How Do I Properly Store Paint in My Garage?
It would be nice to live in a world where you could use the exact amount of paint you purchase for a project. Unfortunately, no paint—or house project ever seems to unfold this way. Many of us are left with a bunch of half-empty paint cans!
After cleaning the last of the brushes and popping the covers back onto the cans, you might be wondering how to store your excess paint for future projects?
You might be surprised to learn that you should not store paint in the garage, at least not paint that you actually want to use again. You’re better off storing the cans elsewhere—preferably a basement or even in the back of a closet. The garage, while a useful storage space for seasonal items, is really no place for cans of paint.
Why You Shouldn’t Store Paint in Your Garage
The environment in your garage is quite different from that of your home. For one, it’s more sensitive to extreme temperature changes.
You’ve probably noticed that in the summer, the garage is just as hot and stuffy as the air outside. While you can mitigate some of this problem in warmer months by using fans, your garage’s temperature will still not be as consistent as the temperature of your main house.
The same holds for colder months. Even with insulation, your garage still suffers under extremely low temperatures. Most garages are not heated, either. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to heat or cool your garage if you’re solely using it to house vehicles and store your sporting goods.
So, what does the unstable climate in your garage mean for the cans of paint which are stored there? Paint is sensitive and its formula is designed for a specific environment. The temperature shifts that occur from season to season can alter the paint’s formula, even when the lid is sealed tightly.
Because paint is often stored in metal cans, temperature swings also impact the metal. It will often become too hot or cold, and damp conditions can even make the cans rust. None of these conditions are good for the paint itself.
When exposed to extreme temperatures, paint changes in consistency. Thus, attempting to use paint that’s been stored inside your garage will result in several challenges. You’ll have a difficult time getting it to apply smoothly onto your walls. It may become unusable and, in some cases, even hazardous. If this happens, you’ll need to dispose of the paint in an ecologically friendly manner.
Where to Properly Store Paint
So, where should you store paint if your garage is out of the question? The number one rule of thumb for storing paint is to choose an environment that is consistently cool and dry. Paint doesn’t react well to the hot and cold temperature swings that a garage goes through. It doesn’t react well to moisture either, which quickly ruins its sensitive formula. Finding a stable, cool, and dry place to store your paint will keep its formula intact and ready for the next paint job.
Your basement is an ideal place to stash extra cans of paint due to its consistently cool and dry conditions. Although it’s tempting, resist the urge to place your paint cans in the garage. Even if it is inconvenient, store paint inside your home so you can use it again for future projects.
How to Store Paint
There are a few tips and tricks you should know prior to storing the paint in your designated place.
For one, take time to properly clean up your paint can. Yes, it’s tedious and time consuming, especially after you’ve finished painting and just want to be done, but by taking the time to clean up, you’ll thank yourself the next time you reach for the paint can and tackle another job. This means cleaning out the rim of the can, so you have a tight, reliable seal. Without a strong seal, your paint will be at risk of spoiling or spilling.
You can use plastic wrap as a gasket between the can and the lid to help make an airtight seal. The better your paint can is sealed, the less likely the paint formula will be compromised. To ensure the seal of the paint can, store the paint cans upside down. Gravity allows for the paint itself to make a perfect seal against the lid.
Use a rubber mallet to secure the paint lid into place—not a hammer. A hammer will cause dents and damage to the can, and therefore the seal. This will also prevent any air from getting in.
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