When painting your home, one of the most important decisions you can make is what type of paint to use.
And while there are a number of great options on the market, they’re not all suitable for the same types of paint jobs.
Today, let’s take a look at two of the most common types of paints used in home decoration: eggshell paint and flat paint.
These two popular options each have distinctive advantages and disadvantages, and understanding these will enable you to get the most out of your home’s next paint job.
What is Flat Paint?
For starters, let’s take a look at flat paint. Perhaps one of the most popular types of interior paints, flat paint is a cheaper and easier-to-use option.
It is a type of paint that offers minimum reflective finish. It has comparatively more pigment than any other finish and it dries very quickly.
Due to the kind of finish, it offers it’s also called concealer paint or matte paint.
Despite this, it does come with a few significant drawbacks of which you should be aware of.
Most notably, flat paint collects dust and is very easily damaged when cleaned.
This means that you can’t expect to do any hard scrubbing and could even damage your wall unwittingly with something as mundane as dropped silverware.
For this reason, it is generally recommended that flat paint be used on ceilings and other low-traffic areas of the house.
Keep in mind, however, that flat paint proves great at hiding any blemishes you may have in the walls.
Because it is not reflective, it won’t highlight any of your wall’s imperfections—making it great for low-traffic areas in which you need to cover-up a few spots.
This is another reason why it’s so great for the ceiling because it’s here that you often find the most imperfections.
What is Eggshell Paint?
As in name, eggshell paint is a kind of paint finish that resembles like the surface of an eggshell.
As compared to more common pain finishes in US and UK, this type of finish offers less of sheen.
While the finish you get with this is a bit more than matt emulsion paint, it’s always less than satin or silk.
In contrast, eggshell paint proves the far more durable of the two options.
However, unlike flat paint, eggshell paint does come with a reflective sheen, making it a bit worse at hiding blemishes in your wall.
That being said, eggshell paint forms a hard, durable coating when it’s dry, giving your walls the extra protection they need to stay safe.
This ensures a longer-lasting paint job and makes eggshell paint a great option for rooms with high traffic.
For example, you’ll likely want to use eggshell paint in your living room or bedrooms so that you can easily clean any dirt or grime that accumulates.
What’s more, because of its durable coating, eggshell paint holds up better to daily damages, including those caused by children.
This makes it the perfect type of paint for a family home, as you won’t have to worry about redoing your paint every time it gets nicked or drawn on.
Reasons Why Builders Use Flat Paint in New Homes
If flat paint is the more basic of the two options, why is it that it’s commonly used by builders in new homes?
The reasons are simple:
1- It’s Cost-Effective:
Flat paint is cheaper—meaning that they can get their job done with less money and make a bigger profit.
2- It’s Easier to Do Touchups:
The composition of flat paint makes it great for doing a touchup.
Because flat paint can be used to paint over blemishes and dry coats of paint, it’s easy to give walls a touchup when needed—reducing hassle, stress, and cost.
3- It’s Easier to Remember:
If all the walls are done in flat paint, it’s easier to explain to the new homeowner and easier for the homeowner to remember and redo.
4- It’s Good at Hiding Blemishes:
If the builders don’t do a good job, they can better hide imperfections with flat paint.
For these reasons, flat paint is the most popular option among builders when they build a new home.
Remember, however, it’s not the one that you have to use!
Why Eggshell Paint Is Better for Exterior Use?
When it comes to exterior use, there’s no comparison. Flat paint may never be used outdoors.
Because it’s not chemically composed to stand up to the elements, you can expect that any type of harsh conditions—including intense sunlight—will damage your paint and ruin the exterior look of your home.
For this reason, be sure not to consider flat paint for any type of job outdoors—no matter how simple it is.
Eggshell paint, however, does offer a few exterior uses. For example, you may choose to paint your door with eggshell paint—or even your windowsills.
Remember, its durable coating gives it the extra protection it needs to be able to withstand damage.
This makes it the only option of the two that you should consider when working outside.
By sticking with eggshell paint here, you’ll be able to get the great look you want without having to sacrifice durability or quality.
With that in mind, do remember that because there are different kinds of eggshell paint (oil-based, etc.), you’ll need to carefully choose the one that’s best suited to your job—no matter if you’re working on the interior or the exterior.
Can You Make Eggshell Paint Look Flat?
While no painter will ever want to do this because of the higher cost of eggshell paint finishes, this can be achieved by applying some techniques.
1- Mix Eggshell and Flat
You can mix some flat paint (of the same color) to your eggshell paint to make them look flat.
2- Flat Paint Over Eggshell
By applying a coat or two of flat paint over eggshell finish you can get lower sheen that may look like flat.
3- Apply Single Coat of Eggshell
Apply only one coat of the eggshell paint you can get lower sheen like that of flat paint.
Eggshell paints usually come with reflective particles that adds to their reflective properties and make the paint look shinier after application.
However, you will need to apply more than one coat to the surface for getting more shine.
The more layers you put on, the more light can get reflected back to make it shine better.
So, if you are applying only fewer coats it’s possible that the surface will not shine much and will look like as painted with a flat finish.
So, Should You Use Flat or Eggshell Paint in Your Home?
Due to the fact that Eggshell finishes can resist stains better than flat, these are often most suitable for outdoors and can also be best used in kitchens, bathrooms, kids’ rooms, and other high-traffic areas.
However, as these are relatively expensive and have a higher sheen, Flat finish can be used if you are working on a tight budget or desire to get a clean nicer look without worrying about the shine.
No matter, what you choose, it’s important to remember that you always start with only clean surfaces.
Do not forget to remove the old paint and apply the right primer.
The key to getting the right finish is knowing how to apply the paint correctly using the right techniques and tools.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls. He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.