When it comes to your home’s exterior, the paint you pick is essential. This paint has to endure all kinds of weather, from sweltering sun to blistering cold.
For the best results, you’ll need a paint with high-quality resins, pigments, and additives, and ideally one that is 100% acrylic latex.
Acrylic latex paints are flexible, breathable, and are far more durable than paints made with vinyl resins or acrylic blends. Thanks to its tenacious adherence to most surfaces, you can also use it on a range of surfaces, from wood to metal and masonry
However, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the many different ‘sheens’ available, from high gloss to eggshell.
‘Sheen’ basically means how glossy the paint is, and these can range from flat, which has virtually no gloss, to high gloss paints that reflect a lot of light.
You may be wondering which finish is best for durability and cleaning, as well as how good it will look.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from different gloss levels:
Satin/eggshell: Satin is a mid-gloss paint, as is eggshell, though the latter has even less of a sheen than the former. These paints are best for siding as they have a low-reflective finish that’s good at hiding surface imperfections. The slight gloss means you can clean it easily and also makes it more durable than flat or matte paints.
Semigloss: Semi-gloss paint is a step up from satin or eggshell, and has a shinier sheen to it. This makes it easier to clean, more durable, and more resistant to moisture. This is great for those areas that take the brunt of bad weather – particularly the windowsills.
High gloss: High gloss paint is a resin-rich formula that is resilient and durable. The shininess of this paint adds richness and depth to colors. However, It also magnifies surface imperfections and, because of this, requires a skillful application. It’s best used sparingly on things like shutters, doors, and high traffic surfaces due to its high dirt resistance.
Should exterior house trim be satin or semi-gloss?
The trim on your home’s exterior typically includes the material that edges the windows and doors, as well as the fascia board that runs along the lower edge of the roof and the soffits beneath the roof. The trim takes the brunt of bad weather, and because of this it is best painted with semi-gloss paint rather than a flatter one such as satin.
Glossier paints have good durability and are easy to clean, so they’re best reserved for trim areas, as well as any surfaces that may be washed frequently. Semi-gloss paint is good for trim work but will show up imperfections, so you don’t want to use it on the large areas of the exterior.
Should exterior house paint be flat or satin?
As we said, for the main siding of your home you want to avoid glossy paints – their high reflectivity will expose any imperfections, and let’s face it, a high gloss paint would look a little strange on your home’s facade.
For large areas of the home covered by siding, opt for a less glossy paint that won’t show up every bump and imperfection.
You can actually opt for a flat (matte) or a slight sheen such as satin or eggshell for your home’s exterior. Flat will have next to no sheen, eggshell has around 15% gloss, while satin has slightly more at about 40%, but is still not as shiny as semi-gloss or high gloss paint.
However, eggshell or satin is probably preferable to flat, as the gloss in these two paints allows you to easily clean them, whereas flat paint is extremely difficult to clean and is therefore less durable.
What type of exterior paint finish is best?
Different sheens are best suited to different areas of your home’s exterior.
We’d say avoid flat paint for the exterior, mainly because it lacks durability and dirt resistance.
Eggshell or satin is the top choice, especially when it comes to your home’s siding. This paint meets somewhere in the middle, offering that slightly matte finish but with a subtle sheen to it that allows it to be easily wiped down or even hosed with water.
Satin or eggshell paint also provides more durability than flat paint, and, because of the hint of shine, they also offer a luxurious feel that is less present in flat paints.
Benefits of eggshell/satin:
- More durable than flat/matte paints
- Can be easily washed
- Provide just a hint of gloss
- Easy to disguise imperfections
- Easy to apply
Semi-gloss paints are best reserved for the trim, and conventionally high gloss would be used only for the door or window sills.
These paints are much more durable and will offer more protection in those heavily weathered areas, however, these paints are also harder to apply, and they’re also more likely to show up any imperfections.
The higher level of gloss does give a more luxurious finish though, which is why some people select these paints for the siding, too.
If you’re doing the paint job yourself, you’ll want to consider how experienced you are as a painter, as this may weigh in on the paint you choose.
However, if you’re hiring a professional to do the job, you have much more free reign, and can choose the paint based on the end result you’d like to achieve. Professional painters are trained in applying a variety of different sheens, so you needn’t worry about which is easiest to apply in this case.
Paint sheen isn’t something to be overlooked, as this can really make – or break – your end result.
The level of gloss in a paint will affect everything from how shiny it looks, to how easy it is to clean and how durable it is.
However, different sheens also offer a different look for your home, with flatter paints achieving a more modern, understated look, and high gloss ones offering a touch of luxury.