High-Gloss or Semi-Gloss Paint for Baseboards and Trim?

Painting your baseboards and trim can be a great way to update the look of any room. When painting, selecting the right paint finish can be a tricky decision. Do you go with high-gloss or semi-gloss paint?

Semi-gloss is the most preferred finish for trims and baseboards. Semi-gloss paint provides a subtle shine while still providing resistance to water and everyday wear. This finish is easy to clean and especially suitable for baseboards and trim in high-traffic areas like hallways, kitchens, or bathrooms.

In this article, you will learn about the following:

  • The factors to consider when choosing a paint finish for baseboards and trim
  • The pros and cons of high-gloss paint
  • The pros and cons of semi-gloss paint
  • How to decide between high-gloss and semi-gloss

5 Essential Factors for Choosing the Perfect Paint Finish

Here are some factors you should consider when deciding on a paint finish for your baseboards and trim. 


The sheen of the paint is an important factor to consider when choosing the right paint finish for your baseboards and trim. Generally speaking, a higher sheen will provide more protection against scuffs, scratches, dirt, and dust.

It also helps to reflect light around the room, making it look brighter and more inviting. However, higher sheens tend to show imperfections in the wall more than lower sheens do. 


Durability is another important factor when selecting a paint finish for your baseboards and trim. If you’re looking for something that can withstand heavy use or frequent cleaning without losing its luster, you should opt for a higher-gloss finish.


When choosing a paint finish, consider how often the baseboards and trim need to be cleaned. If they are in high-traffic areas, such as around doorways or near the kitchen countertop, you may want to choose a finish with high gloss levels. Glossier paint finishes are easier to clean and can be wiped down with a wet cloth.

Touch-up and maintenance

Also, consider how easily the paint finish can be touched up or maintained. Higher-gloss finishes are more resistant to wear and tear but can also be difficult to touch up or repair.

On the other hand, finishes with lower gloss levels are easier to touch up but may require more frequent maintenance. 


Finally, don’t forget about style! The right paint finish can help combine a room’s design by adding subtle touches of color or texture to create interest in an otherwise plain space.

When considering which finish might work best in your home, remember it’s about finding what works best for you.

Pros and Cons of High-Gloss Paint

High-gloss paint is popular for baseboards and trims due to its versatility and aesthetic appeal. As with any paint, however, there are pros and cons to consider.


One of the primary pros of high-gloss paint is its durability. The glossy finish is highly resistant to wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for areas that require frequent cleaning or scrubbing, such as kitchens or bathrooms. 

High-gloss paint protects well against water damage, making it a great option for baseboard and trim in moisture-prone areas. Additionally, it reflects light beautifully, making any room appear brighter and more vibrant. 


However, some drawbacks should be considered when deciding whether to use high-gloss paint for baseboards and trim.

It requires more preparation before the application since the surface needs to be perfectly smooth before painting for the best result. This can be difficult if there are imperfections on the surface. 

In addition, it is difficult to touch up after application due to its reflective nature. This makes it unsuitable for areas requiring occasional maintenance or repair work. Finally, some people find that a high-gloss finish leaves too much shine in their home environment. 

Pros and Cons of Semi-Gloss Paint

Semi-gloss paint is a popular choice for both baseboards and trim because it offers a balance between aesthetics and durability.

This type of paint offers an attractive finish that enhances the appearance of any room. It has a slight sheen that gives it an elegant look while remaining more subtle than high-gloss finishes.


One of the main advantages of using semi-gloss paint for baseboards and trim is that it is very durable, making it ideal for high-traffic areas such as hallways or bathrooms. 

The finish on semi-gloss paints is easy to clean and resists dirt, dust, stains, and mildew. 

It has a lower sheen level than high-gloss, making it easier to touch up or repair. Additionally, it is much more forgiving regarding surface preparation before application.


However, there are several downsides to using semi-gloss paint as well. One downside is that the high sheen look can cause imperfections like cracks or bumps in the wall or around the trim to be more visible due to its reflective properties.

Additionally, semi-gloss paint requires more coats than other paints to achieve a uniform finish due to its low absorption rate. Finally, although durable, it is not on the same level as high-gloss.

High-Gloss vs. Semi-gloss: Which Should You Choose?

When deciding between high-gloss versus semi-gloss paint for baseboards and trim, it is important to consider the purpose of the space and the desired look.

High-gloss paint has a very reflective finish, giving a sleek and modern look to a room. This can be especially useful in smaller or darker rooms, reflecting natural light around the space.

Semi-gloss paint also has a reflective sheen but is less intense than high gloss. This type of paint provides a contemporary finish that is not quite as shiny as its high-gloss counterpart, making it ideal if you want to achieve an understated yet elegant look in your home. 

Regarding durability, both paints are very resistant to staining and scrubbing. However, high-gloss tends to be slightly more durable than semi-gloss due to its highly reflective nature.

High gloss will be the best choice if you want a long-lasting finish that will stand up against heavy wear and tear. On the other hand, semi-gloss may be better suited for lower-traffic areas as it may start to dull over time. 

Both types of paint are suitable for baseboards and trim. It ultimately comes down to personal preference regarding what type of finish you prefer.

High gloss paints provide an intensely reflective finish but require more maintenance compared to semi-gloss paints, which have a more subtle sheen but may start dulling over time. Use quality paint products from reputable manufacturers for the best results.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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