Difference Between Flat and Matte

Flat vs Matte | Flat Paint vs Matte Paint

The difference between flat and matte paint is something you have to understand before deciding to paint your house. Now, think about this situation. Your family has finally agreed upon the shade of the paint that you are going to use inside the home on the walls. However, there is something more that requires a bit of brainstorming on your part, and that is finalizing the finish of the paint. Have you ever heard words like matte, flat, gloss, velvet, pearl, and satin? Well, these are terms used for paint finish, and you need to specify the finish you want beforehand to the company that has taken the contract to paint the interior of the house. Though you may not think of difference between these paint sheens, the fact is that one coat more or less than it is necessary to achieve the perfect paint finish can make the difference between loving or hating the paint job itself. In this article, we shall highlight the difference between flat and matte paint finishes.

It is a fact that you would love to have a paint finish that you have seen somewhere and were impressed a lot. But you did not check on the paint quality, which is very important before you finalize on paint finish. Suppose you decide on matte finish, you need to find the right paint for the great finish as not every paint available in the market can give an ideal matte finish.

One fact that makes it difficult to find standard paint according to names of paint finishes is that there is no uniform standard. So matte of one company may not be same as that offered by a rival company. However, what everybody agrees upon is the percentage of gloss in paint finishes.

What is Flat Finish?

Flat finish is the finish that has the least amount of gloss. That means the gloss is between 0-5%. This suggests that the flat finish is a finish with little or no reflectivity. This is the reason it is considered as ideal finish for a wall that does not have a smooth texture and has some irregularities. Often the ceilings are given flat finish. When there is no gloss on the paint even when lights are switched on all the imperfections and bumps on the walls will be hidden with a flat finish.

Difference Between Flat and Matte

What is Matte Finish?

Matte Finish is the next in line to flat finish. Generally, the matte finish is also known as a finish that is low on gloss. However, compared to flash finish, the matte finish has a higher percentage of gloss having 5-10% gloss. Though there may be slight variations in paints of different companies, in general, gloss percentage is low. Some companies market this paint finish as velvet or suede. We said earlier that when a paint finish is glossy, once a light is lit, you will be able to see the imperfections of the wall clearly. However, even though the matte finish has somewhat of a glossy finish, it is still closer to flat finish. So, matte finish can also hide imperfections on the walls. An added advantage of matte finish is that you can scrub to remove marks from the surface of the wall due to its glossy finish.

 Flat vs Matte

What is the difference between Flat and Matte?

All paints start as full glossy (100% gloss) and lose out on gloss with the addition of titanium oxide.

• Gloss Rate:

• 0-5% gloss is considered to be flat paint finish.

• 5-10% gloss is referred to as matte finish.

• Places:

• Flat is considered ideal for ceilings as this finish has no reflectivity. You can use flat on walls too if you like.

• Matte can be used on walls as it is not as glossy as other paints.

• Flat and matte finishes are also considered suitable for bedrooms.

• Scrubbing Ability:

• You cannot scrub and remove the marks made on walls that have flat paint.

• You can scrub and remove the marks made on walls that have matte paint.

• Camouflaging:

• Flat paint is ideal to cover minor imperfections or bumps on the wall as it does not have a glossy finish.

• Matte paint also allows you to cover imperfections or bumps on the wall as the gloss in matte paint is considerably low.


Images Courtesy:

  1. A collection of cans of paint and variants via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Painter via Pixabay (Public Domain)