High Gloss Paint vs Semi Gloss Paint

four cans of pink paint with pink background colors

Deciding whether to use high gloss paint or semi-gloss paint is an important decision so as to ensure good results. Both have their particular characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages that need to be considered in relation to what they will be used for.

High Gloss Paint - Features and Characteristics

High gloss paint can be water-based or oil-based. The oil-based version is commonly used for boats because of its durability. These types of paints are very hard, can be easily scrubbed, and are resistant to abrasions. This is one of the reasons why they are used for marine projects because they can resist salt and moisture. However high gloss paint has the disadvantage that it can become brittle and inflexible over time.

The high gloss paint based on water is much more flexible and holds up better. These two types of paint are very good and effective on metal and entry doors. These types of paints are good to be applied outside because they can reflect light. The higher the gloss is, the more it will show every underlying imperfection. So if you have an imperfect surface it would be better for you to apply low gloss paint so that imperfections are not that noticeable.

rolling grey paint onto a piece of furniture

Semi-Gloss Paint - Features and Characteristics

On the other hand, semi-gloss paint is not as reflective as the high gloss paints are. This type of paint is very resistant to stain and it is very popular with families with children as it is very easy to clean it up. Semi-gloss paint can still be used on walls, especially on the inside of a house. The semi-gloss paint can make walls look brighter.

When this paint is on walls it is more likely to reflect its own color out on the room in which it is applied. It makes the surface imperfection less evident and so it is more appropriate to apply it when you need to hide some imperfections on a wooden surface or on indoor walls. The less the gloss, the lower imperfections will be evident.


When one needs to choose which of these paints he is going to use, he must stop and think about where he is going to apply the paint and why he is going to apply it. If for example, one needs to paint a floor, then it is best to go for the higher gloss as it is very resistant. If one needs to make rooms look brighter, then it is best to use semi-gloss paint as it is very easy to remove and to clean up.

man painting a wall light grey


Semi-gloss paint has almost no odors when compared to high gloss paint. This is a feature that makes it appropriate for the inside painting jobs. This is especially important when children or people suffering from allergies are concerned.

So here we are seeing two different types of paint. High gloss paint is very suitable for outside jobs but one can even use the semi-gloss paint for outdoor painting and still typically have satisfactory results.