What’s The Difference Between Satin And Gloss Paint?

Painting your home can be such an exciting experience! There are so many colors and combinations to choose from, and each can bring entirely new energy to a room. However, it might have thrown you off when you were asked about the type of finish you wanted!

The primary difference between satin and gloss paint is that satin has a soft sheen, and gloss has a very high sheen. Additionally, satin is considered more versatile, whereas gloss is eye-catching and durable. Both types of paint finish are very popular and have a place in any home’s paint scheme.

What's The Difference Between Satin And Gloss Paint

In this article, I’ll be going into deep detail about all of the differences between satin and gloss paint and the benefits and drawbacks of each. I’ll also discuss how you can decide which paint finish to use in each area of your home, giving you more time to get to work!

Differences Between Satin and Gloss Paint

The first step in any painting job is to choose the colors you’ll be using. This is usually the step we think about the most — it’s exciting and full of new possibilities!

However, once the colors have been selected, you’re not finished making tough decisions.

Now you need to pick the finish of the paint. The finish is arguably as important as the color since making the wrong choice can lead to a lot of wasted time and money.

Out of all the different finishes — there are quite a few — two of the most popular for homes are satin finish and gloss finish.

A paint’s finish is differentiated by the following characteristics:

  • Sheen
  • Durability
  • Stain resistance
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Color saturation

These two finishes are very different on each of these points and can dramatically change the way a room feels.

Before choosing your colors, you’ll want to make sure that you know the differences, benefits, and drawbacks of both finishes.

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Satin Paint: Good for Versatility and High-Traffic Rooms

Paints with a satin finish are the powerlifters of the options.

Since they’re considered the most versatile finishes, satin paints are very popular for home exteriors and interiors.

Satin will absorb quite a bit of light while still having a soft, subtle sheen.

The resulting effect is a pleasant, velvety appearance. Since they only reflect a small amount of light, satin finish paints tend to be very true to color.

Once dried, satin paints are also very forgiving to scuffs and scrapes.

This makes them a great choice for rooms with a lot of traffic, like children’s rooms or hallways.

Picking a finish that can withstand the wear and tear of the household is a great choice for your future mental health.

Satin is a beautiful but very safe choice for your walls.

Small bits of damage to the walls aren’t obvious to the eye, and any scuffs can easily be cleaned off with a wet cloth and some cleaner. Other finishes highlight any imperfections, and cleaners can cause damage to them.

However, one drawback to satin paint is that touch-ups are not as easy as other finishes. While they’re very forgiving once dry, mistakes while applying the paint are very obvious.

This makes any future touch-ups hard to blend and can usually be seen.

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Gloss Paint: Good for Eye-Catching and High Moisture Areas

As you could probably tell from the name, gloss paints have a lot of glossy sheen to them. Gloss paints reflect the most light of any finish and are quite striking.

In addition to being the highest for sheen, gloss paints are also the easiest to clean of all of the paint finishes.

While other paints are also easy to wash, gloss paints are the hardest and smoothest, making them the winner for ease of cleaning.

Since gloss paints have the hardest exterior, they’re the most durable as well!

Due to this durability, gloss paints are often used in rooms with high moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

The smooth texture can withstand the moisture of these rooms without staining or losing its polish.

Unfortunately, gloss paints are also very unforgiving to imperfections.

Since they reflect so much light, any scuffs will be basically glowing. If you’ve ever worn spandex shorts and been horrified at their ability to showcase every bump, gloss paint does the same for walls.

For this reason, gloss paint isn’t usually used for the walls in higher traffic rooms that are prone to lots of wear and tear.

Even though gloss is very durable to this wear and tear, it also doesn’t hide imperfections. Instead, gloss is usually used in high moisture rooms, trims, and ceilings.

Helpful Guide for Deciding Between Satin or Gloss Paint

What's The Difference Between Satin And Gloss Paint

When you’re trying to decide between these two types of paint, you should ask yourself a few questions before choosing.

First, how much natural light comes into this room? If this is a room with a lot of natural light, then gloss paint will likely be overwhelming in that space.

A satin paint that absorbs more light will be much more pleasant in a room like this.

Next, you should determine how much traffic is in the space. If this is an area where you and others living in the house are constantly coming and going, then there’s a good chance that those walls will get scuffed and scraped throughout the day.

Depending on the answer to this question, you might need to choose between the most durable and the most forgiving finish.

Gloss will be the most durable but will put any imperfection in the spotlight, whereas satin is slightly less durable but hides most minor scuffs.

Lastly, ask yourself if this is a room with moisture and humidity.

Satin paints don’t hold up as well in high moisture rooms, but gloss paints do great in these spaces!

Of course, you can incorporate other finishes to create a beautiful effect in any room where you decide on primarily satin or gloss.

Rooms painted with a satin finish look amazing with gloss accents and other touches!

Final Thoughts

While there are a lot of differences between satin and gloss paints, the real difference that matters most is which you prefer to use in your home.

Both are beautiful, durable, and fairly easy to maintain, so you really can’t go wrong with either choice.

All of the most beautiful home interiors have a healthy mix of both!

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Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.