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6:06 PM Fri, Sept. 21st

Ask the contractor: A primer on paint sheens and their applications

Q: We are considering painting our home and I thought just selecting the right color was hard. But when we ask about sheens, we receive different answers. Can you help guide us?-Tom and Kathy, Chino Valley

A: There are an infinite number of paint colors, and using the right sheen is important for both look and functionality. The higher the shine, the higher the sheen. Paint that is described as a "flat" paint has no shine, and "high-gloss" paint is all shine. In between the no shine and the all-shine, there are many other sheens: Eggshell, satin and semi-gloss each has its own special application and aesthetic effect.

To help you decide which sheen is right for you and the area being painted, here is an easy guide:

• High-gloss is considered to be the most durable of paint sheens and is the easiest to clean. High-gloss reflects light, is mega-shiny and extremely durable; in most cases, it should not be used on interior walls. High-gloss will show some drywall imperfections, so there is prep work that is necessary to hide the bumps. Kitchens are a good place to use high-gloss be-cause of the easy clean-up.

• Semi-gloss is a good paint for kitchens, bathrooms and trim. Again, it's easy to clean and is a good paint to be used if there is moisture in the room. The durability of semi-gloss paint is high.

• Satin-finish paint is also easy to clean and is a good paint for areas that have lots of finger-touch. Satin paint is considered to be somewhat tricky when it comes to application because is does show brush marks, and you must be careful with touch-up. This is a good paint to use on most of the interior walls such as bedrooms and living rooms. The durability is also considered to be high.

• Flat paint has the most pigment color and is a good paint for coverage, but is difficult to clean and should be used in a room without touchy fingers (i.e. kids). This paint is less expensive than other paint sheens. The durability is medium.

• Eggshell is between a satin and a flat finish, with no shine but a little luster. This is a good paint for hiding flaws and should be used in an area that's unlikely to be exposed to handprints, sticky fingers and furniture bumps.

Keep in mind, if you have an open living area, it is not good to mix sheens.

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Winter maintenance resolutions

It won't just keep you warm: Chimney maintenance will help keep your family safe.

• Have a chimney sweep and fireplace inspection.

• Buy your firewood now so it is seasoned for next winter.

• Do not use sodium chloride as snow melt on your concrete. You will have concrete failure.

• Make sure you change out your HVAC filters.

• Change those batteries in your smoke detectors every year - give them a birthday, as the fire department says!

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YCCA extends to you and your family best wishes for a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. It is with gratitude that YCCA looks back upon the past year, and we thank you for your support and trust.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to ycca@cableone.net or through www.ycca.org.