Can You Mix Semi Gloss and Flat Paint? Mixing Paint In 4 Steps

A homeowner recently asked me, can you mix semi gloss and flat paint? Well, I find it best to give an elaborate response through this post.

Please read on…

No stone engraved rules exist for obtaining a specific luster by mixing semi-gloss and flat paint.

So you can always mix sheens as long as they are compatible. But, it is not as easy as it sounds.

Some painters have reservations about playing with gloss, semi-gloss, and flat paints. So, on the question, can you mix semi gloss and flat paint…

My answer is Yes. You can mix semi-gloss and flat paint. Also, the outcome will largely depend on the concentration levels of each formula.

Gloss, semi-gloss, and flat paint have different pigment concentrations, one of the three key paint ingredients.

Additionally, flat paint tends to come with additives to cut the sheen.

Even so, neither of these differences should stop you from mixing paints with different sheens as long as they contain the same solvent and binders.

This article seeks to answer your questions about mixing various paint sheens.

Therefore, follow through till the end to find detailed answers and practical recommendations.

Can You Mix Semi-Gloss and Low Sheen Paint?

Paint roller but Can You Mix Semi Gloss and Flat Paint?
Image of a Paint Roller

You can mix semi-gloss and low sheen paint. But, the final shine will depend on the low sheen paint’s concentration.

Also, low sheen paints are usually like eggshell paints, only that they feature a slightly higher gloss. 

Besides that, low sheen paints are excellent alternatives for areas where you need some gloss and good cleaning qualities, such as laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Their moderate glossy appearance highlights wall or surface blemishes more than flat paints.

So, you will not lose your sheen entire when you mix the two formulas.

You will only have a lower sheen between the semi-gloss and the low sheen paint.

Can You Mix Flat Paint with Latex Paint?

The general idea on mixing paints is that if they are of the same resin type and manufacturer, you can go ahead and blend them.

Yes. You can mix flat paint with latex paint. However, use an ideal ratio that will give a desirable finish.

It also would help to ask what you want to achieve with the mixture. For example, you may want to flatten the sheen on the latex paint.

In this case, mix ½c warm water with ½c Paris plaster. Then, add the solution to the latex for chalk-like paint.

On top of that, prepare the walls properly before painting, and the solution will rest just fine.

Can I Mix Semi-Gloss and Eggshell Paint Together?

Semi-gloss and eggshell paints are compatible; thus, you can mix them for your project.

However, a poor job may produce a paint that delivers streaks and clumps on the surface. So, use paints of the same type and brand to avoid such disasters.

In addition, eggshell paints are moderately glossy and deliver more depth and warmth than flat paints.

They are also stain-resistant and perfect for areas in the house with traffic, such as the kids or dining rooms.

Thus, the mixture will have glossy and stain-resistant attributes.

What a perfect blend!

What Happens If I Paint Flat Over Semi-Gloss?

A flat solution has no shine to it. So, when you paint it over semi-gloss, you make the luster duller than before.

Besides, since smooth and glossy surfaces cannot hold paint properly, the flat paint dulls the gloss finish and helps to prepare for repainting.

Therefore, the exercise has some benefits and is worth a try.

Also, ensure that you prepare the surface and elbow grease it for pleasing results.

But, the process may require time and effort because you must rough up the flat paint.

This move ensures that it sticks to the semi-gloss, so it is essential.

Fortunately, you don’t have to stress about how to go about the whole process. I have a procedure that will give you the perfect outcome.

  • Pour a cup of TSP cleaner into a gallon of warm water.

Then, get a sponge to wipe down the TSP walls. Also, it would be safe to wear rubber gloves for skin protection.

  • Rough up the gloss or shine on your semi-gloss formula.

You can use two methods. First, sand the whole wall with 100-grit sandpaper.

It is not compulsory to sand to bear way. As long as you rough up the luster of the semi-gloss paint, the job is perfect.

  • The second technique involves using a deglosser. So, first, get a paintbrush and spread a deglosser coat on the surface.

Next, use a clean cloth to wipe it off and then rub it down with a wet sponge.

Also, ensure that you dip the sponge frequently in clean water to get a high-quality finish.

  • Wipe walls with a tack cloth and paint a primer layer after the sanding process.

Then, allow it to dry before you apply medium-grade or flat paint.

  • You can skip the primer but ensure that you paint two coats of the paint.

Additionally, please bear in mind that flat paint will never clean up easily, especially if you use it in bathrooms and kitchens.

Therefore, it would be best to consider a semi-gloss formula for long-term painting.

Is Low Sheen the Same as Semi-Gloss?

Low sheen paints and eggshell formulas are almost similar.

However, the former has a slightly higher gloss. On the other hand, semi-gloss solutions deliver a slightly glossy hue.

