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Are you deliberating over satin vs semi-gloss? Which paint finish would be the ideal choice for your project? Will satin or semi-gloss will be better for trim work? Should you pick the one that is more aesthetic or durable? What is the difference between gloss and satin finish?

It is inevitable to have hundreds of questions when you are working on a project that requires a paint job. You will be dedicating a lot of time and money to your project. Thus, you want to make sure you are doing it right. We will converse over satin versus semi-gloss paint for your benefit.

Satin vs Semi-Gloss

One of the reasons why satin and semi-gloss paints are quite popular is because neither of them is too matte or too shiny. In this unit, we will discuss about the difference between satin and semi-gloss paint. It is essential to choose the right paint at the beginning itself when working on any project.

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Your choice of paint will determine the overall appeal of the work you have put in. Therefore, it is crucial to come to an understanding of satin vs. semi-gloss paint.

Differences Between Satin and Semi-gloss Paint

Here are some primary differences between satin and semi-gloss paint. We hope the illustrated table will make it easier for you to discern between the two.

Satin Paint

Semi-gloss Paint

More suitable for interior paint jobs.

Can endure harsh weather conditions and other external elements, like snow, dust, stains, mould, etc.

Best suited for bedrooms, kitchens, home offices, etc.

Best suited for a surface that needs to be cleaned constantly.

It has about 30 percent gloss in the mix.

It has about 50 percent gloss in the mix.

The shine level is quite subtle.

The shine level is more than satin.

Low sheen once the paint dries.

It has more sheen than satin paint after drying.

The durability level is moderate.

Its durability rate is higher than satin paint.

It does not brighten the room as much as semi-gloss paint.

Will brighten and widen dark spaces.

Due to the dull shine, it hides all the minor flaws.

Fails to hide minor flaws such as dips and bumps.

The finish paint job will be smooth and flawless – almost velvety.

It is best not to be used in spaces with glare.


Uses of Satin Paint vs. Semi-gloss Paint

To give you a more elaborate idea about the two paint types, we discussed which paint finish will suit some of the places in your house.

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Bedroom Doors

While it is better to paint your bedroom with satin paint, you should opt for using semi-gloss paint for the doors. The wood design or pattern on your door will be highlighted with a semi-gloss paint. It will also be easier to clean the door occasionally without damaging the paint job.


On the note of wood, we recommend you use semi-gloss for all of it. As mentioned above, semi-gloss paint will highlight the woodwork and make it look aesthetically more pleasing. Some of the woodwork includes bathroom and kitchen cabinets, doors, trims, window frames, etc.

Bathroom Walls

The walls in a bathroom tend to build up moisture, stains, and mildew. It is, hence, wise to use paint that can stand such harsh conditions and is durable. Therefore, we suggest you choose semi-gloss for your bathroom walls.

On the other hand, it is also considered to be a better idea to use satin paint for bathroom walls and surfaces. This is because satin paint will do a better job at hiding walls flaws. While its durability is not as high as semi-gloss paint, it is exceptionally resistant.

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Kitchen Walls

On the other hand, we will recommend satin paint for kitchen walls. Due to its lackluster shine, it will hide all the slight imperfections on the walls.

Other Parts

Some of the other parts of the house where you could use semi-gloss paint are exterior trim, garage doors, gutters, shutters, railings, window sills, and metal lamp posts.

Pros and Cons of Satin and Semi-Gloss

Now that we discussed the difference between Satin and Semi-Gloss paint finish let us look into some of the pros and cons of each of these paint finish separately.

Advantages of Satin Finish

  • The sheen is quite noticeable after the finish
  • Versatile
  • Easy to clean
  • Hides flaws in the walls
  • Best for indoor areas

Disadvantages of Satin Finish

  • Need professional help to paint smoothly
  • Cannot touch up easily after application

Advantages of Semi-Gloss Finish

  • Easy to clean, i.e., remove stains.
  • Less shine than high-gloss
  • Best for outdoor areas
  • High durability

Disadvantages of Semi-Gloss Finish

  • Due to the shine, flaws on walls cannot be hidden
  • You need to pre-prep the paint area to achieve a smooth paint job
  • Must avoid streaks to get even sheen

Final Thoughts

To summarize everything stated above, the satin vs. semi-gloss debate should not be mulled over for too long. Both the paint types have their own set of advantages and disadvantages with few shared similarities too.

Nonetheless, we recommend you discuss with a professional about your project. They can always suggest you choose the right paint type. It will be for the best if you spend some time picking the right paint rather than regret it later.

If you still have any queries, please check our frequently asked questions. You might have some more questions regarding the satin vs. semi-gloss conversation. Therefore, we answered some of the most frequently asked questions. It will help get your answers on satin vs. semi-glass properly.

Frequently Asked Questions :

Is satin or Semi-Gloss better?

They are both suitable for different projects. Thus, it is better if you choose the right one depending on your project. However, satin is considered to be more appropriate for interior work.

Is Satin Paint Shinier Than Semi-gloss?

No, semi-gloss paint is shinier than satin paint. This is because semi-gloss paint has about 50 percent gloss in the mix, while satin paint has about 30 percent gloss in the mix.

Is Semi-gloss Paint More Durable than Satin?

Yes, semi-gloss paint is believed to be more durable than satin paint. The semi-gloss paint is often used for exterior works where the paint must endure harsh weather and other external conditions.

Should Cabinets be Gloss or Satin?

We would recommend you to use gloss paint for cabinets due to higher durability and shinier surface. This will make the cabinets look more appealing.

Should Interior Doors be satin or Semi-gloss?

You could use either satin or semi-gloss paint for interior doors. Both the paint types are suitable. However, for interior doors with woodwork, semi-gloss will be a better option. The woodwork will be highlighted and look stunning.

How long does it take satin paint to dry?

A single coat of satin paint will dry in four to six hours. It would be best to wait 16 to 24 hours before applying the second coat of paint.

What Happens If You Apply Second Coat of Paint Too Soon?

If you apply the second coat of paint too soon, the probability of the overall project damaging is relatively high. The paint might peel off; there could be streaks and a case of uneven colour. This will only cost you more as you will have to fix the issues later on.

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