Should You Use Matt or Silk Paint?

Matt and silk paint is by far the most popular type of finish and in this guide, we explain each type in full detail.
Written By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
Matt or Silk Paint
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Depending upon the type of surface and finish you wish to achieve will determine whether matt or silk paint is most suitable for your project. Both paint finishes provide unique qualities and can make or break the finished result, but which one should you choose?

Matt Paint

By far, the most popular interior paint is matt paint due to the light absorbing and smooth finish it provides. Matt paint is water-based, doesn’t reflect light, and is best used on walls or ceilings, which makes it great at covering imperfections. Whether you use a paint brush or roller, matt paint is easy to work with to produce great results.

What Surfaces To Use Matt?

Matt paint is quite a versatile paint and is ideal for use on plasterboard, most wallpaper, hardboard, brick, cement, rendering, and so many more surfaces.

Advantages of Matt Paint

  • Hides imperfections in the painted surface
  • Great for touch-ups and repairs
  • Requires less coats than higher gloss paints
  • It provides a warm and cosy feel
  • Easily wipeable

Disadvantages of Matt Paint

  • Paint removes easily when scrubbed
  • The soft texture holds onto dirt more than other finishes
  • It doesn’t deal well with condensation
  • Not suitable for high-traffic areas

Silk Paint

Silk paint is also water-based, but unlike matt paint, it provides a more shiny finish and reflects light. Silk paint is also a good choice for painting bathrooms and kitchens because it has less texture on its surface to absorb moisture.

What Surfaces To Use Silk?

Silk paint is best used in high-traffic areas due to its additional durability and is ideal for walls, woodwork, and much more. However, it’s worth pointing out that unless the surface is in good condition, silk paint wouldn’t be the best option because it doesn’t hide imperfections as well as matt paint.

Advantages of Silk Paint

  • Desirable “mid-sheen” finish
  • More hardwearing than a matt finish
  • Ideal for high-traffic areas
  • Easy to scrub off marks
  • Withstands areas of high moisture

Disadvantages of Silk Paint

  • Harder to apply and achieve even coats
  • Not as easy to touch up with paint
  • Brush marks are more visible
  • Requires a high level of preparation work

Which Is The Preferred Option?

Both matt and silk are excellent paints, and depending upon the area that you are painting and the finish you’d like to achieve will determine which is the better option.

As you can see from the above pros and cons of each, matt paint is the best option for hiding imperfections and achieving a high-quality finish as an average DIY’er.

However, if you wish to achieve a more stylish finish with silk paint, the mid-sheen finish adds an elegant finish to the painted surface. It’s also more hardwearing, which is ideal for high-traffic areas or rooms with high condensation.

Choosing between the two is a matter of personal preference, but if you are relatively new to decorating, we recommend matt paint. This is primarily due to the ease of applying it, the ability to hide imperfections and the little preparation work required.

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