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What is Flat Paint and When Should You Use It?

Here are the basics of flat paint, when to use them, when not to use them, how to make flat paint glossy, and what types of paint it can cover up.

For all my makeup lovers out there, I am sure you understand what I mean when I say the word “concealer.” For all of you who do not know what that means it is a makeup term that refers to a skin-toned cosmetic item that is used to cover “imperfections” on the face. For those of us who do not have perfect skin, concealer is a lifesaver. It is used to cover blemishes and dark circles, which can help give the illusion of flawless skin. 

But what happens when your home has “blemishes”? Are there stains on your walls that you aren’t quite sure how to get out of? Do you have spots on your ceilings that you can see from a mile away? Trying to find a way to cover imperfect spots in your home can be difficult, especially if you do not know-how.

That is why it is important to know the difference between paints and primers you are picking out for your home. If you have dark stains on your ceilings or walls, using a primer is a MUST! Using matte paint such as flat paint is also a good idea, as it generally has more pigment, which can better cover blemishes. 

Related: Satin Paint | Primer Paint | Eggshell Paint | Oil-Based Paint | Gloss Paint | Enamel Paint | Latex-Based Paint | Chalkboard Paint | Matte Paint | Water-Based Paint

What is Flat Paint? 

Flat paint is essentially exactly what it sounds like. The first thing to note about flat paint is that it has a lot more pigment than any other finish. That is why it is perfect for those areas that may have stains or other imperfections. This is why flat paint is known for hiding blemishes and is called concealer paint.

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Unlike glossy paints, flat paint has no sheen or glow to it. It is also non-reflective and will soak up any light that hits the surface. Flat paint is an inexpensive option for any DIY project. It is also easy to work with, which makes it perfect for newbies to painting.

When To Use Flat Paint? 

This is a large exterior wall painted with blue flat paint adorned with a window.

If you have imperfections on your walls, using flat paint is going to be your best bet. If you have bumps, scratches, stains, or anything that can make your wall look less than perfect, you should be using this particular type of paint.

It is perfect for rooms that do not have a lot of traffic, as it will not be best in terms of durability. In rooms that have a ton of sunlight, you can also use flat paint, as the walls will not be reflective in any way.

When To Not Use Flat Paint

Using flat paint in high traffic areas in your home is not a great idea. If you use flat paint on areas such as trim or hallways, it can wear down much faster than other options. Most people tend to use flat paint on ceilings as they generally have a good amount of flaws and they do not get touched very often.

Another thing to take into consideration is that flat paint does not clean easily. Scrubbing an area that may be dirty after you use flat paint, can actually cause the paint to wear. This can leave your walls with spots where the paint has been slightly removed.

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Flat paint should never be used in a bathroom or area where there is a large amount of moisture. Flat or matte paints absorb moisture much quicker than other paints and cause mold or mildew. They are also not great at resisting stains and should not be used in places where stains are likely. 

Making Flat Paint Glossy

Flat Paint is a very inexpensive option when it comes to paints. So, it makes sense that people may want to buy flat paint and make it glossy. This can sometimes save you more money than buying ready-made paint with sheen. However, making a flat paint glossy is pretty difficult.

You can mix a semi-gloss paint to your flat paint, but changing the makeup can cause some issues in the future. If you want to create a shinier finish on your already flat walls, an easy solution is to paint over the flat paint with a gloss varnish. Poly-acrylic paint can be found in most stores and is the perfect way to give your space a facelift. 

What Types Of Paint Can Flat Paint Cover

A couple painting flat paint over the eggshell paint of their wall.

Unlike other types of paint, flat paint can go over a large variety of paints. If you have satin paint, cleaning the surface is the first step in your transition. It is a good idea to apply primer to your walls as well, especially if the color you previously had is darker than your new paint choice. 

If you have a glossy finish from your previous paint job, it is not too difficult to paint over it with a flat. If you have a gloss or semigloss paint job you want to cover up, you will most likely need to sand your walls first before applying primer and paint. You will want to use at least an 80 grit piece of sandpaper to get the job done currently. Starting from the top, sand to the bottom until the surface becomes dull. You should then wash your walls with soapy water and then let them dry completely before applying your flat paint. 

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Where To Buy Flat Paint

Flat paint is one of the easiest paints to find. Most (if not all ) retailers that carry paint will carry flat paint. 

  1. Lowes — Valspar Signature Ultra White Flat Tintable Interior Paint (1-Quart)
  2. Ace Hardware — Benjamin Moore Ben Flat Base 1 Paint Interior (1 Quart), Smoke 2122-40
  3. Target — Interior Paint Emmie’s Room – Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines (1 Gallon), Eggshell
  4. Walmart — ColorPlace Premixed Ready to Use, Interior Paint, Blue Grey Sky, Flat Finish (1 Gallon)
  5. Lowes — HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Infinity Ultra White Flat Tintable Interior Paint (1-Gallon)