View Full Version : Paint Storage in Winter
Bill in NJ
11-29-2005, 06:20 PM
I am sure this has been asked before but I live in NJ and am wondering if I should keep my unopened cans of paint in my cellar or in the garage which is only heated when I am working in it. I am worried about the paint freezing and going bad. Thanks for all the replies. Len this is one great site!!
11-29-2005, 06:31 PM
Bill, the only paints you need to worry about during the winter months are water based paints. Believe me that lacquer, enamel, acrylic urethane will NOT freeze in an unheated garage. I have a couple cans of paint that I bought in the mid seventies that have been in cold storage every winter. There were times those paints were in 15 - 18 deg. below zero and I occaisionaly still use a little of that paint for small projects. Point being its still good paint.
11-30-2005, 06:08 PM
We store alot of our paints outside in a paint vault year round, in Wisconsin.
We make a list and bring in the supplies the nite before we are planning to use them.
11-30-2005, 06:24 PM
the only thing you have to worry about is you freezing the paint is good we never leave the heat on in the winter at night or the weekends and I haven't had any freeze in 35 + years
11-30-2005, 10:08 PM
Although my shop is always heated...my paint is shipped by truck to me in an unheated compartment.
I asked Dupont about this, and they said no problems...but to make sure that the activators were back to room temperature before using.:)
11-30-2005, 11:34 PM
One other thing to consider (that's been mentioned elsewhere)...
Considering that you do have the option available to keep the sealed paint containers in the basement, that seems like a rationale place to keep them (that's where I keep mine).
And the reason being, not so much for concern of anything freezing, but just because the can in the basement, is less susceptible to the temperature fluctuations in the garage.
Admittedly, if the lip is clean, and sealed as good as new, there sure doesn't seem any reason to suspect much would go wrong...
...but, erring on the side of peace of mind, keeping the containers in an area where the temp doesn't fluctuate as much (whether it be paint/primer/filler) leaves less chance of something going awry.
Considering several things...particularly if the can isn't sealed, or for some reason the seal is imperfect...in an environment that's suscpetible to temp fluctuations (and one that you're not always in) several things could happen. The lid could leak a bit, but you might not be in close proximity enough to notice any smell...and consequantly, anything that evaporates off might adversely affect the mix ratio.
If it's in the basement, where less air is moving anyway, you'd quickly pick up on any odors to let you know things were leaking, since you shouldn't smell anything...seal it up good, and forget about it...the temp is usually the same, so the can's environment isn't going to change much.
I know, that throughout any time year, when the temp fluctuates naturally, or by heating up the space in my garage, I always hear those gallons of lacquer thinner and degreaser make a buckling noise...figure that something is going on there.
Not that it should really be a problem...but by keeping it at the same temp, you at least eliminate that variable that expansion and contraction of the air inside the can could do much to breach the seal (and at $100's per gallon...peace of mind for shelved materials in the basement is nice).
12-01-2005, 01:08 AM
I wouild be more concerned with the paint being a fire hazard in my basement than any material deteorization as a result of cold storage.
12-01-2005, 01:56 AM
I'm glad somebody mentioned the fire hazzard.
Nothing wrong with storing paints at low temps, but a characteristic of urethanes and epoxies is that they can crystalize. This is essentually freezing. But it is a reversable process. The crystals generally go back into solution as the the paint reaches room temp. Not all paints, not all urethanes, and not all epoxies. Just some can do this depending on the formulation. If you do try to catalyze crystalized material, the crystals won't react and you get a mess. You can see this happen in clear resins, but once you add pigment, it is no longer visible. This comes from my many years experience working with these materials as casting resins, and not from any experience with paint. I suspect it is pretty rare in paint. And happened in about 5% of casting resins. A day at room temp should do it if it happens. I have seen some materials that had to be heated to 150 degrees or so, then be allowed to cool to room temp.
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