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Sheds

Best Shed Paint

By  Enda McLarnon

Here we check out the shed paint that is currently available in the UK. In many yards up and down the United Kingdom there will be sheds of all shapes and sizes. Sheds can also be made from different materials including metal, hard plastic and wood.

Sadly, the great British weather makes waterproofing your shed very important. Most sheds are treated or finished, but just be aware that some are not. It is vitally important that any unfinished wooden sheds get thorough and immediate care. 

You can apply an exterior wood paint, stain or treatment to protect your shed from the elements. With unfinished sheds this is a must, and with treated sheds you can also do this.

Painting Plastic Sheds

In terms of painting your shed, plastic sheds for the most part should never be painted. They can be of course as long as you use a primer coat first that is made to cover plastics. Once that is done then you can go ahead and paint a plastic shed with any suitable outdoor paint.

Painting Metal Sheds

Metal sheds for the most part never need to be painted. If they rust or you feel the need for a change, then they can be of course as long as you fully remove the rust, use a primer coat first that is made to cover metal. Once that is done then you can go ahead and paint a metal shed with any suitable outdoor paint.

Painting Wooden Sheds

The vast majority of sheds in the UK will be made from some type of wood. When people think about painting a shed almost always they are referring to a wooden shed. The wood used for these will either be dip-treated or pressure treated.

Dip treated timber is pre-treated with a preservative and this helps the timber from suffering from rot and decay. To keep your wood in good shape this preservative needs to be applied once a year to keep up the level of protection.

Pressure treated timber gets blasted with protective treatment and is then allowed to dry. This is a much better form of protection and will need preservative applied every few years rather then on an annual basis.

With wooden sheds you can use a stain preservative of if you prefer you can simply paint them as long as you use a good quality wood primer first.

Top 5 Paints for Sheds

Just below we have made a list of the best 5 paints that are suitable for sheds.

King of Paints Shed Paint

96% buyer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

This gets the highest buyer ratings and is a popular option for many UK buyers with an average £35 price tag for 5 litres

The manufacturer states that when used it offers up to 5 years protection

This is a 5 litre tin and they recommend 2 coats on rough-sawn wood or 3 coats on smooth-planed wood for long lasting colour up to 5 years.

2 coats will give around 25 square metres of coverage and 3 coats will give around 16 square metres of coverage

Pros

  • The majority of buyers say this paint was worth every penny
  • 85% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said this was easy to use, gave great coverage and a great colour

Cons

  • 1% of buyers said the paint needs to be stirred too much
  • A few buyers said it arrived damaged in the post

HQC Garden Shed

90% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer reviews

This garden shed paint comes in a wide variety of colours (37 in total)

It is very good at repelling water and also holds its colour extremely well

This is a water based paint so safe to use around children, pets or plants

This tin can cover up to 10 square metres per litre, so this 5 litre tin will cover up to 50 square metres

The paint will be touch dry in 2 hours and you can apply a second coat in 4 hours

Pros

  • Buyers said this is excellent quality paint that is easy to put on and gives very good coverage
  • 74% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for quality
  • Overall buyers of this paint are pleased by ease of use and coverage

Cons

  • A few buyers said this is very expensive paint

Ronseal 5L One Coat Life

90% buyer satisfaction based on 5,000+ online buyer reviews

Most buyers will be familiar with the Ronseal brand and this is their one coat option for shed paint

The one shown gives a dark oak colour and it is also available in a medium oak which is lighter

It dries and is rainproof in 1-2 hours depending on the weather

This is the best choice for roughly sawn boards which is why is is popular as a fence paint as well

This will need to be applied once every 2 years

Pros

  • Buyers say this paint is by far the best value for money
  • 73% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review
  • The majority of buyers said this is fast and effective to use

Cons

  • 5% of buyers said this is a poor finish
  • Some buyers said this needs at least 3 coats to work

Ronseal 5L Life Plus

88% buyer satisfaction based on 3,000+ online buyer reviews

This is a slightly different paint from Ronseal and available in the following colours, black oak, dark oak, medium oak, cornflower, forest green, harvest gold, red cedar, sage and willow

This offers 5 years of protection and also UV protection and can be applied with a brush or with a sprayer

This is a 5 litre tin and can be used on rough or smooth wood

Pros

  • Buyers say this is quite watery but actually covers really well
  • 68% of all buyers gave these a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers said the choice of colours is good and it's easy to apply

Cons

  • 5% of buyers didn't like this paint
  • A few buyers said the paint is very watery

Cuprinol Ducksback 5 Year Waterproof for Sheds

92% buyer satisfaction based on 3,000+ online buyer reviews

This paint comes in a choice of four colours which are silver copse, forest green, woodland moss and Autumn gold

Buyers use this for painting both sheds and fences

It is a 5 litre tin so around 50 square metres of coverage with a single coat

The paint has a wax added to it that helps repel the rain

It is touch dry in an hour and gives protection for up to 5 years

Pros

  • Buyers say it is non-drip and thick paint, easy to apply and gives very good coverage
  • 77% of all buyers gave this a 5 star review for performance
  • Buyers seem to prefer the silver copse colour if you want something different

Cons

  • 4% of buyers said the paint was too expensive
  • A few buyers said you need at least 2 coats

Shed Paint Buying Guide

We will focus here on wooden sheds but will also cover off some useful information on plastic and metal sheds as well. Just below we have explained the main types of wooden shed. The main thing to understand is that some sheds will be made from roughly sawn wood and others made from smooth wood. They should be painted with different types of paint.

