Is satinwood better than gloss? Pros and cons

Updated May 11, 2024 | Posted Mar 31, 2022 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 1 comment

I’m a professional decorator with 20 years’ experience. I concentrate on the domestic sector (people’s homes). In this blog, I want to talk about whether satinwood is better than gloss, and the pros and cons of each product. I hope you find it useful.


Modern Gloss Paints


I really like a gloss finish on exterior trim. I think it stands proud, almost like your house is wearing a suit. However, it can look a little dated on the interior of a property. Not just that, but gloss has changed over the years, and it now comes with certain problems.

Oil-based gloss contains a lot of alkyd oil. One property of alkyd is that it starts to turn yellow over time. Once upon a time this wasn’t too much of a problem because manufacturers could load the paint with chemicals known as VOCs. These chemicals slowed the yellowing process. However, around 10 years ago, EU restrictions put a limit on the amount of VOC’s a manufacturer was allowed to use in paint. The result is modern gloss paint discolours rather quickly. This is a particular problem inside a property as lack of natural light can speed the process even further.


The science of gloss paint is changing things a little bit. Water-based and hybrid gloss paints are now becoming a viable alternative, but they’re not quite there yet. Water-based gloss doesn’t tend to level off like its oil-based counterpart, so the finish is left lacking. That said, while the overall quality of gloss has diminished, I still think the hybrid gloss products (a compromise between oil and water) are better than most of the full-oil versions.


Modern Satinwood Products


Satinwood is a different ball game. The overall look is a lot more contemporary for starters. Oil-based satinwood will still discolour, but the paint does not contain as much alkyd oil as gloss, so the discolouring process takes a lot longer. A good quality oil-based satinwood such as Dulux Trade or Crown Trade will keep its colour for years.

Is Dulux gloss any good?
Is Satinwood Better than Gloss? Pros and Cons of Each

Water-based satinwood paint is also good. The finish is just as good as oil-based, it is just as durable, and it will never discolour. You may need a separate adhesion primer, or apply an extra coat of satinwood, but the ease of use, environmental benefits, and the easier clean-up more than make up for this.


Best Satinwood and Gloss Products


I think you can tell from the rest of this blog that I’m very honest. I thought it might be helpful if I gave you my opinion on the best satinwood and gloss products available.

is satinwood better than gloss?
Crown Trade satinwood

When choosing a gloss, I tend to go for hybrid products. My preferred brand is Teknos Futura Aqua 90. This is available online by clicking here in white or a variety colours. You must use the Futura undercoat and achieve a solid colour before applying the gloss, because the opacity of the gloss isn’t the best. Ease of use and overall finish are great! Use a mini roller and laying off brush if you intend to use this product on large, flat surfaces.

There are plenty of good satinwood products. Dulux trade do great self-undercoating oil-based satin product. This paint retains its colour for a long period, is easy to use, and leaves a great finish. You can buy Dulux Trade satinwood from any Dulux Decorating Centre, but unless you’re entitled to a trade discount, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy this product online by clicking here.

As far as good water-based satinwood paints go, I’m going to mention two. Benjamin Moore Scuff X is widely regarded as the best satinwood on the market, although it is very expensive. Available online by clicking here.

If you want a value water-based satinwood that is still great quality, look at the WRX satin. Only available in Brilliant White, but it’s fully water-based and leaves a fantastic finish. Available online by clicking here.

My favourite exterior gloss system is Dulux Trade Weathershield. If you’re looking for an exterior eggshell, look at the Sandtex X-Tra. A great exterior satinwood is Zinsser AllCoat.




Is satinwood good for doors?

Satinwood is perfect for doors, particularly when they’re inside. It looks more contemporary than gloss and it doesn’t highlights imperfection. It’s also easier to work with.


Is satinwood better than eggshell?

This is down to personal taste. I personally believe that white satinwood looks a lot better than white eggshell. It seems a lot richer to me. But some tinted eggshell paints look lovely, especially on furniture.


What are the disadvantages of satin paint?

The only real disadvantage I can think of when it comes to satinwood paint is that it makes less of an impact than gloss does. A big shouty gloss front door can be a real statement, whereas satinwood feels like it’s toned down.


Can you tell the difference between satin and eggshell?

As a rule, eggshell has a 10% sheen level, and satin has a 40% sheen level (this varies a bit depending on brand and colour). Eggshell is quite a lot duller than satin, with is noticeable when painted on woodwork.


Does satinwood go yellow?

There are loads of good quality water-based satinwood paints now that will never turn yellow. Oil-based satinwood contains a lot less alkyd oil than gloss does, so it may discolour slightly over time, but not to the extent that gloss will. Certain brands of oil-based satinwood discolour faster than others.

Updated May 11, 2024 | Posted Mar 31, 2022 | 1 comment

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.
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1 Comment

  1. Tim Height

    A good read and valuable Information from Mike Gregory on these products
    I will be trying the WRX paints for my future own use ,

    Good work Mike keep it up !


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