shed-paint

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4 Best Shed Paints To Spruce Up The Woodwork! (2021 Review)

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best shed paints for the UK market.
I’ve compared colour, quality, longevity and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What is the Best Shed Paint?

In a rush? Here's my top choice...

Cuprinol CUPGSWIL5L 5 Litre Garden Shades Paint – Willow

Quick-drying paint which gives an excellent finish!

This Cuprinol 5 Litre Shed Paint will easily spruce up your shed, fence, or garden furniture. It's a water-based paint that dries in just one hour, available in a range of shades which complement the garden. It protects wood from the elements and can also be used on terracotta, stone, and brick.

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Everything I Recommend

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
  • Great range of colours
  • Great coverage in one coat
  • Long-lasting wood protection
  • Cost-effective choice
  • Covers even rough-sawn timber
  • Range of colours
  • Natural looking colours
  • Showerproof in 30 mins
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer
  • Gloss paint for smooth wood
  • Range of colours
  • Excellent protection for wood

More Detailed Shed Paints

Cuprinol CUPGSWIL5L 5 Litre Garden Shades Paint – Willow

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Great range of colours
  • Great coverage in one coat
  • Long-lasting wood protection
OUR RATING
98
PRICE
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Cuprinol CUPGSWIL5L 5 Litre Garden Shades Paint – Willow Review

This Cuprinol 5 Litre Shed Paint comes in an amazing range of sophisticated shades that can transform outdoor structures and fences quickly and easily.

It’s suitable for sheds and fences as well as garden furniture.

I used this paint to spruce up my rather tired-looking summer house and would definitely say it’s the best shed paint I’ve come across.

I varied my application method, using both a brush and a sprayer, and found this paint to give excellent coverage consistently.

It transformed my summer house in just one day, even though the wood was dark, stained and a bit mouldy in places.

In terms of the paint itself, it’s quite thick and I found it went on easily.

I used two coats; my summerhouse has been a bit neglected and I wanted to get a really even, opaque finish. However, I would say from my experience that on well-cared-for wood, one coat may well be sufficient.

The finish is a soft matt which allows the wood grain to subtly show through. I chose the Willow colour which is a lovely soft sage green and I am very pleased with the result.

It’s a water-based paint so you won’t need to worry if you make a bit of a mess – it’s easy to clean up after the job is done. It also dries really quickly; I actually found it to be  completely dry after just a couple of hours.

When a rain shower struck a few days later I noticed that the water just ran off the treated surfaces like water off a duck’s back – perfect!

I’ve used Cuprinol paints before and have found that they keep wood looking good for longer than competitor brands. In my opinion this is the best shed paint on the market.

Ronseal 5L One Coat Life - Quick Dry Garden Shed & Fence Paints 5 Litres - All Colours! (Red Cedar)

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Cost-effective choice
  • Covers even rough-sawn timber
  • Range of colours
OUR RATING
96
PRICE
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Ronseal 5L One Coat Life - Quick Dry Garden Shed & Fence Paints 5 Litres - All Colours! (Red Cedar) Review

This Ronseal 5 Litre Shed Paint is suitable for sheds and fences.

It will really improve the appearance of wood in your garden, protecting it from the changeable UK climate for several years.

The paint goes on well, soaking in to even rough-sawn timber fences and sheds. It dries to rainproof in just a couple of hours, so you don’t even have to wait for a long spell of bright weather to start painting!

It can be used with either a brush or sprayer and delivers good results with either method, covering well in just one coat.

I chose the Red Cedar colour and found it came out a little more orange than I expected. This paint comes in other basic wood colours but does not have the range of subtle hues available in the Cuprinol range. These are mostly your more standard red stains.

That said, you might not be looking to create statements in your garden! If this is the case, and you’re looking for a traditional colour, this paint is ideal for protecting wooden fences and sheds without creating a ‘feature’.

This Ronseal shed paint offers excellent value for money – one pot can cover roughly 30 m². If you are looking for the best shed paint on a budget, this is an excellent option.

