With a spectrum of wood tones, pastel shades and vibrant colours to choose from, changing the appearance of a garden shed has never been easier. Whether looking to highlight shed window and door frames or go for the full beach hut look, there’s a shed paint for all interiors and exteriors.
Modern garden paints are flexible and resistant to weathering. They move with the wood as it expands and contracts with temperature and moisture making them ideal for all smooth planed, tongue & groove, rough sawn, featherboard or shiplap construction garden sheds. Many exterior wood paints or garden paints now offer guarantees of anything up to 10 years, making them perfect for the long term care of wooden sheds and summerhouses and log cabins.
What is shed paint
By definition, a paint coats and colours a surface with an opaque finish. With sheds, things aren’t as simple. The term ‘shed paint’ is sometimes confused with other wood care products that are used to colour and protect sheds, usually to shades of brown or green such as shed preservers, shed stains and other oil-based shed treatments.
Which is the best shed paint?
Deciding on the the best shed paint for your project largely depends on individual colour preference, type of finish, maintenance expectations and budget. To help we’ve compiled a shortlist of the best performing and most popular garden paints that are suitable for wooden sheds and summerhouses.
Top 5 recommended shed paints
These are the garden paints that receive great customer reviews and offer a wide range of colours.
- Cuprinol Garden Shades: A water-based garden paint for wooden sheds and other exterior wood
- Liberon Garden ColourCare Shed and Building Paint: A decorative wood paint for all exterior structures. Comes with an 8 year guarantee
- Ronseal Garden Paint: An all-in-one garden paint for garden sheds, exterior wood, bricks, terracotta and metal surfaces
- Osmo Country Colour: An oil-based opaque wood stain suitable for wooden sheds and other exterior wood
- Protek Royal Exterior Paint: A water-based, joinery grade wood paint for exterior wood. Provides long lasting protection and rich colour for up to 5 years making it Ideal for a wide range of exterior, hardwood & softwood, fixtures and fittings including wooden garden sheds, summerhouses and log cabins
Can shed paints be used on rough and smooth timber sheds?
shed paints and other garden paints can be used on both smooth planed timber sheds and rough, feather-board type sheds, log cabins and summerhouses. Rough timber sheds are more absorbent than smooth timber sheds so will likely use more paint, the colour may also be stronger due to more paint being absorbed by the more porous surface.
Never use an interior emulsion, gloss or other paint to paint your shed. These are simply not designed to withstand the weathering or temperature extremes that exterior paints are designed for and will soon degrade, peel, flake or wear off.
Is there such a thing as clear shed paint?
By definition, a paint is a product that produces an opaque, coloured finish that covers a surface. If looking for a clear shed treatment, then consider either a clear shed oil, clear shed preserver or clear shed varnish, all of which will protect sheds whilst retaining the natural look of the wood.
Interior shed paint
The shed exterior has been cleaned, painted, made weatherproof and is looking pretty swish. But what about shed interiors? The good news is that after taking the time to keep the exterior protected and looking great, shed interiors can also be treated to a make-over to keep them protected and looking more appealing and homely. To find out more, see our page about Interior shed paints and treatments.
When and how to paint a garden shed
Ideally, the best time to paint a garden shed is when it is new and when the weather is fair, ideally spring or summer. New sheds can be treated with a clear wood preservative prior to painting. If done before constructed, the ends of the panels can be treated to help provide better long term protection for the shed.
If using a wood or shed preservative prior to painting, ensure that the correct type is used. For water-based shed paints, ensure that the preservative does not include wax, oil or silicon. If painting with an oil-based stain or paint then preservers that contain wax are fine.
Painting old sheds
Old sheds must be clean, dry and free from surface contaminates prior to painting. Any traces of mould, algae, green or black staining on the timber must be cleaned and treated prior to painting.
- Scrape off any surface mould or algae with a paint scraper or stiff brush
- Treat the whole shed with a mould and mildew cleaner
- Treat a second time if the mould, mildew or algae is particularly bad
- Allow fungicidal wash / mould and midew cleaner to fully dry
- Treat the whole shed with 2 coats of a suitable, clear wood or shed preservative
- Allow the preservative to dry fully
- Paint the shed taking care to coat evenly
In reality, most garden fence paints and fence stains are perfectly suitable for protecting, weatherproofing and colouring wooden sheds. Alternatively, there are a wide range of clear, semi translucent and opaque wood oils, ideal for garden sheds, log cabins and summer houses.
Need to know more about the full range of shed treatments? Read our guide on shed treatments here.