You’re cleaning out the garage or shed and you come across 2 or 3 old cans of house paint. You’re wondering what to do with it? Is it too old to use? Should you throw it out?
In this article we’ll take a look at the shelf life of paint and some signs you can see as to whether or not you should throw it out.
How Long Does House Paint Last?
There isn’t a one size fits all answer to this question. There are several factors that can determine how long a can of paint can last. Whether or not you opened the can, what kind of paint it is and where it was stored can have an affect on the life of the paint.
If you didn’t open the paint at all, there is a really good chance it’s still usable. Unopened latex and water-based acrylic paint can last up to 10 years without going bad. If it’s an alkyd or oil-based paint, it can last up to 15 years.
However, if you stored the paint can somewhere it could freeze or be exposed to extreme heat, even if you didn’t open it, it can be ruined.
Testing Used House Paint
If the paint can was opened from previous paint projects, there are a few ways you can test the paint to see if it’s still usable.
Open the paint and mix it with a paint stirrer. You can use a brush and paint a bit onto a piece of cardboard or old wood. If there aren’t any lumps and the paint goes on smooth you’re good to go. If the paint goes on grainy or lumpy and you can’t get rid of the lumps by stirring, you might need to toss it.
If you see a layer of skin over the top of the paint, just remove it. The skin comes from the paint having been exposed to air. Just use a paint stick to skim it off the top. As long as the paint stirs smoothly afterwards it should be ok to use.
If you see large lumps in the paint, it may still be good to use. It may be that some of the skin on the top was stirred in previously. You can run the paint through a strainer to remove the large lumps. If the paint stirs up smoothly after that, the paint is good to use.
You can also tell if the paint is good or bad by the smell. If it smells rancid you’ll need to toss it out. Bacteria can get into the paint and cause it to go bad. Even if there aren’t any lumps or if it isn’t grainy, it can still be bad and you’ll notice by the smell.
Storing or Disposing of the Paint
In the unfortunate event that you need to throw out your paint, you’ll want to do it properly. If it’s all dried up, you’re free to throw it in the trash. If it’s not dried up you’ll need to find a disposal center to get rid of it.
We wrote an article on how to properly store and dispose of paint while back. There are some great tips in that article that can help you out. Recycling paint that is still usable is a wonderful option and we highly recommend it.
Call Greenwood Paint today for an estimate on your next painting project. We do interiors, exteriors, fences, and decks. Call us today at 541-699-2940.