What Is The Best Durable Finish For Exterior Trim Paint?

What Is The Best Finish For Exterior Trim Paint?


Wondering what is the best durable finish for exterior trim paint? A very common question, figuring out most resilient paint. Satin paint is by far, the most common finish purchased by painting professionals, & building contractors alike.

Listing reasons why satin finish is the most requested exterior paint finish for trim.

Getting right to the point, out of all exterior painting jobs conducted across the country, satin paint sheen is most popular. Giving reasons listed below.

Essentially there are three different exterior finishes to choose from.

Your exterior choices of paint finishes are flat, satin, & gloss. There are other sheens available depending upon paint brand, but most of those are for interior paints.

A few paint manufactures label some paint choices as Semi-gloss for exteriors. But overall  professionals in paint industry, views the term Semi-gloss as an interior sheen choice. While satin is primarily used for exterior trim.

Below are different 100% acrylic latex paint finishes found with major paint brands across the country. Ranging from Sherwin-Williams™, Benjamin-Moore™, BEHR™, PPG™, Valspar™, and Glidden™.

Choosing Correct Finishes For Your Home's Exterior


  • Flat paint finish (Interior/Exterior)
  • Matte finish (Interior)
  • Pearl finish (Interior)
  • Eggshell (Interior)
  • Satin (Interior/Exterior)
  • Semi-gloss (Interior)
  • Gloss (Interior/Exterior)
  • High Gloss (Interior)

Reasons Why Satin Finish Is Best For Exterior Trim


  • Satin sheen protects trim
  • A satin finish repels moisture
  • Satin finish easy to touch-up
  • Satin offers middle of the road finishes
  • Very durable, hides minor trim imperfections
  • Satin sheens are available across all paint brands
  • Coverage much better on trim wood using satin finish

Using satin exterior paint finish is almost a given with every home painted today. Painting 1000's of homes around Denver, CO. Questioning the paint sheen rarely comes up, as satin if the exterior standard finish.

Wood Protection


With harsh weather conditions, being a mile high, sun is intense. Not only extreme UV rays, but sleet & snow during Winter months. Satin paint finishes protects wood trim without question.

Even if you don't live in the Mile High City, or in Colorado, chances are greater your satin paint finish will last even longer. Whether you live further West, say in Oregon, Washington, or California, Utah, or Nevada, to out East in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, or South in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, or Louisiana to Florida.

Satin exterior paint finish is your premium wood protection, no matter where you live.

Waterproof Trim


How satin sheens protects wood trim is it repels moisture the best. Warding off rain, beading up water, rolling off like a duck's back, or wax coating. Satin finishes is like having a raincoat on your trim, waterproofing.

Satin paint fills voids, laying even, as trim boards are noted having cracks & crevices, being real wood.

Those boards manufactured like Masonite™, typically do not have cracks like real lumber does, satin finishes seals those just as well. Especially knowing Masonite™ fascia boards come pre-primed. Applying satin finish on manufactured products is just the answer.

Paint Touch-ups A Breeze


Satin paints are the easiest to touch up, weeks, months, even years now. Few years ago, touch up any paint was not possible outside, as most paints faded too quickly. Today, many brands offer exterior paints having the highest fade resistant properties.

Making touch ups later, a walk in the park, being lower in luster than gloss, but higher than flat.

Using best life-time exterior paints, you'll still want to feather out edges when touching up. Brushing nearly dry at edges of spots, will make these not standing out. You'll have even greater success using satin exterior paint finishes, touching up.

Satin Finish Offers More Consistent Finish


Generally the home building industry, coupled with it's architects, meeting with painting professionals tend to govern painting trends, setting standards for both interior and exteriors paint schemes.

As a result, major paint manufactures, spend millions each year, developing new colors for the home building industry. This also includes paint finishes. When painting outside your home, having a more consistent paint finish looks best. Enjoying the resiliency satin finishes offer, being water-repellent, water-resistant at the same time.

Prior to early 90's, not having satin finish for exteriors available, exteriors were normally painted flat for the main portion, and gloss for the trim. But not today, as satin paint finish provides a middle option. This allows all outside paints being the same sheen, which is more pleasing.

