Satin is a paint finish that creates a mid-gloss finish that is slightly reflective but also textured. Gloss is a paint finish that creates a high-gloss finish that reflects light but highlights surface imperfections.
Satin paint has a thinner viscosity, dries faster, and hides surface imperfections better than gloss paint. Gloss paint has more sheen, is more durable, offers better wood protection, and requires fewer coats than satin paint.
What is Satin Paint?
Satin is a mid-gloss finish that has less sheen than semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes, but more sheen than flat and eggshell paints.
It’s a middle ground between high-gloss finishes and flat finishes, creating a mid-gloss finish that is slightly reflective but flat (or textured) at the same time.
What is Gloss Paint?
Gloss is a paint finish characterized by its high sheen level and reflective finish. It creates a reflective finish that reflects light but highlights surface imperfections.
Gloss paint is known for its durability and moisture resistance finish that protects surfaces from moisture, water, and scratches.
Satin vs Gloss Paint
The differences between satin and gloss paint are listed below.
Sheen (Gloss) Level
Gloss paint has more sheen on its formula than satin paint. The difference in sheen amount makes both paints have different finish types, durability, and protective levels.
Gloss paint has a thicker viscosity than satin paint as it has more sheen and additives on its formula and is usually oil-based.
Satin paint has a thinner viscosity as it doesn’t have too much sheen (gloss) on its formula and is usually water-based.
Satin paint dries faster than gloss paint because it has a thinner viscosity, less sheen on its formula, and is usually water-based.
Both paints dry through solvent evaporation — the solvent must evaporate and the coating must become hard (rigid) for the paint to dry.
Gloss paint is more durable than satin paint as it has a hard glossy finish that repels water better.
Gloss paint lasts around 10 years while satin paint lasts around 6 hours over interior low-traffic surfaces.
Gloss paint offers better wood protection than satin paint as it forms a glossy moisture-resistant layer (barrier) that protects surfaces from water, scratches, and moisture.
Gloss paint creates a high-gloss finish that reflects light and highlights surface imperfections. Satin paint creates a dry textured finish that doesn’t reflect light and covers surface imperfections better.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Gloss paint is easier to clean and maintain as its glossy finish repels dust and dirt and can be cleaned with a solvent-based cleaner.
You need fewer gloss paint coats than satin paint because it has a thicker viscosity and better surface coverage.
Which Paint Sheen Do You Need?
Before choosing the paint sheen, consider the following things.
- Durability: Use gloss paint for surfaces that require higher durability and protection.
- Moisture Resistance: Use Gloss paint for surfaces exposed to constant water or moisture.
- Surface: Use satin paint over surfaces with imperfections.
- Finish Type: Use satin paint for a dry texture finish and gloss paint for a high-gloss reflective finish.