Why Does My Flat Paint Look Glossy? [Explained]

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

There are different kinds of paint. You have Flat Paint, Glossy Paint, and many other types. But Flat paint has no shine, while glossy paint shines as its characteristics.

If Flat paint doesnt shine nor appear glossy, then why it looks glossy? This is one of the questions from house owners whose paint type is flat but seeing some shine.

Your choice of paint and how you complete the application on the surface determines the look. So, the type of finish you want to see at the end of your painting project is up to you. As you may already know, some finishes are smoother, and some are muted.

Is Flat Paint Glossy?

Flat paint is not glossy because they have different essential component ratios. Sheen is one thing that enables paints to create a reflection effect on the surface. The more sheen you have in a paint mixture, the more the paint will reflect light and shine. The gloss has the highest level of sheen, while the flat has no sheen or very little of it.

Is Flat Paint Glossy

Flat paint provides a smooth, uniform finish when dried. The name Flat finish describes the fact that the paint does not produce reflection from the surface when dried.

Why Does My Flat Paint Look Glossy?

The major characteristics of Flat Paint are that there is no shine at all. Thats why you may be asking; why does my Flat Paint look glossy if it shouldnt? This is the question most homeowners need answers to. Some of the reasons why you may see your Flat paint reflecting the effect of shine or Glossy are enumerated below:

Why Does My Flat Paint Look Glossy
Why Does My Flat Paint Look Glossy

Fewer Pigments Contents

One thing that determines the finish of any paint is the number of pigments in its mixture. The more pigments you have in the paint, the flatter it will look on your wall. So, one reason your Flat paint looks glossy is because of less pigment content in the mixture.

The simple formula is MP = LG (More pigment equals less gloss). This means that more pigment particles in paints make light scatter, which creates a non-reflective surface.

In addition, if there are more pigment particles in a volume of paint, there are fewer binders in that paint. Meanwhile, it is Binders that help to create the smooth, Glossy surface.

More Binder Contents

Any paint mixture where you have more binders and fewer pigments, the output will come with shine or Glossy effects. This is why the shine in paint is the availability of the reflective particles contained in the paint.

In this case, the more layers applied, the higher the shine that will appear on the finished project. This is because more reflective particles are contained in the finished product of the paint mixture with high Binders.

Application Method

Paint mixture is not all that determines the final look of the finished work. The pattern or application method is a substantial factor in how the final look will turn out. You will always get different results when you use Brush, Roller, and Spray Device to apply your paints.

For example, if you use a Roller or Brush to apply your Flat Paint, you may get it 100% Flat. If you use a spraying device to do the same job, you will see less Flat and Glossy. This is so because the spray system that carries the pigments evaporates much slower at 45. This gives the surface of the paint a long time to smooth out.

Light Absorption

As you already know, paint finish refers to the light the paint can reflect from its surface. Flat paints absorb lights instead of reflecting them. Glossy also absorbs light, even as Flat paint reflects light, but It absorbs more light than they reflect.

Dont forget that the Pigments and Binders ratio in your mixture of paint can determine the reflection or absorption of light. So, Fewer Pigments and More Binders can cause your Flat paint to shine or reflect light.

Multiple Layer Application

Weve already learned that the shiny reflective property of paints is contained in the reflective particles in the paint. So, it is logical that the more layers put on the surface, the more light you will get from the surface. So, one reason your Flat paint can appear Glossy is the number of layers applied.

Having reasoned why Flat paints look Glossy sometimes, it is worth sharing a little light on the benefits of Flat paint.

Also read: Is Flat Paint Washable?

6 Benefits of Flat Paint

Flat Paint Interior

1. Hides Dents and Roughs

Flat paint has no shine, making it one of the favorites of most painters and house owners. This is why it is considered very beneficial for dented or rough surfaces. The reason is that it hides all available patches, nail holes, and other glaring surface imperfections.

