shed-paint

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

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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 Garden Shades Shed Paint

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 Garden Shades Shed Paint

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 Garden Shades Shed Paint Review

If you’re after a modern, light colour for your shed, and are keen to get the job done relatively quickly, this Cuprinol Garden Shades Shed Paint in ‘Willow’ has a contemporary pale-green finish and generally requires only one coat.

Of course, as always, it does slightly depend what you’re painting over in the first place, but it has been shown to cover even dark red brick with just one layer of paint. Ideally, it needs to be painted on bare wood, or surfaces that have not been previously painted.

Along with painting timber, it can be used on terracotta, brick and stone, so there’s a lot of potential for painting different features in the garden, in matching colours, to create a cohesive space.

As a 5 L tin, it can cover around 50 m² when applied with a brush on smooth-planed wood. It’s possible to apply with a sprayer too, although you’ll get slightly less out of the tin, covering approximately 20 m² on the same surface.

In terms of application, the paint goes on easily although it can be a little runny. However, as a water-based paint, it’s easy to clean up any spillages and drips just using water. The paint brushes can also be cleaned off without any chemicals.

The overall finish is as expected; a pleasant colour with good coverage. It’s one of the best shed paints for quick application, especially as you can use a paint sprayer, although there are occasions when two coats are required.

Pros

  • Covers most bare wood with just one coat
  • Paint goes on easily and can be applied with either a brush or a paint sprayer
  • Very quick to touch dry - takes around an hour
  • Protects wood from the elements and shouldn't need reapplication for several years

Cons

  • May require two coats depending on the surface underneath
  • For best results should be applied to bare, unpainted wood

Ronseal One Coat Fence Life

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Cost-effective choice
  • Covers even rough-sawn timber
  • Range of colours
OUR RATING
96
PRICE
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Ronseal One Coat Fence Life Review

When you’ve got large areas to cover, there’s nothing worse than spending a fortune on getting enough paint for the job. This Ronseal One Coat Fence Life is more reasonably priced than its competitors, but still has a good reputation for offering good coverage in a range of natural colours.

Despite describing itself as fence paint, it can be used on any rough-sawn wood including sheds, trellises and wood stores. The dark oak colour comes out as a rich chocolatey brown, creating warmth in the garden and sprucing up any tired timber.

For the majority of the time, just one coat will be needed, so the 5 L tin contains enough paint to cover approximately 30 m². As with many timber paints, two coats might be required in certain areas, but for the most part one is sufficient.

It’s quite thick, but spreads relatively easily, and can be applied with either a brush or a paint sprayer. However, the paint may need to be diluted slightly for it to flow well out of a sprayer.

Considering the price, as well as how much paint comes in a tin, this is one of the best shed paints in terms of value for money; even if you’re painting quite a large shed, or a lot of fence panels, you’ll likely save yourself some money compared with other brands – even if you need several tins.

Pros

  • Spreads easily across timber panels
  • Has a good consistency for use with either a paint brush or a paint sprayer (although may need a small amount of dilution to spray)
  • Rainproof within 1 - 2 hours of application so can be used during seasons of sporadic rainfall
  • Water based so washes out of brushes easily using hot water and soap
  • For the most part, only one coat of paint is required

Cons

  • In some situations two coats may be required, especially if there's a light colour underneath
  • May need to use slightly more paint than expected as it needs to be applied quite thickly

Sadolin Shed & Fence All Weather Barrier

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 All Weather Barrier Review

Finding a suitably dry day for painting outside isn’t necessarily the easiest thing here in the UK. Especially if you have to guarantee 24 hours of no rain. Fortunately, this Sadolin Shed & Fence All Weather Barrier is showerproof after 30 minutes, so if an unsuspecting shower comes along, it won’t spell toast for all your hard work.

The Grey Shadow colour comes out as a dark, sophisticated grey that will neaten up tired timberwork in the garden. It’s wax enriched, to help with repelling water, and offers an all-weather barrier to wood as well.

Whilst one of the benefits of this water-based paint is that it dries very quickly, it is thinner than some of the options featured on this list. Therefore, it will generally require around 2 – 3 coats to achieve full coverage, and is best suited to painting smaller areas as a result. Working across large surfaces might be quite time consuming.

Even so, a second coat can be applied 4 – 6 hours after the first, which does mean that two coats can be put on in the same day.

It’s suitable for all rough-sawn timber, including fences and sheds, and has a non-drip formula which stops it from being overly messy. The 5 L tin covers approximately 30 m², so it can be a slightly more expensive option given that several coats are required.

Overall, this is one of the best shed paints to use if you can’t trust the weather. If you’re painting in autumn or spring, it can be beneficial to have the peace of mind that a passing shower won’t ruin all your hard work. However, as mentioned, it’s not the cheapest option and it will require several coats to achieve full coverage.

