exterior paint sheen in satin, raleigh, nc

What Is The Best Exterior Paint Sheen? | Exterior Paint Sheen Guide

If you’re thinking about painting the exterior of your home, there’s more to consider than just the color of the paint. Choosing the right paint sheen for your home is key for both the overall look and performance of the paint. Here at Oak City Coatings, we use mostly either Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore exterior paints in flat, satin, and gloss sheens. In this exterior paint sheen guide, we’ll explore the various sheen levels and discuss how to choose an exterior paint sheen that works best for your unique project. 


Understanding Exterior Paint Sheen Levels

Before we dive into which exterior paint sheens are best for each type of surface, it’s first important to understand what sheen is. Paint sheen is the level of shine or glossiness that a paint finish has when it dries. The level of sheen is determined by how much light is reflected off of the finish. Different exterior paint sheens look different on different types of surfaces and in different environments. 


The main types of exterior paint finish types that we work with are: 

  • Flat – This sheen has minimal to no shine and is great for hiding imperfections. However, it is harder to clean. 
  • Satin – A satin sheen has a medium shine without being too glossy. It’s a softer sheen that is easier to clean and is very durable to outdoor elements, and is resistant to dirt and mildew, making it a great choice for exterior paint. 
  • Gloss – A gloss sheen is the shiniest option, which reflects a good amount of light. It’s very durable and moisture-resistant, which is great for exterior paint, especially exterior trim and doors. 


How To Choose The Best Exterior Paint Sheen 

Body or Siding


When it comes to the body or siding of your home, we typically recommend going with a satin sheen. This paint finish wears better over time than flat sheens, holds up longer to the sun, and has better resistance to dirt and other outdoor elements. 

This is especially important to consider here in the southeast when we experience our annual pine pollen season. It is best to have an exterior paint finish that can keep all of the pollen out of your paint film. Pollen that is embedded into the paint film can cause mold to grow since it is an organic material. 

If a house is not in the best shape and someone is looking to paint it before selling to maximize its appearance and longevity, we typically recommend a flat exterior paint sheen in that instance, as it hides imperfections. 




When choosing an exterior paint sheen for trim, we usually recommend either a satin or gloss finish. If you like the lower sheen look that still appears elegant, then satin is a good option. This is also easy to clean and maintain. 

If you prefer a shinier finish for your trim, you may want to choose a gloss paint finish. This sheen is also very durable. Personally, I like to use satin on our home’s exterior trim. 

The best exterior paint sheen for your home depends on the surface of your home, how many imperfections it has, and what type of outdoor elements it faces. For most exteriors, satin paint finishes are a great choice for both the body and trim. This creates a visually appealing result while also being resistant to the elements. The key is to opt for a high-quality paint product and trusted brands like Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore. 


You can read more about choosing the best paint sheens for various spaces in your home in these blog posts: 



If you’re ready to give your exterior a new look and are local to the Raleigh area, we’d love to learn more about your project and partner with you! 


Visit our contact page to book your free consultation. 

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