Typically used for wood and metal, gloss and high-sheen paints also represent a great solution for walls and ceilings in high traffic or high condensation areas. But what should you consider when choosing a gloss or high-sheen paint?

What is the difference between oil-based and water-based products? Which are the best colours for doors or window frames?

There are dozens of products on the market, and unless you’re a professional, choosing the best is often confusing. But we’re here to help. We’ve identified, tested and rated the best gloss and high-sheen paints for metal, wood, walls and ceilings in the UK. Check out our top picks below.

paintbrushes on plastic


Our #1 Best Pick

Rust-oleum universal all surface paint

Rust-Oleum Universal Gloss Paint

Our top pick – a universal gloss paint for interior and exterior use.

Low Cost Option

johnstone's one coat

Johnstone’s One Coat Gloss Paint

Wallet-friendly gloss paint for interior and exterior metal and wood.

Best Of The Rest

Dulux Quick Dry Gloss

An excellent water-based high-sheen paint – safe to use in enclosed spaces.

Crown Quick Dry Gloss

Water-based high-sheen paint for interior and exterior metal and wood.

Dulux Soft Sheen

Soft sheen paint for walls and ceilings – it features Dulux’s Chromalock technology.


Gloss and high-sheen paints are mainly used for painting wood and metal fittings, including doors, window frames and radiators, but some products are suitable to use on plastic, ceramic, laminates, and even on masonry.

The first thing to consider when choosing the colour is the surface to be painted. White is a popular choice for doors, window frames, radiators and fences or rails. But this isn’t the only choice. If the walls are painted in a neutral shade, you can enhance the interior design with doors and windows painted in a complementary shade.

Dark brown and green are timeless classics. Contemporary choices include a vast selection of greys but also more dramatic choices like burgundy or dark red.

In a coastal environment or Mediterranean style home, blue is another great choice. Neutral tones are an alternative to the classic white, adding personality and sophistication.

High-sheen paints for walls and ceilings are ideal to use in high-traffic areas. Here, the choice of the colour is influenced by the environment. Dark stairways and hallways, for example, benefit from a light tonality that adds brightness.

Yellow and white are great choices for a kitchen while blue, white, ivory, and turquoise look amazing in a bathroom. High-sheen paint is a great option for the kid’s room too. The best colours, in this case, are lively tonalities like purple, orange and green.

Rust-oleum universal all surface paint

Two-in-one paint and primer for metal, wood, plastic, ceramic and more.

Ideal for a host of applications, Rust-Oleum Universal Gloss Paint is our favourite gloss paint for interior and exterior use. This two-in-one primer and paint does an excellent job of blocking stains and has anti-rust properties that protect exposed metal. Rust-Oleum is ideal to use on metal and wood, ceramic, laminates, masonry and more.

The durable formula provides a long-lasting and easy to maintain finish. Covering up to 9m²/litre, the paint has a quick drying time and one coat is often enough to gain an excellent coverage. The product touch dries in 2 hours and accepts a second coat after 16 hours.

Achieving full hardness after 7 days, this product is formulated for paintbrush application, although it is possible to use a roller on large surfaces. However, the consistency is too viscous for a paint sprayer.

However we can’t really call this a flaw. This oil-based product has exceptional qualities and it can even be used on non-ferrous and galvanized metal. In such cases though, the surface should be primed first with a universal metal primer.

For the best results, it is recommended to use the product on sunny days when the temperature exceeds 10°C. On porous surfaces, the product should be thinned with 10% white spirit for the first coat, then apply an undiluted second coat for full coverage.


• High-quality gloss paint for interior and exterior use. The product is suitable for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, wood, ceramic, masonry, and more.
• Universal paint is easy to apply with a brush and boasts a two-in-one formula that comprises a priming agent and the paint.
• Covering up to 9m²/litre, the product is supplied in 250ml and 750ml tins. Paint can be thinned with 10% white spirit if necessary.
• Universal paint comes in a range of 17 contemporary colours, including the trendy Slate Grey.
• The product touch dries in only 2 hours and can be handled in 8 hours. This is quicker than most oil-based paints.


