Frozen Latex Paint

Frozen paint is one the most often asked questions from homeowners and do it yourselves and with cost of paint who can blame them for trying to save their unused paint and hard earned money. The question is “can you use frozen paint after it has thawed out”.  A better question is should you use previously frozen paint. I guess that depends on whether or not you are willing to the risk, of extra cost and time in redoing the project again. Let me explain. The answer is yes and no here are my reasons why. Most latex paint is largely made up of water with several other additives mixed or suspended into the paint. When paint freezes so does the water. When water freezes it expands and it is that expansion of the water that ruins latex paint causing irreversible damage to the molecules of the additives, synthetic binders and  color pigments. This is why on every can of latex paint it is stated “do not freeze”. That is the “no” part of my answer now for the “yes” part if you are willing to take the risks. Over the years paint manufactures have improved the quality of the paints we now use. Many of them add a type of antifreeze that is used in automotive antifreeze which can prevent the paint from freezing and extend the life of the paint after it has frozen. what to do and look for if you have frozen paint. Bring the paint in doors and allow it warm up slowly to room temperature. Do not add heat that will damage the molecules even further. Once the paint has reached room temperature open the can and begin to stir with a paint stirrer or a mixing paddle on low speed. If after mixing the paint it looks like cottage cheese or has a grainy appearance throw it away it is no good. If after mixing the paint it has a creamy appearance then I would say that it is okay to be used but even if the paint mixes well there is some risk in using paint that has been frozen. Those risks would include a loss or uneven sheen “it will appear dull”, fading, cracking and peeling are also common side effect of using previously frozen paint. It is my professional opinion that any paint that has been frozen should not be used.

Ron Johnson (owner)

Lake City Drywall & Paint

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