Today's paint standard for exterior finishes is satin without a doubt, over entire home. Not trying to bring attention to anything with a different finish. In that your paint color scheme will be sufficient.

No need making your trim a gloss, with your siding a flat or satin finish. Mixing paint finishes on the outside, is a little too much, when painting your soffit, fascia, and trim one color, and the field another color.

Adding to this, giving another reason you do not want a gloss finish for trim is that gutters are typically attached to fascias. Painting gutters a gloss or high gloss is out of scope, so that you do not bring attention to gutters. Your wanting gutters to just fade away being same color, same sheen, as to the board it is attached.

Could write a book on this, but wrapping this up, you'd be best served using satin paint finish, keeping everything consistent outside your home. But again, not to be confused with having 2 or 3 different colors. All should be the same sheen.

What Is The Most Durable Paint Finish For A Home?


Satin is extremely durable, tough, & stretchy, resistant to stains. Satin sheens have just enough shine to it, not being overbearing too shiny, nor not so less, leaving water marks as flat paint sheens tend to do.

About 30 some-odd years ago, around 1993, one of our clients contracted with us painting their home. Requesting a flat paint finish, which was currently on home, in a dark flat brown color.

Just So Happened

Satin finish was just being introduced at this time for exterior finishes. However, it wasn't long before he called us back.

Our client wanted me to look at areas of siding, showing dried water marks dripping down all around his home. Never seen this before, called our local paint sales rep and his boss, during our meeting. Determined dark brown flat paint was a prime opportunity to leave water marks from most recent rain shower.

Local paint store comped out brand new exterior paint sheen to try. Repainting with the newest exterior finish on the market, being satin. Subsequently, was very happy, never hearing of any issues again. Knowing not only did this paint look & feel durable, but also was resilient to future weather conditions.

Satin finishes not only lays down better, with better coverage, but protecting much better than flat paints. Most durable paint finishes keep it's original sheen that much longer. Knowing how paint ages, over time, a higher sheen flattens out, appearing flat, just like a caulk-board.

Newer exterior paints have chemicals making these new paints more fade resistant, thereby keeping it's original sheen longer. Satin paints is an ideal example keeping it's shine for the longest periods, being the most durable.

Satin Paint Finish Found In Every Paint Store


As satin paint finishes was rolled out in early 1990's, it wasn't long before every major paint company offers this paint sheen. Major home-builders and architects alike across the country latched on to this new sheen for exteriors, making every new home great!

For most exterior paint schemes, having the same sheen or finish on trim as well as siding, field, or body is ideal. Having everything consistent, not too busy, satin finish is by far the most requested, and purchased exterior paint sheen today. Every major paint store, even smaller ones offer satin exterior paints.

Satin finishes found with major paint brands across the country. Every one from Sherwin-Williams™, Benjamin-Moore™, BEHR™, PPG™, Valspar™, and Glidden™, all carry satin exterior paints.

Satin Paint Finish Offers Premium Coverage



You will be truly pleased with your new exterior satin paint finish coverage. Being able to spray, brush, or roll satin paint without leaving any lap or roller marks. Even using darker colors, satin finishes are indeed the painter's choice.

Generally, one gallon of exterior satin paint cover 175 to 225 surface square feet. Depending on thickness, number of coats, having a uniform paint finish.

Paint coverage is one of the most important factors with every homeowner, choosing paint. Knowing how well a paint covers is on everyone's mind. Most exterior paints require two complete coats, wet on dry method, unless using higher end, top shelf, life-time paints.

Best life-time paints normally cover in one uniform even coat. Life-time paints also come in various paint finishes, and you guessed it. Also available in satin finish, covering outstanding.

Is Flat Or Satin Better For Exterior Paint?


Which is better for my exterior? Flat or satin paint? Going from flat to gloss, the further right you go, the more gloss it has. Also more gloss, means more reflection. Depending on how much reflective properties you want, will determine which finish you really want & need.

Satin paint finishes are more richer looking, with just enough shine, than flat. Easier to wipe down, less likely to stain, and leaving marks. This is also true inside your home as well. Having a more luxurious appearance, also pleasing to the touch.

