Do you know the difference between semi-gloss and high gloss? What about eggshell and velvet? Below is a breakdown of the most common paint finishes, along with their pros and cons.


Without luster or gloss. For ideal uniformity in a coating, the sheen (85 degree) would be close to, or the same, as the 60 degree gloss. See Gloss Levels G1 (matte or flat), and also Gloss Level G2 (high side sheen flat).

This finish is excellent for hiding any imperfections your wall may have, which makes it ideal for ceilings. However, a flat finish shows fingerprints and scuff marks very easily, which means it shouldn’t be used it in high-traffic areas or children’s rooms.


A gloss range between flat and eggshell. This finish adds drama to any room. Venetian plaster usually needs to be applied by a professional, as it can be very tricky and labour intensive. Depending on the colour you choose, this finish can have a historical or modern look.


A finish with a gloss between flat and semi-gloss. The sheen resembles the surface on an eggshell. It is now an ambiguous term as the gloss levels now vary greatly between alkyd and latex, and between different manufacturers.

Eggshell has similar low reflective qualities of a flat finish. This finish can be difficult to clean and marks slightly easier than other finishes. However, it works well in almost any room of the home or business.


A dried film that does not have a full luster but rather one resembling satin. This paint finish is typically used for kitchens, washrooms, interior doors and trims. Semi-gloss is easy to clean and wipe down, and reflects a good amount of light off of the surface. Some negatives of semi-gloss are that if not applied perfectly, brushstrokes and roller lines are visible on the finished surface. The reflective nature of semi-gloss also shows off every knick or imperfection of your surfaces.

High Gloss

A dry coating film showing a gloss level greater than 80 units at 60 degrees. High gloss finish is used for more formal or “special” rooms, such as entry hallways, formal dining rooms, formal living rooms and studies. In addition to being on the pricier side of paint finishes, high gloss paints are also more difficult to apply unless you are hiring a professional. The biggest positive to high gloss is that when executed properly, the final product is incredible looking.

Still have questions about finishes?

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