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How long will leftover paint match existing walls colors?

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  • Jan 13th, 2023 4:41 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 3, 2013
1058 posts
1688 upvotes
Somewhere over the r…

How long will leftover paint match existing walls colors?

We had some painting done 2 months back and one of my kids put a big ding in our wall that needs to be mudded and painted over.

Will the leftover paint from 2 months ago still match? How long until the leftover paint no longer matches in case we have any future dings/marks on walls?

It stops matching eventually I'm just not sure how long it takes as we tried to touch up walls before with 4 year old leftover paint and it was very noticeable the color difference.
16 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jun 24, 2015
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yes it should, i used 2 year old paint to do a touch up, as long as the can is sealed and not rusted, go for it
Say NO to the WAR!
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Deal Fanatic
Jun 24, 2015
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just don't store paint cans in the garage, the cold from the winter and heat from the summer will make it spoil faster
Say NO to the WAR!
PEACE is the answer!
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Feb 3, 2005
4891 posts
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Georgetown
A long time.

Your biggest concern is the paint cans deteriorating (and as already mentioned, don't store it in the garage unless it is climate controlled).

I have had to pry open some old paint cans where the lid had sealed to the can and I literally destroyed the can to get it open. You will also sometimes discover a skin in the old paint can.. I think it's a lining that falls off - at first I thought it was a layer of pain that peeled off the lid or bottom of the can or something - but after fishing a couple out, I'm pretty sure it's some liner that seperates. Anyhow... the paint itself if stirred properly has always matched. I have started to put old touchup paint into glass jars (a necessity once the can is destroyed). This should work just fine - but comes with it's own concerns (ie - be very careful to not break the jar! ) Also, if you have canning jars where the metal plate that seals it is seperate from the screw top, I imagine it could become stuck on pretty well if paint hits the top of the jar.

I have done touchups with paint a decade old... I also have used some where the can had rusted a bit, etc.... I was careful to minimize contamination... stirred and mixed it, then removed only a fraction of the paint to another container carefully (after mixing slowly/carefully... give it a minute so objects settle a bit, then slow pour some out to avoid having rust/chunks/etc.)

I went through this ordeal because a successful touchup would avoid having to do a full repaint - so it was worth the attempt. Happily, the paint has matched every time.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 3, 2013
1058 posts
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Somewhere over the r…
Thanks

I'm guessing my issue last time was the old paint was stored in the garage. The new paint has been stored in the basement
Deal Fanatic
Dec 19, 2009
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The sun can also fade the colour.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 12, 2007
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Ottawa
I've gotten away with over ten years. I mix the paint and strain it through a nylon filter and store it in plastic containers (to address rust contamination).
Deal Addict
Oct 25, 2017
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pootza wrote: The sun can also fade the colour.
This. And if you got dirty dusty walls. We patch painted walls a couple years later and in the right light we can see it Face With Tears Of Joy
Deal Guru
Jun 24, 2006
13428 posts
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GoodFellaz wrote: just don't store paint cans in the garage, the cold from the winter and heat from the summer will make it spoil faster
I confirmed this when I took 16 cans to the dump this summer.
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Sep 9, 2012
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Worriedone wrote: Thanks

I'm guessing my issue last time was the old paint was stored in the garage. The new paint has been stored in the basement
I’ve had success with years old paint as others noted above - it can be done. Aside from storage, you really really need to make sure it’s stirred up really well before using it. If it hasn’t been stored longer than a year or so then I stir it up myself for a good long while, then add another minute to make sure. If it’s over a year then I give it a shorter stir and take back to where I bought it and ask them to put it into their shaker machine for a bit longer than needed.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
23535 posts
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Eastern Ontario
Tiberius wrote: A long time.

Your biggest concern is the paint cans deteriorating (and as already mentioned, don't store it in the garage unless it is climate controlled).

I have had to pry open some old paint cans where the lid had sealed to the can and I literally destroyed the can to get it open. You will also sometimes discover a skin in the old paint can.. I think it's a lining that falls off - at first I thought it was a layer of pain that peeled off the lid or bottom of the can or something - but after fishing a couple out, I'm pretty sure it's some liner that seperates. Anyhow... the paint itself if stirred properly has always matched. I have started to put old touchup paint into glass jars (a necessity once the can is destroyed). This should work just fine - but comes with it's own concerns (ie - be very careful to not break the jar! ) Also, if you have canning jars where the metal plate that seals it is seperate from the screw top, I imagine it could become stuck on pretty well if paint hits the top of the jar.

I have done touchups with paint a decade old... I also have used some where the can had rusted a bit, etc.... I was careful to minimize contamination... stirred and mixed it, then removed only a fraction of the paint to another container carefully (after mixing slowly/carefully... give it a minute so objects settle a bit, then slow pour some out to avoid having rust/chunks/etc.)

I went through this ordeal because a successful touchup would avoid having to do a full repaint - so it was worth the attempt. Happily, the paint has matched every time.
The scum … is just the paint top layer drying out
Exactly how it behaves on your walls

It’s cuz the paint is no longer vacuum sealed in the can
Theres now air in the can
Which dries out the top of the paint in the can

Ya skim off the scum
Stir well … and you are good to go.

Transferring to smaller containers
Means less air
And less surface
Equals less scum
But it will still happen
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Jul 4, 2009
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Windsor, ON area
I find that the mismatch is not due to the paint that is in the can changing colours but the paint on the wall is no longer the colour it started out due to sun.

This can happen as quickly as a year if the wall gets a lot of sun.
Deal Addict
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Jun 12, 2008
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Ancaster
Additionally what often shows up isn't the paint colour changing but the different texture of the original job and the repair.
Sr. Member
Dec 21, 2020
599 posts
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nielboy wrote: Additionally what often shows up isn't the paint colour changing but the different texture of the original job and the repair.
Or using a brush versus roller to apply the paint. Rollers always leave a certain texture that a brush doesn't. One reason I always paint larger patches with a mini roller to get a similar texture on the paint.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
8612 posts
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Mississauga
I just did some drywall repairs and used 2 year-old paint and it matched just fine. It helped that it was on a wall that gets no direct sunlight and no hand contact (no oils/finger prints to build up).
Deal Addict
Dec 9, 2003
4997 posts
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Calgary
Take a small amount of the paint. Keep it in a Ziploc container with a screw lid. In the refrigerator. It will last "forever".

Then, if you do a larger repair and you dont have enough paint in the refrigerator. First use the paint stored in the basement/garage etc. Then use the Ziploc paint for the final coat or edges to blend into the main wall.
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Feb 13, 2021
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Newer paint cans are plastic not steel. At first I thought, how cheap of them, but now they don't have that interior rusting problem with half-empty cans. If the lid is still steel, spread plastic wrap over the can before putting back the lid, that way any rust will not fall into the paint.

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