How Long Does Acrylic Paint Last?

Acrylic paints are famous because of their fast drying process and versatility in different mediums. These are also known to have less toxicity. All these bonus points are added on the acrylic paint side. But the concern about its longevity remains. So, the question is: how long does acrylic paint last?

Acrylic paint has a 5 to 7-year shelf life, according to the manufacturers. But after the paint can is opened, it’s susceptible to bacteria, fungus, and temperature. So, it can go bad at any amount of time, depending on your care. And once painted, it can last 5-15 years.

Let’s dive into this to find out all about the longevity of acrylic paint.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Last..

What Can Prevent Acrylic Paint From Lasting Longer?

Acrylic paint, despite having a long shelf life, can go bad. Well, it doesn’t go bad on its own. There are certain factors that contribute to decreasing the lifespan of your acrylic paint. These are:

High Heat

The temperatures have a major impact on acrylic paint. Acrylic paints are composed of a variety of different ingredients, including pigments and emulsions. These substances are sensitive to high temperatures.

Acrylic paints were developed to provide a paint that would dry faster. So when the temperature goes over the thresholds advised by the manufacturer, the paint dries up significantly faster.

At high temperatures, acrylic paint loses the water it needs to remain liquid and thus solidifies. Then you won’t be able to recycle it either. Because once the paint is dried, it will take a plastic-like consistency that is resistant to water and impossible to reuse.

Extreme Coldness

Acrylic paints get frozen and flake off when exposed to cold temperatures because the temperature alters the composition of the acrylic.

Acrylic paints are thick solutions that are emulsions of several different ingredients. An emulsion is formed when two liquids are pushed to combine despite their natural tendency to separate. But the emulsions tend to split when exposed to coldness for a long period of time.

Then the temperature will convert the paint into tiny icicles, much as excessive heat turns acrylics brittle and parched. The coldness splits the acrylic paint, and you will see cracks in your paint.

Exposure To Dampness

When your acrylic paint is exposed to any sort of moisture, whether clean or dirty, fungus such as mold and mildew form on your paint, or you can have these fungi in your paint storage and make your paint susceptible to them.

Will My Acrylic Paint Last Longer Than My Oil Paint?

It is important to note that some of the oil paintings we see around us are older than 500 years. And before acrylic, they were thought to be the most prominent painting medium. But since acrylics are built to be sturdier, it is believed that acrylic paintings will live twice as long as oil paintings.

The major inspiration behind this hypothesis is that although acrylic paints are water-soluble, once they dry, they become water-resistant. So, even though after 200 years, an oil painting has the possibility of getting damaged, acrylic paint doesn’t.

Unlike oil painting, acrylic paint doesn’t get ruined if it has dust or drinks on it. Acrylic paints will be impervious to rain, spilled beverages, as well as other moisture-related mishaps!

Related: Mixing oil and acrylic paint

Increasing The Shelf Life Of Acrylic Paint

The way your missteps can make your acrylic paint go bad, in a similar way, your care and simple caution can make the paint last longer. Just follow these three steps.

Avoid Air pass In The Container

Paint containers should be as tightly sealed as possible. Ensure that the tube tops are securely fastened on. If you have bought a can of paint, then use a hammer to tightly secure the lid each time after using it. You can also use a plumber’s tape to secure the lids properly.

To limit the potential for contamination from fresh air or pollutants, you can keep the paint containers in another big airtight container. Then you will have double protection. If any paint container breaks, use any sort of airtight container that you have in your home to store the paint.

Avoid Exposure To High/Low Temperatures

As high or low temperatures can split or harden your paint, avoid keeping your paint at too higher or lower temperatures. Just put the paint in the places where you have room temperature most of the time.

Avoid Humidity Of Any Sort

Keep your paint cans far away from locations with higher moisture levels to avoid mold and fungus-oriented damage. Avoid locations with flowing water, open wood or pavement, a functioning furnace, doorways opening outside, or bathrooms.

The fungus can also be formed in the paint if it is kept for a long time in storage. To avoid that, in the paint containers, you can add silicone sachets that absorb moisture.

All of these issues become more prominent the longer you keep your paint unused in storage. To avoid forgetting how long you are preserving your paint, always write the purchase date on the container.

The Longevity Of Acrylic Paint On Different Surfaces

The surface you’re painting will have an enormous effect on the longevity of your pain. Paint on brick lasts the longest, followed by metals, stucco, glass, and wood. Acrylic paint over aluminum and vinyl surfaces will last for more than 20 years if applied properly.

Bricks have more pores on the outer surface to absorb the paint thoroughly. Metals also have a high affinity for paint components. The lifespan of wooden surfaces can be increased by sealing pores.

The right primer will increase the lifespan by a fine margin. Glass surfaces have fewer pores so that the paint components will have a loose attachment to the surface.

Exterior Acrylic Paint Lifespan

There are a lot of acrylic paint companies on the market claiming their paints will last for about a hundred years. Some sound more realistic when they say their paint will last for 10-15 years. But the truth is, the answer to this question depends on so many things. In most cases, acrylic paints last for about 5-10 years in exterior settings.

The answer depends on so many variables. If applied properly, acrylic paints last longer than latex or oil-based paints. But it mainly depends on the weather, the surface being painted, the paint brand, and the job’s quality.

There are some avoidable factors that will increase the longevity of exterior paintings. Here are some avoidable factors that can help your exterior painting last a long time.

The Color Of Your Exterior Paint

The lifespan of exterior acrylic paint depends so much on the color you have chosen. Dark colors absorb so much sunlight and can fade away faster. So if you put dark-colored acrylic paint on the sunny side of your house, you may have to repaint it within two to five years.

But if you apply light colors, they may last for about five to seven years and a decade if applied on a sheltered side. So carefully choose your color.

Curing Of Exterior Acrylic Paint

Exterior paint needs more time to cure. Acrylic paints dry faster than latex paints, which take about 6 to 8 hours to dry. But a dried surface doesn’t mean curing is appropriately done.

The golden rule is to pick a day when there’s no possibility of rain for at least 12 hours before and after applying the paint because the surface should be completely dry so that the paint particles can attach nicely to the surface.

Another important thing is to pay attention to the humidity level. Painting in high humidity will have more effect than heavy rain after 6 hours of painting. High moisture causes slow curing.

High humidity and extreme foggy weather can melt the pain completely. So, it’s wise to pick a day with zero possibility of rain and low humidity.

Equipment and Methods

The majority of the outcome of your project depends on the equipment you’re using. You should use the best caulking, paint, and primer.

The right method of applying the paint will increase its longevity. Start from the top and work your way down. You should use an airless sprayer for the primer and paint. The density will be top-notch if you use a high-quality roller.

Learn more about acrylic paints:


Acrylic paint has all the best aspects you might look for while painting your media. It has the great adhesive quality and is versatile. It’s affordable too. So, it is perfect for experimenting with new crafts.

And how long does acrylic paint last? Well, now you know, more than oil painting if you are trying to keep your pictures to define history. But if not, your paint will last for years on your shelves. You just need to be careful how you store it and avoid anything that might harm your paint.

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