Can You Store Paintings in a Garage? Here’s How!

Storing paintings can be a challenge, especially when you don’t have a dedicated space. One common question is, can you store paintings in a garage? While it might seem convenient, garages come with their own set of risks for artwork. This blog post will explore those risks and offer practical solutions for safely storing your paintings in a garage.

Understanding the Risks of Storing Paintings in a Garage

Climate Control Issues

Temperature Fluctuations

Garages are known for their unstable temperatures. Extreme heat or cold can wreak havoc on your paintings. Temperature fluctuations can cause the paint to crack, the canvas to warp, and the frame to deteriorate. Ideally, paintings should be kept at a stable temperature of around 70°F (21°C).

To mitigate the impact of temperature fluctuations, consider insulating your garage. Insulation helps regulate the temperature, creating a more stable environment for your artwork. Use materials like fiberglass or foam boards to insulate the walls and ceiling of your garage. This will help maintain a more consistent temperature, reducing the risk of damage to your paintings.

Humidity Levels

Humidity is another critical factor to consider when storing paintings. Garages are often prone to high humidity levels, which can lead to mold growth and canvas stretching. On the other hand, low humidity can make the paint brittle and cause cracking.

To control humidity in your garage, invest in a dehumidifier. This device helps remove excess moisture from the air, maintaining a suitable humidity level for your paintings. Aim for a humidity range of 40-50% to ensure optimal conditions for artwork storage.

Exposure to Light

Sunlight and UV Rays

Direct sunlight is a painting’s worst enemy. UV rays can fade colors and weaken the canvas fibers over time. Even indirect sunlight can cause damage if exposure is prolonged.

When storing paintings in a garage, avoid placing them near windows or areas with direct sunlight. If your garage has windows, consider covering them with blackout curtains or UV-blocking film to minimize light exposure. Additionally, use UV-filtering glass or acrylic when framing your paintings to provide an extra layer of protection against harmful rays.

Artificial Lighting

Not all artificial lighting is safe for paintings. Fluorescent lights, for example, emit UV rays that can cause similar damage to sunlight. Use LED lights instead, which are safer and more energy-efficient. LED lights produce minimal UV radiation and heat, making them suitable for illuminating your garage storage area without posing a threat to your artwork.

Pests and Rodents


Insects like silverfish and termites can be devastating to stored artwork. They can chew through canvases and frames, leaving your paintings in ruins. Preventive measures include regular pest control and using insect repellents.

When storing paintings in a garage, take extra precautions to keep insects at bay. Keep the garage clean and free of food debris, as this can attract pests. Consider using insect-repellent products or natural remedies like cedar blocks or lavender sachets to deter insects from approaching your artwork.


Rodents are another threat to consider when storing paintings in a garage. Mice and rats can gnaw on frames and even the painting itself, causing irreparable damage.

To minimize the risk of rodent damage, ensure your garage is free of any entry points for these pests. Seal any gaps or cracks in the walls, doors, and windows. Keep the garage clean and organized, reducing potential hiding spots for rodents. Consider setting up traps or using ultrasonic repellents as additional safeguards.

Best Practices for Storing Paintings in a Garage

Preparing the Garage Environment


Insulating your garage can significantly improve its suitability for storing paintings. Insulation helps maintain a stable temperature and humidity level, protecting your artwork from extreme fluctuations.

When insulating your garage, consider using materials that provide both thermal and sound insulation. Fiberglass insulation is a popular choice, as it is effective at regulating temperature and reducing noise. Foam board insulation is another option, providing excellent thermal resistance and easy installation.

Dehumidifiers and Climate Control Devices

A dehumidifier can be a game-changer for maintaining optimal humidity levels in your garage. It helps remove excess moisture from the air, preventing mold growth and canvas stretching. Additionally, consider using climate control devices such as portable air conditioners or heaters to regulate the temperature in your garage. These devices can ensure a consistent and suitable environment for your paintings.

Proper Packaging and Storage Techniques

Wrapping and Covering

Proper wrapping and covering are essential steps in protecting your paintings during storage. When wrapping paintings, use acid-free paper or archival tissue to create a protective layer between the artwork and any other materials. This helps prevent direct contact that could potentially damage the surface of the painting.

For added protection, consider using bubble wrap to cushion the artwork. Begin by covering the painting with acid-free paper, and then wrap it with a layer of bubble wrap. Secure the wrap with tape, ensuring it is snug but not too tight.

Storage Containers and Frames

Choosing the right storage containers and frames is crucial to safeguarding your paintings in a garage environment. Opt for sturdy storage containers made from acid-free materials. These containers should be large enough to accommodate the size of your paintings without excessive pressure on the artwork.

When it comes to frames, select those made from acid-free materials as well. Acid-free frames minimize the risk of chemical reactions that could damage the painting over time. Additionally, ensure the frame’s backing is secure and won’t allow dust or pests to enter.

Positioning and Placement

Vertical vs. Horizontal Storage

Vertical storage is generally safer for paintings, as it minimizes the risk of sagging and warping. When storing paintings vertically, ensure they are adequately supported and not leaning against each other. Use vertical storage racks or adjustable shelving units to keep the paintings upright and prevent unnecessary pressure on the canvases.

If you must store paintings horizontally, take extra care to protect them. Place acid-free boards or foam padding between each painting to provide support and prevent any potential damage from contact. Avoid stacking paintings on top of each other, as this can lead to compression and potential cracking.

Avoiding High-Risk Areas

Identifying high-risk areas in your garage is essential to minimize potential damage to your stored paintings. Avoid storing paintings near windows or garage doors, as these areas are more susceptible to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Instead, choose a corner or an interior wall away from direct sunlight and areas prone to drafts.

