August 19, 2015 3 min read

This section addresses the practical and aesthetic considerations one should take into account when choosing the level of shine or gloss in their paint. The gloss level impacts both the appearance and serviceability of a painted surface.

Higher shine or gloss levels in paint, result in greater durability such as scrub, stain and moisture resistance. Higher gloss levels also tend to highlight imperfections in a surface e.g. uneven drywall surfaces, rough spots, scratches and dents.

Gloss levels can also affect how colors are perceived. The identical color will have a different appearance depending on the shine level. Color in a high gloss paint will appear brighter that the same color in a paint with lower shine levels.

Types Of Paint Glosses

Flat paints have a “rough” surface profile after they dry helping to conceal surface imperfections, and are best suited for walls that are rough or dented. They are also a good choice for ceilings. Flat film coatings “touch up” better, but are more difficult to clean if exposed to dirt, grease or moisture. As a result, flat paints should not be used in high traffic areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and hallways.

Matte finish paints are similar to flat paints in appearance, but will show a slight sheen when viewed at an angle. Matte finish paints offer a higher degree of washability than flat paints and are ideal for family rooms, dining rooms and master bedrooms.

Paints with an eggshell finish are one step glossier than matte paints. Eggshell paints provide a greater degree of warmth and richness to surfaces than flat paints, and tend to resist stains and dirt better than flat and matte paints. Because of these factors, eggshell paints are the most commonly used on interior walls.

Pearl and Satin finish paints have higher gloss levels than eggshell paints, have superior cleaning properties, and are more resistant to stains and moisture. As a result, these paints are a good choice for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Low Lustre
Low Lustre paints have a higher gloss level than flat and matte paints. Low Lustre paints are excellent for areas that require some gloss, but also require good cleaning properties and resistance to moisture. Low Lustre paints tend to be used in exterior coatings and are best suited for siding and masonry surfaces.

Soft Gloss
Soft Gloss paints have a slightly duller sheen level than semi-gloss paints, and offer superior resistance to stains and dirt. Soft Gloss paints are characteristic of exterior coatings offering protection against UV rays. These paints are typically used for exterior doors, trim and shutters.

Semi-gloss paints have a higher shine level than flat, eggshell and satin paints. They offer good resistance to stains, dirt, moisture and scratches making them ideal for use on doors, trim, cabinets and furniture.

Gloss / High Gloss
Gloss and High Gloss paints provide the highest reflective appearance, and are the toughest, most durable and stain resistant of all finishes. These paints are best suited for use on cabinets, doors and furniture.

Interior Gloss Application Chart

Application Area Flat  Matte Eggshell  Pearl Satin  Semi-Gloss  Gloss
Family Room
Living Room
Dining Room

Exterior Gloss Application Chart

Application Area Flat  Low Lustre Satin Soft Gloss  High Gloss
Wood Siding
Aluminum / Vinyl Siding
Masonry / Brick / Stucco
Doors / Trim / Windows
Soffits / Fascia
Garage Doors
Wood Fences
Metal Gates / Railing

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