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When to Use Satin Paint

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Satin paint has a smooth finish with just a hint of sheen, falling somewhere in the middle between flat and glossy paint. While it isn't quite as effective as flat and matte paint for concealing surface flaws and imperfections, satin paint resists dirt and is fairly resistant to stains. Unlike high-gloss and semi-gloss paints, satin paint won't stand up to vigorous cleaning with abrasive agents. However, it can be lightly scrubbed without fear of marring its finish.

Satin paint is used primarily on interior walls. Because it is more durable than flat or matte paint, satin paint works well for hallways and high-traffic rooms, such as living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, and dens. Because satin paint won't withstand frequent, aggressive cleaning, it really isn't well suited for kitchens and bathrooms, which tend to accumulate a lot of dirt and grime. Satin paint also isn't recommended for window trims, door trims, or molding.

In addition to walls, satin paint is suitable for painting decorative items, such as unfinished wood furniture. It offers a more subtle finish than the overt shine of glossy paint, yet is more durable and stain-resistant than flat or matte paint.

If you need to paint over a pre-painted surface, satin paint will work better than high-gloss or semi-gloss. However, if the pre-existing paint is glossy or exceptionally dark, you'll need to lay down a coat or two of primer before applying the satin paint.

Satin paint is also a good choice for exterior painting because it reflects light (as opposed to flat and matte paints, which absorb it). This enables the paint to withstand the long-term effects of exposure to direct sunlight. Satin paint's durability and ability to shed water also serve it well in the outdoors, especially when used to paint wood or aluminum siding.

Satin paint is clearly labeled and easily identifiable on the shelf of any paint, hardware, or home improvement store. It's available in a wide variety of colors, and can be custom-mixed if necessary. When color mixing, you should always request that the satin paint be used for the base.

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