Can Paint Freeze And At What Temperature?

Just as temperature affects everything, paints have no immunity to the effects of exposure to extreme heat or cold. You may suspect your paint to freeze after leaving it out in the open during the cold winter, and you're probably right. But how is that possible? Let's check this out below:

Like almost all liquids, paint freezes in the cold, whether latex or water-based paints. This is because the paint's water content freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, oil-based paints freeze at a lower temperature of around -74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now that you know that paint freezes at a specific temperature read more about the consequences once they freeze and how to avoid this phenomenon.

Multiple open paint cans. Rainbow colors. Creativity and diversity concept., Can Paint Freeze And At What Temperature? Multiple open paint cans. Rainbow colors. Creativity and diversity concept., Can Paint Freeze And At What Temperature?

Signs That Paint Has Gone Bad

 Paint cans stacked in a recycling facility on December 5, 2013 in Fairfax, VA. The metal will be sorted, melted and recycled.

Freezing ruins the quality of your paint. Latex paint, for example, have both solid and liquid emulsion. The liquid component freeze, expand, and force the solid parts out of the mixture when exposed to extreme cold.

When this happens, you will observe clumping and, often, change in consistency and color. You may also observe a sharp rancid, or sour odor from your paint and spot some water bubbles.

However, paint isn't that fragile. They can still survive and be used after some cycles of freezing and thawing.

What To Do When Paint Freezes

labor pouring white paint from a bucket

The first instinct when we see frozen paint is to throw it away and buy a new one. But don't do that just yet. Your paint can still be salvaged. Just follow the steps below.

  1. Allow the paint to thaw in a warm room slowly. Let it warm up by itself at room temperature. Do not speed up the process by forcing heat into the mixture.
  2. Once it completely thaws, mix and stir vigorously. You can also try pouring it into another container to check its consistency.
  3. If the consistency seems normal and the paint smoothly pours into the other container, your paint is restored. If it still forms clumps when pouring, your paint may already be ruined, and it might be time to throw it away.
  4. If there are only small clumps, there might be a way to salvage the paint further. Use a strainer to filter out all the small chunks. Do this until you achieve the smooth consistency of the paint.

Check out this Edward Tools paint mixer on Amazon.

How Do You Keep Paint From Freezing?

Paint can and brush on the ground outside in the winter. Colder temperatures call for specialty paints made with different formulas.

If you check the paint label and storage guide, you will see a warning that says, "keep from freezing." Therefore, make sure to store paint in a location with a controlled temperature.

Here is a guide on how to properly store your paint:

  1. Keep the room cool, dark, and dry.
  2. To create an air-tight seal, use plastic wrap to cover the paint cans before sealing the lid.
  3. To verify the air-tight seal, you must be able to store the paints upside down without leaking. This also benefits the paint inside as the air-tight seal ensures it will last longer.

How Long Does Paint Usually Last?

Unopened paint can last years before the quality starts to degrade.

The shelf life of latex paint is typically ten years, while oil-based paints last longer, up to 15 years. If left unmoved for quite some time, it might be a good idea to stir the mixture up.

The shelf-life of opened paint cans may be significantly shorter since it is exposed to air.

Once you observe signs such as foul odor, separation of paint, or color change, it might be time to dispose of your old paint.

See this Rust-Oleum Paint on Amazon.

What Happens If  You Use Expired Paint?

It may be tempting to use ruined paint to save money, especially for small DIY painting projects. However, once the paint has gone bad, there are a lot of problems you have to deal with.

Using paint that's gone bad may result in uneven coating and solid clumps on the wall.

The paint color may also be inconsistent and may quickly fade. Build up of bacteria causes the paint to release a foul smell. This is inherently dangerous and may result in coughing, skin rash, or other allergic reaction once inhaled.

Thus, it's wiser to throw away ruined paint and use one of good quality instead. This avoids unnecessary redoing of work and spending more on materials and labor. It also ensures the health of the people in the room.

How Do You Get Rid Of The Expired Paint Smell?

It may be difficult once you have already applied sour paint to the walls.

But you can wash the smell off using good bleach to wipe down the wall. You may need to do this thoroughly a couple of times, especially with a larger area.

However, if wiping it down with bleach doesn't work, it may be time to repaint the whole wall. Of course, ensure the current paint is completely dry first to avoid mixing the sour paint with the fresh paint.

This Clorox bleach is available on Amazon.

How Do You Get Rid Of Spoiled Paint?

 Many paint pot with paint brush. Used old paint can with different colors holding on ground.

Often, the disposal guide for paint is put on its label.

Remember that paints are environmentally hazardous substances, so throwing them away may not be a good idea without following the proper disposal procedures.

Depending on the type of paint, here is a guide on how to dispose of them:

Latex-based Paint

Latex or water-based paint contains no hazardous contents. You can easily throw them in the trash.

  1. Remove the lid and throw it separately.
  2. Let it completely dry out if there is a little amount of paint left. If not, mix cat litter into the paint to speed up drying.
  3. Once dry, you can throw the can into the trash.

See this Rust-Oleum latex paint on Amazon.

Oil-based Paint

Oil-based paints contain hazardous chemicals that contaminate soil and water. Never throw them in the trash. Instead, follow the guide below on how to dispose of these paints.

  1. Let the professionals handle the disposal of oil-based paints. Take them to the nearest local hazardous waste facility.
  2. If you have a considerable amount of paint left, you can donate them to community centers or charities to help them with their projects.

Where To Donate Your Old Paint

Empty and Old Paint Cans Ready to be Disposed

If you have stocks or unused paints in your garage, it might be a good idea to clean up and donate some to charities. Below are some institutions that accept paints for their projects.

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity has a latex recycling program that restores leftover latex paint. Staff and volunteers categorize the donated paints, then inspect and mixed with industrial mixtures.

The mixed paint is repackaged and resold to the public. All the proceeds from the sales provide funding for Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam for the construction of small decent homes.

Global Paint For Charity

It is a non-profit organization that repurposes donated leftover paints from industries for reuse.

They promote sustainable solutions to paint waste and have removed over 320,000 tons of discarded paints since 2010. Donating to this organization contributes to its goal of encouraging Zero Paint Waste.

Tips To Prolong A Paint's Shelf Life

There are a lot of ways you could do could prolong the shelf life of your paint. The methods below are tried and tested for securing the longevity of your color.

  1. Adding small amounts of water to latex paint prolongs its shelf life. In the same way, adding thinner to old oil-based paint is a good practice to keep its quality.
  2. Always opt for plastic paint cans instead of metal ones. Rusting often contaminates and degrades the quality of paint.
  3. Always store paint in a cool, dry place with a maintained temperature. Never allow them to freeze, as this might ruin your paint.

In Conclusion

Latex and water-based paints freeze at the same freezing point as water which is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, oil-based paints freeze at a lower temperature of -72 degrees Fahrenheit.

If these paints are not correctly stored, they are susceptible to freezing which, in turn, ruins their quality. It may also lead to the souring of paint, which poses health hazards to humans.

Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts:

3 Best Paints For Bookshelves

Can You Paint Candles? [And How To?]

How Long After Painting To Remove Tape [And How To Remove It]

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