What Temperature Should Paint Be Stored At

As summer rolls in, it’s the perfect time to tackle those home renovation projects you’ve been planning, and painting is often at the top of that list. Whether you’re refreshing your living room, setting up a nursery, or preparing your home for sale, you might end up with leftover paint. Properly storing this paint is crucial for maintaining its quality and ensuring you can use it again in the future!

Ideal Temperature for Storing Paint

To keep paint in good condition, it should be stored at temperatures ranging from 15 to 27 degrees Celsius. The best places for storage are cool, dry areas like hallways or closets. These spots should not experience big temperature changes, as this can damage the paint.

Problems with Storing Paint in Extreme Temperatures

Cold Areas: If paint gets too cold, such as in a garage during winter, it can thicken and become unusable. Cold temperatures make the paint harden and clump together.

Hot Areas:
On the other hand, heat can negatively affect the paint’s quality. Avoid storing paint in places like sunny spots, near heating systems, or in attics that get very hot during the summer. High temperatures can change the paint’s texture, color, and smoothness.

Fluctuating Temperatures: Storing paint in areas where the temperature shifts drastically, such as an outdoor shed that gets very hot during the day and cold at night, can compromise the paint’s integrity. These changes can cause the paint to separate or its chemicals to break down, reducing its effectiveness and consistency when applied.

Humid Areas: High humidity can introduce moisture into your paint cans, leading to issues like rusting of the can and dilution or spoilage of the paint itself. It’s crucial to store paint in a dry environment to prevent these problems.

Direct Sunlight: Paint cans exposed to direct sunlight not only suffer from heat but also from UV damage. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can degrade the paint quality faster, affecting its color and application properties.

Improperly Sealed Containers: If paint is not stored in tightly sealed containers, air can get inside and start the drying process even while the paint is stored. This can lead to a skin forming on top of the paint or complete drying out, making it unusable.

How Long Does Paint Last?

The lifespan of paint depends on the type of paint, whether the can has been opened, and how it’s stored. Unopened paint can last 2 to 5 years, while opened paint is best used within 2 years.

The longevity varies with paint type; water-based paints have a shorter shelf life than oil-based paints once opened due to differences in solvent evaporation rates.

Proper storage is crucial for preserving paint. Store it in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight, and make sure the container is tightly sealed after each use. For best practices, consult the manufacturer’s storage guidelines listed on the label.

How to Tell If Paint Is Bad?

  • Smell: If the paint smells bad when you open it, it’s likely spoiled.
  • Color Changes: If the paint color looks different than it should.
  • Lumps: If there are lumps in the paint, it’s best to throw it away.
  • Consistency: If the paint is too thick or too runny compared to its normal state, it may not apply well or evenly.
  • Separation: Extensive separation of ingredients that doesn’t resolve with thorough mixing is another sign that the paint is no longer good to use.
  • Dried Film on Top: If you find a hard, dried layer on top of the paint when you open the can, it means air has caused the paint to dry.
Test the paint on a small area before starting a big project to make sure it’s still good to use.

How To Store Paint Properly

Storing paint correctly is essential to preserve its quality and extend its shelf life. Here are key steps to ensure your paint remains in optimal condition:
  1. Choose the Right Environment: Store paint in a cool, dry place where the temperature is consistently between 15 to 27 degrees Celsius (59 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Avoid areas like basements or garages where temperature fluctuations are common.
  2. Keep It Sealed: Ensure the paint can is closed tightly after use. Use plastic wrap under the lid to create an airtight seal that prevents air from drying out the paint.
  3. Store Cans Upside Down: Consider storing paint cans upside down to create an additional seal against air entry. This helps prevent the paint from skinning over.
  4. Keep Away from Extreme Conditions: Avoid storing paint near heat sources, in direct sunlight, or in extremely cold areas. These conditions can cause the paint to separate, freeze, or degrade.
  5. Label Your Paints: Mark each can with the date of purchase and the room or project it was used for. This helps keep track of how old the paint is and its intended use for future touch-ups or projects.

By following these straightforward storage guidelines, you can ensure that your paint stays fresh and ready for use whenever you need it, avoiding waste and additional costs on new paint.

How My Storage Can Help You

If you lack the perfect spot at home for storing your paint safely, consider utilizing a climate-controlled storage unit. At My Storage, we maintain a stable temperature in our units, ensuring that your paint remains protected from detrimental temperature fluctuations. 


Explore our various locations throughout Toronto and the GTA to find a storage solution that suits your requirements. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to us. Remember, proper storage is crucial for keeping your paint in optimal condition for your future painting endeavors!

FAQs About Paint Storage Temperature

It is not advisable to store paint in garages or basements where temperatures can fluctuate wildly and often drop below or rise above the recommended storage temperatures. Such environments can cause the paint to degrade faster.

Paint should be stored in a cool, dry, and stable environment away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Ensure that the paint cans are tightly sealed to prevent air from entering and causing the paint to dry or form a skin.

If you suspect your paint has been stored in conditions outside the recommended temperature range, carefully inspect it before use. Check for signs of spoilage such as lumps, skin formation, or a foul smell. It might still be usable after thorough mixing, but if the quality is compromised, it’s safer to dispose of it and purchase new paint.

Yes, extreme and frequent temperature changes can affect the chemical stability of the paint, potentially leading to color changes. This is particularly noticeable with vibrant or deep colors, which can become dull or inconsistent if the paint is not stored properly.

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