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Old 06-28-2020, 07:06 PM   #1
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Paint sheens


I just finished painting my living room and hallway. I picked a neutral beige, and I used an eggshell sheen.

Love the color and the paint came out nicely, but with the eggshell sheen it seems to me like every little imperfection in the walls suddenly became magnified 100X. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I will notice those things while most won't.

But now I'm wondering if I should have gone with a matte finish. It's a high traffic area, but my kids are older, so messes are unlikely. My house is also fairly small, and supposedly a little gloss can make rooms appear larger. So eggshell would seem to be a good choice.

But like I said, I can now spot areas where the previous owner had some patching done and they didn't smooth/blend it well.

Or maybe I should just hang pictures over any spots like that?
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:18 AM   #2
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Re: Paint sheens


The higher the sheen, the more imperfections show. You know what the choices are, now you just have to decide.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:18 AM   #3
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Re: Paint sheens


Matte can be harder to "maintain," harder to clean/scrub without rubbing off the paint.

Living room is probs fine for matte paint, but I wouldn't put in a hallway or on stairs because there's too many dirty fingers on the walls in those areas.

I've seen "Satin" in paint, that's a step less glossy than eggshell to my eye. Maybe see if they have satin in your brand and see if you like that finish?
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:26 AM   #4
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Re: Paint sheens


There really isn't an industry standard when it comes to sheen. That's why some paints may be shinier or flatter than a similarly label paint from another manufacturer [sometimes even with different lines of the same brand]


As noted above the more the sheen the more defects will be highlighted. The correct fix would be to repair/texture the offending spots. That said, often once all the furniture is put back, curtains and pics hung - those areas are harder to spot.
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:39 AM   #5
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Re: Paint sheens


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Matte can be harder to "maintain," harder to clean/scrub without rubbing off the paint.

Living room is probs fine for matte paint, but I wouldn't put in a hallway or on stairs because there's too many dirty fingers on the walls in those areas.

I've seen "Satin" in paint, that's a step less glossy than eggshell to my eye. Maybe see if they have satin in your brand and see if you like that finish?
ALL satin's will be a step up in sheen from an eggshell.
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:46 AM   #6
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Re: Paint sheens


Unfortunately, drywall finishing isn't what it used to be. Hangers bid the jobs to win, and GC's want the lowest bid, and fast finishing on drywall is part of that. ...... This means 'imperfections'. ....... There is a reason the specs always call for a flat in the larger, if not all, areas ......... to make the walls looks nice.

Worst case scenario is to come back next time with a 'top shelf' flat. ...... Top shelf flats are not as flat as cheap flats. ..... You pay for a bit more resin which in turn gives more sheen. ...... A top shelf flat would be the closest step down from an eggshell. I suppose that is why they call them 'matte'.
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:42 PM   #7
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Re: Paint sheens


Re-paint in flat or matte and decide for yourself.
You can do it 10, 20 times if you wish.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:13 PM   #8
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Re: Paint sheens


As mentioned, there is not consistency between manufacturers regarding sheen. I'm partial to B-M eggshell which is pretty low lustre and imperfections only seem to show if there is strong oblique light. Perhaps see if paint stores have a sheen sample card, or even sample bottles. It's a small samlping but might give you an idea.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:02 PM   #9
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Re: Paint sheens


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That said, often once all the furniture is put back, curtains and pics hung - those areas are harder to spot.
That's the same thing my Mom mentioned to me. Hoping that turns out to be the case, because that is clearly the cheapest option.

Thanks, all!
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:21 PM   #10
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Re: Paint sheens


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ALL satin's will be a step up in sheen from an eggshell.
Ah yes I had that backwards >.<
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:01 PM   #11
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Re: Paint sheens


While there is no industry standard in paint sheens, they do tend to go as follows:

Flat: Virtually no sheen, but toughest to keep clean. Any scrubbing will produce a shiny spot. Good for areas where the drywall doesn't get much activity or where it is in bad shape. Hides imperfections.

Matte: Either a flat or with just a touch of shine. A bit more scrubbable than flat but will still produce a bit of a shiny spot when scrubbed. Similar to flat, much better for areas with rough texture or more imperfections.

Eggshell: Mild sheen, scrubbable without leaving shiny spots. Good all around paint. Hides some imperfections. Good where there is high traffic as it is scrubbable. Especially if it says "Enamel" on the label. Which means it dries to a hard surface.

Satin: Moderate sheen. Very scrubbable. Good in high traffic areas. Great for bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens. Can handle some water splashing. Will show imperfections so either use it over textured walls or skim coated walls.

Semi-Gloss and High Gloss. Shiny and VERY shiny. Usually used for trim paint. Can be used on walls but will show any minor imperfection.

When deciding trim paint, it is usually a good idea to go one or two sheen levels higher than what is on the walls. Or down from what is on the walls if you want to be a trendsetter.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:24 PM   #12
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Re: Paint sheens


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Originally Posted by lenaitch View Post
As mentioned, there is not consistency between manufacturers regarding sheen. I'm partial to B-M eggshell which is pretty low lustre and imperfections only seem to show if there is strong oblique light. Perhaps see if paint stores have a sheen sample card, or even sample bottles. It's a small samlping but might give you an idea.
Well sort of ....... the paint industry categorizes sheens via the LRV range (light reflection value). It is basically the 'angle' that is needed to get light to 'reflect' off a finish. Flat paint has an LRV range, eggshell has an LRV range, etc, etc. ..... the angle of each category can include 10 to 15 degrees, so yes, the 'labeled' sheen can vary between mfgr's.
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:03 AM   #13
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Re: Paint sheens


My preference is flat or matte everywhere except bathrooms, where eggshell thru semi-gloss is OK.
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Old 06-30-2020, 10:14 AM   #14
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Re: Paint sheens


I would never put flat in a kitchen either, unless everything near any work surface is already fully backsplashed.

Many people like the look of some sheen even in low traffic areas, such as matte to eggshell.


Most people do not like as much sheen as semi-gloss anywhere, including a bathroom.


My basic recommendation is eggshell in kitchens and baths, matte if you really really don't like the sheen. Anywhere from flat to eggshell everywhere else depending on what you like to look at vs. how much cleaning you'll need to do. Satin minimum on trim, semi-gloss standard, to full gloss (some people like that look, some don't.)
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:27 AM   #15
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Re: Paint sheens


I prefer eggshell/satin on all the walls. When the kids grew up and went out on their own I repainted with flat - big mistaken! After our grandson got big enough to walk I noticed smudges in the paint all over the 2'-3' mark.
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