So, you’ve decided that you want to paint over an accent wall in your kitchen to make it the same color as the other walls. Or maybe you want to paint the hallway to match the color in the living room. You saved the paint you used before, but it’s been there a while. How do you know if you or a painter Salem, OR can safely use it?
How to Determine if Paint is Still Usable
Storage – The most significant factor in determining if paint is still usable is where it has been stored. Keeping it an area of your home with large fluctuations of temperatures is the worst place it can be. Freezing temperatures or extreme heat can both be detrimental to paint. Ideally, transferring leftover paint to a glass mason jar, labeling it, and storing it in a climatized area of your home is the best way to ensure it will be usable in the future. If you choose to keep it in an area that is non-climatized, put the jar inside of a large cooler.
Gone bad – Good paint will smell of ammonia and will mix easily when you stir it. As long as you strain it, it should be fine to use. However, if it has gone bad, you will want to be sure and dispose of it properly. A couple of ways to tell if paint has gone bad are:
- If it looks curdled like cottage cheese or feels overly thick when you are trying to stir it, it is likely unusable.
- If you see mold growing or if it smells unpleasant, you will need to discard it.
Dates – Look at the paint can to find the date it first mixed for you. Add a year to that date to account for the lag time between manufacturing the paint and when it was sold. A good rule of thumb is 5-10 years for latex paints and 10 for oil paints. Anything older should be disposed. Quality is also a factor in the aging of paint. Cheaper paints will not last nearly as long as their superior competitors.
Be sure to contact your county for details about how to properly dispose of old paint.
It is very likely that when you have finished your project, you will have leftover paint. Here are some ideas for what to do with your leftover paint.
Store It – Keeping leftover paint for touch-ups in the future makes perfect sense. But, paint won’t last forever so be sure when you store it that the lid is sealed so it doesn’t dry out and put it in a cool, dry area where it will not freeze. Label the can with the color, the area of your home where it was used, and the date when it was purchased.
Donate It – If you end up with more leftover paint than you know what to do with, consider donating it to a charity such as Habitat For Humanity or your local church or school.
Recycle It – The American Coatings Association (ACA) created PaintCare Inc. which is a non-profit organization formed to represent paint manufacturers’ stewardship programs in states which have paint stewardship laws. You can go to their website https://www.paintcare.org/ and enter a zip code or city to locate a site where paint can be dropped-off, sorted, and recycled.
Throw It – If you need to dispose of your leftover latex paint, you’ll need to dry it out first. Combine an equal amount of cat litter into the paint and leave the lid off to allow it to dry. Once it has dried, simply throw it away. You can find waste paint hardeners at your local hardware stores as well.
Oil and solvent based paints are considered hazardous waste. If recycling is not an option, contact your local refuse company or search Earth911.com.
Don’t Buy Too Much – The best way to avoid having to deal with an excess amount of leftover paint is to not purchase too much of it. Remember, the number of doors and windows that can be excluded from your paintable surface can affect your paint needs. Other factors include the texture and porosity of the area you are painting, major color changes, and the fact that your first coat may not cover as well as subsequent coats. Many paint companies offer online paint calculators to help homeowners estimate their product needs.
Alternative Ideas for Leftover Paint
If you do end up with more leftover paint than you expected, or you have paint from another project that is still good, you may consider using it for something other than touch-ups. Below are some creative ideas for what you can do with it:
- Use leftover paint to up-cycle old furniture and give it a fresh look.
- Paint an accent wall in one or more rooms in your home.
- Let your kids use it for school projects or use small quantities for arts and crafts projects.
- Buy some artist’s canvas and create your own home decor.
- Paint the inside of small rooms like the laundry room or closets.
- Paint the inside of cabinets and drawers.
- Paint your front door.
- If you have latex paints, use it to paint on t-shirts.
Why Hire a Professional House Painter?
When you are ready to paint the interior or exterior of your home, you want a painter you can trust to get the job done right. At Star Painting LLC, our house painting contractors are committed to our company values which means giving you a high-quality paint job you can afford. We work side-by-side with you and let you decide involved you want to be in the painting process. Our showroom includes hundreds of swatches and inspiration photos to browse through as well as assistants who can help guide you through the process. Call or contact us today to find out how we can help you bring lasting color to your home.