Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guide to Paint Sheens: Ooooh, Shiny!

I recently read this article written by Pat Curry....and found it to be super helpful in choosing a paint sheen. Honestly, when I buy paint I am just guessing on what to choose....crossing my fingers that I chose the right one.  I hope this article gives you a little guidance for your next trip to Home depot. Enjoy....

Guide to Paint Sheens
Painted living room wall
  • Practical application: kitchens, door and window trim
  • Durability: very high
Semi-gloss: Good for rooms where moisture, drips, and grease stains challenge walls. Also great for trim work that takes a lot of abuse.
  • Practical application: kitchens, bathrooms, trim, chair rails
  • Durability: high
Satin: Has a yummy luster that, despite the name, often is described as velvety. It’s easy to clean, making it excellent for high-traffic areas. Its biggest flaw is it reveals application flaws, such as roller or brush strokes. Touch-ups later can be tricky. 
  • Practical application: family rooms, foyers, hallways, kid’s bedrooms
  • Durability: high
Eggshell: Between satin and flat on the sheen (and durability) scale is eggshell, so named because it’s essentially a flat (no-shine) finish with little luster, like a chicken’s egg. Eggshell covers wall imperfections well and is a great finish for gathering spaces that don’t get a lot of bumps and scuffs.
  • Practical application: dining rooms, living rooms, libraries
  • Durability: medium
Flat or matte: A friend to walls that have something to hide, flat/matte soaks up, rather than reflects, light. It has the most pigment and will provide the most coverage, which translates to time and money savings. However, it’s tough to clean without taking paint off with the grime.
  • Practical application: adult’s bedrooms and other interior rooms that won’t be roughed up by kids
  • Durability: medium-low

More fun sheen facts

  • Dark, richer paint colors have more colorant, which boosts sheen. If you don’t want a super-shiny wall, step down at least one level on the sheen scale. Ditto if you’re painting a large, sun-washed or imperfect wall.
  • Adding sheen also adds price: Valspar Ultra Premium eggshell costs $32, satin $33, and semi-gloss $34.
Pat Curry is a Georgia-based freelance writer who has covered housing and real estate topics for more than a decade, most recently as a contributing editor to Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler magazines. Image: Pratt & Lambert

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