The exceptional quality of ILFORD paper means it is a bit of an investment, especially when picking up several different types and sizes. You want to make sure you are getting top quality papers so you’ll be asking “does ILFORD paper expire?”
Does ILFORD paper expire?
People are happily using ILFORD paper that is ten to fifteen years old and older. The paper itself isn’t an issue so much as how it is stored.
The official ILFORD website states that they don’t use expiry dates on their papers because so much depends on how the paper is cared for. A newer batch that has not been looked after will perform poorly. Whereas a well-cared for older batch will still produce beautiful results.
The chemical processing used in creating the different layers of the paper means that it is vulnerable to changes in its environment. The changes might not be quick or obvious but over time they can add up to a noticeable difference.
On the other hand, a stable, ideal environment, with the papers sealed and properly cared for, can see them last for well over a decade.
Storing ILFORD paper for the best results
The continuing quality of your paper depends mostly on how you store it. Cool and dry conditions are a must. Ideally, it should be kept refrigerated.
If you have a batch you are unsure about then just try a test print.
Signs that the paper has been stored incorrectly and has gone bad includes fogging, flat colours, bleeding of colours, dents, and marks.
If you have old ILFORD paper sitting around at home that hasn’t been best cared for, don’t despair. It’s not necessarily wasted. You can use it for some experimental work, or try to adapt to the paper’s issues. You might be able to get a better result by tailoring your settings, changing the filtration, playing with your color profile, and so on.
There are also anti-fogging sprays you can get that can help with the fogging aspect.
The official word from ILFORD is that the quality of paper you buy is the responsibility of the vendor. Because the storage before you get your hands on your paper relies on the shop you brought it from. That’s where papers can spend the majority of their lifetime.
So if you have bought any poor quality ILFORD paper you can take it up with the shop. It’s not the age of the paper itself that is the problem, but how the shop has been storing it.
Getting the best quality ILFORD paper
Print Supplies Shop is proud of the quality of our ILFORD papers, as well as their great price. If you are ever concerned about the quality of our papers, or have any issues with your order, you can contact us. We have a clear returns and refunds policy.
So the short answer on does ILFORD paper expire is no. But there are different factors that will affect the quality and longevity of ILFORD paper. With the right care your ILFORD papers can last for years and you can pick up well-cared for older papers with confidence.