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 purchased for a project instead of having to store half-empty cans, but no paint—or house—project ever seems to unfold this way.
After cleaning out the last of the paint brushes and popping the covers back onto the paint cans, you might wonder just how exactly do you store paint in the garage so you can crack into it for a future project?
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t store paint in the garage, at least not paint you actually want to use again. You’re much better off stashing extra paint cans elsewhere—preferably a basement or even the back of a coat closet. The garage, while a useful storage space for seasonal items, your cars, and equipment, is really no place for cans of paint.
Why You Shouldn’t Store Paint in Your Garage
Your garage is a starkly different environment compared to your main house. For one, it’s more sensitive to extreme temperature changes.
You’ve noticed that in the summer, the garage is just as hot, and stuffier, than the outside. While proper ventilation helps this problem during the summer months, like a window fan or a cross draft between two open windows, it’s not going to be as consistent of a temperature as your main house.
The same goes for the colder months. Even with insulation, your garage still suffers under extremely low temperatures. Like most garages, yours probably isn’t heated. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to heat or cool your garage if all you’re using it for is to house vehicles and for excess storage.
So what does this considerably unstable climate inside of your garage mean for your cans of paint that are stored there? Paint is sensitive and its formula is designed for a specific environment. These temperature shifts that occur from season to season can alter the paint’s formula, even if the lid is sealed on tight.
Because paint is stored in metal cans, temperature swings can make the metal too hot, too cold, or typical damp conditions could make the cans rust. Of course, none of these things are good for the paint kept inside. Opening the cans that have clear signs of rust can lead to getting these debris in the paint itself, and that’s quick to ruin any paint job.
Paint, when exposed to extreme temperatures, will change in its consistency. If you go to try to use paint that’s been stored inside your garage, you’ll have a difficult time getting it to apply smoothly onto your walls. It becomes unusable and, in some cases, hazardous. When this happens, you’ll need to dispose of the paint in an ecologically-friendly manner.
Where to Properly Store Paint
So if your garage is out of the question, where should you store paint? The number one rule of thumb for storing paint is choosing an environment that’s consistently cool and dry. Paint doesn’t react well to the hot and cold temperature changes that a garage goes through. Paint also doesn’t react well to moisture, which quickly ruins its sensitive formula. Finding a stable cool and dry place to store your paint will keep its formula intact, ready for the next paint job.
Not of all of us are lucky enough to have a basement, the ideal place to sash extra cans of paint because of its consistently cool and dry temperature. Although it’s tempting, resist the urge to place your paint cans in the garage. Even if it’s inconvenient, store paint inside of your home so you can use it again for future projects.
How to Store Paint
There are a few tips in tricks you should know before you store the paint in your designated spot.
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 hurry up and be done, but by taking the time now to clean up, you’ll thank yourself when you go to reach for the paint can for your next paint job. This means cleaning out the sealing rim of the can so it can make a tight, reliable seal. Without a strong seal, your paint is at risk of spoiling or spilling.
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 damage to the can, and therefore the seal. This will also stop any air from getting in.
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