Best Sheen For Exterior Paint – A Complete Buying Guide


Choosing the best sheen for exterior paint is just as vital, if not more, than picking the right color. Only a few things inside your house can damage your sheen, but the outside world is a different story. 

Best Sheen For Exterior Paint
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Your paint not only needs to have good color and beautiful gloss but also high adhesion and durability. For this reason, we have put together a buying guide of the top-notch sheens on the market for exterior uses.

How To Choose The Best Sheen For Exterior Paint

Aesthetic is always a vital aspect in choosing the best sheen for exterior paint. However, it should never be the be-all and end-all in deciding on some sheens. You should also pay attention to how long the sheen can last on the surfaces or its unique benefits.

Eggshell Paint 

Eggshell sheen is, without any doubt, the single most used exterior paint finish for a house’s body. As eggshell paint is not as dull as flat finishes and as shiny as high-glossers, it best fits siding types. We are talking about horizontal wood, stucco, HardiePlank, etc.

Read more: Best Paint For Stucco To Make Your House Stunning

Eggshell sheen is also, in general, more durable than most flat paints, so you can occasionally use power washing. Do not underestimate this advantage, as power washing, if it does not kill the paint, can return the glossiness. 

If you want to repaint your house’s siding and enjoy some low-reflective finish, eggshell is the answer. This sheen type can bring out subtle trim details, too, which opens up many new possibilities.

Satin Paint

Typically, satin is perfect for painting over exterior trim areas, especially those that are touched often. In other words, places like door frames, trim boards, eaves, window sills, soffits, etc. This type of paint is highly resistant to mildew and peeling, as it is stretchy and durable. 

best sheen for exterior paint

However, keep in mind that satin paints will surely magnify all imperfections like craters, ridges, dings, or dents. Thus, using them on the older wood sidings and wood trims can be challenging.

Semi-Gloss Paint

Thanks to being much more durable, semi-gloss sheens tend to be easier to clean than satin sheens. They can also be cleaned more frequently than satin and eggshell paints. Additionally, they will provide the surface with a visually more stunning shine.

Moreover, semi-gloss paints are capable of enduring some harsh weather conditions and excessive moisture exposure. Nonetheless, they cannot conceal any surface imperfection such as chips, cracks, etc. 

Due to this reason, we recommend only using semi-gloss sheens for external components that do not require finesse. For instance, you can use them on front doors, garage doors, exterior trims, shutters, gutters, railings, metal lamp posts, etc.

Maybe you are also interested in Exterior House Paint Ideas

High-Gloss Paint

It’s not uncommon that some people want to make a strong impression through their exterior trims. High-gloss paint will be a godsend for them, as it will add a beautiful richness to the paint color. Besides, this sheen type is the most durable and long-lasting.

So, what’s stopping you from painting the whole house with high-gloss paint? The answer is simple: overuse this sheen, and it will make your house look no different from a “plastic” house. 

Due to its highly glossy nature, this sheen can highlight features, both good and bad. As such, the best way to use this sheen is only to emphasize the ornate architectural details. 

This sheen type should never be used as the main sheen, as it specializes in magnification. If you have cracks or dings, they too will be magnified. Most professional painters will tell you to use semi-gloss paints in sidings, then accent the trims with high-gloss paints. 

The Best Sheen For Exterior Paint Reviewed

#1-KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint – Best All-Around

  • A good exterior paint offers coverage and protection against the elements, while adding beauty to outdoor structures. This is an all purpose exterior paint resists cracking, peeling and blistering.
  • This paint features a unique water/oil base formula for exceptional adhesion, versatility, and longevity in varied conditions.
  • Use on vertical exterior wood surfaces as well as masonry, stucco, and sanded glossy surfaces. Remove peeling paint, mill glaze, loose wood fibers, dirt, and debris before painting.
  • This paint dries to the touch in 2-3 hours. Allow 6 to 8 hours of drying prior to recoating.
  • This is a 1-gallon can of KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint in white. For use on properly prepared exterior vertical wood surfaces.

The perfect balance between price and quality has convinced us that the KILZ Exterior Paint is the best all-around pick. Other options on this list have some aspects where they excel in, but none is as well-rounded as this sheen. 

this sheen is an all-purpose one; thus, it may lack resistance against the extreme and specific cases. However, it can protect against all kinds of elements, with no apparent weakness. Blistering, peeling, and even cracking do not happen easily under this sheen’s protection.

