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Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

Satin Or Semi Gloss For Bathroom | All You Need To Know

Satin Or Semi Gloss For Bathroom

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To be honest, choosing the best paint for bathroom ceilings or walls isn’t as easy as it may seem. 

However, it’s quite common for people to make the paint decision for their bathrooms without much thought. This leads to unbalanced bathroom environments that are too shiny or appear a bit boring. 

To avoid that issue, one should first choose the proper finish or sheen of the paint. Picking the right paint will dictate how the walls and ceilings of your bathroom reflect light to stand up against other elements like the fittings. This has led to the dilemma of choosing between satin and semi-gloss paints, the two common paint variants available on the market. 

That’s why we thought of coming up with this guide to provide you with a bit more information about both paint options. So, without further ado, let’s get started! 

Types Of Paint Sheen

The sheen is one of the first features to keep in mind while picking paint. It stands for the amount of light that the paint would be able to reflect, which is especially important for spaces like kitchens and bathrooms to make them appear brighter. That’s why experts recommend semi-gloss and satin paints for bathrooms, as they are better at reflecting light. 

In general, the sheen of paints may vary from low gloss to high gloss. The common variants of paints available in most stores include flat, matte, eggshell, pearl, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. As you can understand, flat paints reflect the least amount of light while high gloss paints reflect the most making them a lot shinier.

Flat paints are only used in exterior walls, ceilings, and other low-traffic areas where the reflectivity doesn’t matter much. On the other hand, paint variants with a high sheen like satin or semi-gloss are used in high-traffic areas that need to be brightly lit. Paints with higher gloss are also said to open up a space and increase visibility, which makes them ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. 

Some experts believe that semi-gloss paints might be better for spaces like bathrooms as they are more durable and better at resisting stains. 

Having said that, it’s also recommended to focus on buying high-quality paints to achieve the desired gloss and finish. Inferior paints are prone to get damaged, stained, and are a hassle to clean. So, irrespective of the sheen you choose, make sure to only get the highest-quality paints for your bathrooms to avoid frequently redoing the ceilings and walls. 

What’s The Difference Between Satin And Semi Gloss Paints?

Difference Between Satin And Semi Gloss Paints

Even though both satin and semi-gloss are glossy paint variants, they do have some subtle differences. One of them is their formulation which helps to bring out the shiny property. Most brands create satin paints by mixing 25-35% of gloss with paint. In contrast, semi-gloss paints are created by mixing 50% gloss and paint, making them more reflective than satin paints.

At times, people can be apprehensive about using semi-gloss paints due to the high reflection. However, they are formulated to be more durable than satin paints and to endure harsh weather conditions. Some semi-gloss paints are even tweaked to prevent damage caused by mold, mildew, strong winds, smoke, excess moisture, or dust. 

That’s why many consumers prefer to use semi-gloss paints on both interior and exterior walls. The shiny finish is also able to reflect more light making a space look brighter. 

Having said that, the glossy finish does create more attention, leading to people noticing the minor imperfections on your bathroom walls, such as scratches or bumps. You may also want to avoid semi-gloss paints in areas where you don’t require excess glare. 

When it comes to the satin paint finish, it’s meant to add a subtle and delicate shine to your walls and ceilings without making them too reflective. Moreover, paint brands even try to imitate the finish of eggshell paint in the satin variant by adding just a bit more gloss. 

Many experts categorize the satin paint finish as a dull shine, which is perfect for minimizing attention and hiding minor flaws to create the illusion of a smooth surface. A satin paint would work better if you prefer bathroom walls with a softer finish and slight gloss. 

Which Paint Finish Is Better For Messy Bathrooms?

Let’s be honest; many of us can’t ideally keep up with a pristine bathroom. For most households with pets and small kids, it’s usual for bathrooms to get quite messy, which includes the accumulation of stains and dirt on wall surfaces. Besides, most homeowners can’t even think about being able to get frequent touch-ups for bathroom walls. 

To solve the issue, experts recommend using paints with a semi-gloss finish that lets you clean the painted walls without causing any damage. These paints are also formulated to be more durable, so they won’t fade on coming in contact with common cleaning agents or soaps. 