Hides Dents And Roughs

Flat paint is often recommended for formal rooms like the living and dining rooms. This is because patches and most imperfections are not easily seen in Flat paint. This is one of the reasons why it is also a good choice for ceiling painting.

2. Fewer Coats Requirement

Flat paints require fewer coats to get the job done, unlike glossy paints. This is another major reason why Flat paint is the choice of many painters and house owners. Of course, you should know that fewer coats mean less quantity of paints is consumed in the project. Secondly, painters feel good when they see that a single touch can perfectly correct areas needing recovery.

3. Ease of Re-Touch

Again, surface deficiencies are easier to correct in Flat paints than in Glossy paints in case of touch-up needs. This is so because there is hardly any difference between the touch-up paint and the rest of the painted surface.

In the Flat paint project, painters dont need to struggle with correcting Roller lines during touch-up because it blends in.

Also Read: How to make paint glossy?

4. Better Project Cost

Fewer coats are needed to get the job done with Flat paints, so it costs less. This is one of the reasons why Flat pain is a top choice for builders.

5. Ease of Recovery Covering

Flat paint is ideal for covering walls with major flaws or blemishes. It can even cover large imperfections like nails and extensive scuffs, making it look good. All these are achieved on the ground that Flat Paints are very effective at absorbing light, which hides bumps.

6. Best Finish

Flat paint can provide your ceiling with the best outstanding finish with a professional color look. Flat paint is recommended to achieve a saturated, velvety flat finish on your ceiling. Flat paint can take care of all your ceiling imperfections, and its power of light absorbs ion and appear less noticeable.

Also read: Satin Vs Flat Paint

Does Gloss Paint Dull Over Time?

Generally, all paints have titanium dioxide. Gloss paints start fine, but after some time, the shine dulls out. It happens this way when the paint loses its luster due to the presence of titanium dioxide in the paint.

Some conditions that dull out Glossy paints are direct sunlight, harsh weather, and extreme temperature. Other reasons why Gloss paint can dull out are poor usage of thinners, improper priming of surfaces,

Gloss Paint Dull Over Time

Titanium dioxide pigment is a fine white powder. This is what provides maximum whiteness and opacity when used in paints. In the history of paint production, Titanium dioxide pigment has been considered more effective than other types of white pigment.

How Do You Fix Uneven Paint Sheen?

Uneven paint sheen refers to the look of an uneven painted surface when a painting project is completed. Learning how to fix this problem is very good, but what about knowing the cause and avoiding it? Some of the reasons you can have a condition of uneven paint sheen are:

  • Poor paints mixture
  • Improper coverage of imperfections in surfaces
  • A complex surface that is uneven
  • Insufficient application of paint coats
  • Improper spreading of the paints, making it appear uneven
  • Lack of steady temperature during drying time.
  • Rough surface.
  • Effect of rain, dew, or humidity during the drying process.


  • Complete proper cleaning and sanding
  • Ensure to remove any dust particles that may deposit there during your sanding.
  • Drop a new coat on the surface after proper sanding and cleaning.
  • Before using the finishing products, you must start with a base coat on the substrate.
  • Clean, sand, and suck out any dust from the surface before applying a new coat.
  • You should ensure that your paint mixture gets to the bottom of the container.
  • You should begin with a base coat to get the appearance uniform surface.
  • The panels and the joints must be properly aligned and kept straight.
  • You must be careful to apply your paint uniformly.
  • To achieve complete evenness, finishing coats are recommended.
  • Following the recommended application temperature for your product is key.


You can make Flat paint to maintain its features and deliver according to your desire if you adhere to some requirements. You should be sure of what you are doing when mixing your paint.

This is important because its one of the factors that will determine the look of the finished. If the paint appears glossy when it shouldnt, you may ask, why does my Flat Paint look glossy?

If you want your Flat project to remain Flat when done, use your Pigments and Binders properly. One of the factors that can make your Flat paint look Glossy is when Binders are more than Pigments.

Another factor is your method of application. So, you need to be sure you mix your paint and the method to use for the application to get what you want.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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