If you love keeping your home in tip-top shape, you probably have a few cans of paint stored in your garage. After all, a fresh coat of paint is sometimes the only difference between that old, dinged-up bench and a brand new one.
Even so, one of the ways to get the most out of every can of paint is only to use it when it’s still in usable condition. Unfortunately, paint is susceptible to freezing, which can render it unusable.
If that’s your current predicament, don’t worry – we have tips on keeping paint from freezing in your garage! But as usual, first things first – does paint freeze in the garage?
- Does Paint Freeze in the Garage?
- Is Paint Freezing Bad?
- 6 Ways To Keep Paint From Freezing in Your Garage
- Can You Thaw Frozen Paint and Use It Later On?
- How To Dispose of Frozen Paint?
Does Paint Freeze in the Garage?
Yes, paint can freeze in the garage, especially if your garage isn’t temperature-controlled. Freezing is one of the most common ways paint becomes unusable. The moment the temperature of your garage drops below the paint’s freezing point, the paint will start to thicken and turn into a goofy mess.
If you are anything like most people, your garage is probably the place where you keep all of your home improvement materials – including your paint. Actually, the garage is arguably the most versatile room in your home!
You can use it as a workshop, a place to store your tools and other equipment, or even an extra parking space for your car. However, one thing you have to be careful about is the temperature.
Many garages are unheated, and so, they can get really cold – especially during the winter. And as we mentioned before, paint doesn’t do well in very cold temperatures.
So, the moment you choose the garage as your storage space for paint, be extra careful about the temperature. Otherwise, you might end up with a can (or cans) of unusable paint.
Is Paint Freezing Bad?
In short – yes, paint freezing is bad. Not only does freezing makes the paint unusable at times, but it can also damage the paint can itself. As such, do everything you can to keep your paint from freezing while keeping the garage.
If you’ve interacted with paint for quite some time, you likely know that there are two types of paints;
- Water-based paints
- Oil-based paints
As for water-based paint, freezing begins at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature falls below this mark, the paint will start to thicken and turn into a slushy consistency.
The oil-based variety is a lot more resistant to freezing than water-based. But that doesn’t mean it’s entirely immune to the effects of freezing temperatures. This variety begins to freeze at -4 degrees Fahrenheit if it’s using linseed oil as a binder. The freezing point may go up or down depending on the medium used in the paint.
6 Ways To Keep Paint From Freezing in Your Garage
Although paint freezing is bad, there are ways you can prevent it from happening in the first place – or at least minimize the risk. Here are some tips on how to keep paint from freezing in your garage:
1. Use The Ideal Can Opener
Before you even think about storing paint in your garage, make sure you have the right can opener. The last thing you want is to use a screwdriver or any other inappropriate tool that might dent the lip of the lid.
Not only will this make it harder to open the can, but it will also provide an opening for air and moisture to get in, which can ruin the paint. So, to avoid all that, just be careful with how you go about opening your just-delivered can of paint.
The best way to open a paint can is to use a pry bar or a purpose-built paint can opener. If you don’t have either, you can always use a utility knife, but be careful not to slip and cut yourself.
2. Take Time To Seal the Can Properly
Once you’re done with your painting project and have some leftover paint, it’s time to seal the can properly before you store it away. Start by cleaning the rim of any paint that might have dripped down when you were painting.
Once the rim is clean, put the lid back on and use a rubber mallet to tap it into place gently. Doing so will ensure a tight seal that will keep air and moisture from getting in and ruining the paint.
One tempting tool you’ll want to avoid using is a hammer. Well, it might seem the logical choice, but hammer is more likely to dent the lid and create an opening for air and moisture to get in.
Once the lid is on tight, turn the can upside down and store it that way. This will create an even tighter seal and help prevent the paint from drying out.
3. A Cool and Dry Place is The Ideal Spot
Thirdly, store your paint in a cool and dry place. Most paints can handle a wide range of temperatures for short periods without any problem. So, temperature is unlikely to be an issue in such cases.
