These days the most common type of finish for interior wall paint is eggshell. But it would be a mistake to think that other types of finish are obsolete. As always there are the right materials for the right circumstances. Other finishes continue to have their use as either trimming in ordinary house painting, or occasionally as the main product in specialist circumstances.
Eggshell finish refers to the sheen of interior wall paint. Eggshell is slightly glossier than flat paint by much less shiny that full or semi-gloss. It first appeared on the painting market in the 1970s, and steadily proved popular because of its look and resistance to stains.
Gloss and semi-gloss paints always had the advantage of easy cleaning, but were a little too intense, too bright, for many applications. Their shiny look also tended to expose any imperfections in the painted surface or less than ideal brush technique. Good glossy finishes could only be achieved by professionals or experienced amateurs.
Flat finish paints often looked good, and could be applied with general handyman skills. They were quite tolerant of any minor imperfections in the wall and proved popular for many years. Their only downside was the tendency to stain.
Eggshell finish had almost the same stain resistance of glossy paint, and it covers imperfection in the wall surface almost as well as flat finish paint. It represents the best of both types of paint.
Glossy paint is still often used for window sills, door frames and some skirting boards. Matching the right glossy paint for this trim with the right wall colour and finish is one of the many details that indicate a professional painting project.
Eggshell can also refer to a paint colour, a type of pleasant off white tint. Care should be taken not to confuse the terms.