How Long Does Paint Last? 

Posted on: October 25th, 2021

How Long Does Paint Last?

Most homeowners tend to have several cans of leftover paint in their garage. But just how long is paint good for? Throwing away leftover paint after finishing a project isn’t wise in case you need to do touch-ups in the future. And it’s always better to have more paint than you need. So it’s a good idea to know how long paint lasts. There’s no sense in all those number 10 paint cans taking up room on your shelves if it’s all dried up when you go to use it. So let’s go over how to properly maintain and store paint and how to know if it’s still usable. 

How Long is Paint Good For? 

There are a few factors that will determine how long your paint is good for. It depends on whether or not you stored it properly and what type of paint it is. Paint that has never been opened, latex or oil, will typically last about three years. If you store a can of opened paint in the correct way, it most likely will last a couple of years. 

How Do You Store Paint? 

No matter what kind of paint you are using, you can save and store the leftovers. The most important thing to remember is to keep it from exposure to air. Here are some simple yet effective steps to keep in mind when storing extra paint: 

  1. Wipe away all excess paint from the edge of the lid and top of the can’s rim. This ensures a tighter seal to keep out air. 
  2. Replace the lid. 
  3. Place a piece of wood or another flat surface on top of the lid before hammering it back on. This allows the lid to go on evenly, creating a more efficient seal.
  1. Use a sharpie to mark on the can what area or room you used the paint for and the date and year you used it. You’ll be really glad you didn’t skip this step after several years have passed. 
  2. Store leftover paint in an area where the temperature never falls below 50 degrees or goes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For most people, this rules out the garage or attic as prime conditions for storage. Store away from furnaces or other heat-generating appliances.

Does Paint Expire?

Yes, paint does expire but since your can doesn’t come with an expiration date stamped on it, how do you know when it’s gone bad? The life of your paint is largely determined by what type of paint it is. Latex and oil-based paints are what most homeowners use. 

  • Latex Paints –This type of paint dries faster than oil-based paints, but it’s less durable and less shelf-stable. Latex paints will last up to 2-10 years. 
  • Oil-Based Paint- Oil-based paints will last between 3-11 years if stored properly. While oil-based paints take longer to dry, both while using it and in storage, it’s a more durable paint option. 

How to Tell if Your Paint is Bad

For the most part, it’s pretty straightforward when it comes to knowing your paint is bad. If it’s dried out, chunky, or smells odd or even fishy, don’t try using it. Also, if it separates after being stirred or has a strange consistency, it’s time to dispose of it. 

How Long Does Paint Last in a Bucket? 

It isn’t a good idea to store your leftover paint in a 5-gallon bucket. If you end up with less than a gallon after painting the exterior of your home or another large project, consolidate what you have. Transfer your remaining paint into a smaller container that will seal tightly. Just be sure to transfer the paint code, name, and date used so you will have that important info down the road. 

How Long Does House Paint Last? 

Despite the fact that exterior house paint contains a higher number of VOCs than interior paint, that doesn’t make it have a longer shelf life. Exterior paint follows the same rules and guidelines as interior paint when it comes to storage and longevity. 

Conclusion on How Long Paint Lasts 

When you need answers to painting questions, turn to PaintRite Pros. We are the top-rated painters in the Elk Grove-Sacramento area including Davis and Stockton. Our services include kitchen cabinets, interior, and exterior house painting, garage floor epoxy, commercial painting, and more. We strive to live up to the claim of providing you with only the highest professional services. Our experience and dedication are unmatched. We don’t just want you to be satisfied with our work, we work to ensure we are also proud of the work we have done. Give us a call to get a free estimate today!


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