But they are still less reflective than gloss formulas. So, a low sheen is not the same as a semi-gloss appearance.

On top of that, we often miss a slight difference between paint gloss and sheen.

The two elements point to the same thing as they describe the amount of light a painted surface reflects despite its color.

Also, they strongly affect the ultimate finish or color.

However, if you observe closely, sheen and gloss are very different.

For instance, sheen appears softer and has more luster and depth, whereas gloss is crisp and shiny.

Fortunately, the two elements work together to deliver a hybrid finish. For example, sheen differences on a surface are more visible in low-gloss formulas. 

Also, knowing these attributes help to select the best combination for your work. Hence, let me give you some points on using a low or high gloss/sheen.

Low Gloss/Sheen

  • Use low gloss or sheen for areas that do not require much attention, such as halls and ceilings in office or school buildings.

Also, they help to hide blemishes and imperfections in interiors.

  • Gloss and light have a relationship that could create a mirror-like effect if you use high-gloss paints in areas with notable natural light.

The effect also leads to an excessive glare that reveals the imperfections of the finish. Therefore, consider a low-gloss coating for areas with natural light, like retail shops.

  • Low gloss is suitable for making coatings durable in washable, flat finishes.

Higher Gloss/Sheen:

  • High gloss or sheen surfaces are easier to clean. So, use them in areas that need frequent cleaning sessions, such as restaurants.
  • It would be best to get a high-gloss coating for trim on an area with a flat or low-sheen coating, like a small office space.
  • High-gloss finishes accentuate the surface details and are ideal for areas that need attention, such as hotel lobbies.

What Can I Add to Flat Paint to Make it Glossy?

It is pretty easy to make flat paint glossy. Get a glazing compound or varnish equal to 10 percent of the flat paint volume in a large container.

Then, add the flat paint formula and stir.

Test the finish and add more binders if unsatisfied with the gloss.

Also, ensure that you make the additions incrementally to avoid turning the outcome into a semi-transparent glaze.

Can I Mix Flat and Semi-Gloss Latex Paint?

Yes. You can mix flat and semi-gloss latex paint. The exercise allows you to blend a usable new sheen.

Also, remember that if you have more flat paint in the mixture, the final sheen will be duller than before.

In addition, it would be best to mix paints with the same solvent. For instance, water-based paints do not mix properly with oil-based ones.

So, to be safe, blend formulas with the same resins.

Why Do People Paint Walls Flat?

Picture a velvety, well-saturated wall because that is what flat paint delivers.

Also, if the wall has flaws like patches, uneven texture, or joints, the paint will absorb light and render them less visible.

So, it is fair to say that flat paint delivers rich results.

Another reason for painting walls flat is that the paint is the best at touch-ups.

It also blends perfectly with the previous paint and accommodates builders who do not want to paint the walls edge-to-edge.

So, the building and painting process can accommodate various changes.

Also, flat paint is easy to describe to a homeowner.

There is no confusion if the paint is flat, and the homeowner does not need to be a paint expert to get it right.

On top of that, flat paint is among the cheapest formulas. It costs significantly less than satin, eggshell, and semi-gloss.

Therefore, owners find it cost-effective for the building project.

Here’s How to Make Glossy Paint Flat:

What Happens if I Mix Semi-Gloss and Eggshell?

I have good news if you have accidentally purchased a can of semi-gloss and one of eggshell paint.

You do not have to return any of the paints because you can blend them as long as they are the same type.

However, poor choices may cost you a perfect mix.

For instance, the resulting paint mixture will deliver streaks and clamps on the project surface if you blend oil and latex.

Also, different paint types have different chemical structures and will not be completely compatible.

On top of that, you need to do a small test before mixing all the paint. Some paints from the same product line or brand may not give a perfect mix.

Therefore, once you confirm the solutions are from the same brand, test them before use.

What Happens When You Mix Semi-Gloss and Satin Paint?

So far, you can almost recite the rule of thumb in mixing paint: Ensure that the bases are compatible.

Also, check the product brand and test the formulas before you mix them.

Semi-gloss and satin mix well when you have enough paint to give results.

Unfortunately, it will be unlikely that you will duplicate the sheen as satin will dominate the blend.

So, to get a desirable outcome, you can have two parts of semi-gloss to one part of satin.

On top of that, a good quality satin paint is usually resistant to stains and washable than a low-quality semi-gloss.

Also, satin is more forgiving to patches on the wall, while reflective paints make the wall imperfections more obvious.

So, a perfect blend will help you get a percentage of these qualities on the final formula.

Is Deglosser Better than Sanding?

The choice to degloss or sand depends on your project needs because they serve different purposes.

