Matte/Flat or Eggshell

ras9999January 30, 2011

We just built a 3800 sqr foot house and have 3 kids.

Builder insists we should do Matte for all rooms, semi-gloass for trims/doors and bathrooms/kitchens.

Another friend builder said to do Eggshell.

He also said use Eggshell in the kitchen (instead of semi-gloss).

Our kitchen/family room is one big rectangle that connects to each other.

Any + or - in using Eggshell?

Is it really hard to touch it up other than painting entire wall ?

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Matte would be fine for all except kitchen and baths, eggshell there, NOT semi on the walls.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 7:39AM
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For ME...Satin in Baths/Kitchens.
Eggshell for main areas/halls/rooms.

Matte is fine for adult bedrooms/offices. Kids rooms, baths & halls...NO WAY ON EARTH!

"Semi" on trims/doors...YES DEFINITELY.

Many decent builders up here use Eggshell for main areas. There ARE a few nice "washable Mattes", like ACE's Royal-Finest. It's got Scotchguard in it...VERY NICE paint. Runs about $30-35/gal.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Depends on what brand and grade of paint you're using for the walls. Inexpensive matte finishes are unforgiving. Some pricier matte finishes are as glossy, and therefore arguably as durable, as other brand's eggshell finishes. It all depends on what you're working with.

Agree with Faron about semi on trim and doors.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 4:26PM
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Is Eggshell touchable ?
You would do the wall + ceiling the same, eggshell?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 12:02PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Eggshell - yes, I would agree with calling it touchable.

No, I wouldn't do the walls and ceiling the same. From what I've read on your other threads, you'd be better off putting a flat finish in the hands of the painter to use on your ceiling.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 6:44PM
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Any gloss at all on your ceiling will highlight the flaws in the drywall/taping job and trust me, there are lots of flaws up there. Bathrooms are the sole exception to flat only on the ceiling. Funcolor's observations around matte on correct - Aura matte will outperform most other products in any sheen (I've lived with it for 4 years now myself) while lesser matte finishes will perform more like a flat paint.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 8:20AM
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Builder recommended Eggshell for bathrooms and Flat for the rest of the house. I should ignore?

What do you all think about

  1. EggShell on all walls and Flat on ceiling
  2. Satin (or Semi-Gloss) in all bathrooms

Thanks for all help.
Builder keeps insisting I should not use Eggshell because of the gloss I can not touch up small marks. We have kids and in our current house I do many touchups (Flat finish).

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 10:21PM
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You've kinda answered your own question with your last sentence...
>>> The precise reason you're touching-up a lot now IS BECAUSE you have flat paint (and probably a lower-grade type)!!

The "behind-the-scenes" reasons many builders like Flats:
1) They're cheap...sometimes VERY cheap.
2) The flatter the sheen, the less imperfections stand out.

>>> Therefore: The drywall jobs don't have to be as fussy (read...saving MORE $$), since cheap Flats won't show the half-a$$ed finishing work flaws.

IN YOUR HEAD...Tell the builder to "Shove it", and re-write your change-order to-
* 2 coats Eggshell everywhere except baths, on top of prime-coat.
* Your choice of Satin or S/G for baths, on top of the prime-coat.
* Yes, Flat on ceilings is fine.
>>> Make sure the changes are worded 2 COATS FINISH-PAINT, ON THE PRIMECOAT.
>>> Make sure the price-change is acceptable to you.

After all, the builder is working FOR YOU.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:06AM
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Don't forget also that if you are selecting eggshell then you are probably looking at that $2,500 upgrade again. I have no problem with the reasoning that builders use as to why flat paint is better for a new build. After the paint job is done, you have some 17 trades coming into the home and beating the hell out of it.....stair guys, floor guys, mirror guys, etc, etc. Flat paint touches up the best and hides everything. Also, most builders offer a year end warranty which means after that first year, there may be some or several drywall repairs made and those will need to be touched up. Flat paint touches up the best. Also, do you really know what colors you want on your walls before you move in, buy your furniture, buy your window treatments and live in the home for a while? I realize that some people want to move in and never have to paint again, but if you can wait that first year out, that has some advantages.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 1:03AM
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Thanks everyone.

I am going with Eggshell. I hope its not a mistake. I read articles saying that its hard to paint over it in the future.

I do touchups because of kids. But even with Eggshell marker stains probably won't come off. So touchup paint is needed (my case with my 4year old).

Has anyone touched up Eggshell and confirmed we can do it in small areas (and not require entire walls).

And would you do Flat or Eggshell on ceilings?
I am leaning toward Eggshell for all the walls.
Also leaning towards the $2599 upgrade to either Natura or Aura Benjamin Moor paint.

Just worried about the touchup aspect of Eggshell.

All trims/doors - Satin/Semi-Gloss
All walls - Eggshell
All ceilings - Debating between Flat and Eggshell. Not sure if its obvious mis-match.

All bathrooms - Satun/Semi-Gloss

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 1:06AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

It depends on which eggshell you're talking about. Dilute with a few drops of water and touch up with thin, light coats and you can get most eggs to blend in rather well. Not perfect, but pretty good usually.

If you upgrade to Aura Matte - everywhere - you're going to be able to touch it up. Almost, darn near seamlessly. If direct light never hits the touched up area, it's very, very likely no one will ever know you touched it up.

trim/doors in satin or semi is good.
walls - need to decide what you want
ceilings - sheen on a ceiling is always a risk

bathrooms - semi if you really want it, but an excellent quality satin would be just fine too.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 1:22AM
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