How to Tell Satin Paint From Eggshell

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Satin and eggshell paints are two of the most popular styles of paint for walls in high-traffic areas, or areas that are prone to getting messy, such as a child's room. Because the two finishes are so similar, however, it can be difficult to tell them apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Lamp
  • Satin paint (optional)
  • Grease marker (optional)
  • Sponge (optional)

Check the labels if the paint is still in the can. The label will say something like "satin finish" or "eggshell finish."

Turn on a lamp in the room and hold it up to a painted wall. If the paint has a moderate shine—like light reflecting off of silk—it is most likely satin. If the paint is matte (has no shine), it is most likely eggshell.

Run your fingers over the wall. If the paint feels smooth and slightly slippery under your fingers, it is most likely satin. If the paint feels slightly rough—like a real eggshell—it is most likely eggshell.

Dab a small amount of satin paint of the same color in an inconspicuous corner of the wall. Allow it to dry. If the dried paint dab looks the same as the wall around it, the wall is painted with satin. If it looks shinier than the wall around it, the wall is painted with eggshell.

Mark an inconspicuous corner of the wall with a grease marker that nearly matches the paint color. Then try to rub away the mark with a damp sponge. If the grease comes off easily, the paint is most likely satin. If it is difficult (but not impossible) to get the grease off, the paint is most likely eggshell.

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