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Old 09-02-2012, 09:44 AM   #1
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how long does paint last in a can?


We have a few cans of paint that the previous owner left us. All the paints are General Paint and they are interior. The paint would be approximately 5 years old. The cans are sealed well and after stirring the paint, it appears to be ok but I have no clue if it is. Would this paint still be ok to use or does paint have an "expiry date" so to speak?

Any advice would be appreciated.

thanks


Last edited by maljeff; 09-02-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:44 AM   #2
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how long does paint last in a can?


Were they stored where it could freeze?

Paint a sample in an inconspicuous location to see how it works, scrubs and looks. You will not know about the durability for years.

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Old 09-02-2012, 10:54 AM   #3
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how long does paint last in a can?


We've had this discussion several times on here and most everyone will tell you the paint is no good. I go against the grain and say it should be fine. Open up the cans and make sure there is no rust etc. in/on the can. If the can is pretty clean, stir the paint to test its' consistency. If it stirs up well, you SHOULD be ok. I like to strain the paint into a clean can/bucket and then add some floetrol paint conditioner just to bring it back to life. I have done this many times and have only had a few failures where the paint just didn't come back to life. Stir the floetrol into the paint really well. I know I will take some heat for saying it's ok to do this, but, IMO you are making use of paint that is useable and not sending another bunch of old paint to a landfill.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:23 PM   #4
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how long does paint last in a can?


I am certainly not opposed to giving it a try but its viability is going to depend on how it was stored. Was it subjected to temperature or humidity extremes? How much airspace was left in the can? Did the prior users put a piece of saran wrap or thin layer of water over the surface (if water based)? As mentioned, has the can rusted into the paint substantially? Did the prior users return unused paint from say the roller pan to the original can of paint transferring anything the roller picked up with it?

Definitely plan on straining the paint into a clean can. And, as suggested, try a bit to see that it dries and still cures to the sheen it is supposed to have.

And remember, if it has even a moderate amount of color? The wall will have faded over the course of five years and the sheen may have dulled. If it is oil, the paint on the wall will have chalked. You will need enough to do entire walls. Touching up, even feathering in, will show like a sore thumb.

If you have any doubts whether it is any good or not? Do not use it. You will create all kinds of problems if you do and it fails.
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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how long does paint last in a can?


Paint can be ok, or not at that age. The guys have given things to look for- I say give it the smell test.
When paint goes bad it smells pretty funky and should not be used.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:57 AM   #6
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how long does paint last in a can?


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Originally Posted by Brushjockey View Post
Paint can be ok, or not at that age. The guys have given things to look for- I say give it the smell test.
When paint goes bad it smells pretty funky and should not be used.

Off topic, but you ever open a 5 of paste that was sitting around a hot warehouse for god knows how long?
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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how long does paint last in a can?


It's been said, but I'll repeat it, stir, and stir and stir and stir, then stir some more. The solids can really settle. it seems like you're using nice thick paint, then you see a layer of pigment and binders in bottom of can. Pour it back and forth between containers, while chuckling evilly like a mad scientist. A stir paddle on your drill would be nice. I've even chucked in a bent coat hanger in a pinch.
I love the smell of spoiled paint in the morning. Sometimes I've seen mold growing in there. I've put paint in zip lock bags, squeezed all the air out, (and some of the paint too, oops, shoulda done that over some news papers or in the sink), put the bag ina sealed can or jar. Sometimes it works sometime not. I got dribs and drabs of paint in bany food jars I've had for years, aint been no babies livin here for over 30 years, some of it is still usable, I got other paint didn't last more than a few months.
So your results may vary.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:58 PM   #8
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how long does paint last in a can?


Spoiled paint (latex) will have a sulfur smell to it, like rotten eggs. It is obvious, and should not be reapplied. The general manufacturer label directions specify a minimum of 1 year unopened, but paint which is stored in a climate controlled environment and sealed well can last for several years. As noted here, the climate for storage is very important; latex paints have virtually no protection for freeze/thaw, due to EPA regulations regarding solvent content, which protected these products in the past. I would recommend stirring, and intermixing; if there is no smell or lumps, it is OK to use.
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:50 PM   #9
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how long does paint last in a can?


I've had good luck with old paint. Get an empty (clean) paint can, use a strainer to make sure that no little flakes make it into the new can, and mix well. I got the guy at the local paint store to put it into their shaker/mixer and it came out great. No need to toss paint needlessly into the landfill.

The color of the old paint matched spot on with the original application paint, though the original paint was darker due to having gotten dirty and was in urgent need of a new paint job!
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:06 PM   #10
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how long does paint last in a can?


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Originally Posted by MikeDoesIt View Post
I've had good luck with old paint. Get an empty (clean) paint can, use a strainer to make sure that no little flakes make it into the new can, and mix well. I got the guy at the local paint store to put it into their shaker/mixer and it came out great. No need to toss paint needlessly into the landfill.

The color of the old paint matched spot on with the original application paint, though the original paint was darker due to having gotten dirty and was in urgent need of a new paint job!

So much depends on how old, how it was stored, what type of paint, etc.
You most likely just got lucky

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