How Long Is Spray Paint Good For?

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

So, how long is spray paint good for? Generally, unopened spray paint has between 2 and 10 years of shelf life. Following that, the shelf life of opened and in-use spray paints is between 2 and 3 years. Although you will hear the cliché “paints don’t expire,” spray paints do expire.

It would help if you kept reading this post to learn important information about spray paint expiry, the best types of spray paints, and how to store them properly to benefit from prolonged shelf life. You can check the expiration date at the bottom of the spray paint container (i.e., manufacturer’s label) for an easier understanding.

Most Popular Spray Paints

The spray paint market is filled with countless manufacturers always coming up with new paints. The most popular manufacturers are the following brands: Rust-Oleum, Krylon, Montana, and Ironlak. Here’s what you should know about the shelf life and quality of the 4 high-quality spray paint manufacturers:

Rust-Oleum

Rust-Oleum is preferably used on metal coloring and coating. That’s because the manufacturers have designed Rust-Oleum spray paint for metal surfaces. The spray paint is UV-resistant, fast-drying, and rust-proof. Thanks to the oil ingredients that make up Rust-Oleum spray paint, metal surfaces coated are less vulnerable to corrosion and harsh weather conditions. The average shelf-life of Rust-Oleum is between 2 ½ years and 3 years. Remember that we’re talking about the shelf-life of an unopened spray paint container from Rust-Oleum.

Rust-Oleum

Krylon

Krylon offers a versatile range of spray paints and color combos for DIY and domestic painting tasks. It’s suitable for metal surface coating and widely used for industrial purposes. Krylon offers highly effective spray paint that provides rust protection to metal surfaces. The shelf life of unopened and properly stored Krylon spray paint is between 3 and 4 years.

Krylon

Montana

Montana spray paint cans are most commonly seen in the hands of graffiti and private artists. They are high-pressure spray paint containers designed for murals and graffiti art. The manufacturer has been coming up with numerous blends, including one of its top ones, the Gold and Black lines, to impress customers and help them illustrate their thoughts more vividly. Montana has guaranteed a shelf-life of nearly 10 years for its spray paint. In some cases, a Krylon spray paint container can also last 5 years if kept under the perfect storage conditions.

montana spray paint

Ironlak

Ironlak follows up with Montana regarding street arts, graffiti, and murals. The manufacturer has presented a massive range of colors and mixes to impress customers. The best part is that the spray paint cans from Ironlak are suitable for both outdoor and indoor applications. It’s an all-surface spray paint that’s also environmentally friendly to a certain extent. Ironlak spray paint cans contain low VOC levels compared to other top brands. Ironlak spray paint can last nearly 2 years from the production date.

Ironlak spray paint

Can You Use Old Spray Paint?

It’s possible to use an old and expired spray paint. It’s best to check and test the spray paint cans you think have expired or gone bad. It would help if you shook the spray paint container (i.e., can) for 90 seconds to make sure the peas inside it have dissolved the dead paint clogs. Dead paint particles result from improper storage, leading to bad spray paint containers.

It would help if you tried using a dispensable object or surface area to test the old spray paint. It will help you learn how the paint comes out of the container when sprayed. In short, you will have a better idea about whether the spray paint is usable anymore. Professionals generally advise not to spray paint chosen objects or areas directly.

Can You Use Old Spray Paint

It’s best always to test and check the spray paint cans beforehand. Whether you’re using a brand new spray paint can or an old and expired one, check it out first to prevent any bad coats over your object or area.

Sometimes, the spray paint doesn’t release any paint vapors because the dead paint particles have clogged the container’s nozzle. If the nozzle appears clogged with paint particles that won’t come out, there are high chances that your spray paint has expired.

What Happens When Spray Paint Goes Bad?

