A Guide To Measuring Levels Of Gloss In Paint

Posted in Firwood Hints and Tips by Firwood on November 24th 2015

A Guide To Measuring Levels Of Gloss In Paint and Industrial Floor Paints

Gloss is an essential element of painting that enables every paint user to achieve a professional finish they are happy with. Whether you're using heavy-duty industrial floor paint for equipment or painting your home furnishings, different levels of gloss will result in differing finishes.

Whether you're a somewhat inexperienced paint user or you just want to brush up on your gloss levels to achieve a brilliant finish, read on for a more in-depth guide!

How To Measure Gloss Levels Of Industrial Floor Paint

Depending on what levels of gloss you use, the appearance and final finish of the surface you're painting will look different. Consequently, there is a need to be able to measure the gloss of applied paint films.

Traditionally, paintwork was always full gloss, but now satin finishes are very popular. Whether you're hoping to achieve a satin gloss finish, a full gloss finish or a completely matte one, take a look at these percentages to help you determine what gloss level you require!

Finish You Want To Achieve

Light Reflectance

Full Gloss

70% - 90%


41% - 69%


26% - 40%


15% - 25%


10% - 15%



Gloss is all about light reflectance. When measuring gloss, a light source is shone onto the surface of a painted item (usually at an angle of 60° to the surface) and the light reflected back to the apparatus is measured and expressed as a percentage (%) gloss, just like our chart shows above.

With very low gloss levels (such as matte finishes), a 60° angle is too great to measure light reflectance accurately, so a lower angle of 20° is usually used.

Apparatus to measure paint gloss (whether industrial floor paint or not) is available to buy from various sources with reputable equipment manufactured and supplied in the UK by Sheen Instruments Ltd in Cambridge and Elcometer Ltd in Manchester.

Click Here to view our Industrial Paints

What Else Do I Need To Know?

For most people, the cost of gloss measuring equipment is hard to justify, especially since most paint manufacturers will include details about the gloss level within the product information. However, it's important to note that different application methods can also affect the finish of any given surface. The type of substrate a coating of paint is applied onto and the environmental conditions that it is applied in both have an impact on the final result.

Typically for a full gloss paint the gloss level will be reduced as a consequence of:

  • Paint being applied at low temperatures
  • The substrate being absorbent (with new unsealed plaster for example)
  • The substrate being poorly prepared or rough (for example with shot blasted steel)
  • A top coat being applied before the primer has fully dried
  • Poor spraying techniques

Tips For Achieving The Perfect Gloss Level

  1. Using A Spray Gun - To achieve a high gloss level (a shiny appearance) it is important to ensure that your industrial floor paint fully atomises when applied by spray. Ensure that you use the correct spray gun top and don't use one that is damaged or badly worn down.
  2. Compare In Good Light - Visual comparisons of gloss must be taken under controlled lighting conditions. By looking at the reflectance of a light bulb filament in a full gloss film, you'll be able to determine the clarity of the gloss which is affected by the type of paint and resin system used.
  3. Be Aware - When selecting gloss it is useful to remember that a full gloss system will show up imperfections in the paint film more easily, where finishes such as a 'hammer finish' are less likely to show imperfections. Consider attempting to get a more matte finish if you're inexperienced.
  4. Don't Forget - For the perfect finish remember that good preparation and quality industrial floor paint is critical, regardless of the gloss level selected!

Shop Industrial Floor Paint At Firwood

If you require more information about our range of industrial floor paint, or would like further advice about the above blog post, don't hesitate to get in touch! Call 01204 525231, or email websales@firwood.co.uk today!

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