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Understanding Sheen

Understanding Sheen

Sheen is the soft luster on your walls or other painted surfaces. Paint stores sell paints with varying degrees of luster – flat being the lowest amount and gloss being the highest. Not only does the sheen matter with the appearance of a painted surface, but it also determines the ease of cleaning.

There are essentially 4 sheens.

Major benefits
Flat is great for areas where you are concerned about imperfections. Ceilings are a great place to use flat paint. In fact the flatter the better. Because of the way the light hits a ceiling, especially a large flat ceiling, any flaw will show up on even a semi bright day. The flat paint, because the light doesn’t bounce off it wont show the flaws as much as the other sheens. This holds true for walls that have flaws or texture from repetitive painting

Major drawbacks
Flat paint is hard to wash. There are a few on the market that are so if you are going to use flat (often referred to as matte) make sure you buy one that is washable or don’t take this route

This category also includes satin and pearl and has a huge range of shine levels, from almost flat to almost semi-gloss so know what you need and how shiny the paint will be when it’s dried

Eggshell is by far the most used sheen in residential homes.

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It used to be that all kitchens and bathrooms needed semi-gloss as it was the only paint that was really washable but that is no longer the case

Major benefits
It’s bright… when the light hits it it shines, so for a dark room it can make it seem brighter. Because it casts light back it’s a good choice for trim. Put it on a window, when the light comes through it amplifies the light a bit and makes the space seem brighter.

Major drawbacks
It is not forgiving for those flaws… the light will catch and bounce on the hills and valleys of a wall and dents, roller marks etc will stand out like a sore thumb. You really want to have good walls to put semi-gloss on them

Typically gloss is like a piano finish… very very shiny and not used in residential painting much at all . There are some exceptions to this in terms of floor paint etc but mostly not mainstream.

That’s it!!! The basics of sheen if you have any questions let me know and I will be sure to answer them! Until next time…..