For example, sandpaper is suitable for even surfaces, whereas deglosser works when the surface is perfect, but you need to remove the shiny finish.

In addition, a deglosser helps you to paint the object without the paint dripping to the sides.

It does not correct imperfections, smooth the surface, or act as a paint primer.

Therefore, the choice to use it depends on the nature of the surface and the desired result.

Besides that, liquid sandpaper or deglosser can remove paint from intricate designs and ornate projects with grooves.

Also, it does not produce toxic lead particles that are a health hazard if inhaled.

Also, deglosser does not require much energy to do the job or leave messy dust particles as sandpaper. Therefore, it makes the work easier and faster.

However, ensure that you clean the surface thoroughly with soap and water before applying the product.

The exercise helps to keep loose dust particles from remaining on the surface during the painting process. 

In addition, although deglosser does not produce dust particles, it would be best to wear chemical splash goggles.

Also, shake the formula well and use a lint-free cloth to rub the surface in a circular motion.

Finally, fold and re-saturate the cloth often to keep it from re-depositing dust.

What Happens If You Paint Over Semi-Gloss Without Sanding?

You should expect a peeling issue later if you skip the sanding process as you paint over semi-gloss.

The wall will not have something to grab onto, so it will peel and chip easily.

Therefore, if you do not want to sand the surface, it would be best to consider a deglosser.

However, you can still paint over semi-gloss without sanding and priming as long as you have a satin-based formula.

Also, if the sem-gloss is water-based, ensure that the paint is also water-based.

How to Paint Satin Over Semi-Gloss Without Sanding or Priming

So, if you decide to go ahead and do the painting without sanding or priming, you will need the following supplies:

A wall cleaner, bucket, sponge, drop cloth, bucket, painter’s tape, 3-inch stiff-bristle brush, mohair roller, 2-inch trim paintbrush, tray, and paint bucket.

Next, choose a satin with a similar base and color to the semi-gloss. Using a different color usually changes the extra layers.

Therefore, you will put in more work and a longer drying period.

Also, you can use a cotton ball to check if the paint on the surface is water or oil-based. Soak it in rubbing alcohol and rub the surface on one spot.

Next, check the cotton ball; if it has no color, the formula on the surface is oil-based. On the other hand, if it has color, the paint is water-based.

Then, mix ½ cup of ammonia with one warm water gallon and use the rag to clean the walls.

Also, when working on kitchen walls, ensure that you pay more attention to grime and greasy buildup.

Wipe the surface again with a rag dipped in clean water and remove any picture hardware, outlet plates, and hooks from the surface.

Also, cover furnishings and floors with drop cloths to keep them from stains from wet paint, and use painter’s tape to secure the drop cloths’ edges.

Next, etch the old formula with a stiff-bristled brush. Concentrate on the physical grooves on corners and hard-to-paint edges to enhance paint adhesion.

Once you have prepared the surface, open the paint can and use a wooden mixing stick to stir.

Then, dip the two-inch brush and apply the paint into the ridges and grooves. Also, watch out for door and window edges.

In addition, pour an inch of the formula on a roller pan if that is your preferred application method.

Next, move the roller through the solution back and forth to saturate it. The move also helps to spread the paint in the pan.

Therefore, the paint evens out in the pan and is easy to apply.

Move the roller up and down the surface with even and steady strokes. Also, reapply it with paint often to keep it from drying as you work.

Lastly, repeat the second coat application process but use side-to-side strokes this time.

Also, paint the walls until you get an even color and allow the paint to dry. However, feel free to do some touch-ups if you see any streaking.

Do You Need to Prime Over Semi Gloss Paint?

Please prime and sand the surface regardless of the paint you want to use. Hence, always sand until you get a dull and smooth surface.

However, if you do not want to prime over semi-gloss paint, ensure you get the same paint type.

For instance, if the paint on the surface is water-based, it would be best to use a water-based formula.

Will Clear Coat Make Paint Shiny?

Spray-on clear paint does not yield the glossy finish that one expects. Instead, the paint may even look more flat and dull.

Luckily, this is a situation you can remedy if you use the correct supplies.

Therefore, you can expect a clear coat to give the object a deeper and shiner look and protect the paint from UV rays. But it is less resistant to fading and oxidation.

Should I Sand Between Coats of Semi-Gloss Paint?

It depends. You can opt to sand the coats if you are doing a reapplication months later. Also, you can do the sanding to clean off the buildup grime.

In addition, you can sand between semi-gloss paint coats if you want to remove brush strokes or any other textures on the surface.

This exercise helps to deliver a smooth finish. Besides that, sanding between the coats provides a hardened surface that can bond with the next coat.

But be sure to follow the guidelines on the paint container.

Additionally, sanding is unnecessary if you are satisfied with the first coat and there are no visible flaws.

