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Types of Residential Paint for Your Painting Project

Posted by Daniel Mizrahi on Friday, November 06, 2015

After months of stewing over the seemingly endless options in paint colors, you may have found yourself asking, “What’s the difference between cream or off-white? Ocean or sea blue? True black or deep black?” When you finally decide exactly what shade of sage green to paint the bathroom, you may march into your local hardware or paint store feeling like all of your paint decisions are behind you. But when you walk up to the paint counter and ask for two gallons of “absolute white” (which you know you prefer to “pure white”), you find you’re faced with even more questions: Eggshell? Flat? Satin? Gloss or Semi-gloss?  

If these words sound like a foreign language, or if you feel like you can’t make one more decision, don’t worry: once you know a few basics about the different types of residential paint, you can come to the paint counter armed with the color and type of paint you want, and the confidence that comes with knowing that you’re making the right choice.

Flat (or Matte) Paint

Flat paint falls at the “no shine” end of the spectrum. If you’re over 25 and still remember printing your photos, you may have chosen between a “glossy” and a “matte” finish. Just like with photos, while a glossy finish shines and reflects, a flat or matte finish does not reflect light. This type of paint is easy to clean and is typically used for a low or no traffic area. This is the most common paint for ceilings.

Eggshell

Eggshell is a great, versatile finish. It’s used often in areas that get moderate traffic or wear, such as a living room. Eggshell doesn’t glisten, but it is softer than flat finish paint.

Satin

Satin is the other versatile middle ground option. If you want to split the difference between flatness and sheen, but you know that the walls you’re painting may encounter more wear and tear, satin is an excellent option. Recommended for kitchens due to its ability to handle a higher level of traffic (and therefore more exposure to bumps, scuffs, and messes), this paint type also provides a little more moisture than eggshell. If you’re in a stage of life where you have children drawing on walls or pets who aren’t house-trained, satin may even be a better choice for your general living spaces (like the living and dining room) than eggshell.

Semi-Gloss

You might choose a semi-gloss finish because you like the sleek, bright shine. It tends to look great when you paint kitchen cabinets, as it offsets nicely from the eggshell or satin finish of the kitchen walls. Semi-gloss can handle even more moisture than satin without peeling or bubbling, and so it’s a common choice for bathrooms. Also consider it for high-traffic areas such as entryways or children’s bedrooms: it can take cleaning upon cleaning.

High-Gloss

This is the shiniest paint you can get. It has the same benefits of semi-gloss only it deals with moisture and wear and tear even better. If you’re looking at bathroom remodel ideas, a new coat of high-gloss paint is a great start. Those who prefer a paint with the highest-brilliance finish possible (or who always chose “glossy” as their photo finish) may be drawn to high-gloss or semi-gloss.

Since the type of paint you choose is both an aesthetic and a practical decision, you want to be sure that you find the option that is going to look how you want and work how you need. If you’re in Pasadena, California, you don’t have to make that decision alone. From choosing a paint finish to applying that final coat, Open Hand Remodeling knows that interior paint is a vital part of house updates, remodels, and additions.

Open Hand specializes in home updates, additions, and remodels, and is here to make every step of that smooth, easy, and stress-free; whether you’re looking at refacing cabinets or an entire kitchen remodel, and no matter how long it takes you to choose that perfect shade of gray.

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