When it comes to painting your walls, the choices can feel overwhelming. Selecting the right finish is as crucial as choosing the perfect color.
Among the vast array of options, two popular contenders stand out: eggshell and semi-gloss.
These finishes offer distinct characteristics, each with its own unique charm and practicality. So, which one should you go for?
Join me as I dive into the captivating world of finishes and unravel the differences between eggshell and semi-gloss paints.
This guide will equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision that elevates your space.
So get ready to explore the captivating clash of eggshell vs. semi-gloss finishes and discover which one reigns supreme for your next painting adventure.
Eggshell Vs Semi Gloss: What’s the Difference?
The main differences between eggshell and semi-gloss finishes lie in their appearance and durability. Eggshell has a subtle sheen that adds warmth and elegance, while semi-gloss offers a higher level of glossiness and vibrancy. Semi-gloss is more durable and easier to clean, making it suitable for high-traffic areas.
What Is Eggshell Finish?
The eggshell finish is a type of paint finish that has a soft, velvety appearance with a subtle sheen resembling the surface of an eggshell.
It falls between a matte finish and a satin finish in terms of reflectivity. It provides a slight sheen without being too glossy or reflective.
The finish gets its name from the texture and appearance of an eggshell.
Eggshell Paint Pros and Cons
- Aesthetic appeal
- Easy to Clean
- Hide imperfections
- Resists stains
- Easy to use
- Not moisture resistant
- Limited reflectivity
Types of eggshell finish products
When it comes to eggshell finish products, there are a few different options available. Here are some common types of eggshell finish products:
Eggshell paint. The eggshell finish is available as a type of paint that you can apply to interior surfaces such as walls, ceilings, and trim. It’s sold in cans or containers and comes in a wide range of colors.
Eggshell enamel. Eggshell enamel is a variation of eggshell finish that provides increased durability and resistance to moisture. I use it in areas that need more frequent cleaning or have higher humidity levels. Eggshell enamel is available in both water-based and oil-based formulations.
Eggshell varnish. This is a type of clear or tinted varnish that provides an eggshell-like finish on wood surfaces. It offers a subtle sheen while enhancing the natural beauty of the wood grain. Eggshell varnish is used on furniture, cabinetry, and other wooden surfaces to provide protection.
Eggshell wallcoverings. Besides paint, there are also eggshell finish wallcoverings available. These wallcoverings have a textured surface with a soft sheen, resembling the look of eggshells. They can be made from various materials such as vinyl, fabric, or wallpaper.
What Is Semi-Gloss Finish?
A semi-gloss finish is a type of paint finish that has a moderate level of shine. It falls between a high-gloss finish, which has a very shiny and reflective appearance, and a satin finish, which has a more subdued sheen.
The semi-gloss finish provides a smooth and glossy surface when applied to walls, trim, or furniture. It offers a level of shine that is less intense than high-gloss but more noticeable than satin.
Semi-Gloss Paint Pros and Cons
- Easy to clean
- Brightens spaces with limited light
- Hard to apply
- Surface imperfections
- Visible brush strokes
Types of semi-gloss finish products
Here are some common types of semi-gloss finish products:
Semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint is the most common and available product with a semi-gloss finish. It’s used for interior walls, trim, and furniture.
Semi-gloss enamel. Semi-gloss enamel is a variation of semi-gloss paint that offers increased durability and resistance to moisture. It’s used in areas that need regular cleaning or have high humidity levels, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and trim.
Semi-gloss varnish. Semi-gloss varnish is a clear or tinted varnish that provides a semi-gloss finish on wood surfaces. It enhances the natural beauty of the wood grain while providing protection and a shiny appearance.
Semi-gloss lacquer. Semi-gloss lacquer is a type of finish that offers a glossy and durable coating. It’s often used on wood, metal, or other surfaces to provide a high-shine and protective layer.
Semi-gloss epoxy. Semi-gloss epoxy is a two-part epoxy coating that provides a glossy and durable finish. It’s used for concrete floors in garages, basements, or commercial spaces.
Semi-gloss spray paint. Semi-gloss spray paint is a convenient option for small projects or touch-ups. It’s available in aerosol cans and can be used on a variety of surfaces, including metal, plastic, and wood. Semi-gloss spray paint provides a smooth and glossy finish with minimal effort.
What if you plan to use acrylic next? Can you use acrylic paint over spray paint?
What Is the Difference Between Eggshell and Semi-Gloss Paint?
The primary distinction between eggshell and semi-gloss paint lies in their sheen and appearance.
The eggshell paint finish has a soft, velvety appearance with a subtle sheen that resembles the surface of an eggshell. It provides a smooth and elegant look with a slight luminosity.
