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, our shed paint guide will help you to decide.
What is shed paint
By definition, a paint coats and colours a surface with an opaque finish. When it comes to shed paint, things aren’t as clear cut.
Although traditional exterior wood paints have been known to crack, flake and peel, newer garden paint formulas are more flexible and resistant to weathering. They move with the wood as it expands and contracts with temperature and moisture to retain the seal over the shed. Many exterior wood paints or garden paints suitable for wooden sheds and summerhouses now offer guarantees of up to 6, 8 or 10 years.
The term ‘shed paint’ is sometimes confused with other wood care products that are used to colour and protect sheds, usually to brown or green shades such as shed preservers, shed stains and other oil-based shed treatments.
Which is the best shed paint to use?
Many products labelled as garden wood of shed paints are actually wood stains. This is great as rather than coating the wood, they stain it meaning that it will not crack, peel or flake over time. To maintain the look, a fresh coat can be applied every 2 or 3 years or as an when required to refresh the finish.
Recommended shed paints
Deciding on which is the best shed paint largely depends on individual preferences on colour, type of finish and maintenance expectations as well as budget. The following are some of the most popular shed paints on the market, all of which offer a different range of colours and finishes.
- Cuprinol Garden Shades: A water-based garden paint suitable for garden 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 suitable for garden sheds, exterior wood, bricks, terracotta and metal surfaces
- Osmo Country Colour: An oil-based opaque wood stain suitable for garden 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
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 the shed is constructed, the ends of the shed panels can also be treated providing 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 the shed 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
Need to know more about the full range of shed treatments? Read our guide on shed treatments here.