Shed Oil

Why use an oil based shed treatment?

Oil based shed treatments provide excellent protection against weathering and water ingress. Available in clear and coloured formulas, oil based shed paint products are easy to apply and maintain. The key benefit of using an exterior wood oil is that they keep shed timbers nourished and supple. This helps to prevent cracking, splitting, swelling and warping of the shed timbers. Wood oils will also never crack, flake, blister or peel off.

exterior wood oil used on garden shed

clear and coloured shed oils

When treating a shed there is usually a preference to either keep the shed looking as natural as possible or to add colour. For the best possible protection, it’s always recommended to treat sheds and other garden structures with a wood or shed preservative prior to oiling. This combination of wood preservative and wood oil gives sheds the best protection from biological threats such as mould, algae and insect attack. It also provides the best protection from the damaging effects of weathering such as wind, rain, sun and temperature extremes.

Types of shed oil?

There are a number of oil based shed paint options that are perfect for use on sheds, log cabins and wooden summerhouses. Traditional oils such as Danish Oil and Teak Oil can be used but these require numerous coats and regular re-coating to retain their weather proofing properties. Other specialist external wood oils are made from a blend of waxes, oils and resins which makes them more durable and longer lasting. These oils tend to only require 2 coats and only require maintaining every 2 years or so, dependent on the shed location and exposure to the elements. Many exterior wood oils also contain UV filters which are added to protect the natural colour of the shed timbers from the Sun’s UV rays.

Top 5 Recommended Wood Oils for Garden Sheds

  1. Barrettine Log Cabin Treatment: A clear exterior wood oil specially formulated for log cabins, sheds, summerhouses, decking and other garden wood. Can be used on bare wood and new tanalised wood to provide additional protection.
  2. Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra: A professional grade, oil-based, UV-resistant wood finish suitable for garden sheds, log cabins and wooden summer houses. Available in clear and a range of attractive wood tone colours
  3. Fiddes Exterior High Build Wood Oil: A versatile, clear, protective wood oil. Provides long lasting UV resistance to garden sheds, joinery and more
  4. Osmo Country Colour: An oil-based opaque wood stain suitable for smooth planed garden sheds, log cabins, summer houses, and other smooth exterior wood
  5. Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain: A semi translucient wood stain suitable for smooth planed sheds, log cabins, summer houses and any other wooden structures.

To keep the natural appearance of the shed albeit with a slightly darker, almost damp like appearance, simply apply a clear shed preservative then a clear exterior wood oil.

Oil coverage

The type of wood used to make the shed can affect the amount of coverage you get from an exterior wood oil. Rough timber sheds such as overlap and feather-board sheds will absorb more oil than smooth planed timber sheds such as tongue and groove and shiplap construction sheds.

If using a colour or pigmented oil, the colour is also likely to be darker or stronger on a rough timber shed because of the greater absorption. As the wood will soak in more oil, it will produce a darker or stronger colour than on a smooth planed timber shed or summerhouse.

Adding Colour to Garden Sheds

Colouring a garden shed with pastel tones or more vibrant colours to brighten up gardens and other outdoor living spaces has become hugely popular. For more traditional shades of brown, green or black, sheds can first be coloured or stained with a coloured shed preservative and then over-coated with a clear wood oil.

If a more colourful approach is desired, use a clear wood preservative, then over-coat it with a semi translucent or opaque coloured exterior wood oil.

Coloured exterior wood oils suitable for wooden sheds

  • Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain: A semi translucient wood stain suitable for smooth planed sheds, log cabins, summer houses and any other wooden structures.
  • Osmo Country Colour: An opaque, oil-based wood stain suitable for smooth planed garden sheds, and other smooth planed exterior wood

Alternatives to oil-based shed treatments

Alternatively, using a shed paint is a great way to colour and protect garden sheds. Shed paints or garden paints are available in far more colours than wood preservers and exterior wood oils so if looking for something altogether brighter and more vibrant, then a shed paint will likely be a better option.


A great alternative to exterior wood oils are decking oil products. Decking oils are formulated from blends of wax, oil and resins to provide weather protection and durability. After all, they’re designed to withstand foot traffic, liquid spillages and weather extremes. Many decking oils also contain UV filters and are available in both clear and coloured formulations.


To find out more about decking oils, their uses, benefits and types see our decking oil treatments here

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.