Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What to do with extra paint around your house

Ever painted something around the house? A bedroom, hallway, or living room maybe? Once you're through the excitement of choosing your new color, the work involved in actually painting, and the satisfaction of seeing a job well done, you're probably left wondering "What do I do with this extra paint?"

We painted every room in our previous house, and several rooms in our current home when we moved in 18 months ago.

Here is the paint we have left over in the hall closet.



And here is the paint we have left over in the garage.



I've read online that paint, stored properly, will last 7-15 years. However, several painters and contractors I've spoken with have disagreed with that, saying if you don't use the paint within a year or two it probably won't be any good. (Looks like it's time for me to start exploring some disposal options...)

Some thoughts on painting and paint storage:


  • When painting, try to buy the right amount. I've always tried to error on the side of buying too much, because I hate running back to the paint store at the very end of the job. Also, I always think it'll be nice to have some extra paint for touch-ups, although we rarely end up using it..!

  • Spot touch-ups are only a good idea within the first couple of months after painting. Over time, the color on your walls changes due to light exposure, and the paint in the can won't match it. You'll end up painting polka-dots on your wall. (believe me on that one!)

  • If you need to touch-up an area, try re-painting that entire section of the wall – from corner to corner. The paint might not exactly match the other wall, but it will appear to be due to lighting and angles, and will still appear even.

  • Try using extra paint for other projects, or giving it to a friend or neighbor who might be working on a small project.

  • When storing paint, label the can so that you know which is which. A few years and several cans later, it's very difficult to remember exactly which shade you used, or which can was used in which room. I try to label the color name & number, the sheen, and the room the paint was used for. And I paint a small dab on the lid or can as a sample.

  • You can increase the paint's storage-life by tightly sealing the lid and storing the paint can upside-down. This will not allow any air into the can, thus preserving its life. (Unfortunately I just learned this tip recently – my pictures show I didn't use it..)


Some thoughts on paint disposal:


  • Most household paint can be thrown out with your regular trash, as long as it's completely dry. A full can of wet paint must be disposed of as a hazardous material.

  • If you have up to ¼ of the can left, simply remove the lid and allow the paint to dry for a few days (in a well-ventilated area & away from kids, pets, and potential flames.)

  • For more than ¼ of the can, consider buying some plastic containers (they sell paint-specific ones at the paint stores, specifically to use for paint), and dividing the remaining paint. Then allow to dry in the same manner as above.

  • For larger quantities, or to speed up the process, try lining a large cardboard box (or other container) with plastic, and pour the paint into it in ½ inch layers. The paint should dry fairly quickly, and you can pour the next layer right on top of it. Obviously, the area of the box is more important than its volume – use a long, wide box, regardless of how tall it is.

  • You can speed up the drying process by adding some kitty litter to the paint, and by stirring occasionally.

  • Once the paint inside the can is dry, simply toss it into your regular trash can.


Your preparing to dispose of some paint Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

[tags] Painting, home improvement, paint storage, paint disposal, Fletcher Heights [/tags]