• The oil-based formula is rich in volatile organic compounds and unsafe to use in enclosed spaces. Keep all windows open to ensure proper ventilation when using indoors.
• The product can be recoated after 16 hours if necessary. This is quite a long time.
• Although too viscous to use with a paint sprayer, the product is runny; it also dries to a different shade than pictured.

johnstone's one coat

Our budget-friendly alternative – a one-coat paint for interior and exterior use.

When your surfaces require a fresh coat of paint but your wallet doesn’t agree, Johnstone’s One Coat offers both quality and convenience. This premium product has a double formulation for interior and exterior use on wood and metal surfaces.

The self-undercoating formula boasts an exceptional covering power. Easy to apply with a paintbrush, One Coat covers up to 10m²/litre. Supplied in a convenient 1.25L pack, this high-sheen paint freshens up your surfaces in a breeze.

A slight drawback of this product is the limited colour range – if we can call it a range. The product comes only in Brilliant White. On a positive note, this shade matches with all designs and is quite versatile to use in different contexts.

Other than that, the product has a high quality; the non-yellowing formula ensures long-lasting and durable results. To increase durability, we recommend applying the product over a primer.


• High-sheen interior and exterior paint suitable for wood and metal. Its one-coat self-priming formula saves money and time.
• Easy to apply with a paintbrush or roller. No undercoat required.
• Convenient 1.25L package provides enough paint to cover up to 12.5m². Thick formula ensures an excellent coverage with just one coat.


• The paint comes in Brilliant White only. On darker surfaces, it may take more than one coat to get a good coverage.
• Thick consistency makes the product incompatible with paint sprayers. However, Johnstone’s One Coat is easy to apply with a paintbrush or roller.
• Despite the self-priming formula, the performance is not exceptional on un-primed wood.

Water-based high-sheen paint for interior wood and metal.

Dulux Quick Dry Gloss is an excellent high-sheen paint to consider for interior wood and metal painting. The water-based formula with a low content of volatile organic compounds makes this product safe to use in poorly ventilated environments.

The low odour and quick drying time are two great features of this product. Coming in a range of contemporary colours and easy to apply with an array of tools, Quick Dry has a great covering power. In most cases, two coats are sufficient to achieve good results; though substantial colour changes could require more than two coats.

A quick drying time means the product touch dries in only an hour. However, it can take up to 6 hours for the product to dry completely, depending on the environmental conditions. Avoid closing newly painted doors and windows before the paint is fully dry.

In terms of coverage, a litre of paint covers up to 16m² and the self-priming formula minimises costs and application time. Coming in 25 colours, the product is supplied in 750ml tins or 2.5L tubs. And the Quick Dry paint is even available in three attractive finishes that include Gloss, Eggshell, and Satinwood.


• Water-based formula is low in VOCs and safe to use in enclosed spaces. The product has a low odour and can be used in the bedroom and children’s rooms.
• Great coverage power and quick drying time minimise costs and work. On most surfaces, two coats are enough to achieve satisfactory results.
• Brilliant White has a long-lasting non-yellowing finish. All other colours dry to attractive, contemporary shades.
• Self-priming formula needs no undercoat on most surfaces. However, we recommend priming bare wood before painting.
• The product is easy to clean off the brushes with soapy water.


• The manufacturer recommends applying the paint only with a paintbrush but due to the quick drying formula, the application sometimes leaves unflattering brush marks on the coat.
• Adherence is poor on surfaces previously painted with oil-based paint.
• Sometimes it takes more than two coats to get full coverage. This happens above all when making substantial colour changes.

Crown quick dry gloss

Water-based high-sheen paint for metal and wood, available in 9 contemporary colours.

Crown Quick Dry Gloss is another water-based high-sheen paint for wood and metal. Ideal for interior and exterior use, Crown’s Quick Dry comes in nine colours and covers up to 16m²/litre. The gloss finish makes the product ideal for doors and window frames, radiators, skirting boards, wooden furniture, and more.

A low content of volatile organic compounds ensures safety when the product is used in enclosed spaces. The durable finish is easy to wipe clean with a cloth and the paint has a quick drying time of only an hour.

Supplied in 750ml and 2.5L tins, this product also impresses with its excellent covering power. Two coats are enough in most cases and a third coat might only be necessary when making substantial colour changes.

From all the colours, we tested Pure Brilliant White. This paint dries to a high shine finish, is durable, and it doesn’t turn yellow over time. However, the product definitely performs better on primed surfaces.

