Yes, latex paint can freeze. However, such paints contain additives such as ethylene glycol that help improve thaw resistance and protect the latex mixture from damage caused by freezing.
Paints can go through many phases in their course of life. They can be mixed, thinned, applied to a surface, dried, and then recoated for protection. One of these processes could be freezing, which may render the paint useless.
Latex paint will not freeze if it is stored above 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit (1-4 degrees Celsius). If you are painting in colder temperatures, make sure that you have a plan to protect your cans from freezing, so they do not become unusable when you need them most.
What Temperature Does Latex Paint Freeze?
Latex paint freezes at 32°F. It is a water-based polymer emulsion that becomes stiff when frozen, which means it cannot spread evenly. If you’re planning to store latex paint for an extended period of time during the winter season, you need to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing.
Below this temperature, latex paint can freeze and become unusable. Freezing temperatures can cause the paint to break down and sag or become lumpy once it returns to room temperature. Temperature is an essential factor when storing latex paints for long periods of time in your garage, basement, or attic.
Besides, the freezing point of water is 32 degrees F. Since latex paint contains water as an ingredient, it will naturally freeze when the temperature drops below this level. Water typically freezes at a lower temperature than other ingredients in paint.
Suppose the temperature in your area drops below freezing regularly during the winter. In that case, you need to keep latex paint inside a heated space or place it in an appliance, such as a refrigerator.
Also, if you are storing latex paints over a long period of time, leave them in their containers and seal them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This will help to prevent moisture from escaping and forming frost on the surface of the paint.
Moreover, do not use metal containers to store latex paints, as they may rust and cause spills. Additionally, please do not keep them in direct sunlight or a hot location for too long. Heat can cause paint additives called driers to evaporate faster.
Although latex paint can suffer some damage from freezing temperatures, it will not melt into a sticky mess like many other types of paint. The only times when the paint may become unusable is if the temperature reaches zero degrees F or below. Other than this, there is no threat of total loss.
Can Latex Paint Be Used After It Freezes?
Yes. Latex paint can be used after it has frozen, but its performance will not be optimal. To ensure the quality of the paint, thaw the paint and stir in the ingredients thoroughly to ensure consistency. Also, ensure to check that the paint does not have a foul odor and is not clumpy; you’re good to start painting.
When paint freezes, all that happens is water expands and turns to ice. However, since there are no actual chemical changes during freezing, it stands to reason that once the ice melts, everything will mix back up again. But this isn’t always true because sometimes, when you wake frozen paints, they harden into a solid block of color.
Besides, latex paint is made up of both solid and liquid components that are suspended. When the liquids freeze, they can expand enough to force solids out of suspension.
These clumps will not go back into their original form after you stir or remix them. Despite having thawed the paint a few times, all this does is release more air bubbles making the mixture less cohesive.
The cold temperatures that cause the paint to freeze usually do not harm the paint. However, the problems begin when the ice melts and water from the air or ground seeps into and dilutes the paint, causing premature crazing of the finished film.
To prevent this problem, brush on a minimum of two additional coats of topcoats over existing painted areas that have become hard due to freezing temperatures before they thaw out. This extra coat of paint will seal the existing coating, preventing water penetration.
Related Read: Can Latex Paint Catch Fire?
How Cold Can Latex Paint Be Applied?
According to the Paint Quality Institute, the majority of latex paints should not be used during cold weather. However, if you choose to paint, the temperature of the air and the surface being painted should be more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition, make sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations on the paint container carefully. Applying paint during cold weather is a challenging task, as it takes longer for the paint to dry.
Therefore, it makes the wet paint vulnerable to insects, dirt, and pollen. If you are planning on using latex paint during the colder months, make sure the forecast predicts at least 36 hours of suitable weather.
But, it is not entirely impossible to use your paints during the colder months. It just requires you to be careful and also account for all factors that might ruin your paint job.
The ideal time of the day to paint an exterior project is midday. Another thing to keep in mind is that you may not be able to finish the paint job during the colder months. As winter days are significantly shorter.
Moreover, the best season to take up an exterior painting project would be late spring, all through summer, or early fall.
Related Read: Does Un-Opened Latex Paint Expire?
How to Restore Frozen Latex Paint? (Steps)
The best way to restore frozen latex paint is by gradually thawing it back to room temperature. Slowly melting the paint back to optimal temperature is your best chance at salvaging frozen latex paint. Latex paints are water-based. Therefore, they freeze at the same temperature as the water.
1. Thaw the Frozen Paint
The first step to saving your paint is patience. You will need time to thaw the can of paint, and you should not be tempted by any quick fixes. For example, hair dryers or space heaters that could potentially ruin it faster than if left alone!
This may take hours, depending on how full the container was when originally purchased. But don’t worry, as long as you bring the paint to room temperature and protect the workspace with a towel or newspaper. There won’t be much clean-up in this process other than waiting patiently (maybe watch some TV while you do!).
Related Read: Can Latex Paint Go in Trash?
2. Check the Quality of the Paint
After you have thawed the paint properly, stirring it well or taking it to a store for shaking are two ways to fix that. The first test when inspecting your freshly thawed paint should be visual.
If its consistency looks like cottage cheese after being stirred, there’s no point in any further inspection. If not obvious on sight, inspect closely by looking for graininess or clumps of stringy texture.
3. Patch Test
Once the paint passes the visual test and the consistency looks good, paint it on a surface to double-check. Grab yourself a brush and make a few strokes on a scrap piece of wood or piece of paper.
Observe the way the paint layers on. Let the paint dry, and then check the painted patch for any visible grains, lumps, or any form of inconsistencies.
Then, if all seems good, the paint is in usable condition and should be fine to use on your project. A properly thawed can of paint will always have the consistency, color, and texture of a newly opened can of paint. If that’s not the case, it’s best to discard it.
How Do You Keep Latex Paint From Freezing?
Now that we have determined that latex paint freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The solution is to store the paint where the temperature does not fall to 32 degrees or lower. It would be best to keep the paint in a room with temperature control throughout the winter months.
Additionally, if a paint container has been opened before, make sure to add a layer of plastic wrap before putting the lid on. Also, make sure to hammer down the top properly to ensure an air-tight seal.
Should you have paint cans that are frozen, it is possible to save them. However, if you intend to save money, keep the paint’s quality high, and have them last for a long time. Then there’s something even better than can be done: preventing freezing in the first place!
Unfreeze That Latex!
It is quite possible for latex paint to freeze as they are water-based paints. Therefore, latex paints freeze at the same temperature as the water. Hence, they require climate-controlled storage space that will prevent the paint from freezing.
While it is possible to salvage frozen latex paint, it may not always be the case. Thus, why not avoid all the hassle by just storing the paint correctly in the first place?