Does Paint Go Bad?

This is the time of year when we begin to spend more time outside, both for work and play. It is especially great to feel the sun this spring, probably because of the nasty winter we had. But, no need to dredge up old memories of snow-blowers and cars that looked like snow banks. With the harsh winter we had and the warmer weather now, the chances are good that you may be planning an exterior painting project, maybe to touch up those spots that didn’t survive the winter too well. Whether your project involves interior painting or exterior, before you try to use up the leftover paint you have stored from your last project, you might ask the question: does paint expire?

Does Paint Go Bad?

Unfortunately, house paint does not last forever. The question of whether your particular paint has expired or not depends on a number of factors, so here is some food for thought:

  1. Is your paint unopened? – A can of unopened paint generally lasts 2-5 years, depending on quality and manufacturer suggestions.
  2. Is the paint can open? – If it is, environment factors become very important. If it was stored well (a cool, dry environment with a consistent temperature) the lifespan may very well be 2-5 years still.
  3. Was the can sealed well? – Please read an older entry about how to properly store paint.
  4. Is the bottom of the can rusted? – If so, there is a good chance that rust found its way into the paint itself and might taint the quality, and even the color.
  5. Give the paint a stir – Some separation is absolutely normal, but if you stir your paint vigorously and it still does not come together, that is a sign that it may not be able to be saved.

Planning a Painting Project?

Painting projects are fun, but they can turn into disasters if not done properly. Because they are also time consuming, you might want to consider hiring professional painters-but, before you hire a painting contractor, make sure you read these tips. Search our blog for additional tips and resources; you can find our most popular and relevant posts below.