Chances are if you are reading this article, you have old paints that you put in storage ages ago, and you are wondering what the possibilities are to still be able to crack them open and use it.
Depending on the type of enamel paint, whether it is latex or oil-based, maybe chalk or milk paint, lifespans differ. The method in which it was stored will also play a major role in the paint's future usability.
This guide should help eliminate your concerns and give you a definitive answer to the age-old question, “Is this stuff still good?”.
There are a few major factors when it comes to the paint shelf life. The first is the variety of paint good we are discussing. Additives in the paint layer can either lengthen or shorten longevity, so we will want to know what we are working with right off the bat. The second major factor is how the excess paint has been stored.
That old half-full, a half-sealed can of paint that has been out in the cold garage all winter may very well have paint expired, while the paint you sealed in a jar and put on the shelf in the basement may still be as good as new. Paint needs to be stored in a climate-controlled environment.
Storing paint disposal where it is exposed to extreme temperatures like cold weather, heat, or sunlight will change the chemical makeup of the paint ingredients, in turn ruining the paint altogether. Paint also needs to be stored with little exposure to air.
Paint has a substantial amount of water which would evaporate with exposure. For this reason, a properly sealed, properly stored, unopened can of paint could potentially last up to a decade, while an open or partial paint cans can last months, or maybe even a few years. Keep these factors in mind next time you slap the lid back on a can and plan to store it indefinitely.
How To Know If Paint Is Bad
Using old paint is entirely safe. Cans sometimes have "use by" dates stamped on the lids or bottoms, but this is usually just a manufacturer guideline rather than a definitive expiration. Below is a list of how to determine if your paint is actually bad or still appropriate to use.
How To Store Paint Properly (Tips From A Pro)
Storing paint properly is the best way to ensure longevity. No matter what type of paint you are saving, the same general rules apply.
First, the storage area must be relatively cool. Room temperature is the best. Next, store paint out of the sunlight; the sunlight hitting the paint in cycles will heat and cool the paint daily, and this will cause the paint to heat up and cool down, which is not ideal in maintaining consistency.
Whether cans are opened or unopened does not change the space that they should be stored in. Even unopened cans are susceptible to heating and cooling-related degradation. If you store paint in opened cans, you should transfer the unused portion to a sealed jar. This prevents any possibility of rust from an old can be compromising the paint.
The Correct Way To Dispose Of Unusable Paint
Always wear proper personal protective gloves and glasses when painting. As for disposing of paint, different varieties require different solutions. For oil-based, you will want to research your local government’s policy on hazardous waste. Most municipalities will have a pickup or dropoff calendar where you can dispose of the spray cans and any leftover paint materials.
For acrylic or water based paints, remove the lid and place the pint somewhere that the water can safely evaporate and the paint can harden. To aid in this process, you can use cat litter to harden the paint leftover in containers. Once solidified, the water based paint cans can usually be placed with regular recyclables for pickup.
How Long Does An Interior & Exterior Paint Job Last?
The material in which you are painting (interior paint and exterior paint) and the environment in which those materials live are usually the main factors affecting paint longevity. Using old paint, as long as it has been determined that the paint is still usable, will not affect the dried lifespan.
Generally speaking, you can expect interior alkyd paints, barring extreme climates, to last between 5-10 years before chips, bubbles, or peeling occurs. Roughly the same can be said for exterior epoxy paints, 5-10 years before degradation in reasonable climates. Exposure to storms, cold, or sunlight will affect paint lifespan.
Frequent Questions About Paint Lifespan
How long does painted brick last?
Paint on a brick, when using the appropriate paint, could last up to 20 years! This will change due to climate and exposure to elements, but brick surfaces have an amazing ability to hold paint.
How long does glow in the dark paint last?
Glow in the dark paint can last up to 10 years before needing a fresh coat to glow again. This paint is illuminated by infused phosphors, allowing it to glow after being charged by UV light.
How long does paint last on concrete?
Most brands require you to re-apply paint to concrete every 5 years. Concrete that is out of the elements or treaded on less than average may hold paint for up to 10 years.
Can you add water to old paint?
In some cases, such as water-based acrylic or chalk paint, you will be able to add water to thin coats of paint, either due to it becoming thick over time or to provide more coverage.
Hopefully, this article will solve the riddle of whether or not your old paint is considered good or bad.
As long as it has been stored in a sealed container, in a climate-controlled space, and has not been contaminated by rust or air, you should be in good shape!
Remember that the preserve paint can last up to a decade or longer when stored properly.