Most sheens are commonly called flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss. allthough some companies choose different names for sheens.
Flat: creates a reflection-free surface. This sheen has a chalky appearance. Flat paint tends to hide imperfections better than other sheens. New construction builders select it because it is better at hiding imperfections in the sheetrock. Flat sheens are easier to touch-up compared to eggshell, satin and semi-gloss, Flat sheens are perfect for low-traffic areas like master bedrooms, dining rooms, and the exterior surface of homes. Flat paints are not known for their washability. Their rough texture traps dirt easily.
Eggshell: This sheen gets its name from the texture of an eggshell. Eggshell has a slight sheen that is apparent when looking at the surface at an angle or when the surface is side-lighted. Having a very slight gloss makes eggshell surfaces more dirt-resistant and more washable than flat finishes. Eggshell finishes are good for living rooms, family rooms, and hallways. Eggshell is often selected for repainting aluminum or vinyl siding, because it more closely matches the original siding manufacturer’s sheen.
Satin: This sheen is considered the most versatile because its rich velvety surface has good scruff resistance and scrubability. It performs well in any room or exterior surface because it has a surface texture that is just smooth enough to shed rainwater, but not shiny enough to reflect much sunlight.
Semi-gloss: This finish has a slightly glossy appearance but is not wet looking. Semi-gloss surfaces afford maximum durability. It is a good choice for walls and woodwork that get heavy use and need frequent scrubbing. Because its higher sheen value provides it with a harder, smoother finish semi-gloss is often used in high-moisture areas like laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and in children’s rooms. It is the most widely used exterior trim paint, highlighting features like shutters, doors, eaves, and porch ceilings. Its higher light reflection however accents surface nicks and dents.
Gloss: Gloss is both the term used to define how shiny paint is and to characterize the shiniest paint finish. Gloss paint dries to a mirror-like finish. The easiest paint finish to clean, gloss finishes are good for heavily used areas where fingerprints, grease, or grime are common. The durable smooth surface is highly moisture resistant. Its high light reflection does however accent every surface irregularity or imperfection. Gloss is most often used for trim work or on cabinets, banisters, doorframes, windowsills, and window frames. The glossier the finish the more intense the color seems.