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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?

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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.)

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  • You forgot to mention where "Silk" comes on the list! According to wikipedia it comes between Satan and Semi Gloss.
    – AndyT
    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
    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. 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
    Apr 26, 2016 at 9:46
  • Neat. I was not aware of that. May 15, 2016 at 15:18

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