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How To Open A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Paint

Paint is a fantastic way to bring an item or room back to life. But, you usually need lots of it for a big project. It takes several coatings to make everything look perfect. If it's your first time, you might not be familiar with opening a 5-gallon bucket of paint. Let's go over how you can do so.

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There are a couple of ways to open a 5-gallon bucket of paint. It depends on the brand you buy. So, your experience may vary. You can take off the lid. Otherwise, you can use the pouring spout on top.

What plan do you have in mind? If you need complete access to the paint, removing the entire cover would be preferable. However, these 5-gallon buckets also have a spout that makes pouring easier. Regardless, we'll discuss how to open the spout and the cover. To learn more, keep reading!

A blue colored paint bucket, How To Open A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Paint

Opening A 5-Gallon Bucket Of Paint

Manufacturers make opening a bucket of paint tedious. It's not tough to see why they do it. However, it's quite a headache to remove the lid when it's in our hands.

Luckily, it should be relatively easy to remove the lid once you're familiar with it. You might need to use a bit of elbow grease. So, if you're not strong enough, you might need an extra hand.

Nevertheless, let's discuss removing the entire lid.

Removing The Lid

If you want to remove the lid, you'll need to find the notch first. You can locate it on the rim of the bucket. There will be a portion that stands out from the rest of it.

It should look like a tab cutout. A small piece of plastic will be holding it in place. Thus, you'd need a sharp tool to cut through it. Otherwise, you can try brute-forcing the tab out.

Regardless, once you free the tab, pull the sealing band off. At this point, you're free to take off the lid. However, there's an easy and a hard way to take it off.

You can pull the lid and force it off. However, that's not an efficient way to do it. If you look closely, you'll see it's separated into sections. Instead, pull on each tab separately.

Pulling The Tabs

It still takes a bit of effort. If needed, use two hands to pull back and straight up. People with soft hands might need protection. Wear gloves if the process hurts your hands.

Another way to protect your fingers is by using two quarters. Place it on your fingertips. Then, slide it under the rim. Pulling up should release the edges.

Repeat this process for the remaining tabs on the lid. Once you release all of them, the cover should come off effortlessly.

If you're a visual learner, here's a YouTube video demonstration:

How To Open The Bucket Spout

Mixing paint inside a paint bucket

If you're lucky, the bucket will have a spout on the top of the lid. It's an opening that is easier to access. It helps with pouring. So, if you don't need the whole bucket, it would be better to use the spout.

Opening the spout depends on the manufacturer. Some will have caps that you can twist open. Others will have a small plastic handle that you can pull.

Spout With A Cap

Some paint buckets will have a screw top. Twist it counterclockwise to open it. Though, sometimes it can be tough to rotate. In this situation, you can use gloves that give you a better grip.

If it's still holding onto the bucket top tightly, use a hammer to knock around the edges. It can take a few tries until it's loose enough to release. In any case, pouring paint with this opening can get messy.

Since the opening is on the inner area of the lid, the paint will spread all over the top. You wouldn't want to waste the paint you've bought. Therefore, a pouring spout attachment can be valuable in this situation. 

View this spout attachment on Amazon.

This way, you can limit the waste when transferring the paint from the bucket into another container. Of course, you can attempt to DIY a pouring attachment. Though, buying it is more convenient.

Pull-Out Pouring Spout

Some manufacturers will include a pull-out pouring spout. If you're lucky enough, you won't need a pouring attachment. All you'll have to do is pull two handles upwards.

There will be a pouring device pre-attached to the lid. However, others might not be as lucky. It can also be a cap that comes off and on. So, you'll still need an attachment for help.

We'll include two videos to demonstrate the appearance of the pouring spouts.

Here's one that displays a bucket with a pull-out pouring attachment:

Here's a 5-gallon bucket with a pull-out tab instead of a pull-out pouring spout:

How To Open A Bucket Of Paint Without Tabs

The problem with variation is the lack of consistency. As you can see from the various lids of a 5-gallon bucket, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many ways to open them.

Some lids don't even have tabs that you can pull on. Instead, they might have little circular cutouts all around. You can use them to make tabs.

Though, plastic is tough to cut by hand. So, you'll need a chisel and hammer to help in this case. You could also use a hacksaw.

It might look like you need to cut through the circular cutouts to make tabs. However, that's not the case. Instead, use them as markers of where to make cuts.

Start by placing the chisel above them. Then, using a hammer, chisel down. This method makes removing the lid easier.

If you'd like a visual demonstration, here's a YouTube video to help:

How To Open A 5 Gallon Bucket Of Sherwin Williams Paint

Sherwin Williams is one paint manufacturer that many seem to love. Therefore, you might wonder how to open one of their 5-gallon buckets. Fortunately, they're one of the easy ones to work with.

You can start by locating the notch on the bucket rim. You'll need a sharp tool to separate it from the rest of the lid. Once it's free, pull it directly behind itself.

At this point, you should have a plastic band that you can dispose of.

5-gallon Sherwin Williams buckets will have cutouts all over the lid. Therefore, you'd want to release each portion separately. You can use the quarter trick mentioned above if it hurts your hands.

Using The Pouring Spout

Sherwin Williams 5-gallon buckets will also have a pouring spout. However, there's no attachment to go along with it. Thus, you'd need to purchase one if you plan on using it.

Unfortunately, their buckets only have a pull-out tab.

How Often Should You Stir 5-Gallon Paint?

An unopened paint bucket

Before using the paint, it's essential to stir it. Depending on how long it has been sitting, the ingredients can separate. So, the color inside will not match the color advertised.

For this reason, some dealers will give you a stirrer to go along with your paint. However, 5 gallons is a lot. So, the typical stirring stick you get can be inefficient.

If you need a quicker way to stir the paint, you'll need a paddle mix.

Click here to see this paddle mix on Amazon.

Attach the paddle mix to a drill. Then, stir it on a low setting. This way, you can ensure the color and consistency of the paint look great.

How Long Does Paint Last?

Painting the wall with a turquoise color

Sometimes we overestimate how much paint we need. It's not a terrible problem to have. But, now we have to store it. Of course, you can leave it in the original 5-gallon bucket.

It's airtight. Therefore, it's perfect for storing paint. However, a concern that comes to mind is longevity. How long will it be serviceable? After all, it could come in handy for another project.

It all depends on the type of paint. Latex and acrylic paint last the longest. Accordingly, it can last for around 10-15 years.

Chalk paint can last 1-5 years.

How Should You Store Paint?

Mixing paint inside a paint bucket

The lifespan of paint also depends on the storage conditions. Paint does well in temperature-controlled areas. Avoid storing it in spots with temperature spikes.

Temperature spikes that are high or low can change the consistency of the paint. At worst, it can become hazardous waste that requires special disposal.

You can tell the paint has gone bad through smell or simple testing.

Spoiled paint can develop a rotten egg odor. It can also smell like urine. If it doesn't carry a smell, test the consistency. Latex paint becomes rubbery in hot conditions. If it manages to freeze, it will develop curdles.

To Finish Up

A blue colored paint bucket

Opening a 5-gallon bucket of paint can seem like opening a storage vault. It's hard to access with how tightly the lid holds onto the bucket. Hopefully, opening future 5-gallon buckets of paint isn't as tricky. We hope you've found the instructions helpful.

Before you go, do you have other paint concerns? Are you using white paint? We can help you determine how many coats you need. To learn more, check out:

How Many Coats Of White Paint Do You Need?

Are you painting 12x12 rooms? You can learn how much paint you'll need in our post:

How Much Paint For A 12X12 Room?