Understanding Paint Finishes | Spectrum Painting

Understanding Paint Finishes

Understanding Paint Finishes

Choosing a paint color can be a tough decision, but deciding on a finish for your room can be hard too. Paint finishes generally come in four categories: flat, matte, eggshell and semi-gloss.


Flat paint is the most forgiving finish with the best color payout. If you need to cover imperfections, patching or joints, flat paint can absorb light, making your dings and flaws less noticeable.

Note that this kind of paint finish has no sheen to it. The drawback to a flat finish is the lack of durability. Flat paint needs to be cleaned carefully, as scrubbing may remove some of the paint. This can cause an uneven or patchy look on the wall. The most common area of a room that you’ll find a flat finish is the ceiling.

Matte paint is similar to a flat finish, except it’s much more durable and washable. Matte will also cover imperfections and other problem areas in your home. It also allows for easy touchups. Matte tends to be the most common finish for walls in all living spaces.


Eggshell paints have a soft sheen to them, just like an eggshell. This finish will work well on walls that have a tendency to get dirty frequently and have a medium to high durability. It is not recommended for use on trim, around windows and doors, etc. You can wash down eggshell walls without harming the finish and most eggshell finishes are resistant to mildew and stains. The most common area you will find an eggshell finish is high traffic areas, like a kids’ playroom, laundry room, bathrooms, mud rooms and entry ways. It does tend to show imperfections a bit more than a matte or flat finish due to the higher gloss to it.

Semi-gloss has a much higher sheen than any other finish. It is known to reflect light without being too shiny. It holds up well in a humid environment and is the easiest to clean. Due to its high durability, semi-gloss is most commonly found on wood trim, kitchen cabinets and doors.

Call Spectrum Painting today at 973-706-6033 to set up your FREE estimate. Spectrum is happy to offer our customers a free color consultation with a paint expert to come out to your home or business and discuss the look you're going for and to show samples!

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People happy with our services

I just had a few rooms painted by Rich's great team, Rafael and Marcin. They were extremely pleasant and courteous. They spent time carefully prepping the area. Their work was absolutely flawless. There was one area of the ceiling that was haphazardly patched before - a cap screwed into a former light fixture that looked terrible and I asked for them to somehow make it disappear. I couldn't believe when I walked in...you couldn't tell there was ever a cap or fixture or any spackling/hiding: like it never happened. I highly recommended Spectrum!
Vera B. | Aug/30/2016
From the moment Rich and I started our conversations, I knew Spectrum was different, anyone can "talk" about trust and excellence....then I met our crew…. (Hector, Marci, CJ, Ryan, Oldemar) Each of you with your individual and collective contribution treated our home with the utmost of care. Taking time to ensure that we were satisfied with the work throughout the entire job, working through all the timing with the floors, making recommendations that would enhance the rooms– absolutely love the crown molding - and being courteous and professional. Thank you for making our vision even better....until our next adventure.
Rose R. | Aug/29/2016
Spectrum was outstanding! The work crews were courteous and professional at all times; they were always prompt and diligent in their work.
Delia and Greg S. | Jan/12/2015
Just a quick note to thank you for sending Ruedi to do our bathroom. John and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is an excellent painter, great person and so careful to do a great job. His attention to detail, care and work ethic are unparalleled in our experience. You guys are great!! Just had to take a moment to pass it on. Please express our thanks and gratitude to him again.
Suzanne & John M. | Sep/24/2015
Friendly and on time! Stayed until the job was done.
Jayne I. | Jun/30/2016
Oldemar and Rolando made everything perfect and would like them both again! You were our first painter and will always be our only.
Nancy M. | Sep/1/2016
Attention to detail and they make sure you are 110% satisfied.
Matt M. | Jul/19/2016
I am so happy we chose to work with Spectrum Painting! The office manager Natalie was very responsive in setting up our estimate. Initially Rich came our for a detailed estimate and walk through. After going through the numbers and reviews we decided to go with Spectrum. Although they did not offer the lowest cost we felt like we knew what we were paying for. We were in the process of moving into our new home in Wayne, NJ so we would not be onsite to project manage daily. On the day our project began, Rich and his crew leader Brian met us at the house to walk through the project and colors. Brian was absolutely amazing to work with. He would call or text with daily updates and even sent some photos to make sure we were happy with the colors we chose. I felt completely comfortable leaving Brian and his team at our house for the full week alone to complete the project. Everyone was extremely professional, kept the place clean, and wore masks, which is important to us because I am pregnant and my husband has an auto-immune disease. I can not recommend Spectrum Painting enough! Though they didn't offer us the lowest cost estimate there work was worth it! If anyone is looking for a painter reach out to their team. You won't be disappointed!
Abigail T. | Dec/22/2020
Not enough superlatives to describe the quality of work and the professionalism of the tea m. No detail, however small, was overlooked. Highly recommend with no reservations.
Emma Jean | Feb/26/2020   Read review on facebook