Eggshell Paint vs Satin Paint (Which One is Better?)

If you are stuck with a decision between eggshell paint and satin paint, you should read this article as it reveals everything you need to know. So what’s the difference between both paints?

The difference between eggshell paint and satin paint is that eggshell paint is usually a water-based paint with a very low sheen or gloss in its formula. While semi-gloss paint is usually an oil-based paint with medium gloss in its formula.

The low level of sheen and water-based nature of eggshell paint makes the paint dry fast but the finish is not as strong as that of satin paints. Satin paints due to their oil-based nature and high level of sheen dry slower than eggshell paints but satin finishes offer more protection.

What is Eggshell Paint?

What is Eggshell Paint?

Eggshell paint is usually water-based paint with a very low sheen or gloss in the paint formula. Eggshell paints come immediately after flat paints but eggshell paints have more sheen or gloss than flat paints. The water-based nature of eggshell paints means that the paint dries quickly. On average, eggshell paints take less than an hour to dry. You can even recoat in about 45 minutes.

Eggshell paint is also easy to apply making it common amongst beginners. The paint also contains a very low level of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and paint chemicals making it safe for indoor use.

You should also know that the low level of sheen in the paint means it is not reflective. So eggshell paint will not give you a glossy or slick finish. Instead, eggshell paint will give a matte finish with a touch of gloss.

So what’s eggshell paint used for? Let’s take a closer look at that.

What is Eggshell Paint Used For?

  • To give wood a color
  • To tint clear coats
  • Eggshell paint is commonly used to create murals and other designs on walls
  • To paint decorative ornaments like flower vases and ceramics
  • Eggshell paint is used to cover spots and imperfections on the surface

What is Satin Paint?

What is Satin Paint?

Satin paint is a mid-gloss finish that is usually oil-based. Satin paint comes immediately after eggshell paints but satin paints have more sheen or gloss in than eggshell paints.

The higher presence of sheen and the oil-based nature of the paint makes satin paints thicker.  Since the paint is thick, it offers better coverage but it also takes longer to dry. On average, satin paint will dry enough for recoat in about 2 hours.

However, satin paint is strong and durable. The finish also offers good moisture resistance making it a top choice for indoor furniture and porous surfaces.

So what is satin paint used for? Let’s find out.

What Is Satin Paint Used For?

  • DIYers use satin paint to get a low gloss finish
  • Satin paint protects wood from pest damage
  • Satin paint is commonly used over flat paints
  • Satin paint protects porous surfaces like wood from moisture.

So does this mean satin paint is better than eggshell paint? Let’s find out by comparing both paints.

Satin Paint vs Eggshell Paint

To compare both types of paint, we’ll use the features of each paint and see which is superior.

Here is a table that indicates the significant differences between eggshell and satin paint:

 Eggshell PaintSatin Paint
Paint ThicknessEggshell is ThinSatin paint is thicker than eggshell
Level of SheenLowAverage
Dry TimeDries under 1 hourTakes about 2 hours to dry
Number of Coats Needed3-5 coats2 coats
Strength and DurabilityGoodBetter
The Paint BaseUsually water-basedUsually oil-based
The FinishMatte finishMid-gloss finish

Next, let’s take a closer look at these differences.

Paint Thickness

Satin paint is usually thicker than eggshell paint because satin paints contain more luster or gloss. Also, satin paint is usually oil-based.

The oil-based nature and good presence of sheen in the satin paint make it thicker than eggshell paint. Eggshell paints are water-based and the paint has a low level of sheen so it is usually thinner than satin paints.

Level of Sheen

As explained earlier, satin paints have more sheen in the formula than eggshell paints. The presence of sheen in the paint formula is why satin paints have a mid-gloss finish.

On average, 40-45% of satin paint contains luster or gloss. Eggshell paints on the other hand have a very little sheen. Only about 10% of eggshell paint has sheen in it. Since satin paints have more sheen, the finish is usually glossier than eggshell finish.

Dry Time

Eggshell paints dry faster than satin paints and this is due to the thickness of the paints. Painting 101 teaches that thick paints will dry slowly while thin paints will dry fast. Since satin paint is thicker and glossier than eggshell paint, the paint will dry slowly. On average, satin paints dry in about 2 hours. To cure, the paint will take about 24 hours.

