Level Five Painting LLC

Paint Finishes

Pros and Cons of Paint Finishes – Free Guide

You have selected every single paint color you want to use to renovate your home. However, have you started thinking about what finish is the most prudent to match up with each color? A single paint color can look completely different based on the finish you choose. We know it can be an intimidating process to select the right finish, especially when there are so many options available and each of them produces a very unique effect.

That is why we created this guide. This article is for you. From the basics to the peculiar aspects, we describe here the major differences among the most commonly used finishes. From the durability to what project each finish type is perfect for, learn not only what glossiness paint finishes have but also how hard it is to work with each of them, which will impact directly on the cost of your project. Currently, among the best paint brands, we have seven types of finishes.

The most common are: flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss, and high-gloss.

Flat: no-sheen, good to hide minor imperfections, doesn’t offer protection, durable and washable
Only recommended to be used on ceilings. Since ceilings are areas where people don’t usually touch we recommend this type of finish to be used only for ceiling projects. This type of finish doesn’t offer great protection to the surface where it is applied. Since it doesn’t reflect any light and color, it is not recommended to be used in walls since it can easily move or be removed with a stronger touch.


Matte: similar to flat finish, has low-sheen and offers protection
Commonly used in interior projects, similar to “flat finish”, in the past, matte finishes didn’t offer any protection. With the advance of technology, nowadays we can find matte finishes with protection. Mattes are very washable which makes it extremely popular among homeowners. This type of finish produces a “velour effect”, which is good to match with an inspiring decoration placed in social areas of the house, such as family rooms and kitchens.

Eggshell: smooth, low-sheen, offers protection
This finish is easy to be cleaned – it can be scrubbed – however, it is not recommended for retouches. It is recommended for high traffic areas, such as stairways, hallways. This finish was extremely popular at the beginning of the 2000s. The best benefit of this finish is protection.


Satin: silky, multi-purpose, low-sheen, easy to be cleaned
Extremely popular nowadays, in the past this finish was most used in areas with a lot of activity, such as hallways, play & kids’ rooms. However, nowadays satin finishes are most used in trims. Although it is very easy to be cleaned, it doesn’t work well with touch-ups. It matches really well when it is applied in trims of rooms that have walls painted with a matte finish.

Semi-gloss: mid-sheen, durable, scrubbable, high stain and moist resistance
A very durable finish that 90% of the time is used in wood, such as trims, doors, and crown molding. Although it is very hard to be touched-up, it is very easy to be cleaned. It is rarely used in walls and ceilings – unless it is a requirement coming from the interior designer or homeowner.


Gloss: bright sheen, stain-resistant, and washable
The gloss finish stays in between the semi-gloss and the high-gloss finishes. Very easy to clean and almost impossible to accept touch-ups, it is much more stain-resistant than the satin and flat types. Gloss finishes are strictly used for trims, accent built-ins, cabinets, and doors.

High-gloss: “lacquered effect”/”glass-like sheen”, hardest to apply out of all the paint finishes, super durable
Very popular nowadays, different from other glosses, this one can be used not just on wood, but also on walls and ceilings, depending on the brand – we recommend Fine Paints of Europe. Since it shows all imperfections of the surface when applied if you choose to have this finish in your project make sure to be aware that it will be a very labor-intensive one. Almost impossible to accept touch-ups, it is a very challenging finish to work with. This finish requires the painter a lot of precision, attention, and care. On the flip side, it is super easy to clean and a super light-reflective and statement-making.