16 Satin Paint Tips And Tricks For Better Results!

The popularity of satin paint is growing at an exponential rate right now due to it being one of the best options as a nice, relaxing middle ground between gloss paint and matte paint. Due to satin paint reflecting between 26%-40% of the light that hits it, the paint finish is usually bright enough to avoid the gloomy look of matte paint while also being dull enough to help you relax and avoid eye fatigue after a busy say working on a computer.

Due to so many people using a satin paint finish to create this relaxing feel in their home, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking for advice with a number of different questions. We have decided to answer as many of these questions that we see asked time and time again in this article as we share a number of our satin paint tips and tricks.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers get the most out of their satin paint while also avoiding some of the more common mistakes that we see people making time and time again. Due to covering so many questions in this article, we have our comparison table above so you can quickly and easily navigate to specific sections of the article if needed.

What Is Satin Paint?

Satin paint was specifically designed to have a finish that would reflect between 26-40% of the light that hits it. This ensures that satin paint offers you a ton of versatility with its use as it can be used in a room with the duller or brighter paint finishes and not look out of place.

One of the main reasons that so many people have been switching over to using a satin paint is due to it reflecting a much lower amount of light than gloss and semi gloss paint. This helps to relieve eye fatigue that is common today due to so many people working with computers for long periods of time each day.

The lower amount of light that is reflected around the room also helps to create a nice and relaxing vibe too when compared to gloss and full gloss. Although flat and matte paint reflect even less light than satin paint, they are often considered gloomy and a little depressing helping both satin and eggshell paint finishes rise in popularity.

Is Satin Paint Water Or Oil Based?

The majority of the satin paint formulas on the market right now are water based but there are a small number of oil based satin paints. If you are looking at satin paints for home decoration then there is a high chance that they are all water based and will dry much quicker than their oil based counter parts.

This is due to a water based satin paint drying as the water evaporates out of the paint formula but an oil based satin paint dries via an oxidisation process for its oils. The majority of homes will be able to speed up the drying process for a water based paint but slightly increasing the temperature of their home but speeding up an oil paint drying time is usually much harder.

Oil based satin paints tend to have a stronger smell that will usually linger for much longer than that of a water based paint too. This is why the water based satin paint formulas are much more popular than the oil based satin paint formulas.

Does Satin Paint Hide Imperfections?

As satin paint will reflect between 26-40% of the light that hits it once dry, it tends to hide imperfections well as less light is reflected onto them. This can make a satin paint formula a good choice for a surface in your home that’s has a number of imperfections on it that you want to try and hide.

A dull satin paint finish will usually be better than a bright satin paint finish when it comes to hiding imperfections though. This is usually due to the dull satin paint formulas reflecting the bottom half of the light range making it even harder to see the imperfections in the surface.

If the particular surface that you are looking to paint does have a high number of imperfections on it then using an eggshell paint may be a better option. Eggshell paint finishes reflect even less light than a satin paint finish making it even less likely that imperfections will show up.

Does Satin Paint Need An Undercoat?

Most people will not need to apply an undercoat for their satin paint and a single coat of the paint will often be enough to get the job done. That said, if you are painting a pale satin paint over a dark surface then an undercoat can help to improve the end result.

With the pale shades of satin paint colors being more popular than the rest of the colors offered with a satin paint finish right now, this is definitely worth factoring in. If you are looking to paint over a surface that is already pale though, you will usually be able to apply your satin paint to it without issue and not need an undercoat.

In some rate situations, you may need to apply a second coat of satin paint, at least in some areas once the paint is dry due to the original color of the surface being visible. If in doubt, apply an undercoat prior to applying your satin paint but most people will not need it.

Is Satin Paint Waterproof?

Regular satin paint formulas are not waterproof or water resistant and will start to show wear and tear from water exposure quickly. There are some satin paint formulas that are advertised as being waterproof but they usually underperform for their price and are often not worth it.

Satin paint in notorious for poorly performing when it comes to any type of moisture and although it usually fairs better than eggshell paint, it still leaves lots to be desired. Due to this, we usually recommend against using your satin paint in any rooms of your home with high levels of moisture, never mind if it will have constant water exposure.

