Find out if you can use old paint. Learn how to ensure that your color turns out the way you expect when you use old paint.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Nora in New Hampshire who’s got a question about some unused paint . What can we do for you?
NORA: I have cans of latex paint purchased four years ago.
NORA: Some were opened and used with some remaining and then other cans of latex paint were not open. And my question has to do with how long can this paint be good for?
TOM: Was the paint kept like room temperature …?
NORA: Like a conditioned space or did it freeze.
TOM: Was it ever frozen?
NORA: No, I made sure to keep them in the house and actually in my living room and…
TOM: Wow, you’ve been looking at them for those four years. (laughs)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) You’ve been looking at the …
TOM: The answer is that it’s probably fine. Now with the cans of paint that you opened I’ll just give you one cautionary note and that is you want to make sure that when you open those you don’t have any sort of rust in the lip of the paint can. Because if you do, that rust that falls in the paint will change the color of the paint and it will not be obvious until you put it on and then you’ll notice it’s just slightly darker than everything else. But if the paint is – you know, the paint cans are sealed and there’s no rust – and these are all the same colors?
NORA: One is – actually, some of it is ceiling paint  and other cans have to do with the walls.
TOM: Well, what I would do is I would open up the two cans of ceiling paint; I would dump them together in a five-gallon; mix them up really, really well and work from that.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Or you can even take everything closed over to your home center and have them shake it up for you; just to give it a fresh mix. This way anything that settled has time to redistribute and then go ahead and combine things and work from there.
TOM: Alright, Nora. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.