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Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish

Written by David | May 27, 2022

This blog post came from the mind of our website host- thanks Megan! In looking at what people search for when painting their homes, deciding which type of sheen is best is actually a very common question. I never thought about it, because as professional interior painters we are just buying and applying with little thought. Choosing the right interior paint finish or paint sheen is important as it will determine how long the paint will last.

So here we go…(with the help of our local Carpentersville Sherwin Williams and Geneva Benjamin Moore stores) we will cover each type of paint sheen and where they are best used in your home. The sheen levels are also in order of quality and cost, FYI

interior home painters - dfranco painting elgin il
Interior House Painting

Flat Paint Sheens

I did not miss type – I did say sheens, plural. Even with the paint being flat, there are some differences in the flat sheens. Flat paints are used almost all the time for painting ceilings. Flat sheen actually does a great job of hiding imperfections in the wall or ceiling surface and they touch up very easily. Using this sheen, in my opinion actually shows the truest color, as the more sheen you have the more reflective value you get, which I think takes away from the color. CHB and 200 flat are the most common we use, but these are the most common flat paint sheens:

  • Sherwin Williams – There are a few different flat paints within the Sherwin Williams line of paints. There is CHB, 400, 200, Super Paint, Emerald, Duration
  • Benjamin Moore also has several flat paints; Super hyde, Cornado final touch, Ultra spec, Ben, Regal , Waterbourne Ultra Flat

Matte/Low Sheen Paints

Low sheen paints are a higher sheen than flat, so it is not totally flat, but it is not really shiny either. If your looking for something with some shine, then this is your ticket. It can be a little tricky to touch up, and it still does ok at hiding wall imperfections.

  • Sherwin Williams has several low sheen paints; 200, 400, Cashmere, Duration, Emerald
  • Benjamin Moore has several low sheen paints; Ultra Spec, Ben, Regal, Aura,

Eggshell Sheens

Eggshell paint is the work horse of paint sheens. What that means for us is that we use it more than any other sheen of paint. It washes well, and has a nice sheen or shine level. Touching up can be an issue. It will definitely start showing problems with the walls, nicks, dings, pops, issues with bad drywall seams.

  • Sherwin Williams has a few variations of the Eggshell sheens, the degree of sheen may change by 1-3%, but it these are all considered eggshell sheens. 200, 400, Cashmere and Super paint Velvet
  • Benjamin Moore has Super hyde, Ultra Spec, Ben, Regal, Aura

Satin Sheen

Satin paints are the start of what people will use for trim, doors, windows etc. They wash very well and they can do a great job of creating a washable surface for high traffic areas. Touching up this sheen is a pain. You usually have to paint larger areas or whole walls.

  • Sherwin Williams has Super, Duration and Emerald, as well as Cashmere Low lustre
  • Benjamin Moore has; Cornado Waterbourne, Ultra Spec, Ben, Scuff X, Advance Waterbourne, Cabinet coat, Regal (pearl) and Aura

Semi-gloss Sheen

Semi gloss sheens are used primarily for trim, doors, etc. It is shiney!! The higher the shine the more issues or problems you will see with the walls, doors, trim etc. It will show everything wrong with the walls.

  • Sherwin Williams has 200, 400, Super, Duration, Emerald, Cashmere Medium Lustre
  • Benjamin Moore has; Super Hyde, Cornado Waterbourne, Ultra Spec, Rust cat/Multiply, Ben, Regal, Cabinet coat, Advance Waterbourne and Aura.

Best Paint Sheens for Bathrooms

Within Sherwin Williams paints the best bathroom paint sheens would be Duration and Emerald as they have a moisture content in the paint to help prevent moisture issues and allow for the most durability and washability.

Benjamin Moore actually has a bath and spa paint that is made for bathrooms. We have used it in home painting projects and man does it work!

bathroom paint sheen - during interior home painting
semi gloss wall paint

We hope this helps!! If you are getting ready to paint your home, aside from picking colors and who will be painting the interior of your home, the next most important thing is choosing the right interior paint finish.

If you have more questions about paint sheens you can call your local paint store, or visit their websites:
Sherwin Williams
JC Licht

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