Can I Mix Different Types of House Paint?
How often does it happen that your paint runs out exactly as you perform your final brushstroke, leaving you with an empty paint can and a beautiful wall? Based on our experience, just about never! This means that nearly every paint job will leave you with one partial can (or more) of leftover paint. After numerous projects, our paint storage area begins to look like a thrift store for paint bargain hunters! Later on, when it comes time for another project, some people ask, "Can I mix different types of house paint?"
While the idea of combining multiple partial cans of paint together sounds like a good way to make it useful, it is not always a good idea. Let's take a look at when it would and when it would not work.
Two Cans of the Same Paint
If you end up with two (or more) partial cans of the exact same paint, it is perfectly fine to combine them. In fact, it is better to combine them! That way, you don't get minor color variations from one can to the next. Just make sure that any cans you mix together are still useable: if one has dried up or has gotten dirt in it, don't mix it with the other(s).
Different Colors of the Same Style Paint
Sometimes you find yourself with multiple cans of interior satin house paint, for example, but they are different colors from each other. Can you mix them? If you are feeling adventurous, go ahead! The color that comes out will be unpredictable, but in theory, the paint should perform according to its normal characteristics, in terms of coverage and longevity. You could always use it in a closet or some other out-of-the-way location!
Different Sheens or Bases
Once you begin looking at different styles of paints, the possibility of mixing them becomes much more doubtful. For example, mixing a semi-gloss paint with a flat paint is not a great plan. Even worse would be mixing an oil-based paint with an acrylic/latex paint, or a primer with a topcoat. Another example of a "do-not-mix" combination would be interior and exterior house paints.
Other Thoughts on Leftover Paint
- One of the best things to do is to calculate your paint usage carefully ahead of time, in order to minimize leftover paint cans. Measure the square footage of your wall, and see how many square feet your paint can is supposed to cover. Most cover 350 to 400 square feet per gallon.
- Make sure you fit the lids tightly on your paint cans when you store them. If there is not much paint in the can, you can transfer it to a smaller container so it has less air exposure.
- Sometimes non-profit organizations take donations of used paint. If you have a significant amount of leftover paint and it is in good shape, try asking around (or looking online) to see if anyone could benefit from it.
Williams Professional Painting
Since 1979, Williams Professional Painting has been serving the Washington, D.C. region with interior and exterior painting service. Our crews are dedicated to their craft, doing their work with skill and care. As a residential painting company, we emphasize customer service; our goal is to make every step of the house painting process a joy for our clients!