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There is wood panneling in my bathroom on a cabinet and bath. I can't tell if the old paint is eggshell or gloss?

Obv if its gloss i need to sand it before painting. So how can I tell for sure?

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even with eggshell, I would sand it – Gunner Nov 8 '12 at 0:50
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could take a proactive approach and sand it in any case. This will lead to better paint adhesion which is a good thing. It is also a great idea to wash previously painted surfaces with a strong solution of TSP (tri sodium phosphate). Make sure to use good rubber gloves and hot water - for your protection and best results. The TSP wash does a fantastic jub of getting any gunk off the walls that can interfere with a good paint job. Especially in a bathroom there is always the possibility with soap film and over spray from foam cleaners on the walls and panelling. A strong TSP wash can also remove some of the gloss from a previously painted surface for some types of paint.

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One paint company defines the various finishes as follows:

  • Satin: A finish with a low luster appearance. Washable surface, reflects some light.

  • Semi-Gloss: A finish that has noticable gloss and sheen. Washable, sometimes scrubbable surface, but shows surface imperfections. Reflects light noticeably

  • Eggshell / Low Gloss: A finish ½ way between satin and semi-gloss with a noticeable gloss and sheen. Washable, sometimes scrubbable, but may show surface imperfections. Reflects light noticeably.

  • Gloss: A finish with a high degree of gloss and sheen. Scrubbable surface imperfections. Reflects light very well. If properly applied almost gives the impression of ceramic or glass finish.

They also explain gloss and sheen:

  • Gloss: Measured at a 60° angle, it's the shininess or reflectiveness of a coating.
  • Sheen: Measured at an 85° angle, it's a moderately low degree of gloss that appears flat when viewed near or perpendicular, but glossy when viewed from a low or sharp angle.

There is no industry standard for paint sheens, so one company's eggshell can be another company's satin, matte or low gloss.

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