We paint lots of homes in Baltimore and surrounding counties. One thing our customers give a great deal of thought to is what color to use on the interior walls. They often put numerous samples on the wall or debate about different shades of the same color.
The most often neglected part of selecting the paint is the actual sheen that will be used.
Sheen of paint runs the gamut of a dead flat (this is the paint most associated with new construction). This sheen has no washability but it touches up extremely well. This is why it is used in new construction. Its inexpensive and if different trades (plumbers, electricians…etc.) mark up the walls they can be touched up easily.
On the other end of the spectrum is high gloss. Most paint stores do not carry high gloss and it needs to be special ordered. This sheen is found on brand new front doors and newly installed trim that needs to be highlighted. This type of coating is extremely washable and durable. The major drawback is that it shows surface blemishes and makes any imperfection in the substrate more pronounced.
As a general rule washable flat is best for most rooms (except kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms). With washable flat you get the best of both worlds – washability and the ability to touch up if needed.
For those customers that do actually wash their walls on a regular basis, rather than touch up, a satin or eggshell finish may be best.
As with any painting project, discuss with your painting professional about what sheen is best suited for the different rooms in your home.