As a painting company in Burlington, we get a lot of questions about the difference between matte and sheen paint. Our clients have finally picked a colour or scheme they love for their newest interior or exterior painting project, and now they need to decide on what type of sheen is appropriate for the room, space or item being painted. Never fear, there are some basic and easy no-fail guidelines to help you choose what will make your home look its best. There is roughly a scale varying from matte or flat to high-gloss, with each type having its strengths and weaknesses. The following is the general scale to help you understand the functions of the different sheen levels. It goes as such:
- Flat – No reflective shine whatsoever. Usually used almost exclusively on ceilings. Covers up imperfections. Hard to clean, easier to touch up.
- Matte – Very slight sliver of shine, but looks very similar to flat. More durable and easier to clean.
- Eggshell – Great for families with kids or high-traffic areas. Even more durable and easier to clean. Not so shiny that dents and scratches are highlighted.
- Satin – Very similar in look to eggshell but just slightly higher shine value.
- Semi-Gloss – Trim and doors throughout the house are often semi-gloss. It is also used on spindles and trim for exterior projects. It is durable, cleanable, but shows imperfections.
- Gloss or High-Gloss – Rarely used, but would be good for hand rails or spindles, places that get a lot of traffic or contact.
Some paint companies also have their own names for those on the sheen scale. For example Benjamin Moore calls their line of satin paints “pearl”. If you are ever confused as to which is which, just ask your Burlington painter. As you can see from the scale, the more sheen in the paint the more durable it tends to be, and can be washed without worry, so it is always used for baseboards, trim and doors. Higher sheen paints also stand up better to moisture, so better for kitchens, bathrooms or in general if you live in a wetter climate. That being said, higher-gloss paints are often thinner and so harder to work with as they drip more. That is why self-levelling paint technology is helpful for this problem. And finally, higher-sheen paints bounce more light into the room, which can help if a room is dark naturally, but can make the room feel more chaotic if it gets tons of natural light. Our Burlington painting contractors also want to let you know that although higher-luster paint is more durable, it is not recommended for the exterior of the home (beside small accents like doors or handrails) because it may make your house look like shiny plastic or even cheap.
Hopefully this article has given you a basic understanding of the sheen scale and what paint will help you best with your next Burlington painting project. Remember that you can always ask questions at your local paint store or of course from your Burlington painting contractors. Good luck and have fun painting!