Different Types of Paint Finishes

Eggshell Paint

When purchasing paint, you may be overwhelmed by the variety of finishes that exist and/or confused by how they differ. 

Paint finishes typically vary based on light reflectance, durability and washability. Below is a list of paint finishes carried by most major U.S. paint brands.

Flat

Gloss Level: <15 on 60-degree gloss meter

Use: General use on walls and ceilings.

Comments: Hides surface imperfections. Stain removal can be difficult. Use for uniform, non-reflective appearance. Best suited for low-traffic areas. 

Matte

Gloss Level: <20 on 60-degree gloss meter

Use: Can be used in place of flat paints on wall surfaces, especially in halls, bathrooms and playrooms.

Comments: Resists stains better than flat paint and gives a more lustrous appearance.

Eggshell

Gloss Level: 20-30 on 60-degree gloss meter

Use: Can be used in place of flat paints on wall surfaces, especially in halls, bathrooms and playrooms.

Comments: Resists stains better than flat paint and gives a more lustrous appearance. 

Satin

Gloss Level: 25-35 on 60-degree gloss meter

Use: Can be used as a wall finish for its washability, but also for trim and woodwork for its subtle sheen,

Comments: Resists stains better than eggshell and has slightly more sheen.

Semi Gloss

Gloss Level: 35-70 on 60-degree gloss meter

Use: Commonly used for trim, woodwork and doors, but is also recommended for its durability in kitchens, bathrooms and kids’ playrooms.

Comments: More stain-resistant and easier to clean than flat paints. Finish has a visible sheen and tends to highlight imperfections on surfaces. 

High Gloss

Gloss Level: 70+ on 60-degree gloss meter

Use: For trim, woodwork, doors, furniture, railings, etc.

Comments: Finish with the most sheen, but is most stain-resistant and easiest to wash. Given it’s high sheen, it will highlight imperfections on surfaces.

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