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As oil-based paints age, they can show a yellowish cast. This is especially true of white and light colored paints. This yellow color can darken as time passes. It must be noted that yellowing does not affect the durability of the paint and does not always look offensive.

The Cause
When oil-based paints, alkyd paints or varnishes get oxidized they turn yellow. The yellowing can also result from heat emanating from heating ducts, radiators, refrigerators or stoves. When certain areas of the painted surface do not receive light they may turn yellow. This usually occurs behind picture frames, behind large appliances or inside cabinets. Some alkyd paints turn yellow as part of the curing process. Certain environmental conditions such as moisture or pollution may also cause yellowing.

The Solution
Use paints that are specially formulated to prevent yellowing. Superior-quality latex paints do not suffer from yellowing even when they age. If you are using varnish, check the container for “non-yellowing” properties.

If the yellowing is due to environmental conditions, repainting may not be The Solution
, as the new coat may show similar results. You will not have to deal with yellowing problems if you decide beforehand to choose a paint that is dark in color.