Is that paint still good to use?

Extra paint cans

Is that paint still good to use?

Here’s a typical scenario: A client decides it’s time to touch up their walls due to wear and tear. They dig out some leftover paint in hopes of reusing it and suddenly stop!  They’re not sure it’s ok to use that paint. Here are some tips to consider before you try and use that paint.
Where was the paint stored since the last time you used it? It hopefully wasn’t kept somewhere with significant fluctuations of temperatures like an attic or garage that isn’t climatized.  The worst place to store paint is somewhere it might freeze. The second worst place is extreme heat such as a non-climatized or non-insulated attic. The best place to store pain is somewhere climatized without severe swings in temperatures.
If you want to keep some leftover paint for small touch-ups in the future, transfer it to a glass mason jar, label it, and store where it will not be subjected to weather fluctuations. Typically, that’s inside your home where it’s climatized.
Also you can consider leaving it in your non-climatized garage by storing it inside of a large cooler during winter and summer months.
Signs of damage:
If the paint has gone bad, it will look curdled like cottage cheese or overly thick like a pudding. If you dig out an old can of paint and you have either of these, it’s best not to use the paint and dispose of it properly.
Aside from consistency or texture, another way to know if the paint’s gone bad is just to smell it! If it smells unpleasant or you see mold, you will need to discard it (correctly). And, yes, mold can grow inside a paint can and be a serious health hazard if you put it up on your walls. However, if the paint has an ammonia smell, it’s still good. Give it a good stir and try it. Don’t forget to mix well and strain it before using.
How long?
Check the paint cans to identify when it was first mixed for you. We suggest also adding at least one more year to that date since it’s likely that there was a lag time between manufacturing the paint to when it arrived and ultimately sold. You’ll find that the higher the quality of the product, the longer it lasts and can be reused. Cheaper paints don’t last anywhere near as long as their more high-brow competitors.
Typically, you might get  5-10 years from latex paints and 10+ for oil paints. Anything more than that and you’ll likely need to buy new paint.
If you need to dispose of old paint, contact your county for further details.
If you need some help with your paint project, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you.
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