When choosing an interior paint, it's important to select not only the right color, but also the right sheen. Obviously, a paint's sheen can affect the look of the paint job, but what's less well known is that it can affect paint performance, too.
Most paint products fall into five general sheen categories. Here are some pluses and minuses of each:
Flat Paints. Because they're non-reflective, flat paints tend to hide surface imperfections, so they're good for general use on walls and ceilings. However, it can b e difficult to remove stains from flat paints, so it's best to use them in low traffic areas.
Satin Paints. As the name implies, satin paints have a slightly more lustrous appearance than flat paints; they also have better washability and stain resistance. A satin paint is good for wall surfaces in halls, bathrooms and playrooms, or for trim where only a slight sheen is desired.
Eggshell Paints. Eggshell paints have a moderate sheen level, some what higher than a satin finish. This moderate sheen makes it a perfect in-between product - it has more durability, washability and stain resistance than a satin paint, but it will not highlight surface imperfections as much as a semigloss or high gloss paint.
Semigloss Paints. Having a higher sheen than satin or eggshell finishes, these paints are even more stain-resistant and easier to clean. They are excellent for use on walls and wood work that are subject to wear, including kitchen and bathroom walls, hallways, children's rooms and playrooms, doors, windows and trim
Gloss Paints. These paints are tougher, more durable, more stain-resistant and easier to clean than paints with less sheen, but their highly reflective appearance causes them to highlight surface imperfections. Gloss paints can be used for kitchen and bathroom walls, banisters and railings, kitchen cabinets, door jambs, window sills and other trim
It's important to note that eggshell, semigloss and gloss paints are also sometimes called "enamels", which means they have a higher binder content than other types of paint. Enamels are harder, tougher, more stain-resistant and more washable than other interior paints, so they're ideal for creating a high sheen or glossy look in high-traffic areas.
Whatever sheen you choose, we recommend that you buy only top quality interior paint. Although top quality paint will cost a little more, it will also perform better and last longer, so it's really the better value.
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