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How long before latex paint goes bad in storage?

The years have past and your walls are starting to show signs of wear. You remember that you still had some paint left from the last time you painted your space. You like the color and wonder if the paint is still good to use again.

Let's ask ourselves a few questions while we go figure out where we put that darn can of paint.

WHERE WAS IT STORED? - Always store paint in a temperature regulated area. I always tell people to put it in a place where it will not be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Freeze and thaw cycles is probably the number one killer of paint followed by cooking the paint in the attic. Signs of paint gone bad caused by this are chunky paint or a cottage cheese like appearance.

Places that storage have been successful: Closets, pantries, insulated garages.

Hot Tip #1 🔥- If you only want to keep paint for touch-up, pour the paint into a mason jar, label it and store away in a pantry or under a sink.

Store your paint in a cooler.

Hot Tip #2 🔥- Having trouble finding a place to put your paint? Don't have an insulated garage? If you have a big enough cooler that you use for parties or fishing, store your paint inside of the cooler for the winter!

HOW DOES IT SMELL? - Upon opening the lid, if you are greeted with an unpleasant smell of any kind, please discard. Mold can actually grow inside of a paint can and will wreak havoc on your lungs if applied to your walls. DO NOT risk the health of you or your family over $50 for a new gallon of paint.

If the smell is of chemicals like ammonia then it may still be good. Stir it up, strain it, and if it looks and smells normal than go for it.

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN? - If you purchase paint that has been tinted than a label will most likely accompany the paint.

On this label you will find the date that the tint was added and sold to the buyer.

Add a year to this date for good measures since we are not sure how long it has been since it was originally created at the plant, plus sitting on the shelves in stores.

My experience has been that the higher quality paints have longer shelf lives than lower quality paints. Expect to get anywhere from 5-10 years from latex paints and even more from oil paints.

I used the paint in this photo, after 8 1/2 years, and I followed the guidelines I gave you in this article. If you are still unsure about whether you should use a paint that you have in storage, give me a call or contact me through my website.

If you find that your paint is no longer good, hopefully my blog post on how to dispose of it will help.

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