Eggshell paints however dry faster than satin paints. This is because eggshell paints are water-based and thin. So the eggshell paint will evaporate and dry faster than the thick satin paint. You should know that the dry time of both paints depends a lot on proper drying conditions.

Number of Coats Needed

You need more coats of eggshell paint to cover a surface than satin paint. This is because satin paint is thicker and as such, each coat will offer better coverage than eggshell paint. On average, you only need 2 coats of satin paints while eggshell paints will require at least 3 coats for proper coverage.

You should also know that you can cover more areas with less satin paint. This is because the paint can be thinned to make increase the paint quantity. Eggshell paints can also be thinned but thinning the paint usually make it lose its properties since the paint is naturally thin.

Strength and Durability

Satin paint is stronger than eggshell paint. Again, this is because satin paint has more gloss or luster in its formula. The higher presence of gloss in satin paints makes the finish harder than eggshell paint.

Eggshell finish is not as hard as satin paint because eggshell paint has a low sheen and no additives. Since satin paint is harder, it will withstand gouges, dents, and scratches better than eggshell paint. This also makes satin paint more durable.

You should also know that satin paints repel moisture and stains better than eggshell paint. Since satin paint is harder and moisture resistant, it will last longer than eggshell paints. On average, satin paints last up to 8 years while eggshell paints don’t retain their finish for more than 5 years.

Cleaning and Maintenance

What determines if a paint is easy or difficult to clean is the texture of the finish. Satin paint has a slick finish so oils and filth will not stick to the surface. Any stain on a satin finish can be easily wiped off using a damp rag.

However, eggshell paints have a dry and somewhat textured finish. This makes it easier for stains and grease to stick to the surface. So you’ll have to clean eggshell paints more often. This can make the maintenance of eggshell paints difficult depending on the type of stains that you have to wipe off.

Wood Protection

Satin paint protects wood better than eggshell paints. This is because satin paints are harder and more resistant to moisture. So water and gouges will not damage your wood.

Eggshell paints however offer inferior wood protection. Eggshell finish is not as hard as satin paints so it can’t protect the wood from dents and gouges. Eggshell finish also has poor moisture resistance meaning that it will not protect wood from water and oils like satin paint would.

The Finish

Satin paints give a mid-gloss finish. This finish reflects light making the finish vibrant and shiny. However, the reflective feature of the finish means that satin paints will not cover stains and spots on the surface properly.

Eggshell paints on the other hand give a dry and colorful finish. The finish is not reflective or glossy so eggshell paints will cover imperfections and spots in the surface better than satin paints would.

Should You Buy Eggshell Paint or Satin Paint?

Picking between satin paint and eggshell paint can be a difficult decision. But here are a few factors to make the decision easier:

The Price Tag

What type of finish do you want?

If you want a mid-gloss finish, satin paint is for you but if you want a matte finish with a touch of gloss, then eggshell paint is your pick. Satin paint is also glossier than eggshell paints meaning that the finish will be reflective and shiny. Eggshell paints have low gloss so the finish will not reflect light as much.

Cleaning and Maintenance

You should remember that satin paints are easier to clean and maintain than eggshell paints. So if you want to paint a surface that will see stains and filth like window trims, baseboards, and front doors, you should use satin paints. If you use eggshell paint on any of these surfaces, you’ll be doing a lot of cleaning.

Will You Seal the Paint?

Eggshell paint is easier to seal than satin paint since you don’t have to sand as much. So if you want to apply polyurethane, varnish, or any other sealant over the paint, you should go for eggshell paint rather than satin paint.

Are You Painting a Rough Surface?

If you want to paint a patched, repaired, rough, or stained surface, you should use eggshell paint. This is because eggshell paint has more color and it will cover spots and imperfections in the surface better. If you use satin paint over a rough surface, it will highlight the spots and imperfections in the surface since the finish is reflective.

Final Words

In Summary, the choice between satin paints and eggshell paints boils down to your taste and needs. If you want a mid-gloss finish with good protection and sheen, you should pick satin paint.

If you want a low-gloss finish with color and beauty, you should go for eggshell paints. Also, remember that eggshell paint is easier and faster to apply than satin paints.

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