FLAT – A matte finish that creates a reflection-free surface. The surface has a chalky appearance like unglazed tile. Because the matte finish diffuses the light that hits it, roughness or imperfections in the surface are hidden better than with other sheen finishes. Flat sheens are easier to touch up, since there is little contrast between the touch up spot and the existing paint. Flat sheens are perfect for low-traffic areas such as dining rooms and master bedrooms, but are not known for easy washability, so they don’t do as well in high-traffic areas. Their rough texture also traps dirt more easily than a smoother surface.

EGGSHELL – This sheen gets its name from the teture of a real eggshell. Its slight sheen is more visible when looking at the surface at an angle. Its slight gloss makes eggshell surfaces more resistant to dirt and grime and they are more washable than flat finishes. Eggshell sheens are suitable for living rooms, family rooms, and hallways. It is a popular finish in bathrooms, where there is a high level of moisture. One thing to consider is that eggshell sheens look best when applied to the whole wall in one painting session because touchups will be much more noticeable.

SATIN – Satin sheen is very popular and considered the most versatile because of its good resistance to scratches and other marks. Since it can be scrubbed, it can be easily washed to keep it looking as good as new. It performs well in any room or exterior surface because it has a surface that is just smooth enough to repel water, but not shiny enough to reflect too much sunlight.

SEMI-GLOSS – This sheen has a slightly glossy appearance but is not wet looking. Semi-gloss paint surfaces offer the best in terms of durability, and it’s a great choice for walls and woodwork that get heavy use. Because it’s higher sheen value provides a harder surface, it stands up to scrubbing much better and also can be used in high-moisture areas such as laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s play areas. It is the most commonly used exterior trim choice, for such features as shutters, doors, eaves, and porches.

GLOSS – Gloss is a term used to define how shiny a paint is, and also to characterize this highest level of paint sheens. Gloss paint dries to a mirror-like finish, and is the easiest to clean because grease, dirt, and fingerprints sit on the surface and can be wiped away. This durable paint surface is highly resistant to moisture, but its high level of light reflection does show every surface imperfection. A gloss paint is most commonly chosen for trim work on cabinets, banister, doorframes, windowsills, and window frames. It also helps to accent a bright color or allow the paint color to seem more intense.

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