Pros

  • Easy to apply with minimal wastage via drips
  • Dries quickly and will be showerproof after just 30 minutes
  • A second coat can be applied on the same day
  • Water-based paint means it's easy to clean drips and wash off any painting equipment

Cons

  • Thinner than a lot of paints and can require up to three coats
  • Because you will likely need more than one coat, the paint is less value for money than others on the market
  • More time will need to be spent painting to apply enough layers

Dulux Weathershield Paint

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 Weathershield Paint Review

If you’re after a glossy finish, this oil-based Dulux Weathershield Paint produces a ‘high gloss’ surface which is generally a lot shinier than water-based paints.

It spreads well and can be used on both wood and metal outside, making it suitable for sheds constructed from various materials as well as other features in the garden.

Unlike the ‘one coat’ paints featured on this page, this Dulux option requires 2 – 3 coats in order to get good coverage. It’s relatively thin and runny, and needs to be applied carefully to avoid too many drips. Putting protective coverings on the floor before painting is definitely something to consider.

In terms of applying this paint, more effort is required than with most of the other options featured here; however, it does achieve a very glossy finish once dry.

Dulux states that an undercoat is required, which is one of the reasons why using this paint will take longer. Once the undercoat is dry, the first coat of Weathershield can be applied, before waiting 16 hours to apply the second coat.

Whilst this may sound like a lot of effort, it might be worth it if you’re keen to achieve a high-gloss finish. Other water-based paints are quicker to dry, but don’t attain the same results.

Overall, this is one of the best shed paints if you’re after gloss, but is relatively time consuming to apply. However, if you’re not up against the clock, and are after this type of finish, the Dulux Weathershield is a good option to go for.

Pros

  • High-gloss finish creates a very polished appearance
  • Spreads easily during application meaning that a little goes a long way
  • Gloss results and wood protection last a long time once paint is dry

Cons

  • Takes a long time to dry , approximately 16 hours
  • 2 - 3 coats will likely be required
  • Runny consistency and drips a lot so careful application is required

Things to Know Before Buying Shed Paint

When it’s time to smarten up the garden, nothing makes more impact than a fresh coat of paint on tired outbuildings.

Whether it’s tidying up a scruffy shed, treating the fences, or making a stunning feature of your summer house or garden furniture, a new layer of paint can transform your garden in an afternoon.

It can be difficult to know what colour to go for, as well as what type of paint will give the best results, which is why we’ve put together the following information.

The colour you choose for your shed, fences or furniture will ultimately come down the personal preference; however, there are a few tips to bear in mind, especially if you’re aiming to achieve a certain goal.

You might choose a certain shed colour for the following reasons:

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. Bright colours are particularly in at the moment, using bold fuchsias or yellows to create statement areas in the garden. Using bold colours can really transform an outdoor space, but of course it might not be for everyone. Lighter pastel tones are also having their moment, and may be more palatable and easier to work with.

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. This can help disguise your shed, especially if it is in the middle or at the end of the garden. Eyes won’t be drawn to a subtle, sympathetically-painted shed.

Disguising boundaries. Using dark shades for fences can help make boundaries melt away. This is worth considering 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 to the garden. They can also complement a ‘beachy’ theme. White, off white, and light grey can add a sense of romanticism to outdoor spaces, and they look great alongside lightly-coloured garden furniture.

Coordination. You can use the colour of your shed to tie in with other colours in the garden. For example, colours in a plant border. 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. Painting everything the same colour can create a sense of harmony so that the garden doesn’t feel too busy. You could paint the log store, bin store, bike shed, shed, fences, etc.

When it comes to shed paint, value for money tends to be defined by how much area the paint will cover, and how many coats will be required. Of course, until you open the tin yourself, this can be very hard to gauge.

However, there are ways to get a better idea.

The best advice is to read reviews online. This will allow you to get a feel for the quality, consistency and coverage of the paint, without wasting any money. Many reviews will mention how many coats were required as well.

This is all very valuable information, because, although manufacturers often write about the surface area that their paint can achieve, this is only half the story. If two products are the same price, and both cover 6 m² per litre of paint, but one product requires just one coat and the other requires two, the paint requiring one coat will generally be better value for money.

Of course, the other product may be offering a desirable attribute, such as a gloss finish or a more interesting colour, which can make it worth the added expense.

If you’re interested in saving time, this is another reason to look for a paint that only requires one coat.

It’s often a better investment to spend more money on one tin of paint, rather than buy cheaper paint and end up having to purchase more of it because it needs a lot of coats. Not only does this cost more money in the long run, but you also waste more time on the job by having to apply more coats.

Exterior paints tend to be either water-based or oil/solvent-based. There is no single ‘best shed paint’; both types are more than up for the task, but they have different attributes. Some people prefer one type of paint over the other, and this often comes down to personal preference.

To help you make up your mind about which paint to use, here are the main attributes of each type:

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.
  • 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 (VOCs) 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.
  • More difficult to clean up drips and wash brushes – you will likely need to use white spirit.

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 mouldy, you should 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 preparation is key when it comes to achieving a good finish and making your shed last longer.

Once you are ready to start painting, choose a product that is formulated for rough-sawn timber. Check reviews to make sure you are using a high-quality shed paint; good-quality paint 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 generally use a brush or a sprayer, although some paints may need to be diluted before they will spray properly.

Depending on the type of paint, you may 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 that states it is suitable for smooth timber. 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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