Can Paint Freeze? [8 Steps To Follow To Avoid Freezing]

If you’re a carpenter, an architect, or anybody else who works with a lot of paint, you’ve probably wondered if paint cans freeze in the winter. Because not everyone is aware of this, many people do not properly store their paints during the winter, causing them to alter shape.

This can be painful since we don’t always have access to the proper colors, it’s difficult to get the proper paint and shades, and paint is expensive, so it’s a significant financial loss for the people. 

So, if you work with paint, you’ll need to know how to deal with it at various temperatures, how to store it, and how to keep it from freezing so that your money doesn’t go to waste.

Paint storage in the winter can be a challenge for homeowners in colder climates. Paint is commonly stored in garages, yet many garages and residences are not heated. Unfortunately, freezing conditions can compromise the paint’s integrity.

What effect does it have on paint if it gets too cold?

You may wonder why paint freezes in the first place. This is due to the fact that paint contains a solvent. This varies depending on the type of paint, but this solvent is the reason why paint freezes in the can but not on the wall.

Because latex paint is water-based, it can freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the same temperature as water. Different from water-based paint is oil-based paint. Oil-based paint can freeze, albeit at a lower temperature than latex paint.

The pace with which the paint cures is affected when the temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it takes longer for paint to dry, the surface remains damp longer, drawing insects, filth, grime, and other detritus. Cold temperature also lowers the paint’s total life expectancy. 

Cold weather causes oil-based paints to thicken, resulting in stiffer brushing, heavier application, and less coverage per gallon.

Alkyd, oil, and water-based paints are all designed to cure within a specified temperature range, and they may not cure correctly at temperatures below that. To coalesce or link together, the ingredients in the paint require the right temperature. 

Poor coverage, flushing, peeling, bubbling, cracking, low sheen, and colour inconsistency can all be symptoms of improper curing.

While today’s paints can withstand a wide range of temperatures for a short length of time, they should be stored at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for lengthy periods of time.

Can Paint Freeze?

When paint freezes, the emulsion of the paint can be affected. That means the consistency and texture may be destroyed when it thaws. 

When paint freezes, it loses its consistency and becomes useless. However, you may be able to resurrect that old can of frozen paint without affecting its consistency in the long run.

However, if the paint hasn’t frozen before, the consistency can sometimes be acceptable after thawing. To ensure that you receive good results, inspect the paint before you apply it.

Let’s have a look at what occurs when various types of paint freeze.

Spray Paint

Cans of aerosol Spray paints, aerosol spray cleansers, and air fresheners are prone to freezing, but once thawed, they’re OK. 

Keep them at ambient temperature within your home or in a climate-controlled storage locker to prevent them from freezing.

Chalk Paint

The Chalk Paint should be able to withstand a couple of freeze cycles, but there is no guarantee and you should avoid doing so if at all possible. 

In that situation, you bring them inside and let them adjust to room temperature on their own for a few days.

Acrylic Paint

This can degrade the paint’s quality, and once frozen, your paints are permanently damaged, even if you thaw them. You’ll have a thawed mushy, clumpy stuff on your hands, as well as less freezer space. 

Acrylic paints, on the other hand, are not as tolerant of temperature changes as oil paintings are.

What are your options if the paint freezes?

Allow your paint to melt if it freezes. Stir the paint with a paint stirrer once it has totally thawed, or take it to a paint store to be shook up. 

If your paint has the same texture, thickness, and consistency as regular paint, it’s probably safe to use. Even after being thawed and swirled, if the consistency of the paint changes, it is no longer usable and should be thrown.

Sheds and other outside constructions are problematic because they become too cold in the winter and may have moisture issues. 

Find a suitable storage spot for your paint to avoid it becoming ruined. It is ideal to work in a temperature-controlled setting. If your garage doesn’t have air conditioning, consider storing your old paint in your basement or attic. The area you select should be cool but not freezing, dark, and dry.

What is the best way to keep paint in the winter?

The simple solution is to keep them at ambient temperature. This will ensure a long and healthy life for the paint. 

It’s much better if you can keep them somewhere dark and dry that isn’t too chilly or too hot. The paint will last longer as a result of this. 

Keep your paint in an airtight container to keep it safe. To correctly preserve your paint, follow these 8 steps:

👉 To create an airtight seal, place a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the paint can.

