The ABCs of Paint Finishes

April 12, 2017
Are you ready to choose paint for your Toronto house or condo, but hung up on all the different finishes? ColourWorks Painting Design can help you make sense of the puzzle of patinas. We’ll unravel the mystery of sheens, and guide you to best choices for your home.

If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve ordered the wrong finish at least once in your life. The wrong finish can feel uncomfortable to the eye, and cast an unfavorable light on any room. Worse, the wrong paint finish may wear poorly, and need to be repainted sooner than you’d like.

With the help of a ColourWorks design professional, we’ll make sure you’ve got the right finish for each room in the house. We’ll show you the different sheens available, recommend the best options for your use of the space, and demonstrate how each sheen interacts with the light in the room differently. Together, we’ll choose the right options for every surface of every room we paint.

And just to get you started, here are a few things you need to know about finishes:

The finish of your paint directly relates to:

  1. The amount of light/glare that’s reflected vs. colour representation.
  2. The minimization, or magnification of surface imperfections.
  3. The scrubability, and how it shows or hides dirt.
  4. The durability of the paint finish.
  5. The touch-up-ability.

As you can see, choosing a paint finish has more to do with the appeal of a room and its maintenance, than you may have realized. So where do you start? Here’s a look at some of the most popular sheen finishes:

Common Sheens:

  • Flat – this sheen casts the least amount of light reflection; with no glare, you see the truest representation of your colour. It’s the best at hiding surfaces imperfections, and touch-ups are virtually invisible. Scrubability and cleaning are not as easy though, so we recommend it only on ceilings and low-traffic areas.
  • Matte – this sits just above Flat in sheen-level and light reflection. Still does a great job of hiding imperfections, and touch-ups fade into itself well. With today’s 100% Acrylics, matte finishes are ideal for showing truest colour without glare interference, and are highly scrubbable, too. But not recommended for homes with small children, or high-traffic area surfaces that are liable to be handled frequently. Although the finish can be safely scrubbed, it may not release all dirt and stains, resulting in the need to touch up instead.
  • Eggshell – this sheen has a soft glow of light reflection, and is great for high traffic areas because it’s easy to clean. This is still the most common wall-sheen for residential painting with only few drawbacks. Those being that it can’t be touched up easily; a small hole-repair in the middle of a wall for example, requires the entire wall to be repainted to make the affected area disappear. And in some cases, where there’s a lot of natural light cast across a wall from only one direction (common in condos with windows at one end only), the glare can overwhelm the colour to become almost unreadable during the sun’s brightest times of day.
  • Semi-Gloss – this sheen is radiant, and a popular choice for trim surfaces like doors, windows, and baseboards for it’s tough outer shell, and ease of cleaning handprints and other markings. It also provides a level of mold and mildew resistance for high-humidity areas. Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and cabinetry are all typical areas for semi-gloss finishes.
  • High-Gloss – this sheen is at the top of the charts for light reflection, just below mirror-like metallic finishes. It has a brilliant shine when viewed from any angle. Perfect for highlighting dramatic trim or wall features, so long as the surface is pristine; it’s also the most unforgiving in its magnification of surface flaws.

Why choose ColourWorks Painting Design as your Toronto Painting Contractor?

ColourWorks provides you with your own Painting Design Specialist on every painting project; someone to guide you through the myriad paints, colours and sheens, and who knows how to mix-and-match them in all the right places to make your home look the way you want it to feel.

We’ve been helping our Toronto clients select the best paints and patinas for over two decades, and we’re ready to bring that expertise to your next painting project.

Get your free consultation today! Call (416) 920-4482 or email us to schedule a free estimate; and we’ll do the consultation right there on the spot when you book the work.


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