Semi-gloss on the other hand has a shiny and reflective appearance. It offers a polished and lustrous finish that reflects light, adding brightness and creating a striking effect.
This appearance goes beyond the aesthetic impact. When directly illuminated, these paint finishes may appear lighter in hue.
The reflected light incorporates a hint of the object’s hue, leading to a modified look of the finish
Verdict: Tie (both finishes offer distinct aesthetics).
Eggshell finish falls between a matte and satin finish, offering a unique balance of subtlety and sheen. Its low sheen adds depth to the walls without being too glossy or reflective.
This makes it an excellent choice for creating a sophisticated and understated look in various interior spaces. The slight glow of the eggshell finish adds a touch of warmth and elegance to the walls.
Semi-gloss finish boasts a higher level of sheen and reflectivity. Its glossy surface creates a sleek and polished appearance that catches the light and adds a sense of vibrancy to the room.
The reflective properties of a semi-gloss finish can make the walls appear more luminous. This finish is effective for highlighting architectural details and creating an impactful statement.
While both finishes offer distinct visual characteristics, consider the style and mood you want to achieve in a space.
Verdict: Tie (depends on the desired level of sheen).
Both eggshell and semi-gloss options have their own characteristics and levels of resilience.
Eggshell finish, while moderately durable, is not as tough as semi-gloss. It can withstand everyday wear and tear, such as light scuffs and minor scratches.
So it’s suitable for spaces with less traffic or areas where contact with surfaces is minimal. However, it may be prone to marks and imperfections over time.
Semi-gloss finish offers a higher level of durability. Its glossy surface is more resistant to wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas or surfaces.
In terms of long-term durability, a semi-gloss finish has an advantage over an eggshell. Its harder and more resistant surface is less prone to showing signs of aging, such as color fading or visible wear.
Verdict: Semi-gloss wins.
Coverage refers to the ability of a paint finish to hide the underlying surface and provide an even and consistent color across the area being painted.
The eggshell paint finish offers good coverage. Its slight sheen helps to camouflage minor imperfections on the surface.
When applied over a prepared and primed surface, an eggshell finish can provide satisfactory coverage with fewer coats.
Semi-gloss paint finish may need more coats for complete coverage due to its higher sheen and reflective properties.
Verdict: Eggshell wins.
When comparing the cleanability of eggshell and semi-gloss finishes, both options offer advantages, but there are some differences to consider.
Eggshell paint, despite having a subtle sheen, is easy to clean. It can withstand mild scrubbing and occasional wiping without the risk of rubbing off the paint.
The smooth surface of eggshell paint allows for the removal of dirt, dust, and minor stains with gentle cleaning methods.
Semi-gloss paint offers superior cleanability. Its glossy surface repels dirt and liquids more effectively.
You can wipe semi-gloss paint with ease and it’s less likely to absorb spills or smudges compared to eggshell paint.
In high-traffic areas or spaces prone to moisture, the enhanced cleanability of semi-gloss paint is advantageous. It provides a protective barrier against splashes, making it easier to maintain a clean and polished appearance.
Verdict: Semi-gloss wins.
Eggshell paint is low-maintenance. It offers a good balance between durability and ease of upkeep.
Regular maintenance involves light dusting and gentle cleaning with mild detergent and water. The smooth surface of eggshell paint allows for easy removal of dirt and grime.
Semi-gloss paint, with its higher sheen and smoother surface, is more resistant to stains and marks. This makes it easier to maintain over time.
It can withstand more frequent cleaning without losing its shine or color. Semi-gloss paint can be wiped clean with mild detergent and water.
Both finishes may require some touch-ups and additional care.
Semi-gloss paint can be more challenging to touch up due to variations in sheen and the potential for color differences.
Verdict: Semi-gloss wins.
7. Ease of Use
The eggshell paint finish is easier to work with during application. Its moderate sheen helps to mask minor imperfections on the surface.
The paint glides on easily and is less likely to show brush or roller marks. An eggshell finish has a lower viscosity, which means it’s less prone to dripping or splattering during application.
In an eggshell-painted area, it can be tricky to match the exact sheen and texture of the existing paint. In such cases, feathering out the edges of the touch-up area and using the same batch of paint can help achieve a more seamless result.
Semi-gloss paint finish, while also easy to apply, requires more attention. Its higher sheen can make any surface imperfections more noticeable.
Verdict: Eggshell wins.
When comparing the cost of eggshell and semi-gloss finishes, there are a few factors to consider. Generally, semi-gloss paint is more expensive than eggshell paint.
The price difference can be attributed to a few reasons. First, the manufacturing process for semi-gloss paint involves components or additives to create a higher sheen and durability.
Eggshell paint requires fewer specialized components, making it a more budget-friendly option.
