Paint and Varnish sheens
Sheen refers to the light reflectivity of the
painted or varnished surface. There are varying degrees of sheen’s, from no
sheen to high gloss. Paint manufacturers may refer to their paint sheen’s by
different names, but essentially they all correspond to these reflective
- Flat finish (matte finish)
- Eggshell finish (low-luster)
- Satin finish (pearl finish)
- Semi gloss finish
- High gloss finish
Sheen’s vary due to the amount of crystalline silica suspended in the paint or varnish vehicle (medium). High gloss
has virtually no silica, while matte, or flat finish, has a substantial
amount of silica per volume.
Matte (flat) finish
Most commonly used for interior ceilings and walls. This finish causes the
least amount of light reflection, thus limiting the appearance of an
irregularities or blemishes on the surface being painted.
This is the ideal base coat sheen used in decorative
painting and faux finishing. The slight sheen allows glaze
treatments to flow easily over the surface, while still allowing enough
‘gripping’ power for the glaze to properly adhere to the painted surface.
painting and Faux finishing Matte
finishes do not allow for fluid movement of glaze over the surface, and
similarly, semi or high gloss allows easy movement of the glaze but very little
adhering ability of the glaze to the painted surface. Glazing on semi or high
gloss sheen’s increases the risk of damage to the surface by rubbing,
dragging or scrapping against the surface by items such as furniture, pictures,
mops and brooms.
Satin (pearl) sheen and semi-gloss.
Commonly used for trim details. For example, base moldings, crown
molding, doors and window frames. This paint sheen is also an appropriate
finish for use in kitchens and bath areas due to the smoother, less porous
surface allowing for easy clean up.
Wood, painted and stained floors: Satin varnishes are appropriate for
use on floors because of its relative hardness and limited light reflective
Furniture: Satin varnish is appropriate for use on most furniture.
High gloss finish.
Commonly used for appliances or any item or surface requiring easy clean up and
a non-porous surface.
Chart - using the proper paint sheen
|Interior walls and ceilings
|Interior walls. Proper sheen for most decorative finishes.
|Trim, moldings, doors and windows.
Floor finishes: such as clear varnishes and sealers over painted faux
Furniture: Varnishes and sealers
||Trim, moldings, doors and windows
Kitchens and bath areas (areas requiring sanitary surfaces)
|High gloss finish
||Kitchens and bath areas (areas requiring sanitary