Can frozen paint be saved? While we would never use frozen or even leftover paint for a customers project, we are often asked if paint left in the garage or likely frozen paint can still be used.
Paints are composed of liquids and solids held in suspension. With latex paint most of the liquid is water and the solids are suspended into that water. When the water freezes the solids are often squeezed out of the water, become separated and no amount of mixing will force the solids back into suspension.
The separation of water and the solids is a process and often it will take more then 1 freeze to render the paint unusable. How hard or complete the paint freezes is also a factor.
In my experience many latex paints can slightly freeze 2 or 3 times and be salvaged. A quick indicator is the consistency of the paint after it is remixed. Pour the paint from one container into another. Does it appear smooth or does it have a consistency of cottage cheese? If it is lumpy it’s no longer good.
If the appearance is good you will still want to test it. Often the paint may look ok but when used there is often differences in the sheen. It looks streaky or nonuniform on the substrate. Put some one a piece of drywall to check appearance and see how well it adheres.
If after testing the paint it appears ok, it may be safe to use on a small project or touch-up.
Frozen paint can still sometimes be used but the safer bet is to use that frozen paint to get a paint match and complete your project with a quality paint you can have full confidence in.