Garden Shed FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Maintaining a garden shed is essential – Get it right, and your shed can last a life time, get it wrong, and you could be looking for a replacement in less time than you might have hoped. With most garden sheds costing hundreds or even thousands of pounds, this is an expense that you will want to avoid.

At ‘Home Gardener’, we get asked a lot about shed care and maintenance. Here we try to answer many of the more commonly asked questions.

Garden Shed FAQ’s

Click on a question to be taken to the answer below.

(Q) Can I use just a wood preservative on my shed?

(A) Wood preservers are effective at protecting shed timbers from biological threats such as mould, algae, wood rot, and insect attack, but don’t tend to offer much protection against weathering. To better retain the protective properties of the preserver and offer better protection against weathering, use a wax free wood preserver. Once the preserver has fully dried, treat the shed with a clear or coloured, oil-based shed treatment or Log Cabin Treatment. It’s worth remembering that if a preservative is used that contains wax, you will not be able to overcoat it with a water-based treatment or paint as the wax will simply repel the top-coat.

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(Q) Can I paint my shed after using a wood preservative?

(A) This depends on what type of wood preserver and top-coat are being used. In short, you can’t use a water-based paint for example over a preserver that contains water repellent properties such as wax or silicon. The best option is to choose a wax free preserver as these can be overcoated with virtually any type of top-coat such as water-based paints, wood oils, exterior varnishes and stains.

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(Q) How can I waterproof my shed?

(A) There are a number of shed treatments that can waterproof and protect timber sheds from the elements. Which finish to use largely depends on the type of finish desired and the ease of application and maintainance. There are a huge range of clear and coloured shed treatments to consider, all of which have there own characteristics, pros and cons. You can find out more about shed and fence preservers, shed paints, oil-based shed treatments, and exterior wood varnishes and stains by reading our shed care and maintainance guide here.

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(Q) My shed is about 6 months old and is untreated, What should I do?

(A) If your shed is only 6 months old, it is unlikely to have suffered any long term damage. This said, the quicker you can protect it from the elements and bioligical threats such as mould, algae, wood rot, and insect attack, the better. Although there may not be any visible signs of mould or algae, there is a possibility that the spores may have already become established in the grain of the timber. To be sure that these are killed off, it is advisable to treat all surfaces with a mould and mildew cleaner. Ones treated, use a shed preserver and then a waterproof top-coat such as an exteror wood oil, garden shed paint, exterior wood varnish or stain.

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(Q) Which type of paint should I use on my shed?

(A) There are a huge range of exterior wood paints and garden paints that are perfect for wooden sheds. Which is best largely depends on what type of colour best meets your requirements. Different products and brands may offer performance guarantees and other unique features such as UV resistance, or resistance to mould and algae. Choose a paint that best meets your colour preference and performance expectations. Never use an interior paint on an exterior surface as these are simply not designed to be weather resistant and will soon start to peel and flake off. Find out more about shed paints here.

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(Q) Are wood oils a good option for weatherproofing and protecting a garden shed?

(A) Exterior wood oils are an excellent choice. Available in both clear and colour tinted variations, they are easy to apply and maintain. Wood oils penetrate into the wood grain to protect the wood from water ingress and weathering. Oils also keep the wood supple which helps to prevent shed timbers from cracking, splitting and warping. Find out more about oil-based shed treatments here.

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(Q) What is the best shed paint?

(A) There are many exterior or garden wood paints that are perfect for garden sheds and other exterior wooden structures. Colour range is usually one of the key deciding factors when picking the best shed paint for your project.

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Types of Shed Treatments

With so many wood treatments available, that seal, protect, and waterproof sheds, deciding on which is best for your project can seem difficult. Factors such as the age, condition, and if the shed has been previously treated can all play a part in knowing which wood treatment to use. For a general ‘overview’ of shed treatments, see our ‘Garden Shed Care & Maintenance‘ page.

For a more detailed explanation of each shed treatment type, follow the links below: –

Do you have a shed care and maintainance related question that we haven’t covered above? Let us know and if it is something that we get asked more than a couple of times, we’ll add it to this page along with the answer to help other site visitors.

We cover a wide range garden wood care topics including sheds, fences, decking and more. If you’re looking for answers to many of the common problems and issues that can affect these garden fixtures and fittings, visit our FAQ index page for more answers and solutions to these problems.


We always recommend that test areas are done to assess product suitability and final finish, before starting any project. For technical advice, troubleshooting or any other product or situational queries, always refer to the product manufacturer’s published information and guidance. For technical information on products and their suitability for a given project, contact the manufacturer’s technical support departments directly. Contact details including phone numbers can usually be found on the manufacturer’s products and/or website. cannot be held responsible in any way, shape or form for the guidance given in our gardening faq’s or any other part or page of our website. This is due to the unpredictable nature of wood, its age, species, condition, previous history including previous treatments and/or contamination, environmental, and application considerations, which can all differ from one piece of wood to the next and which will ultimately have an effect on any wood finish applied, including but not limited to suitability, colour, performance and overall results. If in any doubt about the suitability of a product for a given project, always contact the product manufacturer before starting any project or seek the advice of a professional contractor.