How to Choose a Paint Finish

Whether you are painting walls, ceilings, trim, kitchen cabinets, or furniture, using high-quality paint will help you achieve the best results.

But when you walk into a paint or hardware store, deciding between the variety of interior paints on the market can be confusing.

What is the most durable, stain-resistant paint? The answer depends on where and what you will be painting. One basic rule of thumb says that the higher the sheen (or paint finish), the higher the shine – and therefore, the more durable it will prove to be. The sheen is a gauge of how much light reflects off the painted surface, leading to gloss or a lack thereof.

Today we are discussing how to choose the paint finish that will be the most durable for your project.


While technically primer is its own category and not a type of paint, it’s incredibly important, so we’re mentioning it first. As tempting as it may be to save time and money and skip primer, as certified painters, we cannot understate how essential it is to apply a quality primer for wood and metal surfaces.

Primer is designed to seal the surface for the coats of finish paint that will follow. Primer will help repair the surface if it shows signs of damage, like flaking and peeling. It can block out stains such as water or soot.

In short, primer helps the paint to look its best, especially if you’re transitioning from a dark color to a light color or vice versa. Applying primer will ensure that your paint job lasts a long time without premature peeling or other signs of aging.

How to Choose a Paint Finish

High Gloss

High gloss paint is considered the most durable paint finish for interiors. The more gloss that a paint contains, the more durable it is. High gloss is hard, shiny, and more stain-resistant than other types of paint. It’s also easier to clean than any other type of paint finish.

On the downside, using a gloss finish tends to make surface imperfections more noticeable. With high gloss paint, prep work is particularly essential in order to prevent bumps and roll marks from showing up at the end.

High gloss is an excellent choice for places that will be touched often, such as cabinets and doors. It is also a popular choice for trim because of its easy-to-clean and ultra-shiny factors. High gloss finishes may be for you if you’re painting a kitchen, bathroom, cabinets, floors, or stairs.

It is also a popular choice for storage rooms or other spaces that may be subjected to hard use and frequent scrubbings. High gloss paints are designed to accommodate those environments.


Semi-gloss paint is also durable, easier to clean, and more stain-resistant than satin finishes. It is often used for kitchens, bathrooms, wood cabinets, trim, wainscotting, and other architectural details.


Satin is easy to clean and has a soft sheen similar to eggshell. Satin is popular for walls in children’s bedrooms, hallways, stairways, foyers, and family rooms. Applying this paint type tends to reveal flaws such as brush strokes, which makes it a risky option for anyone attempting a DIY paint project.


Eggshell has an even subtler shine than satin, making it a good choice if you’re not looking for the shine of a satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss paint finish. The name speaks to how an eggshell finish is flat without shine, much like a chicken’s egg.

This type of paint covers wall imperfections nicely and is a good choice for living rooms, hallways, bedrooms, and dining rooms. It is considered to have a medium level of durability.

Flat or Matte

Flat paint, also known as matte because of its matte appearance, is the paint to go with when you need to hide any wall, cabinet, or furniture surface imperfections. It is the least durable type of paint and does not endure cleaning well in the long haul.

Flat or matte paint is significantly less expensive than other types of paint. Some people like flat or matte finishes for the calm, soothing feeling they lend. It is practical for adult bedrooms or other interior spaces that will not endure rough wear and tear from children or pets.

How to Choose a Paint Finish

If you’re stuck on what type of paint to use for your project, ask our certified painters at Heiler Painting to recommend the best one for you. We would be happy to offer insight and to paint for you so that you can relax and relish a quality, long-lasting paint job with no extra stress.

As you search for certified painters near me in the Media, PA and Philadelphia, PA regions, reach out to us at Heiler Painting by calling 610-557-8485 or simply request a quote. Rest assured that our crew prepares every surface thoroughly and adequately, uses high-quality paint, and completes each project in a timely and professional manner with results you’ll love.

Find out why Heiler Painting is considered the best house painting contractors in Philadelphia. Our proven process ensures your painting project will be handled properly and your home will be treated with the care it deserves.

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