👉 Using a rubber mallet, gently pound the lid into place.

👉 Invert the paint can to store it. This will aid in the formation of an airtight seal between the paint and the lid. If the lid has been securely fastened and a layer of plastic wrap has been applied as directed. 

Place the paint cans in a plastic tub for further protection, as this will prevent the paint from leaking all over the floor in the location where the paint is being stored.

👉 Spaces such as the basement or within the house, where you have temperature control and the outside cold cannot get in, are good places to store them during the winter.

👉 Thaw latex paint and continue to mix it to get it back to normal. You’ll be able to use it once more. Oil-based paints, on the other hand, are almost always ruined after they have frozen.

👉 Avoid exposing your paint to direct sunlight. Direct sunshine can damage its consistency and formula, leaving it worthless, much as the frigid temperatures of winter can.

👉 After you’ve finished painting, use the same paint to make a mark on the can to show how much paint is left. Not only does this allow you to see when you need new paint without having to open the entire can, but it also reveals the color if you can’t show it well.

👉 If your paint has been destroyed and you need to dispose of it, do so with carefully. Paint cannot be disposed of anywhere because it is considered hazardous waste. 

Latex paint can be mixed with cat litter and allowed to dry before being disposed of. Look for paint recycling facilities or dispose of oil-based paints at hazardous waste sites.

When should frozen paint be thrown away?

Assume you come upon your paint already frozen. So, what exactly do you do? Do you just toss it out? No, it’s not true. 

One thing to keep in mind is that after the first freeze, paint typically seems the same as it did before, but appearances can be deceiving. 

Even if the paint looks to be in good condition, it might cause uneven layers, diminished or uneven shine, adhesion problems, and even early cracking or peeling when exposed to the outdoors.

First, you try to figure out how to fix the problem. Allow for thorough thawing of the paint. Then whisk and combine everything. 

You’re set to go if you can get a creamy nice texture out of it, or whatever the initial texture was, runny or thick. You can re-use the paint. If, after stirring, lumps form, the paint has lost its consistency and must be discarded.

There’s an even stronger reason to avoid using frozen paint for anything other than personal projects: breaking the freeze warning will almost probably void the guarantee, leaving you on the hook if the paint fails to meet the customer’s expectations.

However, you should inspect it before discarding it because you don’t want to waste good paint. In the best-case situation, you’ll have to redo the work at your own expense; in the worst-case scenario, the customer will hire someone else and your reputation will suffer. 

As always, the best course of action is to protect yourself – and your client – by replacing the paint if it freezes even once.

You can read our blog on removing solid stains from wood decks

What are the best paints to use in the winter?

Many major paint manufacturers offer specially designed paints for use in colder climates. 

The majority of these are designed to withstand temperatures of no less than 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If you need to finish your project in the cold, you should use one of these paints. 

Standard paints blended with freeze-resistance chemicals or thinned for ease of use are less reliable than paints intended for lower drying temperatures. 

It’s important to remember that the temperature must be at or above the minimum suggested curing temperature throughout the curing process, not only during application. 

If you apply a fresh coat of paint in 45-degree weather and the weather changes an hour later, the paint may not cure properly, despite the fact that it will dry eventually.

Because paints thicken more in colder temperatures, use reasonably stiff brushes with nylon, polyester, or Chinex bristles, which all perform well with thicker paint.

The minimum application temperature mentioned on your paint can refer to both the air temperature and the surface temperature to be painted. 

Frequently, the surface of a wall or ceiling is cooler than the air, especially when there is wind. It’s as if you’re painting in 40-degree weather if the air temperature is 55 degrees F but the wall surface you’re painting is just 40 degrees F. 

Infrared thermometers are used by painters to eliminate the guesswork involved in painting in inclement weather. These emit an infrared beam that may be used to determine the surface temperature of whatever you direct them at. 

Cheaper versions can be found for under $50, making them a sensible investment for large painting projects.


If the temperature where your water-based paint is kept falls below freezing, it may freeze. Oil-based paints, on the other hand, have a lower freezing point. 

You might be able to utilise water-based paint that has already been frozen. Prevention, rather than cure, is the best policy. As a result, adhere to any manufacturer’s directions. 

Alternatively, keep the paint somewhere that isn’t too cold.

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