Sadolin Shed & Fence Woodstain Grey Shadow 5 L

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Natural looking colours
  • Showerproof in 30 mins
  • Apply with a brush or sprayer
OUR RATING
93
PRICE
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Sadolin Shed & Fence Woodstain Grey Shadow 5 L Review

This Sadolin 5 Litre Wood Stain comes in a range of natural looking wood colours as well as a sophisticated grey.

It provides excellent weather protection for wood, helping it resist damage from rain, UV rays and frost.

It is suitable for all rough-sawn timber, including fences and sheds, and is easy to apply due to its non-drip formula. The paint is touch dry in a couple of hours and showerproof after 30 minutes!

You can apply a second coat on the same day, in 4 – 6 hours depending on weather conditions.

I used this paint in Grey Shadow on a wood store and was extremely pleased with the stylish colour and even finish.

You do need to use a few coats, so just be aware of that when you’re buying it – don’t presume one coat will be sufficient like some of the other paints I reviewed.

Dulux Weather Shield Exterior High Gloss Paint, 2.5 L – Conker

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Gloss paint for smooth wood
  • Range of colours
  • Excellent protection for wood
OUR RATING
92
PRICE
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Dulux Weather Shield Exterior High Gloss Paint, 2.5 L – Conker Review

This Dulux 2.5 Litre Paint is a traditional exterior gloss paint. It’s suitable for use on exterior doors and window frames as well as garden furniture and trims on summer houses.

This is an oil-based paint, so if you’re looking for something water based go for one of the other options I reviewed.

You’ll need to take care to protect surrounding areas from spills and splashes. and use white spirit or brush cleaner to clean brushes.

The paint provides an extremely long-lasting finish when applied to smooth outdoor wooden surfaces such as doors and trims.

It also comes in a wide range of colours so you can choose to either make a statement, or go subtle.

This paint covers really well and lasts for years even on exposed outdoor surfaces. This is the best shed paint to go for if you are looking for an oil-based paint with a high-gloss finish.

Things to Know Before Buying Shed Paint

When it’s time to smarten up the garden, nothing makes more impact than a coat of paint to freshen up outdoor structures. Even tired old sheds and summerhouses come up like new with a coat or two of good quality paint.

Whether it’s tidying up a scruffy shed, treating the fences, or making a stunning feature of your summer house or garden furniture, a fresh coat paint can transform your garden from tired to stylish in an afternoon.

Of course, not all paint is created equal, so I’ve put together the following information to help you find the best shed paint to add new life to your garden!

The colour you choose for your shed, fences or furniture will ultimately come down the personal preference, but there are a few tips to bear in mind that might benefit your garden:

Fashion trends. Even in gardens, fashion and trends play a part. There are always going to be colours which are more ‘on trend’ than others. If this is something that interests you, light greens and subtle blues are current favourites.

Blending in. Green helps sheds and fences blend in. Dark greens especially are great at making sheds and fences almost ‘disappear’, they won’t stand out starkly against plants or be too eye catching.

Disguising boundaries. Using dark shades for fences makes boundaries melt away. This is great if a lighter coloured fence is currently drawing focus to the end of your garden.

Adding charm. Lighter colours create a charming ‘secret garden’ feel, or can make a beachy theme. Whites/off white/light grey can add a sense of romanticism and look great alongside light garden furniture.

Coordination. Brighter statement colours can tie in with plant border colours. If you want to create a colour theme in your garden, for example if you have a lot of purple flowers, painting your shed purple will tie it together nicely. This is a perfect idea for making a bit more of a feature out of your shed!

Harmony. Paint everything the same colour for harmony so that your garden isn’t too busy – the log store, bin store, bike shed, shed etc.

It can be difficult to know which paints will offer the best quality finish in your garden – without using them yourself, it’s so tough to gauge! Therefore, my advice is to read reviews to deduce the quality of the paint and how many coats will be required.

It’s often a better investment to spend more money on one tin of paint, rather than buy cheaper paints and end up having to use more of it due to its low quality.