Ever since satin finishes became available, it's seen utmost success, selling far more than flat paints, especially exteriors.

BEHR™ paint company has put together a detailed description of paint sheens, also showing how gloss & reflections appear, below.

About Paint Sheens


A flat sheen has a non-reflective finish that touches up well and hides minor surface imperfections.

Flat Sheen Paint sample
  • Applications:Low-traffic areas; interior walls and ceilings
  • Areas:Ceilings
  • Durability:Medium-Low
  • Product(s):PREMIUM PLUS® Interior Flat

A matte sheen has a low-luster, reflective finish that is durable, easy to clean, touches up well and also hides minor surface imperfections.

Matte Sheen Paint sample
  • Applications:Low-traffic areas; interior walls
  • Areas:Family rooms, living rooms, kids' rooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, ceilings
  • Durability:Medium
  • Product(s):BEHR MARQUEE® Interior Matte BEHR ULTRA Interior Matte

An eggshell enamel sheen has a soft, velvety appearance that resists dirt and grime, as well as mildew.

Eggshell Sheen Paint sample
  • Applications:Moderate-traffic areas
  • Areas:Family rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, kids' rooms, hallways, dining rooms
  • Durability:Medium
  • Product(s):BEHR MARQUEE® Interior Eggshell Enamel BEHR ULTRA Interior Eggshell Enamel PREMIUM PLUS® Interior Eggshell Enamel

A satin enamel sheen has a pearl-like finish that's easy to clean.

Satin Sheen Paint sample
  • Applications:All interior surfaces; moderate- to high-traffic areas
  • Areas:Family rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, kids' rooms, hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, doors, windows, trim, cabinets, shutters, interior furniture
  • Durability:Medium-High
  • Product(s):BEHR MARQUEE® Interior Satin Enamel BEHR ULTRA Interior Satin Enamel PREMIUM PLUS® Interior Satin Enamel

A semi-gloss enamel sheen is sleek and radiant resisting mildew, moisture and wear.

Semi-gloss Enamel Sheen Paint sample
  • Applications:Cabinets and trim; high-traffic, high-moisture areas
  • Areas:Kids' rooms, hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, doors, windows, trim, cabinets, shutters
  • Durability:High
  • Product(s):BEHR MARQUEE® Interior Semi-Gloss Enamel BEHR ULTRA Interior Semi-Gloss Enamel PREMIUM PLUS® Interior Semi-Gloss Enamel

Hi-Gloss enamel sheens provide have a brilliant, shiny appearance and a durable, glass-like finish that allows dirt and grime to be wiped clean.

hi-Gloss Enamel Sheen Paint sample
  • Applications:High-use surfaces
  • Areas:Kitchens, bathrooms, doors, windows, trim, cabinets, shutters, interior furniture
  • Durability:High
  • Product(s):PREMIUM PLUS® Interior/Exterior Hi-Gloss Enamel
In Summary Choosing Best Finish For Exterior Trim Paint

Picking an extraordinary paint finish is just as important as the color scheme you choose for your home's exterior. Making sure the finish durability withstands all outside conditions it will encounter. Much goes into a paint finish, and paint manufactures answered public's request, having a paint sheen between semi-gloss & flat.

Being the best in both worlds, not too glossy, but not too flat. Exterior satin is your choice for a uniform look & feel. Choosing satin finish also gives you the luxury of just deciding on paint colors, as you now have the paint finish narrowed down.

If in Colorado, our painters in Denver will professionally apply your exterior paint choices for a premier finish, on time and budget. Using State of the Art tools & techniques, rewarding your home with decades of expert paint experience. Request your free exterior paint quote today!

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[…] durable exterior paints on the market today, not only seals & protects, but lasts much longer. Giving the fact an […]


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[…] proper paint finish sheen is another important factor painting outside trim correctly. For a lasting paint coating, being […]

Tej Bedi
Tej Bedi
1 year ago

Hi Cal, We live in NJ and are painting our house SWilliams : Peppercorn in satin sheen.
I was wondering which exterior paint color is best for trims in satin sheen with Peppercorn. Appreciate your help and input in this regard.