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Gloss levels in paint and what it means for your final finish

Gloss levels in paint and what it means for your final finish

Other than colour, selecting a gloss level of paint is one of the biggest decisions to make when purchasing paint for your project, and it can have one of the biggest impacts on how professional the paint finish looks. There are some standard applications for each different level of gloss paint, which generally makes the decision easier. However, fully understanding what these differences mean can help you make the best selection for your project.

Gloss is measured on a scale from ‘0’ to ‘100’, with ‘0’ being no gloss and ‘100’ being perfectly mirror-like. The industry standard is to measure this gloss level when painted onto a glass surface. Therefore, actual gloss levels on standard substrates would be lower than stated when used on a project. These gloss levels are measured at different angles depending on the gloss level that is wanting to be achieved (including 20°, 60° or 85°). This is based on the angle of sight that these paints would normally be seen. For example, flat paints are measured at 85° as they are often used on the ceiling. Whereas gloss paints are measured at 20°, as they are normally seen straight on (e.g. doors).

Generally, the paint gloss level claimed by the manufacturer indicates that the gloss level of the paint is within the range specified in the table below.

Paint Type

Gloss Level

Degree of Gloss Measurement

 Ultra-Flat

≤1

85°

 Flat

1-2

85°

 Matt

3-7

60°

 Low Sheen

8-12

60°

 Satin

20-30

60°

 Gloss

40-80

20°

 High Gloss

>80

20°

Gloss paints are stain and dirt resistant, and are easy to clean. Therefore, they are great for use on roofs, doorways, door frames and window frames. However, gloss paints also show up imperfections in the surface, as the light reflects easily off of the surface. Therefore, they are unsuitable for broad walls, ceilings and external walls of high rise buildings.

On the opposite end of the scale are ultra-flat paints. Ultra-flat and flat paints hide imperfections in the surface and finish, to provide a more professional looking finish on large surface areas. These are ideal for use on ceilings, and exterior walls with large, flat surface areas. However, ultra-flat and flat paints are not as easy to wash as gloss paints. Therefore, they are not recommended in areas that may collect stains and dirt.

For interior walls, low sheen is the ideal gloss level as it provides an aesthetically pleasing finish that assists to hide minor imperfections, while also providing a higher level of washability than flat paints.

The ROCKCOTE Technical Department has formulated a trade ceiling paint (ROCKCOTE Premium Ceiling White) with an ultra-flat gloss level of ≤1.0 at 85° that exhibits exceptional hiding power, with fantastic brushability, less roller splatter, and exceptional flow. This is one of the lowest gloss level ceiling paints on the market, as shown in the table below. Premium Ceiling White also has a low gloss level at 60° of 2.2. This is important as it also assists in hiding imperfections when viewed at a 60° angle, ensuring that provides exceptional touch-up ability.

Ceiling White Paint

Competitor 1

Competitor 2

ROCKCOTE Premium Ceiling White

 Gloss level at 85°

1.1

1.2

1.0

Refer to the table below for a quick guide to the ROCKCOTE finish paints, gloss levels and their ideal locations for use.
 

ROCKCOTE Product

Gloss Level

Ideal Use Location

 Armour

 Matt

 Exterior walls (particularly high rise buildings)

 Low Sheen

 Exterior walls

 Premium Ceiling White

 Ultra-flat

 Ceilings (new)

 EcoStyle

 Flat

 Interior walls

 Low Sheen

 Interior walls

 Satin

 Bathrooms, kitchens, kids’ bedrooms, trims, doors

 Gloss

 Doors, door frames, window frames, skirtings

 EcoStyle Ceiling White

 Flat

 Ceilings

 EcoStyle Clear

 High Gloss

 Some interior timber or porous brick

 Solar Protect

 Satin

 Roofs

 Gloss

 Roofs

 Clay Paint

 Ultra-flat

 Interior walls and ceilings

 Lime Wash

 Flat

 Interior or exterior walls

 Clearcote

 Low Sheen

 Exterior over ROCKCOTE Coloured Renders

 Repel

 Low Sheen

 Exterior over ROCKCOTE Coloured Renders

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