However, if the coat has a shine or other notable defects, it would be best to sand it off to allow maximum adhesion of the other coat.

Also, ensure that the first coat dries before you apply the next one. This practice is essential because it helps the second coat to adhere well to the surface. 

Do I Need to Prime Over Flat Paint?

Using a primer gives the painted finish a uniform look and hides any previously flawed areas of the object.

Also, using the primer on the whole surface area is not mandatory.

You can use flat paint as the primer for the project. However, you will not see the substrate’s white color because the paint pigment hides it.

So, you can consider a separate primer for the job as it adheres or sticks better to the substrate.

Can You Paint Over Gloss Paint With Flat Paint?

Yes. You can paint over gloss paint with flat paint.

However, you must engage in intense surface preparation and use elbow grease for a pleasing outcome. Let’s dive in and assess what the job requires.

  • Get safety goggles, a rag or soft cloth, dish detergent, drop cloth, or newspapers.

Other items necessary are a face mask, painter’s or masking tape, 80- to 150-grit sandpaper, vacuum or broom, and primer paint.

Then, remove all the wall decorations, such as mirrors, pictures, curtain hardware, and nails.

  • Use a rag or soft cloth soaked in warm water and mild dish detergent to wash the walls with the semi-gloss paint. Then, be patient and allow the walls to dry.
  • Put on the face mask and safety google before sanding. Also, place newspapers or a drop cloth on the floor to protect it from stains.
  • Use the 80 to 150 grit sandpaper and sand the semi-gloss wall from the ceiling toward the floor. Repeat the sanding process until you get a dull surface.
  • Then, wash the walls again with warm and soapy water. Allow them to air dry as you sweep or vacuum the floor to remove dust.
  • Tape over any trim or baseboard to protect it from paint drips. Use blue painter’s tape or white masking tape.
  • Roll or brush on the primer’s coat and let it dry completely before paint application.

Next, apply the flat paint following the manufacturer’s instructions and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before the other coats.

How Do You Paint With Flat Paint?

Consider the following procedure for projects that require a flat paint application.

  • Frame the wall surface with painter’s tape. It creates a bar between the wall and the door, baseboards, and window trim.
  • Cover the floor and furniture with drop cloths to keep paint stains away.
  • Use a two to three-inch wide-angled brush to go through the ceiling line.

Also, soak the brush in the paint formula halfway up the bristles. Then tap it on the paint can’s edge to shake off any excess paint.

  • Position the bristle’s edges about a quarter inch from the wall’s top and carefully fan the brush bristles out till they get to the edge.

In addition, ensure that you follow the ceiling line to create a straight line between the ceiling color and the wall.

  • Cut in around the door and window trim. Also, do not stress about excess paint because the painter’s tape keeps things in check. So, focus on cutting in at the baseboard.
  • Roller on the surface while the paint is still wet. It helps it to reduce overlap marks. The exercise also blends the paint.
  • Use a ⅜ inch nap if you use flat paint to hide wall blemishes. In addition, get a half-inch nap for rough, older, and uneven walls.
  • Ensure the roller is always wet during application and roll from top to bottom.

Also, ensure that it is not dripping as you do straight up and down strokes.

Then, work with a “W” pattern to keep the paint uniform and eliminate roller marks.

  • Assess the trim and ceiling lines for brush strokes and roller them over. Also, please avoid overspreading the flat paint as it may lift off the wall.

Then, move to the next walls and repeat the process until you paint the room.

  • Finally, evaluate the walls using a shop light when the paint cures. One coat is okay for flat paint. But it would be best to do a second coat if you notice rougher walls and darker colors.

Here’s More On Mixing Flat and Semi Gloss Paints:

How Long After Painting Can I Clear Coat?

Please wait for thirty minutes after applying the base coat before clear coating. Then, apply four to five wet coats.

However, give them 10+ minutes of waiting time between the coats. Also, ensure that the coat is dry before the next application.


Blending different paints is a creative way to deliver various sheens. Also, it helps to combine different paints’ attributes and develop a hybrid formula.

Therefore, it is prudent for us to engage in discussions such as

Can You Mix Semi Gloss and Flat Paint?

You can mix semi-gloss and flat paint. But always ensure that you adhere to general mixing rules. The formulas should be of the same type or brand.

In addition, flat paint has additional chemicals that reduce the mixture’s luster. Therefore, ensure that the outcome suits your project needs.

The post has given insightful details on mixing various paint sheens with a major focus on semi gloss and flat paint.

Until this point, I hope you have gathered enough to help you go about paint mixing.

If you have a concern in the form of suggestions, opinions, or general comments, please feel free to share it with me through the comment section below!

Until next time, enjoy your painting projects!