Satin Vs Flat Paint (Extensive Comparison Guide)

This page contains affiliate links and we earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of the links, at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you fascinate doing painting jobs? Are you on the verge of starting one but aren’t sure which paint finish is best for your needs? Many people ask this question.

Having problems finding the answer is a common occurrence. If you’re not a skilled painter, you may not know which will look best on which surface.

It’s not always clear whether a satin or matte finish is best for doors or walls. To answer these and other queries, we’ve taken the time to explain the issue.

In this section, we’ll go over the main distinctions between the finishes, as well as their appearance and application. We’ll also provide you with some pointers so that the next time someone brings up painting at the office water cooler, you’ll look like an expert.

About Satin Paint

It has a mellow sheen to it. Some describe it as velvety, with only a sliver of sheen from the light bouncing off of it. Satin paint, on the other hand, isn’t incredibly glossy.


Even though it is reflective to light, the sheen on flat surfaces is usually so subtle that it goes unnoticed. The number of binders and pigments in a paint can have a significant impact on the final appearance.

The glossier the finish, the more binder is present. Satin is in the center of the most frequent paint finishes. While flat and eggshell paints have less binder than semi-gloss and gloss, this paint contains more.

Satin paint has a greater degree of flexibility and durability because of the increased binder content. For high-traffic areas, it is easy to clean compared to its lower-sheen brothers.

Moisture-resistant because of the larger amount of binder in the product. There are also one-coat formulations available on the local market that may not necessitate extra coats because of the lower pigmentation.

In contrast, the light-reflecting characteristics of the material make defects in the surface more apparent. In addition, it may be more difficult to submit an application.

Using wet paint for a dry edge can form a line because of the gloss. Final results may be unequal if attention is not taken during the process.

Touch Ups, on the other hand, are mostly to be noticed. Because of the uneven sheen caused by touch-ups, you may be able to tell where you’ve made a repair.

In terms of pricing, the satin finish can be pricier than other alternatives. However, on a can-by-can basis, the difference is often negligible.

Even so, the cost does add up if you’re painting a huge area and require numerous cans of paint.

About Flat Paint

The lesser light is reflected by flat paint. Applying it to the surface results in a homogeneous appearance because there is no sheen.

Colors reflecting off the surface or light bouncing off the surface have less of an effect. Flat paint contains the smallest amount of binder and the maximum amount of pigment in comparison to other types of paint.

Because of this, flat paint provides a high level of coverage. However, as a result of this, the product’s flexibility and durability have been compromised.

Flat paint is notoriously difficult to remove. In addition to debris, scrubbing can make the paint fall off. There may be apparent differences in color when too much paint is removed.

Furthermore, flat paint degrades more rapidly than flat paint. Scratches and dings are more visible on the surface, necessitating more frequent touch-ups.

Flat paint, on the other hand, is much easier to apply. Even if you paint over dry borders with wet paint, the color will not change. Consequently, touch-ups are less noticeable.

Adding more pigment to the formula also improves the product’s overall coverage. Cost reductions may be realized by using fewer coats of paint to get the desired effect.

Satin Vs Flat Paint – Detailed Comparison Guide

You should make the distinction between satin and flat paint into account because it can help you determine which product is better to use.

It’s simpler to perceive the differences between the two paint types when you examine each characteristic attentively and compare them side by side.

A detailed comparison of a flat and satin finish is provided in the next section.


There is no difference in how you need to prepare your surface for painting flat or satin paint. Afterward, the walls must be properly cleaned to eliminate all dirt, filth, and grease from the surface.

Scrape or sand any loose paint and fill in any holes to ensure that the surface is as smooth as possible. Primer 1 is recommended as the first step in ensuring a long-lasting paint finish.

When compared to satin paint, flat paint is significantly simpler to work with. You don’t have to worry about keeping a wet paint edge when you use a brush on the paint because it doesn’t have any sheen.

When painting a flat surface, the most effective method is to use a roller and paint in zigzag or W patterns, returning to fill in any gaps and finish any exposed corners with a brush.

One or two extra coatings may be necessary. Satin paint, on the other hand, leaves a stain on the surface when wet paint is applied over a dry edge.

With the W method, many areas of the shine would be uneven. Reloading the roller and painting the whole section with one roller at a time, is the most efficient approach.

Afterward, you can reapply the paint, slightly overlapping the previous layer. Thus, there is a moist edge to build upon when navigating the course.

Durability & Maintenance

When it comes to painting the exterior of a home, latex is the greatest option. Flat vs. satin, on the other hand, has to take the durability prize.

This barrier is provided by the gloss media, which is found in the paint itself. Due to its high traffic, satin is the ideal choice for high-traffic locations. It is better to clean and less likely to get stained.

Paint that is flat is more difficult to clean and tends to accumulate more filth. Having flat finish on a surface where you’ll be wiping it frequently can eventually wear it down.

As a result, the color will appear patchy on the whole. Touching up satin paint is more difficult than flat paint. Adding paint is all that is required for flat surfaces.

Flashing is the result of satin touch-ups. Even after it has dried, the spot will be visible with wet satin paint applied on top of the dry paint.

The worse it will look, especially from the side, the larger the blemish.


