Time for a short rant...
After being in this industry for 14 years full time, I still don't understand something that should be really simple - sheens, or gloss levels in paint...
I've seen Sherwin-Williams Opulence (Cashmere) sold here in Canada in Matte, and Flat. Those 2 products were different sheens. Only, the French side of the can translates Flat in english as Matte in French. So a customer has to decide not only between Matte and Flat, which is confusing enough, but between Matte/Matte or Flat/Matte. It wrecks my head.
The craziness continues as you get into shinier finishes. S-W not only spells Egg Shell as Eg-shel, but in some product lines like Promar200, they offer 3 different egg shells: Low Sheen Eg-shel,
Low Gloss Eg-shel and plain old Eg-Shel. Confused yet?
Benjamin Moore also makes things far more complex than they need to be. The Aura exterior paint does not come in Egg Shell, a popular paint sheen, it only comes in Flat, Low Lustre, Satin or Semi-Gloss here in Canada. The thing is the Low-Sheen is actually the same gloss value as an interior Egg Shell. Same sheen, different name. Why is this a problem? A client may tell you, the contractor, that they don't want a shiny house. But of course they want a paint that will last and not fade. So...Low Lustre sounds like the perfect choice right? Wrong. Paint their house in a dark colour using the Low-Lustre and there is a good chance the customer will find their home too shiny. That's because its actually an Egg Shell finish. Using different names for the same thing creates opportunity for misunderstandings and unclear expectations.
B-M has a similar issue with the Ultra-Spec interior line. That paint comes in Low Sheen and Egg Shell. Wouldn't someone conclude that Low Sheen and Low Lustre would be closer in gloss value than Low Lustre and Egg Shell? What about Ulti-Matte - does that mean it is extra flat, or that it is a high-performing washable flat paint?
Can anyone please explain to me the difference between Pearl and Satin? Are they approximately the same gloss value, but one term used for interior paints, while the other used more for exterior paints?
What about ceiling paint. Flat, right? Nope. Flat paint for walls is usually too shiny to use on ceilings, it will flash. You need either a ceiling specific Flat paint, or you just have to know which Flat paints out there are actually flat enough to use on ceilings (S-W Promar400 Flat, Cloverdale Master Painter Flat, for example).
Confusion equals risk. Risk that you look un-professional because you don't know what you are talking about. Risk that you may not get the job on account of it. Risk that you get the job but don't deliver the customer's vision. Risk of wasting time figuring out something that should be simple. Risk of not getting paid, or having to repaint a project.
Paint companies should find a way to simplify this aspect of their paint marketing. Rather, they seem to enjoy complicating it in the extreme, perhaps thinking that their proprietary code names will give them some kind of competitive advantage. It doesn't. It just needlessly irritates your customers.
If all the paint companies can't agree on what all these catch words should actually mean, a clear standardized definition, then perhaps assigning a measurement-based numerical gloss value between 1-10 would work incredibly effectively.