How Long Does Spray Paint Last?

Does it expire, and if it does, then how fast? We will try to find the answer!

Whenever you are up to a home renovation project, especially the one that requires any paint job, you might be wondering what type of paint to choose.

And since most of us don’t feel like spending time with a brush or with a paint roller covering the walls with layers or stinky paint, quite many homeowners prefer using spray paints instead.

Of course, it makes sense since spray paint is easier to apply, it usually dries faster than the paint that needs to be applied with a brush, plus spray paints offer the same wide variety of colors you can choose from to match your interior!

However, even after you decide what paint and paint color you want to have on your walls, you might face another complication: does spray paint expire? Why would that bother me, some of you may ask?

Well, if you have an old spray paint at home already and you think of using it for your upcoming paint project, you might be a bit concerned about the quality of that paint, as well as about its safety!

This is why we decided to take a brief investigation and find out more about spray paint shelf life for you.

From the article below, you will learn how long spray paints typically last, what you should expect if you apply too old or expired spray paint onto your walls, and whether there is any difference between the shelf life of an opened and unopened spray paint.

In addition, we will tell you about the possible hazards of using old spray paint indoors.

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How Long Is Spray Paint Good For?

If you do some interior home painting projects now and then, you definitely asked yourself about the lifespan of interior paint.

Quite many of us keep those cans of paint left after the latest painting refreshment, and when it comes to using those, we usually hesitate not knowing how safe it will be and how good that paint is.

In general, there is nothing to worry about since paint is a pretty long-lasting thing! If you store your can of paint correctly, you can expect it to last for two or three years for sure!

Of course, you need to make sure that the container with your paint is in proper condition, it is not rusty, leaky, or damaged.

Also, it matters a lot where your paint is being kept and what type of paint it is. In addition, it is good to keep in mind that unopened and opened paint shelf life differs as well.

Of course, if you take a look at any spray paint can, in particular at its bottom part, you will see an expiration date there. However, this date does not mean that this is the final term when the paint must be used.

Respectively, after the indicated date passes, your paint will not become immediately useless! The period of time your paint will remain usable depends on how and where you store it, as well as on its brand (the fact that most of us tend to forget).

For example some Montana Spray paints have a shelf life of ten years.

In general, with spray paint, like with other products, the better quality you buy, the more likely it is to last. You get what you pay for.

The biggest issue with the cans of spray paint that you do have to be worried about is that most often they are aerosols themselves.

That means that after an extended period, they can begin to lose pressure and the expiration dates indicated on the can are usually in reference to how long the aerosol lasts in the can rather than the paints expiration.

How Long Is Spray Paint Good For
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Is It Possible That a Car Spray Paint Expires?

Well, why not? Basically, it does not matter whether the spray paint you use is designed for cars, metal, wood, plastic or any other surface, the expiry dates and reasons for them seem to be mostly the same.

That’s because whether you want it or not, pressure loss from the aerosol over time anyway.

And since your car is definitely something you will want to take great care of, make sure to always read the instructions for best use or enquire with the company of the spray paint can for further details if you are unsure if you can still use an old spray paint you had stashed away years ago.

How Long does Spray Can Car Paint LastHow Long does Spray Can Car Paint Last

Shelf Life Of Unopened Paint

Does spray paint go bad if unopened? This is quite a common question that people ask, and the answer will be yes. Of course, any paint will expire even if it is being kept unopened from the moment you purchased it.

However, as for the terms of storage, here we can have certain distinctions.

See, if we are talking about the regular paint that is sold in cans (such as acrylic or oil-based paint), this one can last for up to ten years quite easily if the can is unopened and not damaged. And of course, if you store it correctly.

For instance, unused latex and water-based acrylic paints last up to ten years, and the shelf life of alkyd and oil-based paints can be as long as fifteen years!

Since unopened paint does not spend much time being to air, it still has the same ratio of liquids and semi-solids, although the ingredients may probably separate over time.

But if you stored the can in the garage or in a shed where it is pretty cold and the paint can freeze, or if the paint was exposed to extreme heat, even fully sealed contents could be ruined.

As for the spray paints, it all depends on the brand mostly. But in general, most spray paints will easily last for two or three years if stored under the correct conditions.

Shelf Life Of Unopened Paint
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Opened Paint Shelf Life

As you have already guessed, if you have already opened the can with your paint, you should not expect it to last the same long as the unopened can would.

When we open the can with paint, we let air in which means that the paint begins to oxidize. And as you probably know, air makes paint lose its quality over time.

So if you have a can of spray paint that has already been used but you still have some leftovers in it, it might last for another half a year or so if you store it right. Paints that come in cans will last longer, for another year or so.

