Most homeowners in Amador County focus primarily on paint color when repainting their kitchen cabinets.

However, not many think about the type of finish. While color is just as important, the finish or sheen will also determine how well the paint holds up and other characteristics such as light reflection and the ability to hide surface imperfections.

So, yes, you have to pick a sheen too. But you might be wondering, what is a paint sheen?

Paints for kitchen cabinets and other forms of the woodwork come in various sheens. “Sheen” is a term used to describe the level of glossiness or shininess that a paint emits once it has dried.

Types of Cabinet Paint Finishes

Different manufacturers use different terms to describe the levels of shininess. But there are essentially five types of cabinet paint finishes: flat (matte), semi-gloss, gloss, eggshell, and satin.

The levels of paint sheen are technically identified by the amount of light they reflect. Shinier paints contain relatively higher levels of binders and resins that create a smooth, shiny, hard finish.

On the other hand, less glossy, flat paints tend to have higher levels of pigments.

Flat or Matte: Flat and matte paint finishes tend to diffuse light more, hold dirt and are often difficult to clean.

While they have more color pigments, the paint layer can be easily rubbed off even with minor scrubbing.

On the brighter side, since these sheens absorb rather than reflect light, they tend to hide surface imperfections.

These two are probably not your best picks when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets.

Eggshell: This is a relatively low-luster finish that offers the same merits as the flat and matte finishes.

Eggshell paints, however, are a bit more resistant to wear and tear. They’re probably best suited for walls and ceilings in rooms that receive low traffic.

Satin: This is a perfect balance that offers the best of both worlds. It provides an elegant and versatile kitchen cabinet finish that is perfect for active kitchens.

It’s easier to clean and hides stains and imperfections to some degree. Their durability is also relatively high compared to flat and eggshell finishes.

Semi-Gloss Paint: Semi-gloss is perhaps the most popular sheen on kitchen cabinets as well as woodwork throughout many homes.

Semi-gloss paints offer a nice shine on cabinets without being overbearingly shiny.

They’re also easy to maintain and tend to be very durable even in high traffic areas such as the kitchen.

This finish might reflect or show a little more grime and dirt than satin, but overall, it’s a great pick for most cabinet repaint projects.

Gloss Paint: Gloss paints are one step higher than the semi-gloss. They reflect more light and are much easier to clean and maintain compared to semi-gloss and satin paints.

It’s worth noting though that high-gloss paints might be easier to clean, but they will show more flaws and dirt.

Also, the shininess in this finish can be a little overbearing sometimes, especially if you’re choosing brighter colors.

So, which sheen should you choose?

Most homeowners find semi-gloss or satin paints to be the best for kitchen cabinets.

If you’re repainting your entire kitchen, a perfect combination would be to use satin paint on the kitchen walls and semi-gloss paint on cabinets and woodwork.

Highly industrious kitchens might benefit more from high-gloss paints since they can withstand regular washing and scrubbing.

In the end, the type of finish you choose will depend on your preferences. If you want shinier and super easy to clean cabinets, choose a glossy sheen.

If you’re looking for a finish that hides surface imperfections but still relatively easy to clean, go for the satin sheen.

In addition to providing high-quality and durable painting results, hiring professional painting contractors can help you sort out additional issues such as color, type of finish and sheen.

Get the conversation started and make sure your paint job is done right by calling Michael Hines Painting at 209-256-4587 for a FREE estimate.

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