However, if you’re planning to store the paint for a long time, you need to be more considerate. Ideally, you should keep paint at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the temperature is too low, the paint will freeze and become unusable. If it’s too high, the paint will start to deteriorate. So, to be on the safe side, just store the paint in a cool and dry place.
4. Invest in a High-Quality Freeze-Thaw Stabilizer
If you’re worried about the paint freezing, you can use a freeze-thaw stabilizer. It’s a chemical you add to the paint that prevents it from freezing. However, it’s important to note that this will only work best if the paint is sealed correctly. So, make sure the top is on tight before you add the stabilizer.
5. Bring in a Sealed Container
If you want to be extra careful, you can always store the paint in a sealed container. This could be a plastic storage bin or anything else that’s airtight. Just ensure the container is big enough to fit the can of paint and adequately sealed.
A sealed container is a great way to protect the paint from freezing, but it’s also an excellent way to keep it safe from moisture and UV rays. But again, also ensure that the lid is on tight before putting the paint in the container.
6. Keep the Room Heated
Lastly, you can also keep the room where you’re storing the paint heated. It’s undoubtedly costly, but it’s worth it, especially if;
- You’re storing lots of cans of paint long-term.
- You want to use your garage more often for other activities.
- Other items in the garage call for similar storage requirements.
There are a few different ways you can heat your garage space. You could use a space heater, radiant heating, or a ductless mini-split heater. Either of these will deliver the temperature you need when the outside temperature drops.
Before you go ahead and heat the room, though, there are a few things you need to consider. The size of the garage, the sources of drafts, and the type of walls are all factors that will affect how much heat you need.
And as usual, any space heating project should start with insulation. That’s because a well-insulated garage will require less heat to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Can You Thaw Frozen Paint and Use It Later On?
Yes, you can thaw frozen paint and use it later on. Softening the paint is a pretty simple process and may take several hours, depending on the level of paint in the can. All you need to do is put the can in a warm place and wait for the paint to melt on its own.
Returning to a frozen can of paint doesn’t always mean all is gone. You can still salvage your investment, especially if it hasn’t been frozen for long. And yes, one way to do that is to thaw it.
But before you do it, ensure the paint is still sealed before you thaw it. The paint may get ruined if there’s even the slightest opening in the lid.
And as usual, you should never use a heat source to thaw the paint, such as a hair dryer, as this can damage the paint. The best way to thaw it is to simply put it in a warm place and wait for it to thaw out on its own.
Also, once you’ve thawed the paint, stir it thoroughly before using it. It should be consistent if it’s the first time it’s been frozen and hasn’t been in that state for long. Consistency means it’s usable. But if the paint looks clumpy and has a foul smell, it’s unfortunate you just can’t use it.
How To Dispose of Frozen Paint?
The ideal way to dispose of frozen paint will depend on the type of paint you have. How you dispose of oil-based paint isn’t necessarily the same as water or latex-based paint.
Here are the general guidelines:
Latex or Water-based Paint
You can dispose of these types of paint in the garbage. However, ensure it’s completely dry before you toss them into the bin.
The best way to do this is to;
- Leave the lid off and let the paint dry out on its own.
- Add absorbent materials like kitty litter or sand to solidify the paint.
- Get a paint hardener from your local hardware
If you don’t want to use your garbage bin for whatever reason, you can try and find out if your town has a local drop-off location for these paints. If there’s, most facilities may require you to remove the lid to confirm that most of the paint is used up.
Oil-based paint is more toxic and needs more precaution when disposing of. The best way to get rid of them is to take them to a paint recycling facility near you.
Oil-based paint can last up to 15 years, while its water-based counterpart can remain usable for up to a decade. Even so, the lifespan of paint much depends on the environment it’s stored in.
A non-heated garage can be a hostile environment for your paint cans, so it’s best to take the necessary precautions to ensure they don’t freeze. With suitable precautions, you can keep your paint from freezing and maintain its quality through several winters.