28th Nov 2022 -

Silk paint is a popular finish option, sitting between the high reflections of gloss paint and the muted look of matt. It comes with some clear benefits and drawbacks, offering a durable finish on interior walls and ceilings, that can draw attention to defects that other paints would obscure. In this guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll explain the essentials of silk paint; What it is, the pros and cons, where it can be used, and your alternative paint options.

What is Silk Paint?

When buying paint in the UK you will have a range of finish options to choose from, which will affect the paint sheen. The paint sheen describes the level of reflectivity that a finished surface will possess, ranging from the high reflectivity of gloss paint to the muted surface of matt paint. Silk paint, sometimes called vinyl silk paint, sits between those two options and is defined as a mid-sheen paint. Silk paint will give surfaces a visible glow when light meets them, albeit in a more subdued way than gloss paints.

The term 'silk' is typically used for water-based emulsion paints that are intended for interior uses. For other mid-sheen paints, the finish will probably be Satin or Satinwood, meaning that if you are looking for silk paint for wood you’ll likely need to use satin wood paint instead. Silk paint colours tend to be more subdued than gloss options, with blues, greens, and yellows lacking the vividness of gloss colours.

The Benefits of Silk Paint

The visual benefits offered by vinyl silk paint will vary from person to person, but many find the gentle glow offered by its reflective surface to be very attractive within a building. Compared to the high reflections of gloss paint, and the muted look of matt, silk paint can offer a comfortable middle ground. The sheen offered by silk paint can make a room feel more spacious due to the light.

Another benefit of silk paint is that it can be washed, unlike matt paint. This can bring benefits when it comes to long-term maintenance, but also when used within messier environments. It will offer a durable finish, performing better within high-traffic environments than matt. It also boasts improved resistance to condensation, making it a more suitable choice for a kitchen or bathroom environment.

The Drawbacks of Silk Paint

The major drawback to consider is that silk paint can bring attention to any imperfections on a wall. If the wall you are painting is uneven this will likely become far more visible, with silk paint drawing attention to even smaller cracks and bumps. These visibility issues will extend to the painting process itself, with brush strokes more visible than duller matt options. Experienced painters should be able to minimise this issue, but it is something to keep in mind if looking to paint your walls and ceilings.

The Alternatives to Silk Paint

A durable matt paint can offer a colourful finish on walls and ceilings that is less likely to show imperfections compared to silk options. For durability and condensation resistance, you could opt for acrylic eggshell paint instead, which is an alternative mid-sheen option that provides a durable surface suitable for kitchens and bathrooms.

Where is Silk Paint Used?

Silk paint is used internally for solid surfaces, with satinwood or eggshell offering comparable mid-sheen finishes for different materials and environments. Here are the key locations where silk paint is popularly used in buildings:

  • Walls and Ceilings: For those looking to create a lighter space within their homes, silk paint sits between the subdued matt finish and more reflective gloss colours. The durability and easy cleaning can provide benefits in busy environments, such as family homes. It’s worth bearing in mind that walls that are not completely flat and smooth will have their imperfections made more visible by silk paint. In those cases, sanding and fillers can be used before painting, or a different finish like matt can be used.
  • Bathrooms: The walls and ceiling within a bathroom will be dealing with a large amount of water vapour against which certain paint types will perform poorly, requiring regular repainting to stay attractive. Silk paints work well against condensation, offering better long-term performance.
  • Kitchens: Kitchens, like bathrooms, will also have more water vapour than other rooms. In addition, staining is more likely in a kitchen cooking area, with spilt sauces and spitting oil potentially staining a wall. As it can be easily cleaned, silk paint offers further benefits when used in a kitchen.

The Building Supplies You Need Delivered Across the UK

Building Materials Nationwide aims to be the only place a professional needs for their building supplies. Through our website, we have a wide catalogue of products available, but for those working in the industry, our team of dedicated account managers can utilise our network of suppliers to source any products needed, delivering them across the UK.

By opening a trade account on our website, you’ll gain access to a dedicated account manager, who can be contacted via phone or email. You’ll also be eligible for our competitive trade pricing and our lightning-fast delivery. Whether looking for silk paint, tiling, laminate, or any other building supplies, open a trade account today.

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