Types of Wooden Shed

Not all wooden sheds are made the same way. You will already know that sheds come in many different sizes. Most are rectangular in shape, but you can get square sheds and you can get round ones as well. The shape and size are really not that important when it comes to painting.

The size will matter as that will determine how much paint or primer is required. It is always a good idea to measure the size of your shed when it comes to buying paint.

The construction, primarily the cladding type does also vary and there are three main types:

Overlap - This is the most common and cheapest option as it is simple wooden slats laid on top of one another. Each slat overlaps the other and creates a panel. These slats are almost always made from rough wood. These are not ideal for painting and almost always, you are better staining or using a preservative on these.

Tongue and Groove - This type of shed is made from interlocking boards and offer very good protection from the wind and rain. You can buy tongue and groove boards in different thicknesses, and they will be bought cut to size in very neat panels. These will be smooth boards and can be either stained or painted.

Shiplap - These are the best of the three options. Shiplap is a type of tongue and groove board, but with an added profile that allows the rain to run off the shed much better. This type of cladding is made from smooth boards usually around 12mm in thickness. These smooth boards and can be either stained or painted.

Stain/Preservative vs Paint

We often get asked which is better a stain or a paint for your garden shed or fence? The important thing to understand is that any protection is better than none. We would recommend using a stain or preservative on roughly sawn wood and a good quality paint on smooth wooden panels.

Painting your shed achieves two things; it makes it look good and also protects the wood and makes it last a great deal longer. Both stain and paints provide both of these so anything is better than nothing.

Painting Old Sheds

Many home owners complain that one coat looks patchy or doesn't do a very good job. Almost always this is because the shed hasn't been painted for a long time. The weather has taken its toll on the shed panels and the wood has lost any of its original colour.

With these older sheds, if you are using a preservative, it could easily take 2-3 coats to restore the wood back to what it was when it was erected. That is hard work but worth the effort.

If it is smooth wood, then we would highly recommend using a good quality wood primer first, before applying any type of shed paint. We would recommend using Johnstone's Exterior Primer Undercoat as it is great value for money and works like a treat.

You will need to remove any flaking paint and then apply one coat of this primer to the shed. Once that is on, it takes about an hour to dry, and then your shed paint will stick to this and give you a top rate finish.

Painting Plastic & Metal Sheds

For metal sheds we would highly recommend using a good quality metal primer first, before applying any type of shed paint. We would recommend using Johnstone's Exterior Primer Undercoat as it is great value for money and works like a treat.

You will need to remove any rust on metal sheds and then apply one coat of this primer to the shed. Once that is on, it takes about an hour to dry, and then your shed paint will stick to this and give you a top rate finish.

For plastic sheds we would highly recommend using a good quality plastic primer first, before applying any type of shed paint. We would recommend using Rust-Oleum Plastic Primer Spray as it is great value for money and works like a treat.

This dries really quickly and you can then apply your preferred colour of paint.

Brush vs Roller vs Sprayer

94% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer reviews

86% buyer satisfaction based on 300+ online buyer reviews

92% buyer satisfaction based on 1,600+ online buyer reviews

When it comes to painting either a shed or a fence you have two choices for applying the paint. You can use a shed or fence brush or a paint sprayer. if you have a large area to cover then a sprayer will speed up the process a great deal.

Most people will however use a paint brush. If you have old brushes sitting around your shed and garage then use these. You don't really need to own a fence brush. These type of brushes usually have slightly thicker brushes and they are about 5" wide.

A good quality paint brush like the Harris one shown above costs about £8 but lasts for years. You can buy really cheap ones as well for a few pounds but we found that these don't last and loose hairs.

As you can see a sprayer is way more expensive at around £60 so will be too expensive for some people. We would recommend this if you have a large area to cover as it will save you hours of time. You can spray a 1.8 x 1.8 metre panel in under 2 minutes. Painting a panel that size with a brush would take 10 minutes at least.

A sprayer does give a better professional finish and the Wagner one we have shown works with all garden paints and stains. With some garden paints you may have to add a little water.

You can of course use a roller along with a paint brush to do the cutting in. This type of roller has a sleeve that gets into roughly sawn wood and will cover most of the wood. We found that it was always best to go over it quickly with a brush to ensure you get the coverage.

This method is slightly faster than using a brush but not a huge difference in time saving.

Resources used to help write this article

Wooden Shed Construction - Wikihow

Paint properties - The Essential Chemical Industry

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