Matte, Satin, Gloss - A Guide to Paint Terminology


House painting involves a number of decisions. Once you’ve determined your budget, calculate how much paint you will need, and (eventually) picked a colour, it’s time to decide on the finish you want. So how do you choose between matte, satin or gloss finishes? Here’s a quick guide:

The first step in the right direction is to ask yourself a few basic questions:

Do you need to be able to wipe your walls?

If your walls are prone to scuff marks, for example, then you will need to wipe it more often.


Do you need to be able to wash your walls?

If you have kids and pets, you may also need to wash your walls more often.

Here’s the difference between the sheen, wash-ability, and wipe-ability of the different wall finishes:


Matte Finishes

Where flat paint has little to no sheen, matte finishes have a 5 – 10% gloss finish. This extra bit of gloss will make it slightly easier to wipe and wash than a matte finish.


Satin Finish

Satin has more sheen than both flat paint and matte finishes. The 25 – 35% gloss finish makes it more wipe-able and washable, and it can also slightly enhance the colour of your paint. A satin finish is usually recommended for trims, but choosing this option for a wall coating will depend on the aesthetics you want from the paint job.


Gloss finishes

The percentage of sheen in a gloss finish is higher than satin finishes and range from 50% sheen to 85%+ sheen. This finish can give your walls a dramatic effect.

The type of finish you choose is irrelevant if you don’t have experienced house painters taking care of the job for you. Contact Ray the Painter for house painting services in Oklahoma City today.