Eggshell and Satinwood paint – What’s the difference?

Eggshell and Satinwood paint

Whether you’re embarking on a DIY project in your own home or you’re a professional in the field of painting and decorating, understanding the nuances between various paint types is crucial. Specifically, distinguishing between Eggshell and Satinwood is imperative to guarantee that the appropriate paint is selected for the intended application. As interior painters will attest, comprehending what is denoted by a paint’s finish, the inherent differences between eggshell and satinwood, and the ideal scenarios to use each can make a significant difference in the outcome of a project. This discussion seeks to shed light on “Eggshell paint and Satinwood paint – What’s the difference?” to provide clarity and guidance for both novices and professionals.

What is paint glossiness?

Simply put, a paint’s gloss measures its ability to reflect light or shininess. The two extremes of the paint glossiness spectrum are gloss and matte finishes. Gloss finishes are the most reflective, whereas matte is designed to absorb the most light to give that distinctive ‘flat’ matte look. As well as having apparent aesthetic differences, the glossiness of paint can affect other properties too.

The main one of these properties, and probably the most important other than the look of the paint, is its durability and lifespan. Glossy paint tends to have a more significant concentration of pigment binder and a smaller amount of pigment. Because of this ratio, the transparent pigments tend to dry as a layer on top of the pigment, which is how the paint gets its shiny and smooth finish. This tends to make the paint much more resistant to scratches, dents and stains, as the binding chemicals are more durable than the paint itself. Conversely, matte paint has a high pigment ratio, which can give rich, deep colour and is often more visually desirable.

Difference between Eggshell and Satinwood paint

Eggshell and satinwood are two paint finishes between the extremes of gloss and matte paint. Each can be used for different purposes depending on your needs. Eggshell is fairly matte with a slight gloss, and satinwood is more glossy without becoming a full-gloss paint.


Eggshell, as you might expect, is named for its similar light-reflective properties to an egg’s shell, meaning that it has a slight sheen when compared to matte paint. As explained above, because the paint does not contain a large proportion of glossy binding materials, it’s pretty matte, but that, in turn, makes it more susceptible to wear and tear than less shiny paint.

Best for: more matte than gloss or satinwood, subtler eggshell paint is another top interior choice. If you want to create a shabby chic or period-style finish, eggshell may be your best paint partner. It’s excellent 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 satinwood or gloss, so it wouldn’t usually be the first choice for high-traffic areas.


In contrast to eggshell paint, paint with a satinwood finish contains more of the resin that makes paint glossy, so it has a higher gloss factor than eggshell. This comes with the advantages of being more durable, scratch-resistant, and long-wearing. If you are planning on painting a high-traffic area of your home that may see use from a lot of kids, satinwood may be the better choice in this instance.

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. However, 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.

The art of painting, whether for DIY enthusiasts or professionals, requires a deep understanding of the paint’s intrinsic properties, especially when deciding between eggshell and satinwood finishes. A paint’s glossiness, representing its shininess, spans between the reflective gloss and the absorbing matte. This glossiness significantly affects the paint’s durability; glossy paints often offer more resistance to external damage. The nuanced distinction between eggshell and satinwood lies in their placement on this spectrum. While eggshell provides a subtle sheen perfect for a period-style finish, satinwood offers more outstanding durability with a brighter finish, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. The key to achieving the desired outcome is comprehending these differences and selecting the paint accordingly. Always ensure that the right paint is chosen for the right task, considering its aesthetic and functional attributes.

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