How To Store Paint Correctly
At the end of a painting job, you will quite often find that you have paint left in the tin. It is very rare that you would have exactly the amount of paint you need for the job and no more. Leftover paint should not be discarded, as it is often useful for future jobs and touch–ups. Though it is important to store the paint correctly to ensure that it remains in useable condition.
A lot of people tend to store excess paint in a garage, shed or attic. However this is often not the best course of action, as these areas are prone to very warm temperatures in summer and very cold temperatures in winter. They can also be very damp spaces. These fluctuating extreme conditions are not ideal for paint storage.
Store Paint Indoors
Most paints need to be stored in a dry location, where the temperature is between 5°C and 35°C. (Though always check the data sheet for the paint you have, to check for specific storage conditions). Paint containers need to be stored securely to prevent falls and they should also be kept out of direct sunlight. Metal tins should also be kept away from moisture to prevent rust.
These specific paint storage conditions mean that garages, sheds and attics are often not the best places for storing paint containers. These spaces get very warm in summer and very cold – even freezing – in winter. They can also be leaky, humid spaces, which could lead to metal tins rusting.
The best places to store paints indoors are cupboards, under stairs, in a utility room or in a specialist paint storage cabinet. In these spaces, paint can be kept at a consistent temperature, out of direct sunlight, and away from moisture and potential damage.
Lock Paints Away
Many paints, especially industrial paints, are classed as hazardous. It is important to keep these products away from children and pets. You should also ensure paints are kept away from food products to prevent contamination.
Paints should be stored in secure locations, ideally with a lock, or out of the reach of children and pets. For professionals, paint storage cabinets offer a safe and secure way of locking paint cans away to prevent damage, theft or misuse.
Decanting & Labelling
During manufacturing, some paint tins are topped up with a nitrogen gas filled void, in the space between the paint and the lid. This inert gas helps to prevent expansion and contraction of atmospheric air in the gap between the lid and paint. Nitrogen also preserves paint for longer depending on its formulation.
Once a paint has been opened and used, this gas escapes and is no longer present when you close the lid back over. Some paints will skin over if the air gap between the paint and the lid is significant. The solution to this problem is to decant the leftover paint into a smaller container, to prevent his large air gap. If you are decanting paints or coatings into smaller containers, remember to label the container correctly, with the product name, date, colour code and manufacturer.
You can also label the container with where the paint has been used, to make it easier to find the correct paint when you need to touch areas up.
Check Shelf Life
Every paint has a shelf life – the amount of time it can be kept in storage before it goes off and can no longer be used. Depending on the paint, this can be anything from 6 months to 2 years or more. It is important to check the product data sheet for your paint, to ensure that the shelf life for your stored paint has not elapsed. If it has, the paint should not be used as it will likely leave a poor quality finish.
Please note, if you have an epoxy coating, the product cannot be stored after being activated. These products have a short pot life. After that time, the product is unusable as it is cured. Higher ambient temperatures when mixing the components can also make the pot life shorter.