Semi-gloss paint is a higher-end or premium paint finish. Its demand may also influence its cost.
Verdict: Semi-gloss is more expensive
Eggshell and semi-gloss finishes have distinct differences in their uses. Eggshell finishes are commonly applied to interior walls.
They are also suitable for ceilings, trim, and wooden furniture, offering a refined appearance with a natural touch.
Semi-gloss finishes are ideal for trim, woodwork, and areas prone to moisture. They create a polished and contrasting effect, adding a modern touch to cabinets, furniture, and decorative accents.
Verdict: Tie (Choice depends on the desired outcome).
10. Stain resistance
Eggshell paint finish offers moderate stain resistance. It has a higher sheen and smooth surface.
It can also withstand occasional spills and light stains. However, more stubborn or greasy stains may require gentle cleaning to avoid damaging the paint.
Semi-gloss paint finish, on the other hand, provides higher stain resistance. Its glossy and non-porous surface repels liquids better than eggshell.
This makes semi-gloss ideal for areas that are more prone to spills. The paint’s smooth surface allows for easier removal of stains, making it more durable and easier to maintain over time.
Verdict: Semi-gloss wins.
11. Surface imperfection
The eggshell paint finish has an advantage when it comes to hiding surface imperfections. The slight sheen helps to minimize the appearance of minor dents, scratches, or wall texture inconsistencies.
It creates a smoother and more uniform look, making it a popular choice for walls in residential interiors. However, while it can conceal small flaws, it may not completely hide significant imperfections.
Semi-gloss paint finish, due to its higher sheen, tends to stress imperfections. The glossy surface reflects light and can make bumps or dents more visible.
Verdict: Eggshell finish wins.
Table: Eggshell Vs Semi-Gloss Paint Key Differences
|Warm and elegant subtle sheen
|Sleek and vibrant high sheen
|May require more coats
|Ease of use
|Residential and commercial
|Good at hiding minor flaws
|May accentuate imperfections
What Paint Is Better: Eggshell or Semi-Gloss?
Semi-gloss paint is better than eggshell paint for several reasons.
Firstly, semi-gloss finishes offer a higher level of sheen. This higher shine adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to any room or furniture piece.
It also offers exceptional durability. It’s more resistant to stains, moisture, tear, and wear.
The added durability ensures that the painted surfaces retain their beauty and withstand the test of time.
Additionally, semi-gloss paint is easier to clean and maintain compared to eggshell paint. Its smooth surface allows for the effortless removal of dirt, stains, and fingerprints.
How to Make Semi-Gloss Paint Eggshell
To convert semi-gloss paint to an eggshell finish can follow these steps:
Step 1: Preparation. Ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and free from any dust, dirt, or grease. If necessary, wash the surface with mild soap and water and let it dry before proceeding.
Step 2: Sanding. Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the surface. This step helps to create a smooth texture and improves the adhesion of the new paint. Remove any loose or flaking paint, and then wipe away the sanding dust with a clean cloth.
Step 3: Priming. Apply a high-quality primer designed for the desired finish (in this case, eggshell) to the surface. Priming helps to create an even base and promotes better paint adhesion.
Step 4: Mixing. Mix the semi-gloss paint using a stirring stick or paint mixer. Make sure to blend the paint well to achieve a consistent color and texture.
Step 5: Dilution. If necessary, dilute the semi-gloss paint with a paint thinner or water. Dilution helps to reduce the sheen and create a smoother, more matte appearance. Start by adding a small amount of thinner or water. Mix well after each addition.
Step 6: Test patch. Before applying the modified paint to the entire surface, perform a test patch in a small, inconspicuous area. This allows you to assess the final result and make any necessary adjustments before proceeding.
Step 7: Application. Apply the modified paint using a high-quality brush or roller. Apply thin and even coats, allowing sufficient drying time between each coat.
Step 8: Finishing touches. Once the final coat has dried, inspect the painted surface for any imperfections or inconsistencies. If necessary, sand the surface and apply touch-up paint to achieve a smooth and uniform appearance.
How to Make Eggshell Paint Semi-Gloss
Converting eggshell paint into a semi-gloss finish is not a simple task, as the level of sheen is determined by the paint formulation itself.
However, there are a couple of possible approaches you can try if you wish to achieve a semi-gloss appearance:
Overcoat with a semi-gloss varnish
One option is to apply a clear semi-gloss varnish over the existing eggshell paint. Before proceeding, ensure that the eggshell paint is cured and clean.
Apply the varnish evenly using a brush or roller, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This method may alter the color or appearance of the original paint.
So test it on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface.
Mix in a semi-gloss additive
Another approach is to mix a semi-gloss additive into the eggshell paint. These additives are designed to modify the paint sheen.