We do want to emphasize that the paint does not cover completely after one coat. In other words, you may need a little bit more paint than you normally would. Of course, the result will surely make you feel like it was a worthy investment.


  • All-purpose
  • Unique formula
  • Quick-drying


  • Requires several paint layers

#2-Rust-Oleum Zinsser PermaWhite Exterior Semi-Gloss – Easiest To Use

  • The product is qt sg mildew ext paint
  • Easy and simple use kit
  • The product is manufactured in United states
  • Self-Priming formula - requires no sanding
  • Mold & Mildew-Proof paint film - guaranteed for 5 years
  • Self-Priming formula - requires no sanding
  • Mold & Mildew-Proof paint film - guaranteed for 5 years
  • Resists dirt and moisture on film coating
  • Clean up with soap and water
  • Product contains a mildewcide to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the paint film only

The biggest advantage the Rust-Oleum Zinsser PermaWhite Exterior Semi-Gloss holds is its easy-to-use nature. While other options require you to be precise and careful during preparation, this sheen’s only requirement is to mix it properly.

Moreover, this sheen has a self-priming formula, so there is also no need to perform sanding. This characteristic will further lessen the effort you need to put in, as sanding is undoubtedly among the hardest works. Also, this sheen’s effect can last for up to 5 years.

We did observe that this sheen takes a little longer than other options to dry. So, this sheen may not be the best choice if you live in colder or more humid regions. The time you will have to spend waiting for it to dry off completely may not be worth it.


  • No need for sanding
  • Easy to use
  • Long-lasting


  • Long drying time

#3-Diamond Brite Paint 80000 1-Gallon Latex Gloss Enamel – Best Adhesion

  • Interior/exterior High Gloss finish
  • Excellent adhesion, durability and moisture resistance
  • Perfect for: wood, metal, ceramics, concrete, brick, stucco and crafts
  • High hiding and long lasting
  • Can be brushed, rolled or sprayed

If you are not a fan of constant paint application, the Diamond Brite Paint 80000 Latex Gloss Enamel is perfect. We doubt that there is any option capable of being equal when we talk specifically about adhesion. this sheen will stick to your walls for a lifetime.

Aside from the high adhesion, this sheen is also resistant to moisture. As a result, it can last for quite a long time, as the two most common causes of paint failure are taken care of. The paint can provide a dramatic shine on your interior, so it works best as indoor paint.

The one complaint we have about this sheen is about how thin it is. As you may know, thin paints can be hard to work with, due to them taking a while to dry. 


  • High adhesion
  • Moisture resistant
  • Good shine


  • Too thin

#4-Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Eco-Friendly Paint – Best Versatility

  • ✅EXTREMELY VERSATILE - Montage Signature is the #1 choice for all of your professional painting needs - interior/exterior, small residential spaces, large commercial buildings & everything in between
  • ✅SUPERIOR COVERAGE & PROTECTION - All of our specialty finishes let you brush smoothly & evenly while delivering maximum coverage. Improved sealing technology defends against moisture, mold & mildew
  • ✅ - We're committed to the highest quality & pollutant-free materials, and a rigorous engineering and testing process for each of our leading professional paints
  • ✅10 YEAR - We can't wait to add you to our long list of loyal customers turning to Montage Signature for all of their painting needs. All paints are covered by our 10 Year Premium
  • ✅MADE IN USA - Montage Signature Paint believes in the power of a thriving American economy and the integrity of its people. 100% produced from Raw & Post Consumer latex paints right here in the USA

The Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Eco-Friendly Paint is incredibly versatile for having a special all-purpose formula. You can use it for almost anything, from huge commercial buildings to small residential houses, interior to exterior.

That’s not all, though, as this sheen is also among the friendliest products out there to the environment. There is not even a single trace of pollutants within this sheen, thanks to the rigorous testing and engineering process. 

You are not just repainting your house but also joining hands in protecting the environment.

Maybe it was due to the organic materials, but this sheen does have a unique smell. Inexperienced users may find this smell a little off-putting.


