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  • Writer's pictureProcoat Painting

Create Splash-Proof Sanctuaries With Paint Sheens So Your Walls Don’t Need to Fear the Water Fights

Updated: Apr 4

paint sheens

Bathrooms can be…messy. Between water, cleaning supplies, toothpaste, and who knows what else, an endless amount of grime and gunk can ruin your paint job. That’s why it’s so vital that you use durable paint sheens to keep your bathroom walls safe.

But what are paint sheens? Are some better at creating water-resistant spaces than others? Let’s look at your best options and the pros and cons of using different styles.

Understanding Paint Sheens and Quality

Paint sheens refer to the shininess or glossiness of the paint finish. When applied to a surface, different sheen levels will reflect more or less light. Ultimately, sheen determines how a painted surface will look when exposed to light.

bathroom using matte paint sheens

You’ll want more or less sheen depending on which room you’re painting. Thankfully, professional interior painting services know paint sheens like they’re painted on the back of their hand.

One key rule to remember about finishes is that more sheen reflects more light and highlights imperfections. Less sheen absorbs light and hides imperfections.

Sheen breaks into five levels, from the highest degree of light reflectiveness to the lowest. You’ve probably heard these mentioned on home improvement shows, but let’s dive into what they actually mean.


This is the highest degree of light reflectiveness. Gloss finishes are often on metalwork, cabinetry, banisters, and trim and in high-traffic commercial kitchen and bathroom areas. Gloss offers extreme durability and is the easiest to clean. That said, it’s harder to touch up.


Semi-gloss has the second-highest degree of light reflection. You’ll see semi-gloss used in high-traffic household areas, like the kitchen and bathroom. You may also use it in children’s rooms and hallways or on doors, windows, and woodwork. It’s durable and easy to clean but challenging to touch up.


The third-highest degree of light reflectiveness, satin is commonly used on interior walls because it’s better at hiding small imperfections. That’s why you’ll mostly see satin paint sheens in living rooms and bedrooms, although they can also appear in kitchens and bathrooms.


This offers the second-lowest degree of light reflectiveness. Think of eggshell as a step up from satin regarding hiding imperfections. Because it reflects less light, it’s better at hiding those tiny holes, dents, and scratches. It’s also easy to touch up but harder to clean.


These paint sheens have the lowest level of light reflection. Flat sheen is mostly used on ceilings and exterior walls. It’s not the most durable paint, but it’s pretty easy to touch up. It’s also the best type of sheen for hiding imperfections, as it hardly reflects any light. But you wouldn’t want to use flat paint on your bathroom walls.

paint sheens

The Battle-Ready Bathroom: Choosing the Right Paint Sheens

Now that we understand what sheen is and how it works, let’s talk about what kind of paint sheens you should use when painting your bathroom. How can you paint an efficient bathroom while keeping up with the latest color trends?

Bathroom walls require more cleaning than, let’s say, hallways or bedroom walls. So, you’ll want to choose a durable and cleanable finish. Gloss and semi-gloss sheens are your best options.

Semi-gloss paints can be scrubbed effortlessly. You won’t have to worry about fading, scratching, or leaving watermarks. Semi-gloss also adds a nice shine to any high-traffic area, such as a bathroom or kitchen. It might be difficult to touch up, but you won’t have to touch it up very often due to its durability.

Semi-gloss is also highly water and steam-resistant, so it’s ideal for bathrooms—which, you know, generate lots of water! Gloss is a step up in this regard. However, it could be a little too shiny for your liking (unless you’re going for that commercial bathroom aesthetic). And remember, these shinier paints will highlight imperfections.

Flat, eggshell, and satin finishes can still work if you want to go the luxurious route. There are styles made specifically for bathrooms, but they aren’t as durable or steam-resistant as gloss and semi-gloss.

These paints will hide imperfections, but they’ll also deteriorate quickly. You can likely get away with it if it’s just you and a partner. But add messy kids into the mix, and you could be repainting those walls every year.

matte bathroom paint

Maintenance and Cleaning for Splash-Proof Bathrooms: Preserving the Sheen

While gloss and semi-gloss paint sheens are the most durable, they still need some TLC on your part. Luckily, we’ve put together some DIY bathroom hacks you can use to ensure its longevity and prevent peeling paint.

  • Wash BEFORE Painting: Check this hack off your list before you ever paint the wall! Dip a sponge in a special solution of one part bleach to three parts water. Then, scrub away any existing grime and mildew. Make sure you open a window or run the exhaust fan while cleaning. Then, get the walls as dry as possible before painting.

  • Spot Clean: Keep a microfiber cloth handy to wipe down surfaces before leaving the bathroom. If you’re a messy teeth-brusher, try cleaning the splattered toothpaste off the wall BEFORE it can dry. You’ll thank us later.

  • Use the Shower? Yes! In this hack, steam is your best friend. First, spray your walls with an all-purpose cleaner. Then, turn the shower on as hot as it can go. Let steam build for about five minutes, then turn the water off. Let the steam mix with the cleaner for another 20 minutes before wiping the walls with a clean cloth.

Kindness Beyond Borders: One Random Act of Kindness from Around the World

Everyone loves their morning coffee. Everyone also loves free stuff. Imagine a world where they’re one and the same! In Italy, there’s a 100-year-old tradition called “caffè sospeso,” or “suspended coffee.” Here’s how it works:

Instead of ordering just one coffee, you order a caffè sospeso. You essentially pay for two coffees but only drink one. Then, the next person who orders gets the second coffee you bought for free!

The warm, welcoming feeling of coffee shops fuels the caffè sospeso trend. It’s like how a warm and welcoming home can foster kindness in your own life.

Win the Water Fight With Durable, Cleanable, and Shiny Paint Sheens

If you’re ready to turn your bathroom into a waterproof sanctuary, get in touch with the painting pros at Procoat Athens. Just scroll on down to the bottom of our homepage and dial the big white numbers at the bottom. You can’t miss ’em!

Turning turn your bathroom into a splash-proof wonderland is one of our favorite things to do—seriously. Contact us when you’re ready to let the waterproof magic begin.

In the meantime, let’s share a laugh: “Why don’t scientists trust stairs? Because they’re always up to something!” 😄

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