28th Nov 2022 -

Eggshell is a type of paint finish, that offers an attractive muted colour with a slight sheen, splitting the difference between reflective gloss paints and flatter matt paints. It also carries over several benefits from these other options, making it suited to a range of household uses. In this quick guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll explain the essentials of eggshell paint, its pros and cons, and the places it will be used.

What is Eggshell Paint?

When buying paint it’s important to note the sheen, which is in many ways as important as the colour when it comes to governing the final look of a wall. The sheen sometimes called the finish, will determine the level of reflectivity the paint will offer. On the more reflective end of this spectrum is gloss paint, which will reflect a high level of light around a room. On the other end of the spectrum, matt paint will absorb rather than reflect light, offering a cosy subdued look.

Eggshell paint sits somewhere between the two, offering a slight gloss while avoiding the higher levels of reflection. It will possess around 20% reflection, placing it at a lower level than silk finishes, but higher than matt. As we will discuss later, eggshell paints’ placement between these two allows it to offer some of the benefits of each, making it a popular choice for a range of applications.

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What Types of Eggshell Paint Are Available?

Eggshell paint is available in several types. The typical paint choice for internal walls and ceilings is emulsion, a water-based paint which will come in basic colours like white, black, and grey, alongside more vivid primary colours. In addition, oil-based eggshell paints will be found. Specialist paints, like those designed for use on wood, or those intended for exterior applications, are also designed with eggshell finishes.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Eggshell Paint?

Eggshell paint, much like matt, will work to conceal the flaws of a surface, whether that be cracks, bumps, or grooves. Higher sheen paints can draw attention to the imperfections of a wall or ceiling, with eggshell paint doing the opposite, making it a great choice for flawed surfaces. Eggshell paint also comes with an easy application process that can be compared to matt, making a smooth, flat appearance that dries quickly. Gloss paints can be difficult to paint, with visible brush marks and edges. Compared to matt, eggshell paints can offer a great lifespan, so while they do cost a little more, in the long run, they are normally the more cost-effective choice.

While eggshell paint is hardier than matt, it lacks the durability of higher sheens. This means that for high-traffic environments like bathrooms, its performance will still come up short in comparison to silk, semi-gloss, or gloss paints. Equally, when it comes to cleaning eggshell surfaces can be cleaned a little more vigorously than matt, but can’t compare to gloss, which can be wiped clean making it ideal for messy environments like kitchens. These downsides are reduced compared to matt paint, the closest alternative, but higher sheen options can offer a stronger surface that is far easier to keep clean.

Where Would Eggshell Paint be Used?

Eggshell paint has become a popular choice within houses, acting as a “best of both worlds” between matt and gloss paints. Here are some of the places it can be used:

  • Low or Medium Traffic Spaces: While heavy traffic spaces could still benefit from the protection of a higher sheen option like semi-gloss or gloss, eggshell paint will perform well within everyday environments in a home. It can also be cleaned to maintain its appearance.
  • Walls and Ceilings: Eggshell paint can give an attractive and durable look to walls and ceilings within a property, combining the attractive colours of matt paint with a hint of the sheen that can be overwhelming in paints like gloss. You’ll find a range of colours, with attractive blues, greens, and magnolias. Eggshell is a very popular choice in both modern and traditional homes.
  • Furniture: With eggshell wood paint available, items like chests of drawers, wardrobes, or other woodworking features like skirting boards can be painted with an attractive eggshell look.

Building Materials Delivered Across the UK

Building Materials Nationwide works with professionals across the country, delivering a full range of quality building supplies to them. By opening a trade account today, you’ll gain access to your own dedicated account manager, who can help organise whatever supplies you need, be that eggshell paint, tiles, or other decorative elements, which can be delivered to your door at competitive trade pricing. Sign up for a trade account today, or tell us what you need through the form below.

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