Architects: Finishes and Finishing

The area that a surface is located or the type of surface that is to be painted can many times dictate the degree of gloss that would be best suited for both durability and appearance. When evaluating the aesthetic appeal of a coated surface there are many variables. Glossy finishes have the appearance of being "hard" and tend to enhance texture or defects in the surface or it's preparation. This in some cases can lead to excessive surface preparation that isn't warranted for the surface being coated. For example; a long hallway where there is considerable traffic, would benefit in durability if the wall surfaces were coated with a gloss finish. The marking would be minimized, washability and stain removal would be much better than if a flat coating were used.

Aesthetically, the flat coating would show much less surface irregularities than the gloss coating and a "warm" diffused color and appearance. In this instance a compromise would be to use a semi-gloss or eggshell / stain / velvet coatings. For better physical and stain resistance , the semi-gloss coating would excel, for better uniformity with a slight compromise in physical and stain resistance, the eggshell / satin / velvet finish coatings would be best.

In another example; an exterior door and trim would be best served by the more mar proof, stain resistant surface provided by a gloss or semi-gloss finish than the eggshell / velvet / satin or flat finish.

Surface Gloss Semi-Gloss Eggshell/
Satin/Velvet
Flat
Bedroom Walls * ** (1) *** ** (2)
Bathroom Walls * *** *** *
Family Room Walls * *** *** ***
Kitchen Walls * *** *** ** (2)
Laundry Room Walls ** (1) *** *** ** (2)
Hallway Walls * ** (1) *** ** (2)
       
Interior Doors *** *** ** (2) *
Exterior Doors *** *** ** (2) *
       
Interior Floors *** ** (2) ** (2) *
Exterior Deck *** (3) ** (2/3) *** (4) *
       
Exterior Masonry * ** (1) *** ***
Exterior Wood Siding ** (1) *** *** ** (2)
       
Interior Trim *** *** ** (2) ** (2)
Exterior Trim *** *** ** (2) ** (2)
* = not recommended
** = recommended with limitations
*** = recommended

Notes:
(1) May be difficult to get gloss and colour uniformity
(2) Can mar and mark in high traffic areas
(3) May be too slipery
(4) Most non-slip surfaces appear as low sheen finishes

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