Can I Store Leftover Paint in the Garage? - Matt the Painter

Can I Store Leftover Paint in the Garage?

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Oftentimes, people throw their leftover paint in the garage, and they assume it will be fine when they need to use it again. It can be a surprise when they open the paint, and it has gone bad. If you store paint properly, it is usable for around five years, but it is important to make sure that you do it the right way.

Can Paint Be Stored in a Garage?

Whether or not you can store paint in your garage will depend on a number of factors. If your garage is not climate controlled, the paint will likely go bad. Paint is made with a mixture of different elements, including pigments, binders, and solvents, and these solvents separate when it is stored. The pigments and binders are solids, and the solvent is the liquid that mixes with them to make the liquid paint that goes onto surfaces. During storage, anything that causes these elements to degrade will reduce the effectiveness of your paint.

How Should Paint Be Stored?

When paint has less contact with air, it keeps better. If you have used most of a can of paint, you might consider repackaging it for later use. You can use glass jars, which allow you to see the color. You can also leave it in the paint can, but you need to make sure that you can still seal the top. Clean all of the paint off the rim so that it will seal. When you put the top on, use a rubber mallet instead of a hammer so that you don’t dent the top. 

You should label your paint so that you know where you used it. Include the color and the room. This will make it easy when you want to touch up a section later on.

The paint should be stored in a place that is cool and dry. It should be on shelves so that the bottom doesn’t come into contact with any water. Water will cause the metal to rust, which can ruin the paint. The reason that a garage without climate control doesn’t work is that temperature fluctuations will damage the paint. 

If the paint freezes, the solids and liquid will permanently separate and become unusable. If it is too hot, the quality of the pigments and binders will deteriorate. As this happens, the paint loses its ability to adhere to surfaces. Ideally, you should store the paint in a utility closet or a laundry room that has climate control.

Reusing the Paint

When you open the paint to use it later, you shouldn’t shake it. First, check for paint skin on the top. You should remove it because this skin layer of paint will not mix; it will add texture to your paint. If it falls in, you will need to strain the paint before you use it. You should stir the paint every time you use it to mix the different elements back together. If you are unable to mix the paint, then it has become unstable, and you should not use it.

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