How to Store Paint and Chemicals in the Winter Months
It’s always good to have some extra paint and related chemicals on hand. It seems wasteful to throw out any leftovers, and having them in your house is useful if you need to do touch-ups or a smaller project.
However, when you have paint and chemicals in your home, the problem becomes how to safely store them, especially when temperatures get extreme. Freezing temperatures, which are common in the winter months in places with colder climates, can damage paint and chemicals.
To ensure you can use your paint in the spring, here are some tips for storage.
Watch the Temperature of Your Storage Space
Just like water, paint can freeze. Water-based paints freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil and latex-based paints freeze at lower temperatures, but they can still freeze if it gets very cold in your area in the winter. If your paint freezes, there’s a good chance that it will be unusable even after it thaws.
To prevent your paint from freezing, make sure that you store it somewhere where it has some heating, such as a basement or storage closet. The ideal temperature for paint storage is 60–80 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid garages, sheds, or unheated attics, as these uninsulated areas can grow cold enough to cause the paint to freeze.
However, don’t place the paint cans in your basement if the only place is near an appliance such as a washing machine. The heat generated by appliances can sometimes damage paint and chemicals and even pose a safety risk.
Ventilate Your Storage Space
Temperature is not the only factor you have to evaluate when thinking about where to store your paint and chemicals. You have to ensure that your storage space is well-ventilated.
Humidity seems as if it will be more of a problem during summer, but in the winter, the air is still damp. Humidity and vapors in the air could cause vapors to build up in the chemicals and paint cans, not only damaging their effectiveness but also risking your safety.
You don’t need to keep a window cracked open all winter, but make sure that the space has at least some ventilation and air circulation.
Seal Your Cans Properly
Besides storing your paint and chemicals in a temperature-controlled setting, you can minimize the effect winter will have on them by minimizing their exposure to the air. Make sure that your paint cans are sealed properly and the lids fit snugly before putting them in winter storage.
For an extra seal, add a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the can, and then put the lid on top. Instead of just pressing the lid down, hammer it shut using a mallet or other hard object. You want to protect the substances inside from outside air as much as possible.
If the seal in your paint cans or chemicals breaks due to the cold, the substances could leak. To minimize mess and damage to the rest of your home, store them in a plastic bin.
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