Paint formulas such as semi gloss or better yet, gloss do tend to do well with higher levels of moisture in a room but can still struggle with constant exposure to water. This is why we usually just recommend that our readers go with a paint formula that has been specifically designed for use outdoors when it comes to needing as waterproof paint formula rather than going for a satin paint.

Does Satin Paint Need Primer?

The need of a primer actually depends on the surface that you wish to paint rather than the specific paint formula. If the surface is rough, dirty, or flakey then a primer is probably worth using with any paint, not just satin as it will drastically improve the end result.

Although the older satin paint formulas were a bit of a paint to apply to some surfaces, the modern satin paint formulas are considerably better and area easier to apply. This is why many people presume they will need to use a primer with their satin paint but times have thankfully changed.

If you are working with a surface that is rough or dirty then you can often clean it or smooth it out by sanding it rather than using a primer too. This can be a great option for any of our readers on a budget looking to keep their costs as low as possible.

What Is The Best Way To Apply Satin Paint?

You are able to use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply your satin paint in various situations with each method having their own advantages and disadvantages. A sprayer is a great aground application method where as rollers are good for larger surfaces while brushes are food for smaller surfaces.

Satin paint will work with the vast majority of the modern brushes and rollers out there so a decent paint application set for $10-$20 can be a very budget friendly way to apply your satin paint. The roller allows you to get the larger surfaces done quickly where as the brush is great for smaller surfaces or corners.

An increasingly popular application method for satin paint is to use a cheap paint sprayer that usually costs around $50. It is much easier and quicker than a brush or roller but is usually a little more expensive. Depending on your situation, the slightly higher price tag can be worth it due to the amount of time that applying your sating paint with a sprayer will save.

Can You Use A Roller With Satin Paint?

You can use a roller to apply your satin paint and in our opinion, a roller is the best option for most people looking to paint a large surface. They allow you to apply large amounts of paint to the roller with ease and then use the rotation system of the roller to cover huge surfaces in a very short amount of time.

Due to decent modern paint rollers being so cheap, they are a very popular option for applying all types of paint. Another advantage of the paint roller is that the exchangeable heads allows you to quickly and easily switch out the head on one paint roller for another to hot swap between colors.

If you are looking to paint the top half of your room one color and the bottom half another color, this can save you time by removing the need to fully clean one roller before moving onto the other color. The vast majority of modern paint rollers will come with multiple heads as standard now too making this process very easy.

Can You Use A Brush With Satin Paint?

You are able to apply your satin paint with a paint brush with it usually being the best option for applying your paint for a small area or in corners. If you are looking to use a paint brush to apply your satin paint we would recommend that you get a set of brushes with different brush head sizes.

Due to a decent paint brush being so cheap these days, they are definitely one of the more popular options for applying all types of paint. Although they are slow when used on larger surfaces, they can get the job done with ease provided you have the free time available.

The main advantage of a paint brush over a paint roller is that they are much better for using in the corner of a room where most rollers will have difficulty. Brushes are also usually better for applying your satin paint around skirting boards or trim that you want to use a different color of paint on too.

Can Satin Paint Be Sprayed?

Paint sprayers are becoming increasingly popular and can work well with most satin paint formulas. Although they are a little more expensive than a paint brush or roller, they are also much quicker for painting the majority of surfaces helping you save a large amount of time.

Although the majority of people instantly think of the more expensive paint sprayers that can be as much as $200, a cheap paint sprayer for around $50 can often perform just as well for most people, especially with satin paint. This is due to how rarely you will use the paint sprayer with the more expensive options usually being for professional painter and decorators who need to use their sprayer day in and day out.

You will have to double check that your satin paint formula is sprayer friendly and it should tell you on the side of the time. In this day and age though, many of the modern satin paint formulas will work with a paint sprayer without you having any issues as all.

Is Satin Paint Hard To Paint?

Although many of the older satin paint formulas were hard to paint, times have changed and the modern formulas are much easier to paint. This allows a beginner to use a brush, roller, or sprayer with their satin paint and get their surface covered with ease.