Start by pouring a small amount of eggshell paint into a separate container and add the semi-gloss additive according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Mix until the additive is fully incorporated. Test the mixture on a small area to ensure the desired sheen is achieved before applying it to the entire surface.
Can You Mix Eggshell and Semi-Gloss Paints?
Yes, you can mix eggshell and semi-gloss paints to create a custom finish.
To mix eggshell and semi-gloss paints, start by pouring equal amounts of each paint into a clean container. Use a stirring stick or paint mixer to blend the paints together.
Stir the mixture well to ensure consistent color and sheen throughout. If you want to adjust the ratio of eggshell to semi-gloss, you can add more of one paint or less of the other.
The final result may vary based on the specific brands and colors of the paints being mixed. Before applying the mixed paint to a large surface, perform a test patch to ensure you are satisfied with the color and finish.
What are the Benefits of Using Eggshell Over Semi-gloss Paint?
Here are some potential benefits of using eggshell paint over semi-gloss paint:
Appearance. Eggshell paint has a subtle sheen that falls between flat and semi-gloss. It provides a soft, velvety finish that adds depth and sophistication to walls. The slight sheen can help to hide minor imperfections and create a more elegant look.
Ease of application. Eggshell paint is easier to apply than semi-gloss paint. It has a smoother texture and doesn’t show brush or roller marks as prominently. This makes it a more forgiving option for DIY projects.
Versatility. Eggshell paint is versatile and suitable for various interior spaces. It works well in living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms. It also complements a range of decor styles, from traditional to contemporary.
Light reflection. Eggshell paint reflects a small amount of light, which can help brighten a room. This is useful in spaces with limited natural light or smaller rooms that you want to appear more open.
Maintenance. Eggshell paint is more forgiving in terms of maintenance compared to semi-gloss paint. It’s easy to clean and can withstand some scrubbing without showing marks or damage.
Is Eggshell Paint the Same as Gloss?
No, eggshell paint is not the same as gloss paint. Eggshell and gloss are two different finishes with distinct characteristics.
Eggshell paint has a low to medium sheen, resembling the texture and appearance of an eggshell, hence the name. It offers a subtle paint sheen that falls between flat/matte and satin finishes.
Eggshell finishes have a smooth and velvety appearance, providing a slight glow to surfaces. They offer a more relaxed and understated aesthetic, with the ability to hide minor imperfections.
Gloss paint has a high sheen and a reflective, mirror-like finish. It offers a smooth and shiny surface that adds a significant amount of light reflection and visual impact.
Gloss finishes are more durable, as they are more resistant to stains, moisture, and wear.
Satin Vs Eggshell Finish
Satin and eggshell finishes differ in their sheen level and reflectivity.
Satin paint finishes have a higher sheen while eggshell finishes have a lower sheen and minimal reflectivity.
While both finishes have their uses, I prefer satin for areas requiring both durability and aesthetic appeal.
For interior walls in general living spaces, I would definitely go for eggshell finishes.
Find out more about satin in our article “Satin vs flat paint.”
Eggshell Paint Vs Flat
When comparing flat paint vs eggshell, one key difference lies in the level of sheen and reflectivity.
Eggshell paints have a slight sheen that adds a subtle glow to surfaces. Flat paint has no shine and provides a matte finish with a non-reflective surface.
While both finishes are popular choices for interior walls, flat paint has the ability to hide surface imperfections and provide a smooth, velvety look.
Eggshell paint, with its low sheen, offers some durability and cleanability advantages.
The choice between eggshell and flat paint finishes depends on your personal preference.
Is eggshell shinier than semi-gloss?
No, eggshell paint is not shinier than semi-gloss. In terms of sheen or shine, semi-gloss paint has a higher level of glossiness compared to eggshell. Eggshell paint has a subtle sheen that falls between flat and satin paint.
Is eggshell paint washable?
Yes, eggshell paint is washable to some extent. It offers moderate washability, meaning it can withstand occasional wiping or cleaning with mild soap and water. However, use gentle cleaning techniques and avoid abrasive scrubbing.
Is eggshell or semi-gloss easier to clean?
Semi-gloss paint is easier to clean compared to eggshell paint. The higher sheen and smoother surface of semi-gloss make it more resistant to stains and easier to wipe clean.
When to use eggshell finish
Eggshell finish is ideal for residential interiors where a subtle sheen and a touch of elegance are desired. It works well in living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms.
It also provides moderate durability and the ability to hide minor surface imperfections. Eggshell is a popular choice for walls in low-traffic areas that require occasional cleaning.
When to use semi-gloss finish
Semi-gloss finish is best suited for areas that need higher durability and are more prone to moisture and stains.
It’s commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms, and high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways. The glossy surface of semi-gloss paint offers excellent washability and protection against spills.