Can Paint Be Stored in an Unheated Area?


Storing paint properly can extend the life of the paint. This will allow you to always have paint on hand for touch-ups or the occasional repainting job. In most homes, storage space is at a premium and paint cans and other painting supplies may find their way into storage sheds or garages, which tend to be unheated. Although these spaces tend to be convenient, they may not always be ideal, especially if you reside in an area that has extreme weather conditions.

Storing Paint in an Unheated Area

  • Paints should not be stored in areas that are subject to extreme weather conditions. Storing paint in a freezing outdoor shed will cause the paint to freeze. This makes the paint unusable. Conversely, storing paint in hot or warm areas such as a garage or near a furnace will alter the quality of the paint. A moderate temperate environment provides the optimum storage choice.

Proper Storage

  • For long-lasting paint, store paint cans in a cool dry area of the home, away from pets and children. The original label should be left on the can in order to identify it later. Writing the color, brand and date opened, on the can will also help to identify it later. Covering the paint can with plastic wrap, prior to placing the lid on top, will create an additional seal once the lid is closed. Using a mallet to close the can instead of a hammer helps to create a good seal.

Consequences of Improper Storage

  • Not sealing the paint can properly may result in air seeping into the can, making the paint unusable. Another consequence of not closing the paint can securely is the formation of a "paint skin" on the inside of the paint can. Some websites recommend storing the paint upside down to prevent air from seeping into the top of the can. Doing this can result in mixed results, such as the lid becoming stuck making it hard to open. Another consequence is the formation of rust in cans not sealed properly.


  • If you have large amounts of leftover paint consider donating it to a non-profit organization or local charity such as Habitat for Humanity. If the paint is old or unusable then there are two ways to dispose of it. Drop off oil based paint at your local facility for hazardous wastes. Some areas have special collection days for hazardous products. If you live in such an area, your oil based paints can be disposed of on one of these days. Water based paints are easier to dispose of. Simply remove the lid from the can allowing the paint to dry out. Once all the paint is dry it is safe to put into the regular thrash for pickup.

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