You might be wondering if you can still use the paint you have lying around, oftentimes yes you can. But, before you start reusing that stored paint to your beloved house, there are several factors to consider when figuring out how long can paint last.

Here are some tips to save you some time and dime when you plan on using or reusing stored paint.

Factors Affecting Paint Longevity

People save and stock paint and reuse them when needed, to save some bucks and to fully conserve resources.

Below are some of the most important factors that determine how long will paint last and if it can still be used.

Opened Paint 

If the paint has been opened and used there is still a good chance that it can be used as long as it is sealed and stored properly – generally opened paint will last around up to 2 years.

Exposure to air and contaminants also plays a significant role in the longevity of the paint.

When reusing stored paint, Check for thickened skin on the top of the paint. Remove the thickened layer.

Stir the paint and test it on a newspaper or a piece of cardboard.

When you see a lump, this is a sign that the paint is spoiled and not safe to use. When this happens, dispose of it in a proper place.

Unopened/Sealed Paint

To give you an idea of how long does paint last when the can is unopened, an unused latex and water-based acrylic paint can possibly last up to 10 years. While an alkyd and oil-based paint can possibly last up to 15 years.

Before using an unopened paint, make sure to stir up until it is well-blended. There is a possibility that the chemical content is separated from one another due to a long time of being stored.

Once the paint is stirred well, you may test it on a piece of cardboard or newspaper. When you see a lump, the paint should be discarded.

The possible reason why there are lumps even if the lid is sealed tight is that the paint might be stored in places with extreme or varying temperatures. This is why proper storage is important.

Exposure To Elements and Storage

Which is the safest and best place to store paint? To prolong the life of paint, it should be stored in a room with a stable temperature.

Paints should be stored in a room with a temperature that ranges between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve their quality. Having a temperature-controlled room with shelves is a good way to store paints.

Keeping them in your garage will definitely ruin the quality of the paint. Due to extreme heat or freezing temperature, it is not an ideal place to store paints.

Also, do not leave paint cans on the floor for they will rust. Once the paint cans rusted, you can’t use them for painting.

Paint Quality 

Since paints typically expire 5 to 10 years depending on their type, you should also consider their quality.

The volume of solids and titanium dioxide are the two main indicators of quality paint. An example of top-quality latex paint contains between 35-50% solids while top-quality white latex paint contains 20-25% of titanium dioxide.

Buying top-quality paint will save you money. It is more ideal than buying low-quality paint that will wear off after quite some time.

how long can you keep house paint

Paint Shelf Life

The shelf life of paints varies on their certain type. Here are some of the most important and basic information that you need to know about paint types and their shelf life.

  • Latex Paint – A water-based paint made from resin. Its shelf life is between 2 to 10 years depending on the storage and weather.
  • Acrylic Paint – A chemical-based paint made from acrylic polymer solution and resin. It can last more than 10 years if the lid or tube is sealed properly.
  • Alkyd Oil Paint – An oil-based paint synthetically manufactured. It can last up to 15 years if properly stored.
  • Linseed Oil Paint – An oil-based paint made from natural oils and solvent-free. It can last up to 20 years.

Another means to determine paint shelf life is to check the paint can label for expiry date and/or check online.

Signs Of Expired Paint

There are different signs to know if the paint is still unusable even if you stirred it well. If you mark each sign with a check, you should dispose of the paint right away:

  • Solids have hardened on the bottom of the can;
  • Strong foul odor;
  • Lumpy or grainy-like texture.
  • Check the label – check paint shelf life.

Paint Disposal

Expired and unusable paint should be disposed of properly. Here are some ways you can do it safely:

  1. Combine unusable paint in a disposable container.
  2. Let it dry or solidify, you can use cat litter or other binding agents to expedite the process.
  3. Dispose properly as solid waste.
  4. Know your local municipal policy regarding expired paint and toxic waste collection.
  5. Do not burn.

residential exterior

Hire A Professional Painting Contractor

If you plan to repaint your house using quality paint, hiring an experienced painting contractor is a wise decision. This task requires professional expertise.

Aside from timely completion, good finishing and long-lasting results are assured. Professional painters can save you from trouble and answer all of your concerns.

If you are looking for a professional contractor that is cost-effective and value-focused, El Gato Painting is the painting company for you. Get a free qoute today!

El Gato Painting specializes in residential and commercial painting services located in the Bay Area.