Consider installing additional insulation or creating a partition within your garage to create a dedicated storage area for your paintings. This can help isolate the artwork from external influences and provide a more controlled environment.

Alternative Storage Solutions for Paintings

Considering all the necessary strategies you need to place in order to store your paintings in the garage, some people may actually want to consider other alternatives that are straightforward and require less environmental control prepping.

Professional Art Storage Facilities

If you have valuable or sentimental paintings, professional art storage facilities offer many advantages. These facilities are equipped with climate control systems that maintain ideal temperature and humidity levels. They also provide high security, ensuring your artwork remains safe from theft or vandalism. Additionally, many of these facilities offer insurance options, adding an extra layer of protection.

Professional art storage facilities are designed specifically to meet the needs of artwork storage. They employ experts who understand the complexities of preserving and protecting valuable pieces. These professionals have extensive knowledge of handling and storing various types of artwork, ensuring that your paintings are in capable hands.

How to Choose a Facility

When selecting a professional art storage facility, consider several factors. First and foremost, assess their climate control capabilities. Inquire about the temperature and humidity settings they maintain and ensure they align with the recommended levels for art storage. A facility that offers customizable climate control settings is ideal, as it allows you to tailor the environment to suit your specific artwork.

Security measures are equally important. Ask about the facility’s surveillance systems, access controls, and fire protection measures. Look for facilities with 24/7 monitoring and restricted access to minimize the risk of unauthorized entry or theft.

Cost is another consideration. Professional storage can be expensive, especially for larger collections or valuable artwork. However, the investment may be worthwhile for the peace of mind it offers. Compare pricing plans and services offered by different facilities to find one that aligns with your budget and requirements.

Home-Based Storage Options

Creating a Dedicated Storage Room

If professional storage isn’t feasible or necessary for your collection, you can create a dedicated storage room in your home. This option provides convenience and accessibility while allowing you to maintain control over the storage environment.

When creating a dedicated storage room, choose a space that is naturally climate stable, such as an interior room or basement. These areas tend to experience fewer temperature and humidity fluctuations compared to garages or attics. Insulate the walls and ceiling to regulate the temperature and minimize external influences.

Install a dehumidifier to control humidity levels within the storage room. This device will remove excess moisture from the air, preventing mold growth and other humidity-related issues. Consider using a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels regularly and make adjustments as necessary.

Equip the storage room with sturdy shelving units or racks to store the paintings vertically. Avoid leaning paintings against each other, as this can lead to damage over time. Place acid-free boards or foam padding between each painting for added protection.

Using Closets and Spare Bedrooms

If you have limited space, closets and spare bedrooms can serve as alternative storage areas for your paintings. These areas provide better climate control compared to garages or basements but may require some adjustments to ensure optimal conditions.

Before using a closet or spare bedroom for artwork storage, evaluate the space for potential risks. Ensure the area is clean, dry, and free from pests. Address any issues with humidity or temperature fluctuations by installing a dehumidifier or using climate control devices.

When storing paintings in closets or spare bedrooms, follow the same best practices as for a dedicated storage room. Use acid-free materials for wrapping and covering the paintings, and make sure they are stored vertically to minimize pressure on the canvases. Regularly inspect the storage area for signs of pests or environmental changes that could impact the artwork.

Frequently Asked Questions About Storing Paintings

Can I Store Paintings in an Unfinished Basement?

Unfinished basements are generally unsuitable for storing paintings due to their damp and unstable conditions. Basements often suffer from high humidity levels, which can lead to mold growth and canvas warping. Additionally, unfinished basements may lack proper insulation, exposing the artwork to extreme temperature fluctuations.

If you must use an unfinished basement for storage, take steps to improve its conditions. Start by addressing any moisture issues, such as waterproofing the walls and floors. Install a dehumidifier to regulate humidity levels and consider insulating the space to stabilize the temperature. Regularly monitor the environment and the paintings for any signs of damage.

How Long Can Paintings Be Stored in a Garage?

The duration paintings can be safely stored in a garage depends on several factors, including the garage’s environmental conditions and how well the paintings are protected. In a well-insulated, climate-controlled garage, paintings can be stored for several months to a few years. However, it’s essential to regularly check for signs of damage and monitor the temperature and humidity levels. If you notice any issues, such as mold growth, discoloration, or frame warping, it’s advisable to move the paintings to a safer location immediately.

What Materials Should I Avoid When Storing Paintings?

Certain materials can be harmful to paintings and should be avoided when storing them. Newspapers or regular cardboard, for example, contain acids that can deteriorate the artwork over time. Plastic wrap, although commonly used for wrapping items, can trap moisture and lead to mold growth. Instead, opt for acid-free paper or archival tissue for wrapping and covering paintings. These materials provide a protective barrier without introducing harmful substances.

When it comes to storage containers, avoid plastic bins or bags that are not labeled as acid-free. These containers can emit gases that may cause chemical reactions with the artwork. Opt for storage containers made from acid-free materials, such as acid-free cardboard boxes or metal containers with acid-free lining.


Storing paintings in a garage requires careful consideration of the risks involved and the necessary precautions to protect your artwork. While garages may not offer the ideal environment for long-term storage, you can implement various measures to minimize potential damage. Insulating the garage, controlling temperature and humidity, and using proper packaging and storage techniques can significantly improve the conditions for storing paintings.

If professional art storage facilities are accessible and within your budget, they offer the highest level of protection and specialized care for your valuable artwork. Creating a dedicated storage room in your home or utilizing closets and spare bedrooms can also provide suitable alternatives, provided you maintain proper climate control and follow best practices.

Remember to regularly monitor your stored paintings, inspecting for any signs of damage or changes in the storage environment. With proper care and attention, you can safely store your paintings in a garage or explore alternative storage options while preserving their beauty and integrity.

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