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Select Your Sheen: How to Choose the Paint Finish

by | May 23, 2014 | Commercial & Residential Painters Reno

After the arduous color selection process is finally complete, there is still one small part left to choose. While the type of finish used may not seem like a big deal, the amount of shine added to a color can drastically change how it appears. But don’t worry! Figuring out the right paint finish to use is relatively straightforward and simple. And we have lots of information to help you make the right choice!

Whether you are choosing the finish for an indoor or outdoor project, the finishes used are mostly the same. While different companies use different terms to refer to the various levels of gloss, the levels are fairly universal. To figure out which finish you will need, first take a look at all of the finishes that are available. Typically, no matter what they call them, any paint manufacture will offer 4 different sheens ranging from dull to shiny. Usually the first 2 finishes are recommended for use on the walls and the remaining 2 are to be used for accents such as trim, doors, and cabinetry. Now just follow this simple guide to help you decide!

Best for Concealing: Matte or Flat Finish

Pros: With a velvety appearance, this popular standard finish will conceal blemishes and give off a more traditional feel. It can easily be touched up and will hide any surface imperfections that may exist.

Cons: Because this type of finish is porous, this style absorbs stains and is more difficult to clean than others, so marks and fingerprints will show and may not come off of surfaces.

Interiors: Great For Ceiling paint and low-traffic rooms such as closets, or for walls with “character” such as in an older home.

Exteriors: Great For Old wooden siding or siding with imperfections or scatches.

Best for Easy Maintenance: Eggshell, Satin, Silk, or Low-Luster

Pros: This is typically the favored finish for areas that get lots of use as they can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove scuffs or marks and it is very low maintenance. For exterior walls it is durable and pleasant to look at.

Cons: When used to cover large areas, brush strokes or roller marks may be seen up close.

Interior: Great for a Kid’s room or almost any room, a good all-around finish.

Exterior: Great for a universal exterior finish, the subdued sheen is similar to the look of brand new siding.

Best for Durability: Semi-Gloss

Pros: The sheen allows the paint to reflect a considerable amount of light and it is also very durable and easy to clean.

Cons: While the durability factor may seem appealing, as enamel, it will highlight any imperfections in the walls such as brushstrokes or the imprint of the roller and is best used exclusively on accents.

Interior: Mostly used for accents such as trim, cabinetry, and doors, but also works well for high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens because of how easy it is to clean.

Exterior: Great for Doors, gutters, shutters, trim or any other area you would like to draw attention to.

Best for Highlights: High Gloss

Pros: Similar to lacquer but less expensive. This finish has the most durability and shine and is a brilliant finish for flawless walls. It also dries to become smooth and non-porous so dust and other dirt are easy to wipe off!

Cons: More expensive than other styles and very labor intensive to paint with, especially for darker colors.

Radcliffe Painting - Sheen options

Choosing the right sheen for your paint can make all the difference.

Radcliffe Painting - More Sheen OptionsInterior: Perfect for adding drama and creating that extra “wow” factor for a statement room such as the dining room or front hall! Also works well to highlight doors, trim or unique architectural elements

Exterior: While not typically used for exterior walls high gloss can be used to highlight exterior structural elements or accent features such as doors and shutters

As with any painting job, there is a lot of freedom to experiment, with colors and with finishes. While high-gloss and lots of drama may seem like a good idea at first, it helps to review all of the options and their intended purposes before the final decision is made. That subtle difference on the paint swatch won’t look so subtle when it’s covering all the walls of your room, so it’s best to take some care and consideration before your eyes completely glaze over from the whole process!

Of course, when you hire us, we will be certain you have all the right choices for your paint finish! Visit us on www.radcliffepainting.com

Radcliffe Painting, Inc. – Call us at 775-229-1547
4100 Mira Loma Drive
Reno, NV 89502