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How do I choose a paint sheen? !

How do I choose a paint sheen?

One look in a paint store, with its endless variety of brands, colors and sizes of paint cans will convince you that choosing the right paint can be daunting. Fortunately, a skilled painting contractor can give you excellent advice and help you narrow your choices. Here in the San Fransicso Bay area, MB JESSEE works with our clients to help them achieve the look they desire.

People usually have some idea what colors they want, but even when the perfect shades are chosen, there is another important decision that homeowners are often less prepared for: what paint sheen (or finish) should I use? Your painting contractor can help you with this decision as well, but it helps to know some of the most important information in advance.

In general, the more glossy (or light-reflective) a paint is, the more durable it is, holding up against bumps, scuffs, stains, cleanings, and children. Glossy finishes draw the eye with their bright luster, but they are also tricky to use because of their tendency to highlight imperfections in the painted surface. Here are the most commonly used paint sheens:

Flat: This finish has almost no reflective quality, and is commonly used for ceilings, where it does not draw attention to itself. Because it has a higher percentage of pigment, it requires fewer coats to provide thorough coverage, making it an economical paint to use on walls in closets and areas of the house where visual appeal are less of a consideration. It hides flaws and slight wall damage better than other sheens. Flat paint is not a good choice in bathrooms and kitchens, because it does not perform well against humidity and splashes.

Eggshell and Satin: Bright, warm, subtle and smooth, eggshell and satin finishes have a slight shine or light-reflective quality to them. These finishes are similar to each other, though not identical: satin finishes generally have a touch more luster than eggshell. Durable and cleanable, these sheens hold up well in areas of the house that receive a lot of traffic or wear. They are a common choice for walls in living rooms, bedrooms, halls and stairways, and also protect against moisture both inside and out.

Semi-Gloss: This highly durable finish draws attention with its moderate shine, and is commonly used to call the eye to features such as doors, window frames, trim, molding, and cabinets. Very resistant to scuffing and dirt, this scrubbable sheen is a great choice for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Not only will this sheen highlight the elegant details of your home interior—it also keeps the eye moving, which creates a feeling of spaciousness even in smaller rooms.

Gloss: With a brilliant shine and a very durable protective quality, gloss paint is the hardest and most reflective sheen available. This finish makes an impact, calling attention to clean lines and graceful features. It should be used in moderation as it can overwhelm and tire the eye in large doses. Because they are so finicky in drawing attention to flaws, glossy paints must be expertly applied, but when used properly they can make your home a true showpiece. This sheen can look almost like plastic or enamel, and fashionable homes here in the Bay Area often use it to make a statement on cabinets, trim, furniture, and other details.

Whatever your painting project, and whichever finish you need, meticulous surface preparation is one of the most vital procedures in an outstanding, enduring paint job. It is important to find a painting contractor that is expert and conscientious in completing these steps with care. For over 15 years, MB JESSEE has earned a top-quality reputation in the San Francisco and East Bay areas, providing premium care to high-end homes and estates. Contact us to schedule a free consultation or to ask any questions you may have.

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Customer Reviews

“Thank you for the support you have given the Women's Cancer Resource Center over the past year!”

— Margo - Director Women's Cancer Resource Center

“Our paint crew did a great job and the foreman, Gersson was exceptionally great to work with. He was always available to answer questions, good at problem-solving, very patient, kind, and highly professional with great customer service. We definitely recommend this company, and Gersson and his crew.”

— Andrea Y.
Berkeley, CA

“In all the years I've worked with MB Jessee, I'm always so impressed by your crews. They are so respectful of everything--you never even know they're there! Except that the paint looks amazing when they're gone. We've had one showing of our home and already have an offer. I'm sure it is because the paint looks so beautiful.”

— Erin T.
Pleasant Hill

“The completed 'Client Satisfaction Survey' we sent in only modestly reflects our total satisfaction with the work. As a retired small business owner, I compliment you on setting 'best practices' that are consistently followed. Everything described in your marketing materials was a reality! The crew is a super bowl team and our neighbors commented on how quiet they were. We are very happy to be a client of MB Jessee.”

— Richard
Orinda

“The finish on my kitchen cabinets had failed, becoming tacky and grimy around the handles. M B Jessee gave me a reasonable quote, far below some others, and did an outstanding job, striping the original varnish and refinishing with a new lacquer finish. The cabinets look like new. Work was done 1 day faster than estimated. The crew was extremely hard-working, considerate, and neat. Highly recommend M B Jessee.”

— Thama B.
San Francisco, CA

“Awesome work by highly experienced, professional painters. They were: Conscious about the amount of time it would take. Ours had a lot of pre-work and took 3 weeks. Accommodating when we added a few last-minute changes Understanding when a heatwave hit and we remove some of the plastic sheeting over windows, which they had to put back up the next day. Accessible, especially the on-site crew (Hi Jose & Victor!) -- always answering questions and checking in. The end result is a perfect paint job that makes our 94-year-old house look brand new. I would definitely hire MBJ again”

— Stacey R.
Oakland, CA

“I highly recommend MB Jesse Painting to anyone looking for a professional team that does an impressive job. They are on time, efficient and clean up well each and every day they are on site. They pay attention to detail and listen to the needs of their clients. In addition, they give back to the community. A Five Star team all the way around.”

— Erin Troy

“MB Jessee just finished our exterior and we couldn't be happier with our experience. The foreman (Pedro) and lead painter (Ricardo) were incredible to work with: they communicated scheduling clearly, Ricardo was a joy to be around every day, the showed up early every day, were incredibly tidy and did great paint work. The final walk through experience was incredible. Pedro pointed out items I missed demonstrating a clear desire to complete another quality project. I highly recommend them. As others have noted they definitely aren't the cheapest but you quickly realize that you're getting what you pay for. The 3 year guarantee is also a nice touch since there are likely touch up items that will show up after the job is done.”

— Joshua Jansen

“Matt, Julie & Ricardo, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the three of you for the wonderful job you did in hosting the SFBA NARI Chapter Meeting on Wednesday evening. Everything was perfect from beginning to end. Members and guests alike walked away with a truly positive experience. The "painter for a day" and the cookies in the paint cans were an absolute brilliant touch and received rave reviews. What a wonderful way to do such positive marketing. Thanks again for a truly memorable experience for our members and guests. You are valued as a NARI member.”

— Judy Tufo, SFBA NARI Executive Director

“The painters at MB Jesse are top notch! Cesar's team was super friendly and helpful. They were very polite and accommodating. Their expertise in everything painting related was evident in their attention to detail and efficiency painting tricky spaces. The apartment looks brand new!”

— Adam Swisher

“I just wanted to send you an email to say that John did such a great job over here today. He is truly a hard worker. He has the perfect balance of friendliness, honesty, and professionalism. I trust him. He takes the time to do the job to the best of his ability and that is what sets him (and your company) apart from the competition. He didn't make me feel rushed. He really made me feel like our job was the most important thing in the world. Thanks again!”

— Jo
Oakland

“Julie, by the way, I have never been so impressed with the service of a painting job before! It was like magical elves came and painted our walls without us having to do a thing! It looks amazing and just wanted to let you know how happy we are. Thanks”

— Anja
Piedmont