Glossy vs Matte Paint

Eddie Shekari
May 8, 2015

Whether you’re looking for just the right paint for your DIY project or picking out colors for your Houston-based painting professionals, you’ve probably come across the terms “matte” and “gloss”. You also might have encountered terms such as satin or eggshell. Simply put, each of these terms refer to how shiny or flat-looking a particular kind of paint is.


Matte paint is the flattest. The incoming rays of light are scattered across the surface and evenly illuminate the area whether it be a wall, a painting, or your living room ceiling, resulting in no perceivable reflections.


Glossy paint is paint that has sheen on it. This sheen is actually a chemical phenomenon inside the paint. There are reflective layers of acrylic or oil that form on top of the surface that give glossy paint its shine. Light that hits the paint surface will be reflected off and back at the viewer much more than light hitting matte paint. Instead of seeing scattered light, you’ll see more of a reflection of the light source.

Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss

In between matte and gloss, there are plenty of grades from which you can choose that combine the elements of both into an interesting middle ground. These will have varying names but some of the most common are eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss.

Eggshell is fairly self-explanatory. It’s towards matte on the matte-to-gloss scale and is meant to evoke the kind of sheen that eggshells or enamel have. Satin is often just another name for eggshell but is sometimes its own degree of sheen between eggshell and semi-gloss. Usually, companies will pick one or the other, but they both have sheen levels slightly higher than a flat or matte finish. Semi-gloss is more towards gloss, reflecting more light than both matte and eggshell/satin but less than gloss. It’s also easier to clean because of the glossy qualities, which brings us to..

Dirt Resistance

The glossier a paint is, the easier it is for it both to resist dirt and to be cleaned. For that reason, most kitchen cabinets and doors are going to use a glossy paint. Matte paint around a house is much more likely to be used on places that will not experience much foot or hand traffic, such as ceilings. These surfaces are cleaned less often, and are not able to be scrubbed very hard when they are, because the matte paint lacks the protective layer of gloss. The glossier the paint, the more likely it can survive a deeper cleaning.

Here at Pro Painters, we would love to help you choose a paint type for any of your painting projects, no matter how small the job. Pro Painters is an interior and exterior painting contractor based in Houston. We care deeply about providing high quality services and offer a Five-Year Warranty on all labor and materials for residential projects.

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Eddie Shekari

Eddie founded Pro Painters in 1995 to meet the growing need for high-quality residential and commercial painting needs in Houston. In nearly 20 years, Pro Painters has exponentially grown our client base, serving residents across the greater Houston area. Our core principles have helped us achieve the highest standard of workmanship and customer satisfaction. Our years of experience have allowed us to become an extension to our customers as the all-in-one solution for home makeovers.