The paint inside the spray paint container clogs up and loses its quality to deliver a high-quality coating for a surface. Expired spray paint can that goes bad becomes usable. It loses pressure, dead paint particles form (paint solidifies), and becomes highly toxic. Here’s more:

What Happens When Spray Paint Goes Bad

  • Loss of Pressure: Usually, when a spray paint container goes bad, it will start losing the air pressure it has. That will render the valve useless (i.e., the valve you press to release spray paint over a surface).
  • Increased Toxic Content: Since the spray paint can have expired due to extremely slow but continuous chemical reactions, it will start producing extremely toxic fumes. Ensure you don’t inhale or let the toxic paint on your skin.
  • Solidified Paint Particles: The most common sign of spray paint going bad is the formation of lead paint particles inside the container combined with the loss of air pressure near the nozzle. When you press the nozzle, the paint will appear lumpy and hard.

How Long Is Spray Paint Good For?

How long is spray paint good for? While the average expiration timeline of spray paints may vary from brand to brand, the average shelf life of an opened spray paint container is 2-3 years. That can vary from one brand to the other. For example, Montana spray paint containers can last up to 10 years, while Ironlak predicts a 2-year shelf-life at best.

How Long Is Spray Paint Good For

It’s good to read the labels on the spray paint cans before using them. The expiration date and shelf-life information vary among different brands. If you’re purchasing the best-grade spray paint, you have less to worry about when it comes to the shelf-life. High-quality spray paints can last longer than other brands.

Note that the aerosol spray paints’ expiration date is more related to the aerosol content than the container’s paint content. So, please read the labels carefully and know whether your spray paint containers have aerosol in them. Knowing the shelf-life of your favorite spray paint will prevent overstocking and under-stocking.

How Do You Know If Spray Paint Is Expired?

The major sign of expiry in a spray paint container is the loss of air pressure, formation of dead paint particles, paint clogs in the nozzle, etc. Let’s take a look at some more signs of bad spray paint can (expired):

How Do You Know If Spray Paint Is Expired

  • Uneven Consistency: The paint from your spray paint will be uneven. The unevenness will be noticeable in both the thickness and volume of the released paint, along with the color.
  • Streaky Paint: A lot of coating with your spray paint will be uneven and streaky. You will notice stripes of paint with more color than other parts of the coated surface. You will also notice a variation in thickness, which is another sign that your spray paint has expired.
  • Irregular Drying: Along with the streaky parts, you will notice that some areas of the coated surface (using your spray paint) will dry slower than others.
  • Swollen Container: The spray paint will start taking damage from paint-eating microorganisms, which will cause a swollen and puffy shape of the spray paint container.
  • Blocked Nozzle: A non-functional nozzle depicts the loss of air pressure leading to clogging formation (of dead paint particles). The paint would’ve hardened inside the spray paint due to the lack of air pressure. But, this happens mostly with opened spray paint containers.
  • Rancid Odors: You will normally smell rancid and foul odors coming from the spray paint can if it’s expired. The smells will be much more noticeable if you try pressing the valve to release some spray paint.

How Do You Store Spray Paint?

It would help to store your spray paint containers in a dry spot, safe from direct sunlight. Additionally, you have to ensure that the storage location remains at a certain temperature threshold. Here are a few more tips for storing your spray paint properly:

How Do You Store Spray Paint

  1. Open-shelf storage is allowed
  2. Avoid a location with direct sunlight for storing your spray paint
  3. Try to find a location with no direct light, such as a bulb or natural light
  4. Keep away from heaters, stoves, and similar appliances that raise fire risks
  5. Use a dark storage area if possible
  6. Properly clean and dry the spray paint container before storing
  7. Ensure the lid is closed properly (on an opened spray paint can) before storing
  8. Keep the storage location temperature between 5° C to 5° C

Sprain paint cans normally contain aerosol, and that is highly flammable. So, you can’t ignore it but realize that you have to keep it away from locations that increase the chances of a fire occurring. Fire damage resulting from improper storage of spray paint cans can be costly. More importantly, it could pose a serious life risk!

Final Thought

Spray paints are prone to expiry, period. Like any other product or type of paint, spray paints expire depending on the shelf life. However, you can check the bottom of the spray paint container with the manufacturer’s label to check for the expiration date.

You can note when your spray paint will expire and won’t be usable. As stated earlier, you can use expired spray paints in a certain way. Nevertheless, it’s best to test them before applying them on valuable or important surfaces.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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