selecting the right paint finish

Selecting the Right Paint Finish

Selecting the Right Paint Finish

Color is not the only consideration when planning your next paint project. The finish you choose will determine how vivid details appear and how easy the surface will be to clean. Color options are endless but there are typically just four to five finishes to choose from within every paint manufacturers’ line. The distinguishing factors are essentially the same – luster and washability. Selecting the ideal sheen involves both aesthetic and practical considerations. Sheen creates a visual interest and can help extend the life of the paint job.


Flat features a matte sheen that absorbs light and helps high surface imperfections. Ideal for high-traffic areas and ceilings where irregularities and lap marks may exist. While some flat paints are advertised as washable today, you may need to touch up scratches or marks by covering with a bit more paint, so make sure to keep some on hand after you have finished painting.


Eggshell enamel offers superior scrubability to completely flat finishes because it contains more luster. With only a slight hint of shine or gloss, it’s good for walls and holds up better with cleaning than a flat finish paint.


Reflects light for a bright, shiny appearance most evident in rooms with a strong light source. Best used on areas that are cleaned frequently such as kitchens, bathrooms, closet doors and trim.  The shinier the finish, the more durable and easier to clean it will be.


Similar to eggshell and semigloss except satin has a warm, pearl-like finish. Excellent at resisting mildew, dirt and stains (they can better withstand cleaning and light scrubbing) making them more suitable for frequently used spaces than their eggshell counterparts. Try this finish in hallways, children’s rooms and on woodwork that need to withstand modest wear and tear.


High-sheen colors possess depth of color over flat sheens. The higher the sheen, the more vivid and rich the color appears, making it deal for deep, jewel-toned colors such as reds, forest greens and navy blues. Best for wood surfaces, such as trim, cabinets and doors, but only when blemishes are minimal as shinier surfaces make flaws more evident.


When selecting paint sheens, keep in mind that shiny surfaces, because they are reflective, help make a small space feel better. For additional paint sheen information, contact your local Austin painting contractor at 21st Century Painting and roofing professionals in Austin.