Paint Finish Types

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It’s important to understand that not all paint manufacturers use the same standard when naming their paint finishes. We can choose a finish by the level of gloss that the paint has.

Flat Finish – 0 to 5% gloss

A paint with a flat surface that does not reflect light and generally used on ceilings and walls. Flat finishes are usually non-washable and cleaning is not advised but could be wipeable lightly and gently.

Low Sheen Finish – 10 to 25% gloss

A durable paint with a low sheen and gloss reminiscent of an eggshell. Low sheen finishes are normally used on walls, have a slightly higher sheen level than flat, and clean better than flat finishes as they can endure moderate level cleaning.

Satin Finish – 25 to 35% gloss

A durable paint with a smooth, velvety gloss texture. Satin can be used in high traffic areas because it can hold up to heavy cleaning and light scrubbing. It is most often used for doors, windows, and other trims.

Semi-Gloss Finish – 35 to 70% gloss

Paint with a semi-gloss finish goes on smoothly and has a nice gleam without being too dramatic. Hard wearing surfaces such as trims, doors, windows and cabinets are the surfaces most applied with semi-gloss including other wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.

Gloss Finish – 70 to 85% gloss

Gloss paint has a shinier finish than semi-gloss and is popular for trims, doors and cabinets. Careful attention should be given to prep work and undercoats to create a smooth surface for glossy paint. Also recommended for wet areas as indicated above.

High-Gloss Finish – 85% gloss and higher

This highly luminous sheen has the greatest amount of gloss and looks almost like plastic. High-gloss paint certainly offers durability and washability, making it ideal for cabinets in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. The reflective surface of this paint finish exaggerates imperfections, so prep work is important to a clean polished look.

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