In terms of downsides, this product also dries a little too fast to allow brush marks to level themselves on the surface. Since the manufacturer doesn’t recommend applying it with a roller or sprayer, this might leave you with an unflattering result.


• Quick drying water-based paint has a low VOCs content and is safe to use in enclosed spaces. The product touch-dries in an hour.
• The non-yellowing formula is ideal for interior and exterior use. The bright, high-sheen finish lasts for a long time.
• Gloss paint is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth. This wood and metal paint is ideal for window frames, doors, radiators, and more.
• Available in a range of contemporary colours, the product is supplied in 2.5L tins. One litre covers up to 16m².


• This water-based paint has a poor adherence on un-primed surfaces or on oil-based paint.
• Brush marks are a common issue due to the quick drying time. Applying with a roller could improve the result.

dulux soft sheen

A soft sheen paint ideal for high-traffic areas.

Soft Sheen by Dulux is an exceptional, albeit expensive, paint for walls and ceilings. Ideal for high-traffic areas, the product dries to a subtle sheen finish that is easy to wipe clean. The paint comes only in Pure Brilliant White but it makes use of Dulux’s Chromalock technology that protects the pigments from daily wear and tear, and this translates into a long-lasting, non-yellowing finish.

This water-based colour is safe to use in enclosed spaces and easy to apply with a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer. The coverage and drying time are also great. A litre of paint covers up to 16m² and the product can be re-coated after only 4 hours.

Another thing we like is the smooth, creamy emulsion that doesn’t drip. This ensures a mess-free application on ceilings.

A low odour and low content of volatile organic compounds make the product ideal to use in the kitchen, children’s room, or poorly ventilated high-traffic areas like hallways and stairways.

We also like that the product is supplied in 2.5L and 5L tubs. What we like less is the excessive price. This product is expensive although the quality pays off. All in all, this soft sheen paint has a great value for money despite the colour limitation.


• This soft sheen finish water-based paint for walls and ceilings is ideal to use in high-traffic areas such as kitchens, hallways and stairways.
• Supplied in 2.5L and 5L tubs, Dulux Soft Sheen has a great coverage power and a quick drying time.
• Chromalock technology forms a protective barrier between the colour and the environment, preventing the white from yellowing.


• Like most paints, the product doesn’t have an exceptional coverage on darker colours. In some cases, it may take more than 3 coats for full coverage.
• The poor quality packaging may leak during transit.



• Gloss paint
• Primer
• Undercoat
• Masking tape
• Sandpaper
• Caulk


• Paintbrushes
• Roller
• Roller tray
• Drop cloths
• Putty knife
• Stepladder


Step 1 – Prepare the surface
A gloss finish on interior and exterior metal or woodwork is durable and attractive. There are different colours and formulas to choose from, including liquid, non-drip and one-coat products.

Regardless of what colour or formula you choose, surface preparation should always be carried out to ensure flawless results.

Whether you’re painting woodwork or metal, you should remove any flaking or peeling paint and smoothen the surface with sandpaper. If you’re switching from oil-based to water-based paint, it is essential to remove all old paint or the new product may not adhere.

Clean the surface with degreaser, paying attention to remove all grease and stains. Apply masking tape to all areas not to be painted or on the edges of the windows if you are painting the window frames.

Step 2 – Prime the surface
Self-priming one-coat gloss paints can be applied on un-primed surfaces. However, we recommend to always prime bare wood to improve adherence and coverage.

Use a specific primer and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the product to dry and cure for at least 24 hours before painting the surface.

Step 3 – Select your paintbrushes
Most gloss and high-sheen paints are too thick to apply with a roller or sprayer. Since application with a paintbrush is trickier due to bristle marks, it is essential to use the best brush for gloss paint.

25mm and 50mm brushes cover most glossing jobs, but you’ll need tools with the finest bristles. We recommend the LG Harris Platinum Brush Set, a pack of five paintbrushes with superior quality synthetic bristles and ergonomic handles.

Step 4 – Paint the surface
Once the primer is dry, proceed with the paint. Because most gloss and high-sheen paints have quick drying formulas, it is recommended to work on small sections at a time – painting from top to bottom. When a work section is complete, check for drips and fix any marks before moving to the next section.

If a second coat is needed, let the first coat dry overnight, then paint a thin coat over the first one. Let it dry completely before touching.