What Exterior Paint Sheen Should I Use?
When considering painting the exterior of your house and choosing the proper paint sheen, a common question is, “which sheen or paint finish should I use?” As professional Painting Contractors, we know that when deciding the type of sheen that you need to use, you must take into account the brand, color and sheen of paint you have must use in order to provide a professional look and a finished exterior paint job that will last many years.
For home owners or business owners, when it comes to selecting the proper paint sheen, deciding which type of sheen will be best can be confusing and scary because the wrong choice would end up costing you!
With the four main categories including: Gloss or semi-gloss, satin or eggshell, and flat/matte – “Which one should I use?” and “what do these sheen categories mean?” are common questions that customers have when it comes to these sheens and paint coatings. To further understand the attributes of each type, it must be understood that the exterior of every house must undergo the stress of the outdoor elements such as rain, snow, physical wear, and UV rays. All of these factors make the question of which sheen to use very important.
What Is Paint Sheen?
Paint sheen is the relation of both the appearance and performance of the exterior paint you use. Sheen is commonly associated with the value of shine or reflectiveness an exterior paint may have. Glossy paint exhibits a high reflective state and appears wet or shiny, while matte (or flat) is dull and is not reflective. Paint that exhibits high gloss is better for use in wet environments or high-impact conditions. Matte is more susceptible to scuffs and damage as well as attracting dirt and various debris.
What Factors Determine Paint Sheen?
When making a certain sheen in paint, the ratios of color pigments to binders and resins determine if the paint is glossy or not. More pigment that resin in the paint results in a matte sheen, while more resin and binders make the paint glossier.
For areas of a house that are primarily siding, less glossy paint is recommended as it is more forgiving of the surface of the house, meaning that imperfections will be less visible.
On the other hand, other large exterior surfacing without siding should incorporate semi-gloss on the main areas and use even glossier paints for siding and window sills as these places can collect the most water and are usually washed more often. All in all, areas with more water exposure should require a glossy paint while siding and more rough areas that are less susceptible to damage should use duller paints such as matte or flat.
Matte and Flat Finishes
Flat paint finishes with a non reflective look that gives the feeling of a more coarse and chalky exterior when touched. To the eye the paint hides imperfections and gives a clean look that keeps the exterior seeming more sleek as the bumps and grooves are less visible. However the major con with flat paints is that they must be recoated more often as they can take more damage and easily get dirty.
Eggshell and Satin Finishes
Satin is not very reflective and is similar to flat in the way that it conceals the imperfections the exterior may possess. The main difference between satin and flat is that satin is more durable and washes easier. Satin is silkier and appears more smooth than flat finishes.
Semi-Gloss and Gloss finishes
Finally Gloss and Semi-Gloss yield the most durability to the exterior of your house. Commonly used to paint trim, gloss is highly reflective, and used for trim because they are commonly scrubbed and receive much wear. Gloss is the best option for areas that need the most washing as it is highly durable to water and friction.
Recommendations for Exterior Paint Sheen
When considering all options vs all possible applications and situations, eggshell or satin paint sheens are the most universal finishes for a house. They possess the attributes of both flat and glossy finishes, making them the best choices when it comes to general paint finishing. However when you next decide on a type of paint sheen, make your choice of finishing on what is best suitable for your house and efficient use of both your money and time.