When it comes to aesthetics, the fundamental difference between flat and satin paints is gloss. Unlike satin paint, which has a delicate luster and reflects light, flat creates a matte finish and doesn’t shine.

Although your paints are of the same hue, the surfaces they are applied to will appear different because of the differing light-reflecting characteristics.

The color of satin paint is affected by both direct light and light reflected from nearby objects. The hue of the paint may appear lighter in the light.

The color of an object may be affected by light reflecting off of it, depending on the object’s color. Color consistency is improved with flat paint. As a result, color-altering effects are lessened.

Satin paint, with its ability to reflect light, can enhance the depth perception of a room. This also makes smaller rooms, such as restrooms, hallways, and children’s bedrooms appear larger.

Neither of these advantages can be found in flat paint. When it comes to imperfections on surfaces, satin paint can help hide them. Imperfections become more obvious as light reflects off of them.

Flat paint doesn’t reflect as much light. This means dings and dings won’t be as noticeable.


Flat paint, on the other hand, tends to cover better than satin. Flat paint contains more pigment because there is less binder in it.

To obtain a full coverage look, a second coat may not be necessary if the first coat has enough pigment to cover the entire wall.

Satin’s coverage concerns may become more widespread if there are more binders used. The extra binder is a tradeoff for the pigment.

You can’t apply as much color in a single pass because the binder doesn’t include your desired shade. One-coat paint materials are now available in a variety of finishes, including satin, which should be taken into consideration.

With these, you may have fewer troubles with insurance.

Ease Of Use

Paint Brushes aren’t all that easy to use when it comes to painting in general. Before you can begin painting, you must remove any debris from the surface you’re working on.

The area must be thoroughly cleaned, any loose paint must be scraped off and the entire surface sanded before you can proceed.

Adding a coat of priming is also highly recommended. Make sure that your skin tone matches the color of the pigment you plan to apply over it.

If you’re painting with latex, you’ll need an oil or latex primer in either satin or flat sheen. Cover all surfaces that can be splattered with paint once the work is done.

You might also use painter’s tape to isolate any sections you don’t want to work on. Doing this by the trim and all electrical fixtures is a good idea unless you are a professional.

Using a brush, roller, or sprayer can be used to apply both satin and flat paints. Many people use a roller or a paintbrush for flat paint for minor details because they aren’t familiar with sprayers.

As they don’t necessitate much precision, matte materials are the most convenient to use. To fill in the gaps between the boards, simply remove the paint from the surface of the boards.

Satin finishes, on the other hand, are more challenging to achieve. The light will reflect off the paint’s sheen, making defects more obvious. There’s nothing wrong with sloppily applying the paint.

Straight through the entire wall is the most efficient way to roll it out. After drying, you’ll notice a noticeable change in sheen if you begin with vertical strokes and then transition to horizontal strokes.

Number Of Required Layers

Flat paint requires more coats than satin paint to get adequate coverage. Because satin paint has a thicker base, you can apply more coats before it runs out.

Satin paint often requires no more than two coats. More than two applications are required for flat paints. Flat paint typically requires three coats of application.

Flat paint is thinner, so you’ll need more to get the same amount of coverage. Flat paint, on the other hand, is completely unaffected by this.

You can apply as many as three layers of flat paint as long as you allow enough time for each coat to dry in-between applications.

More than three layers of satin paint can degrade the finish, so don’t use it. As a result, adding further layers of satin paint will be a lengthy process.


Using a simple paint job, let’s compare the cost of satin and flat paint. A 10×12-foot bedroom, which requires two gallons of satin or flat paint, will serve as our example.

A gallon of flat paint might range between $10-$45 or $20-$90 for a bedroom. A painter will charge between $140 and $245 per hour for a job that takes roughly seven hours to complete.

The total cost of the tools and other materials is around $20. Prices for Primer 1 range from $10 to $35. You may expect to pay between $190 and $390 if you use flat paint to complete this project.

When painting this identical room using satin paint, it may take a few extra hours due to the additional time needed to prep the wall and paint it.

Because of this, labor costs can range from $180 to $315. You may have to pay from $20 to $50 per gallon, or $40 to $100 if you need a large quantity.

Painting tools and the primer 1 will set you back between $30 and $57. Satin paint can be used for $250-$470 on this job.

Final Verdict

Satin and flat paints, in general, are excellent options for painting. Both will have a low sheen and look great on your surface.

In the end, the color of paint you choose will be determined by your personal preferences and requirements. When painting, you should choose glossy paint for maximum protection, and flat paint with matt finish for a more vibrant appearance.

If you choose satin paint instead of flat paint, you may not need to apply the paint repeatedly as frequently. When it comes to removing dirt and filth from the environment, flat paint absorbs it, so this is inappropriate but the same dust and dirt can be removed easily from the satin finish.

Choose a satin paint if the extension of the life of your painted surface is your objective.

Leave a Comment

Explore Us

Follow Us On:

About Us

House Whirl Logo White has a team of professional industry experts to help you find guides on painting, finishing, flooring, bathroom & kitchen to make your home look stunning. We have tested, researched & written hundreds of buying guides to help you select the top-notch & affordable products out there!

Disclosure is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to