Matt over eggshell paint?
June 19, 2006 6:32 AM   Subscribe

I painted a room (two coats) a darkish color, with an eggshell finish. I now find the eggshell finish brings out the flaws in the wall and looks too shiny for my taste.

I would like a matt finish. Can I choose the same color in matt and go over it in one coat with no problem? Or would I need two coats to get the proper matt finish in the same color?
posted by Blue Buddha to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Well, the good news is that you don't have to make that decision right away. Buy enough flat paint for one coat and see how it looks. You'll have to wait a day to put the second coat on anyway.

Alternately, wait a day to see the room under different light conditions (assuming it gets natural light). Sometimes it's just a certain time of day that the flaws seem more visible. And sometime it's just the fact that it's different from before - you may stop noticing in a few days.

I have a house with 100-year-old plaster walls, so I feel for you on seeing imperfections. Oddly, few visitors can see them as well as I do. Or perhaps thankfully.
posted by GuyZero at 6:42 AM on June 19, 2006

I was in the same boat as you recently—initially chose a dark color in eggshell, and didn't like it once it was up (the shininess made the color seem lighter than expected).

One coat with the same color in matte did the trick. In fact, from what I've learned, if you still have some of the eggshell left over, you can doctor that to kill the gloss, either with a bit of flat paint or with some kind of powder additive. Apparently the gloss in paint is easy to kill.
posted by adamrice at 7:01 AM on June 19, 2006

Make sure that you scuff up the glossy paint with some medium grit sandpaper (150 should do) before you put the flat paint over top. That will make the new paint stick better and kill some of the shine from the undercoat. This is just a very quick sanding, just fold a full sheet of sandpaper in quarters and lightly run it over the walls. It should take like ten minutes for a normal sized room.

You should be able to get away with one coat of exactly the same color of the same brand of paint if you are very careful. Work on each wall separately. Cut in the edges of the wall and then roll it out with even up and down, floor to ceiling strokes using a short extension pole on the roller frame so that you keep the pressure even.
posted by octothorpe at 8:34 AM on June 19, 2006

I would agree and disagree with octothorpe.

Sanding the walls would help, but you'll have to remove the dust. So after sanding, I'd wipe the walls with a damp cloth. Not a huge extra effort, but some.

if the paint is fresh and you're using latex on latex (the universe of my interior painting experience - I don't buy oil-based for interior work), I would not worry about sanding. Eggshell is not so glossy that flat paint won't stick, especially if it's fresh and there isn't any dust, grime, etc on it. I assume you're buying the same brand of paint.

Sanding & wiping won't hurt, but I'm not sure if it will give appreciably better results for the effort in your case.

Cleaning the walls first is good advice in general though.
posted by GuyZero at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2006

Using a tack cloth will do wonders to take away the dust left from sanding. You can find them at any paint store, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:46 AM on June 19, 2006

If the paint is very fresh, wait a couple of weeks. The gloss can dull down quite a lot with some brands, even in latex. (Oil-based paints lose a lot of gloss.) Latex can continue to lose its sheen for a few months, but not as noticeably as in the first weeks.
posted by wryly at 9:59 AM on June 19, 2006

Second the waiting. We painted our hallway in an eggshell finish and it toned down the shiny quite a bit in a week or two.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:47 AM on June 19, 2006

If you buy flat, get a higher-quality flat. My mom did her house in flat interior paint, and chose Sherwin Williams paints -- for whatever reason, it looked 500% better than any flat paint I've seen from brands that I would use the eggshell in (hell, that I would recommend the eggshell). Also in my experience, flat paint attracts more dust to your walls. This could just be my experience. I third the waiting, by the way. It may get better -- our did.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:45 PM on June 19, 2006

IIAS-PP (I am a semi-pro painter)
Last weekend I painted a dark color over a dark color, using flat latex paint. I used a good primer - two coats. I only needed one coat of my final color.

Hint: when cutting in around ceiling, trim and floor, do a smallish section and immediately use a roller to fill in the wall. Most problems with patchy paint jobs are due to not having 'wet edges' and the cut-in doesn't blend well with the roller work.
posted by Corky at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2006

Well, I did it. Matte paint over the eggshell, and one coat did the trick. It looks much better now. I didn't have the time or the patience to sand the walls and thankfully that wasn't need. Thanks for your help, all!
posted by Blue Buddha at 1:36 PM on June 20, 2006

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