I have started to paint my new home in matt as i prefer the none reflective surface compared to silk.

My Grandfather has said i should always paint walls with silk, but my outlaws say matt is just as good.

What are the actual differences other than the look of the paint?

1 Answer 1


Paints, in order of shininess from least to most, go: Flat-Matte-Eggshell-Satin-Semi Gloss-Gloss-High Gloss

10+ years ago: The reason shinier paints are shinier is because they have a greater concentration of binding agents (adhesives). Because greater amounts of adhesives provides a sturdier paint, glossier paints are more durable and washable than flatter paints.

Satin is generally considered a good middle-ground. It's flat enough to not show tiny imperfections but strong enough to endure washing.

Today: As the chemicals in paints have evolved, flatter paints have become more durable and washable (provided you're dealing with a quality paint). I'd wager the adhesives in matte paint today do a better job of binding the material than the adhesives you could find in a gloss paint from the 1990s.

Today, it's just a question of: How shiny do you want your paint to be, keeping in mind that the shiner it is the more imperfections it will show?

(Personal note: I'm pretty thrilled by this development. I never liked shiny paint and just a few weeks ago painted my kitchen with Sherwin-Williams Duration matte turquoise. Duration is one of their lines that offers washable mattes, and S-W has a very good track record to their name.)

  • You forgot to mention where "Silk" comes on the list! According to wikipedia it comes between Satan and Semi Gloss.
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 17:01
  • Just seen my typo, was tempted to correct it... but thought it was funnier to leave it! I of course meant Satin, and do not imply that it has anything to do with the devil...
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 17:02
  • I'm not saying "Silk" isn't a thing, but Hallman-Lindsay and Sherwin-Williams don't offer any paints in "Silk". I'd wager it's actually a manufacturer description and the wiki contributor didn't know that, because ime, it's not an industry standard. I know S-W has a bunch of their own and several lesser-used. e.g. velvet, low/medium lustre. But hey, I'm not a professional painter so I could be wrong. Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 4:12
  • I just figured it was relevant, seeing as the OP only mentioned matt and silk. Silk is a common name in the UK.
    – AndyT
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 9:46
  • Neat. I was not aware of that. Commented May 15, 2016 at 15:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.