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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

“Hello Matt,Just another notice of thanks to your wonderful crew, Rigoberto, Javier and John. They did fantastic work, with Rigo providing meticulous and conscientious attention to the details and excellent woodwork finishing, as evidenced by the beautiful fireplace. Javier did a fantastic job in the bathroom especially, it looks "brand new," and John always does quality work, both with the interior and exterior. I can tell they care about what they do. Rigo's "punch out" was very thorough, too. I will call again when I need some more work and will definitely recommend your company and fine crew. I also felt as a homeowner, I could leave my house in their good hands during the day and that took a lot of worry from me, they were honest, prompt and reliable. They were also very kind, respectful and clean in their work, very professional. Thank you.”

— Beth Marx & Melissa Kirsch
Oakland

“I can't say enough about how courteous and professional my foreman was. He was on time every morning and arrived cheerful and ready to go. He is highly organized and very thoughtful. He was extremely careful and respectful when moving my belongings - a mature professional.”

— Nora Robinson

“Edy and crew are hard at work. They are doing a great job. Very professional outfit you have. Your crew is a delight. You may use me for a reference!”

— Heidi B
Walnut Creek

“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

“Everyone I dealt with was nice, helpful, and very professional. The price was reasonable! (I didn't feel like I was getting the "San Francisco price." The attention to detail and work quality was excellent. They did what they said they would do in the exact timeframe they said they would do. Highly recommend!”

— Tim Tyson

“Many thanks to Rigoberto and Damon and the extraordinary team who transformed my castle in the skies.They are magicians. I appreciate their work very much.”

— Kathleen A
San Francisco

“I just wanted to thank you all for doing such a phenomenal job on our recent house painting. We are very happy with the outcome and can't say enough good things about the crew. Everyone working on the project was outstanding and made it a great experience. Thanks to everyone.”

— Daylan
Piedmont

“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

“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 entire MB Jessee team is courteous, efficient and professional. From scheduling and estimating to the crew managers and crew, they all did an excellent job on a small (but complicated) two room project in my house. I'm already thinking about getting them scheduled for the next project in the spring.”

— Cari Cheney

“I had my wooden kitchen cabinets painted white. Anabal and Danielle were doing the job. I have nothing but praise for them. They came on time, cleaned up every day, were respective, friendly and helpful. If the rest of Jessee's crew are as great as Anabal and Danielle, this company will go far.”

— Anni S.
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