Choosing Between Flat and Satin Paints for Your Home’s Exterior

Painting the exterior of your home is much different from painting the interior. After all, the exterior of your home is subjected to the weather, the sun, and every-day wear and tear. This means that both the paint color and the sheen will be different from what you choose for your home’s interior. While with interior painting you’re given a wide range of paints—flat, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss—exterior painting is more limited. You can really only choose between flat and satin (also known as eggshell), and which one you choose will depend on the kind of paint job you’re looking for.

Paint sheens—the basics

Choosing Between Flat and Satin Paints for Your Home's Exterior

Before we get into a discussion of flat vs. satin paints, we must first discuss paint sheens in general. Different types of paints have different types of sheens, and the sheen is determined by the ratio of resins and binders to pigments levels in the paint itself. As such, there are four main types of sheen: flat (also known as matte), satin (also known as eggshell), semi-gloss and gloss. Flat and satin have the least shine to them, while semi-gloss and gloss have the most. The glossier the paint, however, the more likely it is to show imperfections in the wall. This means that semi-gloss and gloss are typically reserved for trim areas, while flat and satin are for full walls.

Flat paints

Flat paint is the least reflective and glossy of all four types of sheen. When you run your hand across it, it will likely feel rough and chalky rather than soft and smooth. However, a flat sheen is preferable when you’re dealing with a surface that already has bumps, holes, and other imperfections. This is why a flat paint is preferable for exteriors, as the exterior of your home will likely have (both now and into the future) many imperfections from years of use and weather. Just keep in mind that a flat paint can be difficult to clean, so while you could use a pressure washer to scrub away any dirt or grime, it’s often better to repaint it.

Satin paints

Satin, or eggshell, paint has a bit more reflection and shine than flat paints, but not as much as semi-gloss or gloss. As a result, they still do a decent job of covering up imperfections in your wall (though not as well as flat paints), but they’re smoother to the touch than flat paints are. They can also be washed much more easily, and they have a bit more of a sophisticated look thanks to the bit of shine that they do have. Nevertheless, the sheen in satin paints can be uneven if the paint is not mixed thoroughly, and lap marks are more noticeable after the paint dries.

Flat or satin?

So, which type of sheen should you choose for your home’s exterior? The choice you make depends on your own specific preferences and how you will be painting. If you’re painting the house yourself, you may want to choose a flat sheen so that mistakes aren’t as easily seen. This is also true if your home has many imperfections that you’d like to cover up. While flat and satin paints can cover up bumps and gouges, a flat paint is better at doing so than satin. On the other hand, if your home is relatively new and lacks those imperfections, then you can use a satin paint. Another reason you may want to use a satin paint is if your home gets dirty often, as satin is much easier to clean.

If you’re still unsure as to which type of paint is best for your home’s exterior, then contact Richard Stewart Painting. With over three decades of experience painting residential and commercial exteriors, we’ll help you find the right paint for your home. Give us a call today at 1-818-951-1181 to get started.

2 Responses to “Choosing Between Flat and Satin Paints for Your Home’s Exterior”

  1. salvatore mangione

    Hello can you tell me which paint has more resistant to the sun rays outside a house, WHITE SATIN PAINT or WHITE GLOSS PAINT many thanks salvatore.


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