Well, now you know how long spray paints can last and what their lifespan depends on. So if you do have some leftover spray paint in your garage or in a shed, make sure you provide it with the proper storage conditions!

Like that, you will be able to use it later and be sure that the paint will still be in a good condition.

Opened Paint Shelf Life
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What Does Paint Shelf Life Depend On?

If you have ever used different types of paint, you definitely know that some of them tend to last longer than others, and sometimes, this duration difference may be rather significant.

But have you ever wondered why it is so? What affects the shelf life of your paint?

In general, there are several common factors that influence the amount of time your paint will stay usable in its can.

  1. The type of paint (acrylic, oil-based or water-based, alkyd, spray, etc.)
  2. The brand of your paint
  3. Whether it is sealed or not
  4. Where it is being stored
  5. Its storage conditions (lighting, temperature, etc.)

For example, a previously opened can of paint can last around five years on average if you make sure that it is properly sealed and stored. An unopened can of latex or acrylic paint lasts up to ten years.

For unopened paints that are oil-based or alkyd-based, the shelf life could be up to fifteen years.

As for the chalk paint, it has a shorter lifespan which is from one to three years.

Milk paint is able to last for a couple of weeks only after it’s mixed.

What Does Paint Shelf Life Depend On
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Is Using an Expired Paint Bad?

Quite many of us have paint leftovers at home, in a garage or in a shed, and we usually keep them for further use since it seems pointless to throw out the paint that is still ok.

But quite many people wonder whether it is ok to use such paint. Will it work the same well as the new paint? And is this paint still safe to use?

In some cases, you can still use the spray paint past the expiration date given on the can.

You only need to make sure that you shake the aerosol can upside down for an extended period of time, better for two minutes or so, before using it. And also, always remember to test the paint before applying it on your object or surface!

Sometimes, you can find out that the paint won’t come out of the can’s nozzle which might make you think that the paint has turned bad. However, the most common cause of a seemingly dead spray paint can be down to a clogged nozzle!

So if this is your case, just soak the nozzle in any paint thinner and blow it out with compressed air: it will allow you to clear the pathway.

If it does not help, and if after this manipulation the issue persists, and it seems to be a loss of pressure in the can, it might be handy to save and store cleaned nozzles for any future issues with other cans.

How to Unclog a Clogged Spray Paint Can - Easy DIY FixHow to Unclog a Clogged Spray Paint Can – Easy DIY Fix

What If Aerosol In My Spray Paint Has Expired?

All of us who have ever used spray paint know this issue! You take a can, shake it intending to paint a wall or any object, but when you press the pulverizer – nothing happens. Such a despair! Or not?

If you are sure that the issue does turn out to be a loss of the aerosol pressure, there is still a good chance that the paint inside can still be used! In order to save on waste and buy more paint, you can decant it and make use of it with an airbrush or spray paint gun instead.

To decant the paint from the can when the aerosol has expired, you need to make a small puncture near the top of the can with a sharp object very gently.

Then, give it some time for excess pressure to escape, and then cut the can open and decant the paint into a sealable jar. Or you can transfer it directly into the spray gun jug as an option.

Make sure to stir decanted paint to release all gas and propellant that may be still in the paint before using or storing.

What If Aerosol In My Spray Paint Has Expired
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How to Use And Store Spray Paints to Keep Them As Long As Possible?

This is the question that bothers most of the homeowners!

What can we do in order to keep our spray paint to its maximum term possible and preserve its quality? In fact, there are a few handy and pretty simple actions that can be taken, and we are going to share them with you now.

To get the most life out of your spray paints, always make sure to read the instructions and give the can a good shake before using, especially if it is an older can.

  • Also, if the paint seems thicker and if it doesn’t flow well after the extended storage, try setting the can in some warm water for a few minutes. It must help thin the liquid, allowing it to mix better.
  • When storing the paint, make sure the lid is put back on correctly and kept in a dry spot, away from direct sunlight.
  • Try to keep it stored at a reasonable temperature. Above 5° C (41° F), and below 30° C (86° F) would be ideal for storage.
  • Exposure to extreme temperature changes can affect the quality of the product, so it is not always practical to store your paint in garages and sheds.

Like this, you are now informed about the general lifespan of paint and you have also learned what factors influence its durability and storage terms.

If you make sure that you keep your paint – no matter whether it is spray or in cans – correctly and provide it with all the necessary conditions, be sure that it will remain usable longer, sometimes even after the expiration date.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐What happens when pepper spray expires?

It loses its qualities.

⭐When is paint too old?

When it gets hardened and dries.

⭐Does spray paint last the same long as the paint in a can?

No, it lasts less.

Written by Melinda Sherween
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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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