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What Sheen Should You Use When Painting the Interior of Your Home?

A lot of people are confused when it comes to painting. What is the difference between sheens? Which sheen should I use for my interior walls? Which sheen should I use for trim? These are all common questions that many people are asking.

Sheen Facts:

There are a variety of sheens including Flat, Matte, Satin, Eggshell, Pearl, Semi-gloss and Gloss. As the sheens increase, they become more washable, but they also show more of the imperfections. For example, if you used a Flat sheen on your walls you would be given the best coverage of all your walls imperfections, but the walls would be very hard to clean. On the other hand if you used Semi-gloss on the walls you’d easily be able to wipe away marks and fingerprints, but the paint would show imperfections in the wall a lot more clearly.

Walls

When painting interior walls, most people tend to use an Eggshell sheen. It provides a good balance of washability and coverage. It may not be as easy to clean as a semi-gloss or gloss, but it still cleans well and also hides many imperfections on the walls.

An exception to this is that in some Bathrooms, a Pearl sheen may be a better fit for the walls. It is a tad bit glossier than an eggshell making it easier to clean while still hiding some imperfections. The truth is that a bathroom needs to be cleaned more than say, a living room, and most likely has less imperfections to hide, as a bathroom is not as high traffic and area as living room is.

Trim and Baseboards

Most painters recommend a Semi-gloss sheen when painting Trims and Baseboards. Think of the trims around your doorways and how much they are touched by fingers and brushed up against, or the baseboards and how many times you’ve scuffed them with the vacuum cleaner. Most likely your trims and baseboards will need to be cleaned more frequently than your walls because they come into contact with more things on a constant basis. Semi-gloss is a sheen that is very easy to clean, and because trims and baseboards are so small, they usually do not have as many imperfections that need hiding. Therefore it doesn’t matter as much that semi-gloss shows imperfections, making it the ideal sheen pick for Trim and Baseboards.

Ceilings

Flat is the most common sheen when painting ceilings. Ceilings come into contact with objects vary rarely and therefore do not need to be cleaned as often. The Flat sheen hides imperfections well and provides a contrast to the higher sheens of Eggshell on the walls, and Semi-gloss on the Trims and Baseboards, making it ideal for ceilings.

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