors appear brighter or darker at various times of the day. Paint sheen is classified into six levels, ranging from flat to high gloss.
Flat: This is the lowest sheen level on the scale. Flat paint has a low reflectance rating, about 4 percent or less, reflecting the least light of all sheens. It is often applied to ceilings and walls where a smooth, even finish is desired.
Matte: With a reflectance rating of up to 10 percent, it is slightly more reflective than surfaces painted with a flat sheen. It’s a popular choice for bathrooms and other humid areas.
Eggshell: Eggshell is a paint with a medium-low sheen that reflects up to 25 percent of light. It is a good choice for walls and trim in areas with moderate traffic.
Satin: Satin is a medium-sheen paint that reflects light evenly. This versatile option can be your go-to paint for most rooms.
Semi-gloss: Semi-gloss paint has a medium-high sheen that reflects light very well. It is a good choice for the trim, doors, and other areas. Its shiny surface makes cleaning easy.
High Gloss: Gloss paint has the highest sheen, with a reflectance of over 85 percent. The shiny, reflective surface is very durable and can brighten dark spaces. Gloss paint is popular in kitchens and bathrooms due to its durability and easy-to-clean surface.
How To Choose the Right Sheen for Your Painting Project
Since paints that are higher on the sheen scale tend to be costlier, choosing the best sheen for your home painting project is essential. When selecting the sheen for your living space, consider these factors:
The sheen of the paint will affect the room’s overall appearance and brightness. A flat or eggshell sheen is a good choice for a smooth, even finish. A satin, semi-gloss, or gloss sheen is better if you want a more reflective or brighter finish.
Amount of traffic:
The sheen of the paint also affects its durability, which can affect areas with high traffic, like a kitchen. Flat and eggshell paints are less durable than satin, semi-gloss, or gloss paints. So, if you have a high-traffic area, you should choose your paint color in a higher sheen; otherwise, you will need more frequent touch-ups and repainting to maintain the desired look.
Walls with many imperfections are a good candidate for painting a room with a higher sheen. Remember that the higher the sheen, the better the paint will hide imperfections. For example, eggshell is a typical finish for painting a child’s bedroom. However, consider a satin finish if your toddler likes to write on the walls since it will be easier to clean.
A Paint Sheen for Every Surface in Your Home
Now that you’re a sheen expert let’s look at which one may be most suitable for the different living spaces in your home.
Ceilings: Choose a flat or eggshell sheen as they will absorb most of the light, making the ceiling appear higher and the room larger.
Walls: A satin or semi-gloss sheen is a good compromise between durability and reflectiveness. Also, keeping it clean is as easy as wiping off the dust with a damp cloth.
Trim and doors: Select a semi-gloss or gloss sheen for these areas. They are the most durable, and their shiny surfaces will highlight these features beautifully for a luxurious appearance.
High-traffic areas: Gloss paint is the most durable, will resist wear and tear, and hides imperfections better than other sheens, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic spaces in your home, like the hallways, foyer, and kitchen.
Test the Surface Before Painting
After selecting your paint sheen, you will want to test it by painting a small area before applying it to the entire room. It will help you to visualize the paint color in different lighting conditions and whether it hides or highlights surface imperfections.
Hartford Expert Interior and Exterior House Painters
If you want to spruce up your bathroom, brighten a dim area, or completely transform your home’s interior/exterior with a fresh coat of paint, we’re confident you’ll be pleased with our expertly executed results. Franklin Painting is a licensed and insured painting contractor serving Avon, CT; Glastonbury, CT; Newington, CT; West Hartford, CT; and townships throughout the Greater Hartford area. Call 877.646.7774 or contact us online to schedule an appointment for a free estimate today!