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The Advantages & Makeup of Flat vs. Satin House Paint

We are often asked by our customers what finish is more durable, flat, or satin? Or, which finish is better, flat or matte? Here, we have decided to briefly explain, in simple terms, the differences between flat interior paint and other finishes. Most importantly, we want to demonstrate how sheen affects the durability of interior house paints.

The widely excepted answer to this question is “flat hides imperfections and looks the best. Satin or eggshell is more washable and repels mold and mildew better but reveals imperfections in walls or siding”. This answer is not incorrect, but it doesn’t completely answer the question.

Satin vs. Flat Paint Compositions

Acrylic resins are shiny by nature. Therefore, paint that contains high percentages of acrylic polymers is naturally going to be shinier. 

For manufacturers to produce flat colors, they have to figure out how to control or limit how shiny or flashy the paint dries. This process is often referred to as (sheen control). The sheen of flat paint gets reduced by adding emulsified additives that are mixed within the paint batch. These additives are also referred to as fillers. 

The word “filler” is a general term used to refer to the array of raw materials added while the paint is being produced. However, most manufacturers’ additives used for sheen control are generally the same with only subtle differences.

Flat Paint & The Proprietary Recipe

Paint suppliers develop subtle materials distinctions, allowing the ability to label product materials differently. Variating material labels enables companies to disguise raw materials. 

Fact is, the base of most flat paint is clay or (dirt). Clay has many different names, such as Kaolin, Calcined Clay, and Earth (to name a few). Clay is the most commonly used material for sheen control.

Satin vs. Flat Price & Durability

Satin and other sheens have fewer amounts of (Clay) and contain more acrylic – in return, satin is more Durable. 

For most paint manufacturers, flat paint is cheaper. The higher the sheen, the more pricey house painting products generally are. 

Dark colors demand a lot of colorants and require a translucent or “deep” base to mix. 

Large quantities of colorant or “tint” can also increase paint sheen. Therefore, large amounts of paint tint can cause flat paint finishes to flash. Flashing means an inconsistent paint sheen. 

Darker flat colors for exterior usage are not the most durable paints. However, choosing a higher-end paint will always help durability.

We are expert painters that understand paint. Let us show you well our paint finishes are applied and will last. 

Contact us for your next project!

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