How old is 'too old' for paint?

caroline94535April 11, 2013

I have a full can of very good paint that is four years old. It's never been opened; there are no splatters around the rim. It's been stored in the closet all this time. There is a hardware store here in town that will shake it up in their machine for me, even though I didn't purchase it there.

I want to use it to paint the four closet doors in my sewing room, and to give all the trim work in that room another "freshen up for Spring" coat."

I called the paint shop where I bought it. They 'thought' it would be fine. I was hoping for a more definite answer.

Would you use paint this old? Have you used paint this old and were you happy with the results?

Thanks again!

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We have used paint that was 6 years old & already opened. Had no problems with it. A can that has never been opened should be good.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Been in condo for 10 years and used opened can of paint for a minor paint repair job in my bathroom. It's been sitting in outside closet all this time. Did the job! Glad I saved that can of paint.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:25PM
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RuthieG__TX and look at it...should be fine...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Won't know until you look inside, turn the can upside down until you can take it in to get shaken. I've had many that were fine and others not as old settle to a glob that couldn't be separated even with a paddle mixer.

Actually all paint should be turned upside down when stored, keeps as much air out as possible, and that's what spoils old paint, air. That goes for opened cans as well.

Did you know there is a paint forum on Garden Web? And there are no stupid questions, usually.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:16PM
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If it has never been opened, it should be ok. The only way it ages in a sealed can is by slow loss of solvent if the seal is not perfect and by settling. A good shaking at your local hardware store should mix it up well.

Here's what to do. Prep your doors; Take one door off and lay it on your fixture for painting the first side. Shake the paint. Get a test scrap of wood. Open the can and test on the scrap piece. If it spreads ok and the color is right, start on the doors.

If the paint is spoiled, get a new can of paint and continue.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:37AM
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Shake it and use it. As long as it mixes smooth, without lumps or dry bits, it should be fine. I found about a dozen cans of open semi-used paint in my garage a year ago. All of it got taken to my Town Dump on "recycle" day.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:58AM
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I had a brand new can that I had bought two years ago and it had never been opened, when I opened it, it was soured as heck!... It smelled just awful. I painted a small section of my closet with it just to see if it might go away and it did not go away... I gave it a week, threw it out and bought a new can.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:28AM
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It should be fine. I just used a can here, that I had used in our last house, and it was probably 6 or 7 yrs old. It was just fine. If it has a sour smell, then that will tell you, it needs to be tossed, because dbfirewife is correct, that sour smell will not go away. If it smells normal, then, it will be just fine.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:27AM
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You need to push a stir stick into the bottom of the can, if there is a blob in the bottom don't use it until that blob it mixed into the paint well.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 12:23PM
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I thought this thread was going to be about what age one should stop wearing makeup. :o)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:02PM
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LOL @ Petra!

Thanks for all the great info everyone. I had intended to paint this weekend, but it's still snowing, too cold, windy, and damp feeling in the basement.

I'll check it out, get it professionally shaken, and paint next week.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:15PM
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My first read was the same as Petra's. Maybe we should investigate THAT, too.

I think it's best to use very little paint when you are young and when you are old. You can layer it on in the middle of your life -- if you want to. (Never use any if it's *sour*! LOL)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:53PM
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