Shed Stain

Shed stains are a great way to restore, change, and enhance the appearance of garden sheds, summerhouses, log cabins, garden offices and more. The term ‘shed stain’ can mean many things and depending on which type of stain is being used, will offer varying degrees of protection against mould, algae, wood rot, weathering, moisture, and insect attack.

shed stain for wooden garden sheds

Garden sheds and summer-houses can be coloured and protected by a variety of shed stains and treatments.

Types of shed stain

Let’s explore the different types of shed stain.

Coloured shed preservers are designed to stain and protect wooden sheds and other wooden garden buildings from mould, algae, and insect attack. Wood preservers are available in clear and a range of colours and provide excellent protection against biological threats. Preservers that contain wax offer some weather protection but The best way to protect the key properties of a wood preserver, is to over-coat it with a suitable clear top-coat such as an exterior wood oil.

3 Top shed preservers to stain and protect garden sheds

Oil-based wood stains for sheds and other garden buildings

Coloured exterior wood oils: Coloured or pigmented exterior wood oils can be used to protect and stain sheds and other garden building either on their own, or as a topcoat over a clear wood preserver. Exterior wood oils come in a variety of semi translucent and opaque colours and shades. Oils are easy to apply and maintain and as they penetrate into the wood to protect it, they will never crack, flake, or peel off, unlike some types of paint and varnish over time.

Top 3 oil-based wood stains to protect and stain garden sheds, summerhouses and more

  • 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 stain colours
  • Timbashield Solvent Based Wood Stain: A versatile solvent-based wood stain suitable for garden sheds, summerhouses, log cabins and more. Colours and waterproofs with a blend of oils, resins and waxes. Quick drying formula that can be applied by brushing, spraying, roller and dipping. Creates a water-repellent, UV resistant finish that prevents dry-film fungal growth. Dries to a semi-translucent finish doesn’t mask the wood grain – adds deep colour to softwood and light tint to hardwood sheds and other garden wood.
  • Osmo Country Colour: A highly durable, oil-based, opaque wood stain, suitable for garden sheds and other exterior wood

Shed paints: Exterior garden paints tend to give an opaque finish and some would argue that this is not a stain. But many products labelled as a garden paint act more like a stain as they penetrate into the wood rather than simply coating the surface. Agree or disagree with the definition of what is or is not a garden paint or stain, they still do a great job of colouring and protecting sheds, garden offices, summerhouses and more. Garden paints also have the greatest choice in terms of colours, from pastel shades to more vibrant, striking tones, ideal if your looking to turn an ordinary shed into a striking feature of the garden.

Top 3 garden paints to colour and protect garden sheds and more

  • Cuprinol Garden Shades: Cuprinol Garden Shades paint is a water-based garden paint that is suitable for all garden wood including wooden sheds, summerhouses, garden offices and more
  • Ronseal Garden Paint: An all-in-one garden paint for garden sheds, exterior wood, bricks, terracotta and metal surfaces
  • Johnstone’s Garden Colours Paint: A fade resisting garden paint for all exterior wood including sheds, fences, arbours, summer houses, log cabins, trellis, and garden furniture. Provides a beautiful layer of long lasting colour, without losing the natural grain of exterior wood and dries in just 2 hours.

Varnish type coating systems often called stains. These are the exterior, tinted wood varnishes that are designed to colour, seal, and protect exterior wood. These types of wood stains are designed to flex and move with the wood so that they do not split and crack. The top layers are designed to slowly erode with weathering but the idea with this is that when required, the surface is cleaned and re-coated with a fresh layer of stain. As long as the finish is maintained, usually every 3 to 5 years depending on the product, the finish will last indefinitely as long as it is not allowed to wear back to bare wood. Leaving it too long before maintaining the finish can result in water penetrating beneath the top coat, eventually resulting in cracking, splitting and peeling. If this happens the finish will have to be sanded back to bare wood and re-applied. Maintaining the finish as and when required will prevent this from happening. High quality wood stain systems include Sadolin and Sikkens.

Top 3 varnish like wood stains for garden sheds

  • Sadolin Classic Wood Protection: A high quality, solvent-based, protective wood stain for interior and exterior timber that can be used as a standalone product or as a base-stain for Sadolin Extra Durable Woodstain. Ideal for protecting and staining exterior cladding, fascias, sheds, summerhouses and more
  • Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 Plus: A medium build, solvent-borne durable woodstain for exterior joinery. This flexible coating is resistant cracking and flaking making it perfect for smooth softwood and hardwood surfaces. Provides up to 5 years protection from weathering and UV damage
  • Sadolin Beautiflex: A solvent-based, opaque wood stain for all exterior wood, including decking and sheds. Highly durable and flexible. Water and UV resistant.

More Garden Shed Stains on Amazon


Those of a certain age will remember a time when virtually anything in the garden that was wooden would be treated with Creosote. The sale of Creosote is now regulated and can only be sold to farmers and for other industrial uses.

The good news is that there is a safer more environmentally version called ‘Creocote’. This Creocote Substitute Is available in both light and dark brown shades and is perfect for treating garden sheds and fences.

Shed Cleaners

Ensuring that sheds are kept free from mould, algae and other biological growth will not only help to keep a shed looking good for longer, it will also help to prolong its life. Treating a shed with a mould and algae treatment prior to preserving, staining or painting will ensure that any mould or algae spores already present in the wood will be killed off prior to treating. This will help to prevent mould and algae from forming soon after the shed has been built and before a wood preservative, oil, shed paint or stain can be applied.

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.