Storing Painting Equipment & Paint in Cold Climates

It’s fall in Calgary, Alberta and we’ve already had a major snowfall a few weeks ago. It took 5-6 days for the snow to melt so it was quite the dump for early October. Today it’s calling for more snow and it is only Oct-11. This is a reminder that winter is coming, and as pro painters, we have to protect our equipment and supplies from freezing.

This is true for homeowners too. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen gallons upon gallons of perfectly good paint totally wasted because of improper storage. Retail cost for a gallon of paint can be as high as $60-$80. Multiply that by 4 or 5 gallons and it can be a costly mistake. You never know when you’ll need paint for touch-ups to damaged drywall (or trim). This will definitely happen over a period of a few years. Kids and adults alike will nick up the walls.

To be honest there is no such a thing as a so-called “touchup” in the literal sense. It’s been my experience that a wall needs to be painted entirely for best results. Touching up spots will almost certainly be seen. You don’t want that. Homeowners who are storing paint in their unheated garages need to move it inside for the winter or the paint will be ruined. The vast majority of paints we use in both residential and commercial painting are water-based acrylics.

As a painting contractor working in Calgary, we always take the time to winterize our equipment if storing in an unheated garage. We own several paint sprayers and always add an antifreeze to our pumps for protection. We also use oil-based paint thinner to the piston portion of the pump. No need to fill the hoses with thinner because the antifreeze will prevent it from cracking.

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