  • Highly versatile
  • Friendly to the environment
  • No dripping


  • Unpleasant smell 

#5-Majic Paints 8-1501-4 Diamond Hard Acrylic Enamel Paint – Best Gloss

  • Color: Gloss Black
  • ALL-PURPOSE USE: Perfect for wood, metal, brick, drywall, glass, steel, tile, vinyl, aluminum, most plastics, copper, and masonry
  • EASY-TO-APPLY: Low odor, non-flammable water base formula out performs conventional oil base paints and is rust-inhibiting to protect your projects
  • SUPERIOR GLOSS & COLOR-RETENTION: Levels to a beautiful smooth glossy finish
  • TOUGH DURABLE ACRYLIC FINISH: Resilient durable finish that lasts for years retaining high-quality appearance and resisting scratch and scuff marks
  • IDEAL FOR ANY PROJECT: Perfect for furniture, trim, cabinets, doors, or any project you have in in mind
  • Size: Half Pint (8-Ounces)

Using the Majic Paints 8-1501-4 Diamond Hard Acrylic Enamel Paint will provide you with the most unique and glossiest finish. Thanks to having a high acrylic concentration in its formula, this sheen offers an incredible black sheen.

The acrylic component and water base also make the paint non-flammable and rust-inhibiting. Furthermore, you will not have to worry about any unwelcoming smell, as this sheen is odor-less.

We do want to remind you that this sheen requires a lot of sanding to be done. So, if you are not a patient painter, it may not be the best choice.


  • Beautiful, glossy finish
  • High acrylic proportion
  • Non-flammable


  • Requires thorough sanding

Best Sheen For Exterior Paint FAQs

Is Satin Or Semi Gloss Better For Exterior Paint?

As we have mentioned above, satin paints have a relatively low reflection rate. Thus, they can hide imperfections and bumps on the surface quite well. Satin paints have a chalky feel with some smoothness, making them slightly easier to clean than flat paints.

However, they require a careful application, or else there will be lap marks, which are pretty visible under direct sunlight. Moreover, you must mix the paint properly and use it up quickly; otherwise, the pigments and resins lose their ratio.

On the other hand, semi-gloss paint is much more resistant to any wear or tear damage. They are also capable of surviving some harsh weather conditions like extreme humidity.

Best Sheen For Exterior Paint
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Generally, our recommendation is the semi-gloss paint, but you must remember not to over-apply it. None of us wants it to magnify any bumps and cracks on our exteriors after all.

What Is The Longest Lasting Exterior Paint?

The short answer is acrylic paint. 

Our reasoning stems from the incredible durability and adhesion this sheen type offers. 

Acrylic paint can shrug off all kinds of damage, even the harshest environmental ones. Even if you start hosing it, this sheen will only take some minimal damage, much less than any other paint type.

Nevertheless, that is just the additional bonus, as the most impressive thing about this sheen is its fading resistance. As we all know, nothing damages a painted cover as much as sunlight, but acrylic paint almost overlooks this danger.

Is Satin Or Semi Gloss Better For Trim?

There is nothing, especially not satin, better for wood trims than a coat of semi-gloss paint. First of all, semi-gloss sheens will give out a lot more reflectivity. Do not neglect this feature, as there is a huge difference between light bouncing off a semi-gloss trim and a satin one.

Furthermore, semi-gloss paints are, in general, much more durable than satin paints. Trims are touched and used frequently, so their coat will need as much durability as possible.

Read more: Top 6 Best Caulk For Trim Reviews 2021: Say Farewell to Cracks

What Sheen Do You Paint Exterior Brick?

Brick and other masonry types are all textured surfaces, so they need something that can hide their imperfections. Due to this reason, semi-gloss and high-gloss sheens are out of the question, leaving satin and eggshell paints.

Best Sheen For Exterior Paint
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All masonries get dirty rather easily and require frequent cleaning consequently, but eggshell sheens are not as durable. Thus, the best sheen for exterior brick painting is satin.

Do I Need To Prime The Exterior Brick Before Painting?

Yes, it is always a good idea to prime the brick before starting to paint. You can use some universal, quick-drying primer or acrylic masonry so that the brick can be ready sooner. You may not need to apply the primer on the entire surface unless the original paint is not compatible.

Is Eggshell Paint Good For The Exterior?

Eggshell paint is only good for one aspect of exterior painting, the house’s body. Due to not being too dull or shiny, eggshell paint shines the most when applied to sidings. 

Is Eggshell The Same As Satin?

No, despite popular beliefs, eggshell and satin are not one and the same. The difference lies in satin’s higher gloss, durability, and better resistance to stains. You can wash satin a lot more frequently than you can eggshell.


The best sheen for exterior paint is no less important than the colors, as it determines the house’s look under sunlight. You can pick the best possible color, but the wrong sheen will distort this color and backfire.

That is why we recommend getting the KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint. The unique, this sheen’s all-purpose formula and sleek gloss make it the best overall but some extreme cases.

best sheen for exterior paint