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Expert's Corner — flatting

TIP: How sheen works

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TIP: How sheen works

The sheen of a finish is measured as the reflectivity of the dried film – that is, the sharpness of an image reflected in the surface. Sheens vary from high gloss to very flat. The contrast between gloss and satin sheens is shown in the accompanying picture. Finishes are supplied in various sheens, determined by how much flatting agent, which is usually silica, is added. These are usually identified with names such as gloss, semi-gloss, satin, matte, eggshell and flat. The names reflect the manufacturer’s interpretation and are often chosen for marketing purposes, so the actual sheens you get can...

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TIP: Understanding Gloss and Satin

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TIP: Understanding Gloss and Satin

It’s the last coat you apply that establishes the sheen of your finish. In other words, if the sheen you’re getting is not to your liking, just apply another coat of finish on top with the sheen you want, and that’s what you’ll get. Sheens range from high gloss to dead flat. Gloss reflects an image almost like a mirror. Flat disrupts the image so much that you may not be able to see it at all. All finishes except gloss contain flatting agent that is responsible for the flatter look. This flatting agent (tiny particles of silica, which you...

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