Cuprinol is well known for being one of the best shed paints around; therefore, even though it’s a little on the pricier side, you know you’re getting quality paint. Depending on the surface, you may only need to apply one coat of this stuff. 1 L can cover up to 12 m² when applied with a brush, meaning a 5 L tin could potentially cover 60 m² – that’s a lot of surface!

Not only does this mean you don’t save money in the long run, you also waste more time on the job by having to apply more coats.

When reading reviews, you’ll see a lot of people comparing different paints to Cuprinol, so it’s a good benchmark to use, to see how other paints match up.

Water-Based Paint

  • Dries quicker than oil paint
  • Easier to clean up if paint gets splashed somewhere by accident
  • Easier to clean brushes and other tools
  • Allows wood to move and breath meaning they are less likely to crack and let moisture in
  • Initially dries quickly, but can take up to a few weeks to fully cure – may get knocked or dented in that time.
  • More eco-friendly than oil-based paint.
  • Harder to achieve a perfect finish – the paint dries quickly and is therefore less forgiving to work with. You also can’t easily sand down into between coats because the paint takes a long time to harden fully.

Oil-Based Paint

  • Takes a long time to dry, around 16 hours or more, but once dry it is extremely hard and durable.
  • Can sand down between layers (the following day) and add another coat for a really good finish.
  • Easy to smooth out brush marks because the paint surface doesn’t dry as quickly as water-based paint.
  • Extremely pungent smell that can last for days.
  • Higher level of volatile organic compounds which can be hazardous to humans when inhaled.
  • Often less breathable than water-based paint, trapped moisture may damage the finish over time.
  • May ‘yellow’ over time because of alkyd resins – especially noticeable in white paint and lighter colours.

Shed Paint FAQs

First, check that your shed is structurally sound. You should check that the roof doesn’t leak and re-felt it if necessary. Also, fill any large cracks in the shed structure with a silicone-based caulk to keep out rain and snow.

Once your shed is structurally sound, give it a good clean before starting to paint it. Remove any debris, cobwebs, mud, mould and moss with a wire brush. If the shed is very mouldy you might want to wash it down with a fungicidal wash.

If the shed has not been repainted for some years, it is worth applying an oil-based primer first. This will nourish and protect the old wood, making the shed last longer. It will also make it easier to apply a stain and give you a more even finish.

This may seem like a lot of work, but the preparation is key to getting a good finish and making your shed last longer.

Once you are ready for painting, choose a product that is formulated for rough sawn timber. Use a high-quality shed paint as this will give you a better finish and will last longer than cheaper products.

Apply your paint in dry conditions when the temperature is above 5°C. You can use a brush or a sprayer, but if you use a sprayer be sure to protect surrounding areas and windows before you start.

You will probably need to apply a second coat once the first is thoroughly dry.

There are two main options for painting wooden garden furniture. The first is to use a garden paint such as Cuprinol garden shades or another product that is suitable for smooth timber. This will be easy to do, simply clean the furniture, make sure it is completely dry, give it a light sand if there are any rough spots and then apply the paint. Using this kind of paint will give you an opaque finish which allows the wood grain to shine through.

If the furniture has been previously painted with an exterior gloss rather than a stain, then you will need to completely remove all traces of this finish before you can apply a wood stain.

Alternatively, you may use an exterior gloss paint. This is a more complicated job as the wood will need to be primed first if it has not previously been painted. If your furniture has previously been painted, you will need to scrape off any peeling paint and give the furniture a good sand before applying a fresh coat.

It is essential that the shed is completely dry before applying paint. Choose a warm day after the shed has had a chance to dry out from previous showers or heavy dew. Paint should not be applied in very cold conditions as this can prevent it from drying effectively. The temperature should ideally be above 10°C. However, you don’t want to paint the shed in very hot weather either as this could result in the paint or stain drying before it has had a chance to soak into the wood. In addition, if you are using a paint sprayer you should complete the job on a very still day, as even a light breeze can blow the paint around causing damage to surrounding areas such as patios, plants, cars and bikes and even washing.

Sources
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