Note that using semi-gloss paint creates a higher sheen in the bathrooms, which isn’t the most preferred finish when creating aesthetic spaces. However, you can try to look for semi-gloss paints offered by different brands and pick one with reduced shine. 

Which Bathroom Paint Finish Should You Use On The Ceilings?

The choice of paint for your bathroom ceilings often rests on the overall design of the space. In bathrooms with a half-bath or covered stalls, you may pick satin paints as there’s less chance of moisture damage. Using satin paint with two coats of primer will help conceal any bumps or damage on the ceiling. The low shine also draws much less attention than shiny finishes. 

On the other hand, if you like to take steamy baths or have a bathroom with less ventilation, it’s better to pick a semi-gloss paint. The moisture-resistant quality of the paint is less likely to trap mold or get damaged due to accumulated condensation. 

What Type Of Paint To Use On The Bathroom Trim?

When gathering ideas for bathrooms walls, one thing that confuses many people is picking the right finish for the wooden trim. Even though most of them might be hidden behind cabinets or appliances, you’ll still want the finish to look cohesive. We suggest opting for a semi-gloss paint that will protect the trim from moisture damage or trapping mold. 

Moreover, if you’re going for a subtle satin finish for the rest of the bathroom, then painting the trims with semi-gloss paint may add a bit of highlight to the space. This is especially true for bathrooms with decorative trim as the semi-gloss paints help them to stand out from walls with satin paint finishes. 

Satin Or Semi Gloss For Bathroom Frequently Asked Questions ?

What type of paint to use on bathroom cabinets?

If you’re tired of the old paint job of bathroom cabinets, you may change things by repainting them with semi-gloss paint. The semi-gloss paint finish complements most woodwork, including door and window frames, along with cabinets. You’ll be amazed to see how the cabinets get highlighted by the shiny finish as compared to using matte or flat paint. 

Furthermore, a layer of semi-gloss paint on your cabinets can prolong their lifespan by reducing the wear and tear caused by regular handling. The new paint job can also protect your wooden cabinets from mold and make cleaning them more manageable for you. And it’s much easier to clean a semi-gloss surface compared to other finishes. 

What is the best paint for a humid bathroom?

Bathrooms are naturally the most humid part of our home. But, for some people, the humidity in their bathroom can be too intense, which may damage fresh paint in just a few months. To prevent this, you can use moisture-resistant paint for bathrooms as they are better at handling mold and mildew. You may also be better off opting for paints with a semi-gloss finish because of their durability. 

On your next paint purchase, you can opt for a latex-based option as they’re said to have improved durability and better moisture resistance. Remember to treat the bathroom wall surfaces for mildew and apply a moisture sealant before painting them. 

Can the finish of a paint affect the color?

A common mistake is to overlook paint finishes and place more focus on the color. However, it has been seen that even the same color may look slightly different based on its finish. That’s why you should check samples of the bathroom paint color in different finishes to decide which would look better for your space. 

Based on the sheen level, satin and semi-gloss paints tend to have a subtle difference in shine, but colors in semi-gloss are said to look darker than their satin counterparts. If you have a smaller bathroom space, it’s recommended to use a similar paint color and finish on all surfaces like the ceiling as well as the walls. This will create a more cohesive look. 

Satin Or Semi Gloss For Bathroom Final Words

Satin Or Semi Gloss For Bathroom Final Words

That’s everything we had to tell you about choosing between semi-gloss and stain paint finishes for your bathroom. We hope that our insights will help make painting bathrooms easier for you. 

One thing to note is that in the end, the choice of paint finishes often relies on personal preferences. Sometimes in bathrooms with proper ventilation and mold control, homeowners may even go forward with a flat finish. 

Having said that, if you’re still in doubt about the choice, try getting professional assistance. The experts will definitely help you pick the right paint after analyzing your spaces. 

Until next time, goodbye, and take care! 

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson is the heart of the team, senior editor and our Head of Product Reviews which means she sets the testing parameters of each group review ensuring that tests resemble everyday use.

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