Semi Gloss vs Eggshell Paint – Which One’s Perfect for You?

Choosing an inappropriate paint finish for any surface sucks, right? If you suffered such a situation, you know how it feels. If you did not, luckily you don’t have to suffer for it from now on.

Because today, this article will explain:

Semi Gloss vs Eggshell Paint – Which One’s Perfect for You?
  • semi gloss vs eggshell paints differences explained
  • Pros and cons of both semi-gloss and eggshell paints
  • Some can’t-miss things to consider while choosing a pint finish
  • The ideal cleaning procedures of semi-gloss and eggshell paints
  • Topic-related questions
  • And, some pro tips and necessary information!

Semi Gloss vs Eggshell: A Quick Comparison

Don’t want to read long explanations? Take a glance at this quick rundown!

Key Comparing FactorsEggshell PaintSemi-Gloss Paint
FinishingFlat FinishGlossy Finish
Reflectivity5-20% Reflective20-60% Reflective
Best for using onWalls and other interior surfacesTrim, Bathrooms, Cabinets, Doors
AvailabilityCheck hereCheck here

Differences Between Semi Gloss and Eggshell Paints: Explained!

You have already seen the very basic comparing factors of semi-gloss and eggshell paints and realized that both of them are great choices for individual intention.

Semi-gloss paint is the champion for trim work such as window trim, baseboards, cabinets, doors, and bathrooms. In contrast, eggshell paint is king for painting walls and in low-traffic areas.

So, why is eggshell finish paint better for low-traffic areas? You may ask.

Actually, the less shiny the paint is, the better it can hide flaws on the surfaces. Therefore, you’ll want to use it on walls that are not perfectly smooth. Because if you use a semi-gloss finish on such a wall, the paint sheen can show every imperfection on the surface.

This is why eggshell paint finish offers only 5-20% ability to reflect light and hide flaws whereas semi-gloss has up to 60% ability to reflect light.

However, the drawback of eggshell paints is, they are not as durable as semi-gloss paints. You can totally count on eggshell paints when it comes to using them on walls. But they are not a champ if you want to use them on trim, doors, or cabinets.

On the other hand, semi-gloss paints are widely used for their durability. Experts recommend using semi-gloss paint finish in places that require frequent cleanings such as bathrooms or kitchens. It’s considered the toughest paint against wear and tear.

A house with a Semi Gloss paint
A house with a Semi-Gloss paint

Pros and Cons of Semi-Gloss Paints

Now, let’s grab some clearer ideas about semi-gloss paints like what benefits and drawbacks they have.


  • Highly resistant to moisture, grease, and dirt
  • Reflects a significant amount of light
  • Very easy to clean
  • More durable than eggshell paints


  • Reveals the imperfection in your walls
  • Not the best option for using on walls

Pros and Cons of Eggshell Paints

This section will help you to be more sure about which paint finish is the best fit for you.


  • Successfully hides the flaws and imperfections of the surfaces
  • Ideal option for using on walls and ceilings
  • Slightly less expensive than other higher-gloss options


  • It’s hard to ‘touch-up’ with eggshell paint
  • Less durable
A house with an Eggshell Paint
A house with an Eggshell Paint

Semi-Gloss or Eggshell?- Which Paint Finish to Pick?

Well, the answer is up to your personal preferences and the overall situation of your targeted surface.

By now, you’ve got a clear idea about the details of semi-gloss and eggshell paint. So, you can decide pretty easily which paint finish would be perfect for your needs.

If you’re going to apply the paint finish on walls or ceilings, we recommend you choose eggshell paint. But if you’re looking for something to work on trim, cabinets, or doors, pick semi-gloss paint.

Also, keep the other features and characteristics in your mind as well.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Paint Finish

If you’re heading to the store to pick out a paint finish right now, please wait a few minutes more. Look over the things below for a moment, they’ll help you to find the right paint.

Room Size and Natural Light:

Do you know how much natural light comes into the room which you want to paint? If you don’t know yet, think about it because it has a direct connection with the reflectivity of the finishes. For example, the more glossy the finish will be, the more light will bounce across your room.


Don’t skip this point because it’s probably the most important thing you should think about before selecting the finish. Busy rooms such as playrooms and kitchens need more durable finishes like semi-gloss. However, it’s okay to choose eggshell paints for calmer rooms such as dining rooms.

Surface imperfections:

According to the route you go, the wall’s texture may interfere with the application of the paint finish. The more crackings or patches your walls have, the more flat or matte finish is needed.

Paint Sheen:

The shininess of the finish is a must-to-consider factor. If you want to brighten a dim place, semi-gloss paint will be a better option than a matte finish.

How to Properly Clean Semi-Gloss and Eggshell Paints

Here you have a quick cleaning chart on ‘Semi-Gloss vs Eggshell’.

PurposesSemi-Gloss PaintEggshell Paint
Normal cleansingHot water and soapHot water and soap
Removing hard stainsColdwater and AmmoniaMay need to Retouch Paint

The fact we were saying throughout the article is that eggshell paint isn’t very durable. So, you must take care while cleaning the surface. Try not to scrub the eggshell-painted surface at all and never ever scrub hard.

Also, say no to using any abrasive cleaners if you don’t want to face any faded or discolored areas. It would be best if you use an all-natural solution like cleaning with a soft clean cloth, hot water, and vinegar. Using only hot water and dish soap will also work just fine.

Bonus tip: If you’ve ever used something like a magic eraser to clean walls, it’s time you should stop using it. Because there’s a chance the eraser can leave a dull mark on the paint or anyway mess up the paint.

So, this is how you can deal with eggshell paints. Now, let’s turn the way towards semi-gloss paints and discuss how you can clean them properly.

Since semi-gloss paint is more durable, it’s perfect for high-contact areas. Therefore, it’s even easier to clean compared to eggshell paint. This is why semi-gloss paints are a must-pick for high-trafficked and moisture areas such as bathrooms or kitchens.

It’s pretty easy to get rid of handprints and grease from semi-gloss paints without doing anything much. A small amount of dish soap on a sponge or soft cloth is just okay to clean the dirty areas.

However, if it’s not enough, you can try a useful solution- add two cups of ammonia to one-gallon cold water.

Warning: Use latex gloves and select a well-ventilated area to do the job because ammonia is toxic.

Topic-Related Questions that May Pop Up in Your Mind

Can you paint eggshell over semi-gloss?

Yes, you can paint eggshell paint finish over any surface.

Do you have to sand semi-gloss before painting?

It’s better to sand the semi-gloss painted surface before painting because glossy surfaces can’t hold paint properly. So, it would be better if you dull the gloss finish before you repaint the surface.

Do you need to sand eggshell before painting?

Although eggshell isn’t that glossy, you should sand and prime the eggshell-painted surface before repainting it. It will help improve adhesion.

Does primer stick to semi-gloss paint?

No, as long as you can prime perfectly, any problem shouldn’t come up.

Can you mix semi-gloss paint with eggshell paint?

Umm, it’s not a great idea because you may get a final result like this- the paint produces streaks or clumps after they’re applied to the project surface. However, you can mix them as long as they’re the same type and for each like both of them are latex enamel.


Voila! Now, you know everything about eggshell vs semi gloss paint! So, it’s no more complicated for you to choose one between them.

Since both paint finishes have different features, benefits, and drawbacks, we believe that choosing the one that fits your needs is the best decision. Think about every major and minor factor before you make the purchase.

Leave a Comment