There are a number of old posts on social media about satin paint being hard to paint, this is almost always referring to the older paint formulas. Thanks to a few ingredient changes and a few changes in the production process over the last decade, satin paint is considerably easier to apply to surfaces than it once was.

The majority of people will be looking to apply their satin paint for a clean, suitable surface but if the surface is dirty or rough, then you will need to prepare it. You can do this by wiping it down with a cloth until it is clean or by sanding down the surface if it is rough and then painting it.

How Long Does Satin Paint Take To Dry?

Although many satin paint formulas can dry in as little as 24 hours, there are some formulas that can take as long as three days with a very small number needing as long as a week. This is due to the unique properties in the paint formula needing longer to dry but most satin paints will usually be dry, or close to it within a day.

You also have to factor in that water based satin paints will dry much quicker than oil based paints. This is due to a water based satin paint just needing to evaporate the water in it to dry. An oil based satin paint needs the oil in it to fully oxidise to dry and this takes a longer period of time.

Although there are things that you are able to do to help ensure that your satin paint will dry as quickly as possible, the majority for paint formulas for home decor are water based anyway. This means that you should quickly and easily be able to dry them our after application without needing to take any specific measures.

How Do I Get A Smooth Finish With Satin Paint?

Provided that you are applying your satin paint to a smooth surface, you should easily be able to get a smooth finish on your paint by simply applying it with a brush, roller, or sprayer. Unlike some other paint types, satin paint usually dries very smooth without any special steps needing to be taken.

If you are using your satin paint on a rough surface then taking steps to try and sand the surface down or using a filler product to make it as smooth as possible may be worth it. It is usually quick and easy for you to sand your surfaces down and smooth them out but the difference in the actual end result can be considerable.

Another advantage that satin paint has going for it is that it is usually very smooth no matter what application method you use for it. There are some paint formulas out there that can be uneven due to using a brush to apply them but this is rare with the more modern paint formulas.

Why Does My Satin Paint Look Streaky?

Satin paint may look streaky once dry due to it being applied over a longer period of time or due to using different application methods. Our recommendation to avoid a streaky looking satin paint is to apply is as quickly as possible with the same brush, roller, or sprayer.

The most common cause of your satin paint looking streaky is due to leaving weeks in between your painting sessions. As most places go through large temperature changes during these time frames, it can result in the paint drying a slightly different color.

Thankfully, you are easily able to avoid this by doing your best to apply all of the paint for a single room to the required surfaces as quickly as possible. Provided the majority of the paint is applied within the same two week period, you should not have any problems with paint streaks from environmental factors.

Does Satin Paint Get Darker When It Dries?

Satin paint does usually dry slightly darker than its original application color but this is totally normal. There is no need to worry if the paint looks slightly lighter when originally applied to a surface than you were expecting as it is very common for paints to darken when drying.

We have a dedicated article on why paint gets darker when drying but the short version is due to the change in mass of the paint. When you apply your paint to a surface, it has the water or oil still in it but as it dries, this is removed reducing the total mass of the paint on the surface.

This means that the paint has the same amount of pigment on the surface but a lower mass and condenses the pigment to make it look like it is darker. Although the change is slight, it is often obvious and we see many people worry that their paint is lighter than expected as it is not the same color as the paint swash when first applied but this is to be expected.

Does Satin Paint Go Yellow?

Although it is rare due to most satin paint formulas being water based, some of the oil based satin paints can start to yellow. This is usually due to the medium used with the oil based satin paint though and is usually for arts and crafts rather than home decoration.

There are a number of suitable oil based mediums that you are able to use with your oil based satin paint that will not yellow over time. We have our ultimate guide to oil paint mediums that goes into much more detail on this though.

If you are using a satin paint for home decoration then there is a high chance that you are using a water based satin paint formula. It is very unlikely that these will yellow provided they are applied to a clean surface. So many people over estimate how much grease and oil can build up on the surfaces in their home and cause their paints to yellow so always wipe down your surfaces prior to painting them.


That brings our article going over the various satin based paint questions that we see people asking time and time again to a close. We hope that we have helped you understand your satin paint better and that we have also been able to help you avoid some of the more common mistakes that we see people making time and time again.

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