Garden Shed Care & Maintenance

Preserving and maintaining a garden shed, log cabin or summerhouse is essential to keep it looking great and lasting for longer. The type of shed treatment required can depend on if the structure is new or old, bare wood or previously treated.

Wooden garden shed with windows

By following a few simple woodcare rules, garden sheds and other garden structures can be protected from weathering, wood rot, insect attack and unsightly mould and algae, all of which can significantly reduce the life of your investment.

Which Shed Treatment?

When it comes to shed care, there are essentially 6 types of wood treatment that can be used to protect, preserve and if required, colour a garden shed. These are…

Shed Preserver

Solvent-based wood preservers penetrate deep in to the wood to protect the timber against mould, algae, dry rot, insect attack and other wood related diseases. When using a wood preservative it’s important to consider if the preservative is going to be over-coated with a paint or wood oil. Many preservers contain a small amount of wax and although this is fine when over-coating with an exterior wood oil or decking oil, it will repel water based paints and stains. More information on shed preservers here.

Shed Paint

Adding colour to a garden shed brings colour and style to outdoor living spaces. Now more popular than ever, there are a wide variety of garden paints in soft pastels and striking shades that are perfect for garden sheds. More information on shed paints here.

Garden Shed Stain

The definition of a garden shed stain can be blurred as a number of products that can be used to protect a wooden shed can also be used to colour it at the same time. For example, many wood preservatives and exterior wood oils are available in both clear and a range of colours. Find out more about the various types of garden shed stains here.

Exterior Wood Oil for Sheds

Using an exterior wood oil or decking oil on a garden shed is a great way to nourish and maintain the timber. Wood oils penetrate in to the wood to help keep it supple and water repellent, therefore helping to prevent cracking, splitting and warping of the sheds timbers. Find out more about the various oil-based garden shed treatments here.

Shed Cleaner

We’ve all seen or had them, the garden shed that is either partially or completely covered in green mould or algae. More of an issue for sheds that are located in damp or shaded areas, mould and algae can degrade shed timbers over time to shorten the life of the sheds, log cabins and summer houses. Find out more about mould and algae treatments for wooden sheds here.

Keeping It Natural

To keep a shed looking natural and to reduce the greying effect of weathering and UV damage, use a clear wood preserver followed with a clear UV resistant wood oil, decking oil or log cabin treatment. Using a shed preserver and exterior wood oil offers the best protection against both biological threats such as mould and algae and the effects of weathering.

Adding Colour to Garden Sheds

There is a huge variety of garden paints, coloured wood preservers and wood oils that will protect and preserve wooden sheds whilst introducing a splash of colour to the garden. This can be done by…

  • Using a clear wood preservative then over-coating with a coloured or pigmented exterior wood oil or decking oil
  • Using a coloured wood preservative then over coating with a clear exterior wood oil or decking oil
  • Treating the shed with a clear, silicon and wax free wood preservative then over-coating with one of the many water based exterior garden paints

Although a clear or coloured shed preserver can be used as a stand-alone treatment, we recommend that it is over-coated with a suitable exterior wood oil or decking oil to provide the best possible protection. The same applies for wood oils. Although they can be used as a standalone treatment, they are less effective at protecting sheds against mould, algae and insect attack than using in conjunction with a wood preserver.

Garden Shed Restoration

If you have an old garden shed that has been neglected for a number of years, chances are that it can be restored and given a new lease of life, as long as it hasn’t succumbed to terminal wood rot and not on the verge of collapse.

Garden sheds that have been previously painted or varnished and that are now cracking and peeling need to be stripped back to bare wood. This is usually best achieved with a paint scraper, stiff brush and a good paint stripper. Always use a dust mask when sanding or stripping old coatings to protect from dust and debris that may be toxic. Using a paint stripper can minimise the amount of dust released and can make it easier to collect up and dispose of the waste.

Any rotten pieces of wood should be cut out and replaced with new timber to prevent the wood rot spreading further. As a guide, remove all timber within 6 inches of the rotten timber. Once the shed has been stripped to bare wood and all traces of rotten timber have been removed, it’s time to start the preservation process. a good quality spirit based wood treatment or wood preservative should be applied to all visible areas paying special attention to end grain if and areas where water may collect.

If the old shed is truly past saving, it may be time to take the plunge and invest in a new one. This is a good opportunity to re-evaluate its position in the garden and ensure that its well protected with the appropriate shed treatments.

Is your shed dead?

Although there’s a certain charm about an old shed that has been lovingly restored or transformed, there unfortunately comes a point where it’s just not economical in terms of time and money to save an old, structurally unsound shed. The last thing anyone wants is for a shed to collapse when trying to wrestle out the lawnmower or garden furniture. If your shed has more holes than Swiss cheese, is leaning more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa or creeks like a wooden galleon out at sea in the slightest breeze, it may be time to upgrade.

Buying the Right Shed

Depending on budget and space available, there are virtually no limits to the size, shape and style of garden sheds. Prices can start from as little as £100.00 and run in to the thousands depending on type, quality and build.

Garden sheds, summerhouses and log cabins are readily available from a wide range of retailers. Shopping around for the best deal is well worth the time as significant savings can be made on the standard high street costs. Always look out for start and end of season deals and other sales. Search and compare offers online and never be afraid to ask for a discount to get the cheapest price.

Shop online for the best shed deals

Popular online retailers with great prices, discounts and offers include…

  • The Shed Store: retailer of timber, metal and plastic garden buildings – all at discount prices! Their extensive range of over 750 buildings includes; garden sheds, summerhouses, log cabins, children’s playhouses, greenhouses and more.
  • Buy Sheds Direct: Specialize in bringing you the very cheapest, lowest cost garden buildings available on the web including garden sheds, log cabins, garden storage, accessories, summerhouses, workshops and home offices
  • Garden sheds and accessories: Huge range of wooden, plastic and metal garden sheds and other garden buildings including all the fittings and accessories you will ever need

Many of the above online shed retailers offer 0% finance or other finance deals.

More Garden Sheds on Amazon

Interior shed care

The shed exterior has been cleaned, treated, made weatherproof and is looking like a potential contender for the shed of the year award. But what about the shed interior? The good news is that after taking so much care to keep the exterior protected and looking great, shed interiors can also be protected and treated to a make-over to make them more appealing and homely. To find out more, see our page about Interior shed treatments.

Painted and decorated shed interior

painted and decorated shed interior | Image by

In addition to garden shed care, read our top tips on protecting and preserving garden fences, decking and garden furniture.

Garden Shed FAQ’s

Can’t find the answer to your garden shed care or maintenance project above? See our frequently asked garden shed questions and answers page, where we try to answer some of the more commonly asked questions relating to garden shed care, maintenance, and shed treatments.