Painters used semi-gloss instead of matte. Can it be painted over?

We just had some rooms painted, and once the painters left and the paint dried, it became obvious that they used the glossier kind of bathroom paint in our hallway. It’s shiny as hell. We’re going to have to argue them into a do-over, but can semi-gloss be painted over with matte or eggshell?

Of course it can be painted over, assuming both are latex paints.

If they own their screwup quickly, they can usually put matte paint directly over the semigloss within the first few days before the wrong paint has fully cured. (Assuming we’re talking about latex paint)

Anything more than a few days, and they’ll need to either scuff sand the walls to give the matte paint something to stick to, or use a primer like Kilz or Zinsser 123.

They’re going to do it over. They tried to point out that “everybody likes the eggshell enamel finish”, but we weren’t having it. BTW, what genius ever thought that a shiny finish ought to be called “eggshell”? I’ve cracked a million eggs in my life and none were ever remotely shiny.

We’d have painted it ourselves, but we’re getting along in years and one part of the stairway/hallway area is two stories high.

“Eggshell” is a color. You can get it in many finishes. The keyword is “enamel”. Note that historically it referred to a type of oil based paint but people seem to accept “latex enamel” without going into hysterics for the most part.

And painting over that is a pain. The new coat can peel off later, etc. if the surface is not properly prepped.

It may be a color, but it’s also a finish type.

Those are USA eggs, bought in a grocery store, after they have been washed and the protective egg coating removed.

A actual laid egg has a coating called ‘egg bloom’ on it to protect it. That’s removed by USA egg processors – that’s also why our eggs are refrigerated, where most of the world doesn’t do. This ‘egg bloom’ is actually a cuticle coating, like on your fingernails. (Look at them, and you’ll notice that they are fairly shiny.)

P.S. More annoying are the silly, un-informative names they dream up for paint colors. If I ruled the world, I would require paint manufacturers (and carpert makers, and fabric designers, etc.) to also list the actual color via some real scientific scale like an RGB code or the actual lightwave frequency.

Make them sand and prime before painting. I had the same problem with my contractor. The man hated me and the painter he hired was a brother inlaw or something. I just have a few painted walls because I live in a log house. The upstairs hallway was the biggest square footage that was rocked. As soon as i smelled the paint odor I knew it was wrong. This was before everyone had cel phones. So I had to page him. We met at the house and he screamed at me for being a choosy bitch. He didn’t like how I babysat the subs. I insisted he start over with the hallway. I decided I could live with it in the baths and laundry room. Of course the painter cheaped out and didn’t prime. In less than 6 mos part of the wall was peeling. I debated whether to take the Contractor and his sub to small claims. Instead I just repainted it myself. It would probably still be painted but the lil’wrekker used a sharpie and my wall as a canvas. So I had to prime and paint it again.

They’ve repainted already. Mr. brown was home today and the hallway/stairway area is now done over in matte. I don’t know if any sanding was done, but the repainting took place a scant 24 hours after the first eggshell finish was done. And now the color is more visible, he says; the eggshell’s gleaming reflection really washed out the color I selected (pale grey) and made it look almost white.

I don’t know what “eggshell enamel” is supposed to be, exactly, but when I had the previous house repainted, it was part of a major renovation and the contractor overseeing the whole thing recommended “eggshell” as a finish (the color was something entirely different) in most of the house except kitchen and bathrooms. I had just assumed “matte” would be appropriate. I think one has to be careful with terminology and different paints, but in that case I was very happy with the eggshell finish, which was not at all shiny. It was just subtly different from the total flatness of matte, and easier to clean. To my eye it just somehow looked subtly more elegant than total flatness without showing any obvious shininess. And yes, it was a latex paint.

I know eggshell as a finish. It’s between matte and semi-gloss. The range I know is typically, from no shins to shiny as hell: matte, eggshell, semigloss, gloss. It’s my default finish for most rooms in the house.

Yes, it has a slight sheen to it. Actually, kind of like an actual eggshell. Not completely flat. It shouldn’t be “shiny as hell,” as described by the OP, though. That doesn’t describe the eggshell finish in any way I’ve ever seen it, so I’m wondering if the contractor really did put an eggshell finish paint on it. Semigloss paint, on the other hand, can be quite shiny, depending on manufacturer. I suppose it’s possible some manufacturer has a glossier eggshell than another, but it still should be on the flat side of the scale.

Maybe in your world. In the UK, eggshell is a semi gloss finish you put on woodwork (never walls). Not a colour.
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The Dulux Decorator Centre would disagree:

Maybe you’re thinking of satin?

I think different paint manufacturers are flexible with their definitions of “matte” and “eggshell” and other finishes. One company’s eggshell might be another company’s semi-gloss. Our painters used Kelly Moore paint, and Kelly Moore’s eggshell was perfect in the bathrooms: shiny but not as shiny as trim paint.

The walls painted over with matte look great now. Well, lesson learned: ALWAYS get a quart sample and see if you like not only the color, but the finish as well. We didn’t this time because we thought professional painters would know better than us, and we were wrong.

It’s matte/flat, eggshell, satin, semigloss, glossy. I don’t think anyone actually uses gloss anymore, it’s like porcelain enamel. Most trim is semigloss, bathroom walls are satin, hallways tend to be eggshell, and ceilings are flat.

Usually but not always. Generally you use satin on woodwork, and silk on walls, but you can also use eggshell (which is slightly more matt than either of those finishes) on walls. Dr Dulux explains:

I just painted my bathroom walls in “soft sheen” which is basically what used to be called silk AFAIK. It’s a more wipeable finish and condensation/water splashes bead up on it rather than soaking in as they would with matt.