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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

“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

“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

“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

“Julie,Just to let you know I am very appreciative of your crew catching the plumbing/mold problem. It was very astute of them. I wanted to let you know that again your crew has done excellent work here, please pass this along to Mr. Jessee. There are some bumps in the road here, but the painting and your crew has not been one of them. Their work is the only thing going right currently, and this crew is very nice and respectful. It is much appreciated. Thank you again.”

— Beth
Oakland

“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

“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

“The kitchen looks NEW! You guys are amazing.”

“Just had MB Jessee paint the interior of our house and they did a wonderful job. They tackled some crazy wallpaper as well as painted some very high ceilings and walls. The whole process was quick and they did a great job! We are very pleased. I was also very impressed by the crew. They were very personable, kind and actually took pride in the work they were doing. In one of our conversations with the lead Ricardo, he actually told me he was very proud of how the rooms had turned out. I agree sir! It turned out great and it's not often you hear someone thinking of your home like they would theirs, and putting that level of work and quality into it. That made a huge difference in how I viewed this company. Ricardo, you were fantastic and thank you for the great job, we will be using you again.”

— Jeff M.
Danville, CA

“Just wanted to let you know that the crew was great to have around the house for the past two weeks. All three of them were professional, courteous, and attentive to my thoughts/concerns and were extremely knowledgeable. They paid great attention to the detail and it shows.”

— Mark & Roberta Gross

“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