Choosing the Right Finish for a Painting Project

by Matt Solis


A qualified painting contractor will be able to help you choose the right type of finish for your particular needs. Photo R.C. Painting (2012)

Even after you pick the perfect paint color for a room, you still have to choose from five or six different finishes, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. To determine the finish that’s right for your particular project, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the benefits of each type and make sure it’ll be a good fit for your lifestyle or personal preferences. Before making a final decision, consider the following information:

Flat or matte
Flat or matte finishes are generally used on walls, ceilings and other low-traffic areas to hide surface imperfections and create a uniform, non-reflecting appearance. Stain removal can be difficult, so don’t use a flat finish in a kitchen, bathroom or child’s bedroom.

Eggshell finishes can be used in place of flat paint on wall surfaces, especially in halls, bathrooms and playrooms. They can also be used on trim in place of semi-gloss paints for a less shiny appearance. Eggshell finishes look flat when viewed at a 90-degree angle, yet they have a slightly shiny look when viewed at a 45-degree angle. They’re best used in medium- to low-traffic rooms where only light cleaning is needed.

Satin finishes have a smooth look that’s slightly glossier than normal. They’re most often used on windows, doors, trim and ceilings, but they can also be used as wall paint in areas that get a lot of traffic, like children’s rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Satin finish paint is designed to hold up to cleaning and light scrubbing.

Semi-gloss finishes are more stain-resistant and easier to clean than flat paint. Their durability makes them work well on surfaces like kitchen and bathroom walls, doors, woodwork and trim, as well as in high-traffic areas like hallways, children’s rooms and playrooms. Surfaces painted with semi-gloss paint reflect ambient light sources, not objects.

High gloss
High gloss finishes are best used on kitchen and bathroom walls, kitchen cabinets, banisters and railings, trim, furniture, windowsills and door jambs. They’re more durable, stain-resistant and easier to wash than semi-gloss finishes, but it’s important to remember than the higher the gloss, the more likely surface imperfections (patched areas, nail pops, wavy drywall) will be noticed. Before you apply high gloss finish, take the time to prepare your walls and make them extra smooth.

Use Diamond Certified Resource to find top rated companies.

Local, Top Rated Diamond Certified Companies Related to Your Topic
Santa Clara County Painters
Sonoma County Painters
San Mateo County Painters
Alameda County Painters
Napa County Painters  

Related Articles
The Homeowner's Guide to Home Improvement
Get Expert Advice From Owners of Top Rated Local Companies
Become a Diamond Certified Preferred Member (Always Free)