How to Choose Paint Finishes

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High-traffic-area paint jobs almost certainly call for some sort of special finish to increase the durability and cleanability of a remodeler’s work, but finishes, especially mid-range finishes, are also being used to add style to interior rooms.

November 01, 1999

High-traffic-area paint jobs almost certainly call for some sort of special finish to increase the durability and cleanability of a remodeler’s work, but finishes, especially mid-range finishes, are also being used to add style to interior rooms.

"There’s new movement in semi-gloss and gloss finishes," says Mark Woodman, color marketing design manager for Duron. "There’s a general interest in sheen and iridescent looks. We’re seeing something different on the wall. Homeowners are moving away from faux finishes; pure color is getting a resurgence, but they don’t want flat [color], they want it lacquered and shiny."

The increased availability of mid-range finishes, those that only add small amounts of gloss to paint, invites designers, homeowners and remodelers to be more creative when choosing new paints for a room. "Historically, people used flat wall paint to hide imperfections and create a finish that was not obtrusive to the eye," says Tim Baechle, vice president of marketing for architectural products at Sherwin-Williams. "Satin and eggshell [finishes] are the middle ground. Here in recent years, we have a lot of people looking for that softer finish, and we see them migrating into that middle ground."

High-traffic areas such as hallways, bathrooms and children’s rooms are prime targets for a medium-range finish. The slight sheen diminishes the porousness of the paint, making it less absorbent and easier to wipe clean, yet at the same time, medium-range finishes don’t create large amounts of glare. While bedrooms are still painted flat to avoid light reflection, areas such as kitchens and doorways are finished with semi- or high-gloss paint, creating surfaces that are easily scrubbed, and chip- and mildew-resistant.

Room usage is the No. 1 factor remodelers should consider when choosing a finish, says Kathy Henry, associate product manager for Glidden. "Paints are so durable that just by choosing the proper finish, you can achieve the desired result. Consumers aren’t totally aware of what the different sheens are used for, and that’s what remodelers can do--make sure that the desired ones will be used."

Patrick Coughlin, manager Brand Development for Flood, says that even DIYers who use faux finishing techniques such as sponging or rag-rolling will hire professionals who can help make their own work last. "One of the things a remodeler should consider is clear glazing that can be washed," he says. "That’s one way of bringing the value of your expertise to the homeowner."

Also See:

Duron

Flood

Glidden

Sherwin-Williams

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