Choosing a paint sheen may be one of the most confusing aspects of any paint job. There is no industry standard nomenclature, different sheen names can mean the same amount of shine depending on brand, product, and whether it is interior or exterior. So, what do we mean when we say “sheen”? 

Technically speaking it all has to do with the amount of enamel is present in the paint. The more enamel is present in a paint the shinier the finish will be. Also, more enamel means a harder finish which is why doors and baseboards which take the most abuse is typically a semi-gloss or even a gloss finish. 

The drawback to all that shine is what is known as “flashing”. When a surface is shiny and light strikes it, any irregularities tend to catch one’s eye or flash at the viewer. Therefore large surfaces like walls tend to be matte or ceilings are a dead flat, which means no enamel at all. These flat paints also have the advantage of being able to be touched-up without more flashing. 

Right in the middle of the sheen spectrum are the so-called eggshell finishes. Eggshell does not refer to a color as some people think but rather a soft or low shine similar to an egg. Low shine finishes, which may be called low, eggshell, satin, etc. are a compromise finish, offering greater protection than a flat but less hiding of imperfections. An eggshell finish is typically recommended in bathrooms, kitchens, and homes with children or pets. 

So don’t stress out when picking a sheen! Just ask yourself: “do I like a little shine, or no shine?”  To find out more, schedule a free painting estimate with one of our sales team here