A traditional apex roofed shed painted with Ronseal Fencelife+

Painting a timber shed protects it from the elements while also allowing your creativity to run wild and it's also a relatively easy job so what are you waiting for?  

Why paint a shed?

There are two primary reasons for painting a shed.

Firstly, painting a shed protects it from the harsh effects of the weather. Prolonged exposure to the rain, wind and sun can all cause damage to the timber so a coat or two of a quality exterior paint will greatly extend the life of a shed.

Secondly, with a huge range of colours and finishes available you can turn your garden shed into a piece of art. Add a pop of contrasting colour to make your shed a feature of your outside space. Alternatively, tone it down so that your shed blends in with the surroundings for a more low key look.

Painting a shed isn't a very difficult job so whether you're professional decorator or a keen DIYer with a bit of careful planning and preparation you should be able to complete the job in a day or two.

What tools and equipment will I need?

The below is a list of tools and equipment you may need to complete the job.

  • Protective equipment such as gloves, goggles and a mask
  • Dust sheets
  • Rags or tack cloth
  • Ladder
  • Stiff bristled brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Cleaning solutions/fungicidal wash
  • Exterior wood paint or stain
  • A suitable paintbrush or roller
  • Paint sprayer
  • Flexible caulk
  • Wood filler
  • Masking tape
  • Knotting solution

Weather conditions

Ideally, plan to tackle this job during a spell of dry and relatively mild weather. The timber needs to be nice and dry before painting and ideally there will be no rain forecast.

Avoid scorching hot or very windy days as this can cause the paint to dry too quickly causing it to flake off.

Preparing a shed for painting

The first thing to do is to give the wood a good clean. Use a stiff brush to remove any dirt, dust, cobwebs or flaking layers of old paint. Any areas of mould or lichen should be thoroughly cleaned using an appropriate fungicide or exterior cleaning solution, rinsed and left to dry.

If there are large areas of dirt consider using a pressure washer to speed up the cleaning process. 

Once the shed is clean inspect the shed to make sure it's structurally sound. Any rotten timber or broken bits of wood should be replaced with new healthy timber. 

Any small splits or cracks should be filled using wood filler or flexible caulk. If you're applying a clear finish, colour match the filler with the timber so that the filled areas don't show through. Sand back any newly filled areas so they're flush with the surface of the wood and use a brush or a tack cloth to remove any dust. 

Replace any loose nails and seal rusted nails with an appropriate sealer. 

Use masking tape to cover any metal handles, hinges or frames that you don't want getting spattered with paint. Removing handles or hinges so that you can paint underneath them will result in a much neater finish

Once all the surface preparation work has been done it's time to protect the surrounding area by laying down dust sheets. Cover any patios, walls, plants and furniture that you don't want to get paint on. 

Consider tying back any overhanging shrubs or cutting them back so you can access the building from all sides.  

Wood preserver

For bare wood or for a shed that hasn't been painted before it is a good idea to apply a coat good quality wood preserver to give an extra level of protection. 

Do I need to use a primer?

While it's not strictly necessary to use a primer there are a couple of reasons you might want to.

Using a primer will give the wood an additional layer of protection making the shed even more durable. Priming the wood will result in a more even finish and make it easier to apply the paint.

If the wood is highly resinous or has a lot of staining on it a stain blocking primer should be used particularly if you're planning to use a pale colour top coat.

Ultimately, whether to use a primer or not will depend on the finish you want to achieve, budget and how much time you have to complete the project.

Ready for painting

Cuprinol Garden Shades has been specially developed to colour and protect sheds, fences and other garden wood. Its special pigments ensure a rich colour and allow the natural texture of the woodgrain to shine through.

Once the shed is ready for painting apply a coat of your chosen exterior paint using a suitably sized brush or roller. Make sure to apply the paint in the direction of the wood grain. 

Use a cutting in brush for tricky areas around windows and doors to achieve a neat finish.

Once the first coat is dry apply a second coat of paint as a finishing top coat. 

Finishing up

All that is left to do now is to tidy up, sit back and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction knowing that your shed is ready for what ever the elements throw at it!