If you’ve never painted before, choosing the right paint sheen can be confusing. From flat paint to high gloss paint, a fresh coat can give any paint project a new look!
How does semi gloss compare to other sheens? What are the best uses for a semi gloss paint finish?
Paint Sheens Explained
There are 5 major paint sheens: flat or matte, eggshell, satin, semi gloss, and high gloss. Some companies have a few more sheens that are specific to their brand, however, in hardware stores, you will likely only find five.
All options offer a variety of uses, however, there are recommendations for each sheen.
Lower sheen paints are used more frequently throughout homes and are great for large areas like interior walls.
Higher sheen paints are used more sparingly, but they are very durable and great for high traffic areas.
What Is Semi Gloss Paint?
With semi gloss paint being at the higher end of the sheen spectrum, it has a slightly noticeable shine, regardless of how much light is hitting the wall or project.
It contains more resin and less pigment, making it stain resistant and also easier to clean than other finishes.
When Should I Use Semi Gloss Paint?
Semi gloss paint is best used for projects like painted doors, trim work, crown molding, wood furniture, cabinets, and window panes.
These areas, particularly kitchen cabinets, are frequently used and touched and are more likely to accumulate dirt.
One of the best things about semi gloss finishes is that they resist abrasions and stains and clean easily, making them a perfect fit for areas that need frequent scrubbing, such as cabinets.
With semi gloss paint, you don’t have to worry about your paint washing off when you clean as you do with a flat or matte finish.
Drawbacks of Semi Gloss Paints
Some websites suggest using semi gloss on walls in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms due to its stain resistance and durability.
However, higher gloss paints do not hide imperfections well.
They draw attention to existing surface blemishes and intensify wall texture because light reflects off the high shine finish.
Volatile Organic Compound
Higher gloss paints are made with a higher resin ratio than lower sheen paints. More sheen means higher volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs are the toxic fumes released in paint fumes and can linger for days after painting. Many of these compounds are carcinogenic.
The good news is that a few home improvement projects are highly unlikely to cause damage to your health. However, exposure to VOCs over long periods of time may increase health risks.
Does Semi Gloss Paint Affect My Paint Color?
Although many agree that paint sheen has an effect on the paint color, there is conflicting information about whether glossier paints will make a color appear darker or lighter.
Some sites state that paints with more shine will make colors appear darker because the glossiness reflects light. Other sites suggest that higher sheen paints will make a room look brighter because of the reflectivity, particularly on cabinets.
The best option is to test an area of the project you are painting and decide what you like best. Benjamin Moore has a great video clip showing the way light changes the way flat, eggshell, and semi gloss reflect light.
Semi Gloss Paint Materials
As we already stated, glossier paints show more surface imperfections than paint finishes with less sheen.
For smooth application and to minimize brush strokes, choose soft nylon and polyester brushes. If you are planning on using a roller, stick to short nap rollers, such as a 1/4 inch. These create fewer bubbles and allow for a smooth coat.
Semi gloss paint is an excellent choice for small projects throughout your house. This paint finish provides the durability to handle daily living without having to worry about damaging high traffic areas of your home.
The ease of cleaning is an added bonus, making this the perfect choice for cabinets, trim, furniture, doors and more!