Paint storage in the cold weather

I often run into clients who store their leftover paint in an uninsulated garage. Interior latex paint, because it it water based, does not like the cold. According to, in the online article “25 Things to Know About Paint,” cans of paint should optimally be stored between 60-80 degrees F. Latex paint can freeze. Once the paint is frozen, is it usable? In an online article, “Using Frozen Paint” on The Family Handyman website, if the paint resembles cottage cheese once it has thawed, it is unusable and should be discarded. Oil based paint is more forgiving but as a rule of thumb, it is best to not leave paint exposed to wild weather fluctuations.

Should paint cans be placed on a concrete floor for storage? The authors of the BHG article suggest not storing the paint on a concrete floor as the cans are more prone to rusting. (This is true for oil based cans as well.) If you do need to store your latex paint in the garage temporarily, there are directions online to create a storage box and place a heater or even a light in the box to keep the paint from freezing. I found a video on YouTube to do just that here.

It is best to bring your leftover paint indoors and store them in a basement (provided it’s not damp) on a shelf, or, an attic (keeping in mind that it doesn’t get too hot up there.) Remember to label the cans with color info and what room it was used for with a permanent marker. Another idea would be to take a photo of the paint label for record keeping and store the info in a folder on your computer.

Hope you found this info helpful! Please let me know in the comments. Happy painting!

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