What to Do with the Old Paint You’ve Got Lying Around
A lot of homeowners have a whole bunch of paint in their garages or storage sheds. So much, in fact, they could probably paint the whole interior of their homes with it. The problem is, all that paint is in multiple, partially used cans and in a variety of colors. Over the years, unused paint accumulates, and before you know it, it looks like you’re running a paint store. Here’s what to do with your old paint.
Is the paint still good?
Your first step is to determine if the paint in question is still usable. Latex (water-based) paints last about 10 years; oil-based paints about 15. To test latex paint, smell it. A rancid smell means it’s no good. Stirring questionable paint will give you more clues: if there are clumpy sections stuck to the can, it’s time to part with it. If the paint stirs smoothly and forms its original color, you’re good to go.
Oil-based paint is more resilient than latex, so if the can has been well-sealed and hasn’t been exposed to temperature extremes – and if it stirs up well – it’s likely still in good condition.
Paint you want to keep
You may not want to hold on to paint in colors that no longer exist inside or outside your home. For same-color paints that can be used for touch-ups, consider pouring them out of the big gallon cans into smaller containers to save space. Make sure to label the containers so you know what’s in them.
Ways to re-use
Even if old paint is of a color you won’t use again, you can combine latex with latex and oil-based with oil-based to create paint to use as an undercoat/first coat for projects in the future. Color combinations really don’t matter, but keep in mind that if you create a particularly dark undercoat, you’ll probably have trouble covering it with a lighter shade of new paint.
Who else could use your paint?
If your old paint is still good, see if you can find a friend or neighbor who could use it. And don’t forget local charities, which are always looking to save a little money on projects. You might even find a paint contractor who will come by and take all your un-needed paint off your hands.
Disposing of paint
Most state and local governments have regulations for disposing of paint. Some municipalities will let you solidify old latex paint by mixing it with two parts cat litter to one part paint and then throwing it away in your regular trash.
Disposing of oil-based paints might not be as simple. Your best bet is to contact your city or county and ask them for direction. There may be a waste collection day in your neighborhood, or you may have a waste disposal center nearby that handles paint and other toxic products like pesticides and herbicides. Fines can be steep for the unlawful disposal of certain items deemed hazardous, so always check with local governing bodies before you start dumping.
These are some tips for reducing or eliminating the paint store you’ve been building up. For fresh paint applied right and with no leftovers, Franklin Painting of Farmington, Conn., is here to help with any project of any size. Call the experts at (877) 646-7774.