Behind every seriously stylish new shade and paint-effect trend is a paint finish. Working out which paint to use where can be tricky; we know this because we’re often asked for advice by our customers. On one hand, paint finishes of all kinds have become versatile with the introduction of better quality water-based paints. That said, if you’re trying to create a particular effect, you do need to know the differences between the main finishes, so we’ve come to the rescue with a mini introduction to gloss, satinwood and eggshell finish paints.
Best for: gloss creates a high sheen finish that lasts. Gloss is more durable than other paint finishes and for this reason it's the most popular choice for high wear areas like doors, where gloss wood paints are the natural choice. Gloss paint is also commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms where surfaces need to be able to withstand more wear and tear. If you are looking for an exterior paint, gloss should be your first choice because of its durability.
Beware: high gloss can highlight imperfections on your painting surface, so you'll need to ensure it's ultra smooth before you reach for your paintbrush. It's also best not to put gloss directly onto bare wood as it's likely to soak in the paint; for this reason your painter will use an undercoat.
Best for: a mid-sheen finish is best achieved with satinwood paint, which is used for interior painting for durability. When it comes to painting windowsills and skirting boards, satinwood is becoming an increasingly popular choice because it tends to retain a bright white colour longer than gloss paints, though water-based glosses now perform well in this area. You can more often than not skip the undercoat by using satin gloss too.
Beware: A primer will help stop your satinwood paint from peeling, helping you to achieve and maintain a sleek finish.
Best for: more matte than gloss or satinwood, subtler eggshell paint is another top choice for interiors. If you want to create a shabby chic or period-style finish, eggshell may be your best paint partner. It's great on plasterboard, which makes it very compatible with modern homes and it can be used on wood and metal too. It's also a good base for layering paint effects.
Beware: though it is durable, eggshell paint doesn't quite stand up to the durability of gloss, so it wouldn't usually be a first choice for high traffic areas.