7th Dec 2022 -

Offering a durable, reflective finish, the different types of gloss paint are used for everything from cabinets to kitchen walls, to cars. While gloss paint brings some clear benefits, it also has drawbacks that mean it will rarely be used for the internal walls of a home and is better suited to specific elements within a more subdued surrounding. In this guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll explore what exactly defines gloss paint, look at the wide range of gloss paints sold in the UK, and explore some of the popular uses for gloss paint.

What is Gloss Paint?

Gloss is a term to describe a paint, indicating the level of sheen it will offer when used. It will sometimes be referred to as glossing paint. Within paints, there are a series of terms used that will indicate the level of reflection offered:

  • Gloss: 70%-90% reflection
  • Semi-Gloss: 41%-69% reflection
  • Satin: 26%-40% reflection
  • Sheen: 15%-25% reflection
  • Matt: Less than 10% reflection

Paints at the highest levels are sometimes called High Gloss paints. Gloss paints are used in a wide variety of industries, offering an attractive reflective appearance that is easy to clean and maintain. Gloss paints will leave a smooth surface, and will bounce light around rooms. Because of this, gloss will be used for certain aspects of interior decoration, while matt paints will be used on others. Another drawback of gloss paint is that it can draw attention to any imperfections on a surface.

What Types of Gloss Paint Are Available?

When shopping for gloss paint you’ll see the options for semi-gloss, gloss, and high-gloss, which will each escalate in terms of reflective properties. As gloss is simply the name for the finish, you’ll have a wide variety of paint types to choose from, with emulsion, acrylic, and oil-based paints all available glossed. Within specialist paints, there will be gloss options, such as gloss wood paint. Water-based gloss paint can be used to paint interior wood and metal, offering low odours and consistent colouring, with no yellowing over time.

Where is Gloss Paint Commonly Used?

As mentioned before, the high levels of reflection offered by gloss paints can make them unsuitable for many uses within a building. With one exception, gloss paints are typically used for smaller elements of a building rather than the walls and ceilings. Here are some of the popular areas where gloss paint will be used:

  • Kitchen and Bathrooms: Glossing paint can make a kitchen feel lighter by reflecting natural light around the room. It also benefits from being easy to clean. Gloss performs well in high moisture environments, and can also be a great choice for the walls of a bathroom. A non-yellowing white gloss can therefore bring benefits to the elements of a bathroom.
  • Doors and Windows: The most popular uses for gloss paint within a home are wooden elements, like doors and window frames. Having a smaller reflective element can make for an attractive contrast against more subdued walls. The durability will also be useful for doors and window sills which are likely to have a lot more contact and movement than other areas.
  • Decorative Elements: Much like windows and doors, the look and durability of gloss paint lend themselves to other decorative elements of a house. Things like cabinets and drawers can be given a bold look. In older homes with architectural details or complex woodwork, gloss paint can help to make these details stand out. This could be the bannisters of a staircase or the coving around the ceiling of a room.
  • Exterior Features: The durability and water resistance of gloss make it a great choice for exterior work. There will be specialist paint options for outdoor work, that will allow you to paint doors, chairs, and sheds that will keep their colour regardless of the weather. You’ll also be able to paint metal elements using gloss metal paint, such as gates and garage doors, which can be painted in brighter colours like blue, green, or red. These bold colours will reflect the sun's natural light within your outside spaces, offering a stylish and durable look.
  • Cars: Glossing paints are famously used on many cars to give them a fantastic shiny appearance. Cars are commonly spray painted, with specialist gloss spray options available for cars.

Your One-Stop Shop For Building Supplies

Building Materials Nationwide works across the UK, offering a comprehensive range of supplies to professionals. Through our dedicated account managers, we can organise whatever products you need, be that gloss paint, timber, insulation, bricks, or more. Our trade account holders also get competitive trade pricing, and access to express nationwide delivery. Sign up for a trade account today, or tell us what you need through the form below.

    * These fields are mandatory