Paints are usually identified by their sheens. There is an array of paint sheens you can use for residential applications. Typical sheens for residential painting include semi-gloss, low sheen, satin, eggshell, matte and flat.
Semi-gloss is shiny and reflective. It provides maximum durability, is washable, and can be scrubbed. It is stain and moisture resistant. The only drawback with semi-gloss paints is that they highlight drywall defects (thus more preparation) and do not touch up well. This paint is ideal for interior trim as well as kitchen, bathroom and laundry room walls and ceilings.
Low sheen, low luster, eggshell, pearl and satin are all fancy names for similar sheens. The sheen names vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. These finishes have a slight sheen and are less reflective than semi-gloss. Since their percentage of sheen varies, it is best to ask the manufacturer about the amount of sheen in them. These paints are washable and can be scrubbed. Again, the only drawback with these paints are that they highlight drywall defects (thus more preparation) and do not touch up well. This paint is ideal for high traffic areas like stairways, hallways, and kids’ rooms. It is typically used on walls.
Flat or matte is just what it sounds like. It has little to no sheen and appears flat and non-reflective. Flat paint hides imperfections in drywall well and can be touched up beautifully for years to come. The only downfall to flat paint is it is not as washable as some other paints. This paint is ideal for most common areas and is typically used on ceiling and walls.
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