Garden & Lawn

Top 4 Best Shed Paints For Protecting and Brightening Up Your Shed

Last updated on July 16th, 2021

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Outdoor furniture and garden structures such as sheds and fences are usually exposed to the harshest conditions, especially in England where it rains a lot and is at risk of starting to rot over winter. Rain, wind and sun are anything but gentle with wooden structures, and that’s why it’s necessary to protect them with a coat of exterior timber paint with good waterproofing qualities. 

When it comes to the painting itself, it shouldn’t be a job; the task is quite easy and can be fun, an opportunity for you to showcase your creativity. The best paint for protecting your shed offers UV- and weather-resistance and rejuvenates an old tired shed. 

The challenge as we know is choosing the best paint for your shed. Fret not! We have a selection of the top 4 shed paints in the UK market and the goal is to help you pick the right paint. Our select paints provide maximum protection from the elements, look good and are a doddle to apply and we recommend only 4 of the most effective paints out of the many hundreds of options out there when it comes to paint. 

Top of the list is the Cuprinol Garden Shades paint. This offers a wide selection of colours to make your garden pop because it’s good for sheds, fences, terracotta, brick and stone, as well as garden furniture. Better still, it provides an impressive unbeatable 6-year weatherproof protection and the initial investment is pretty fair. 

A top alternative would be the Johnstones Woodcare One Coat Shed & Fence Paint. Coming in a 9L container at a very affordable price along with being an easy one coat paint, this one seems a great bargain for anyone who just wants to protect their shed against the elements but doesn’t want to apply more than one coat. To be clear, we recommend applying at least 2 coats but this is the next best choice.  

Now let’s get into the finer details of each recommendation and also a buyer’s guide that can help you pick a good paint for your shed.  

BEST PICK

Cuprinol Garden Shades Shed Paint
It’s not our number paint for no reason as this Cuprinol Garden Shades is one of the best-selling paint on the market. It does more than just painting sheds as you can use it to protect your fence, brighten up terracotta, wood, brick and stone. Boasting a beautiful matt colour, it improves the grain of natural wood for an impeccable look, and it’s easy to apply using a brush or spray.

The paint is available in 2.5L tins and in a myriad of colours to spruce up your garden the way you like. A high-quality water-based formulation, it dries pretty quick whilst being easy to clean in case it drips on unwanted surfaces. A 6-year weather protection coupled with its fair initial investment makes it an absolute value for money in the long run.

Runner-Up

Johnstones Woodcare One Coat Shed & Fence Paint
The Johnstones Woodcare is a lot more affordable than our best pick considering the amount of paint you get for almost the same price as the Cuprinol Garden Shades. However, affordability in this sense is a tradeoff for durability as the Johnstones paint only provides 3-year weather protection, still for 1 coat, that's exellent.

On the positive side, a single coat of this paint is enough to get your shed in excellent shape, meaning you get to save time too. The wax-enriched formula repels water and effectively waterproofs wood as soon as it’s dry, and that takes just an hour if outdoor conditions are good. So if you’re after quantity and probably you have a large surface area to cover, or dislike painting but its a job you got to do, this paint is a great choice.

Top 4 Shed Paint Reviews

1. Cuprinol Garden Shades (2.5L)

BEST PICK

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Cuprinol Garden Shades (2.5L)

With decades of woodcare experience, Cuprinol treatments are some of the best you can get. It’s no wonder the Cuprinol Garden Shades, probably has the most customer reviews of any shed paint when you look online, further justifying why it’s our best pick but we think this is the best choice for those who are not afraid to get the brush out and apply a good 3 coats.

You can apply this paint using a roller, spray or our favourite and more traditionally a brush, and it takes around 8 hours to apply 3 coats, not what you would call quick-drying, but the results are fantastic.

A litre will cover up to 12m² on average, so do the math and work out how many 2.5L tins you need to cover your shed. Note than bare wood should be treated beforehand with Wood Preserver Clear (IP). 

The product is available in an amazing range of shades including Seagrass, Terracotta, Barleywood, Forget-Me-Not, Natural Stone, and Willow, just to mention a few, ready to transform your outdoor building quickly and easily. The paint is not only suitable for sheds but also for fences and wooden garden furniture as well as brick, stone and terracotta.

In addition, it provides 6 years weather-protection on wood, meaning you won’t be looking for another paint any time soon. The formulation is water-based and thus easy to clean up after completing the job, as well as harmless to pets and plants. However, avoid spillage into aquatic environments such as ponds and water gardens. With its beautiful matt colour, the paint enhances the grain of natural wood for long-lasting appeal. 

Pros

  • Available in a plethora of shades.
  • Decent coverage of 12m² per litre. 
  • Suitable for a variety of places; sheds, decking, fences, garden furniture as well as stone, concrete, terracotta etc.
  • Multiple forms of application; paint brush, roller or spray.
  • Quick-drying – should get 2-3 coats in around 8 hours. 
  • Weatherproof’s wood up to 6 years.
  • Improves the grain of natural wood.

Cons

  • Some find it a bit pricey.

Recommendation

The Cuprinol Garden Shades is a superb paint that’s easy to use and leaves excellent results. It says on the tin that you have to apply to coats for great results, but that’s okay with such a highly-rated product. There’s something for everyone with this paint as it comes in a myriad of colours, and it provides a good coverage. Cleaning up the areas should be easy because the paint is water-based. It dries quickly and it lets rain run off the painted surface like water off a duck’s back. 

Many people have used this paint to revamp various garden structures and they all agree that there’s great value for money with this shed paint. So without emphasizing the qualities of this paint, just buy it and get to work; the result will be there to see. The only thing we would say is that it’s hard to repaint over, for touching up etc if you don’t paint it right the first time round. With this in mind make sure you give it 2 or 3 good coats when you paint it for the first time. You will have to wait for it to weather before repainting but if you do it right, this won’t be for 5-6 years.

Read next: Best fence sprayers for painting sheds quickly

Read next: Need lay new felt on your shed? – See our recommended felts with 5, 10 and 25 years lifespans.


2. Johnstones Woodcare One Coat Shed & Fence Paint (9L)

Runner-up

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Johnstones Woodcare One Coat Shed & Fence Paint

Another very good shed and fence paint, the Johnstones Woodcare One Coat comes in 9-litre containers and is available in Forest Green, Golden Chestnut, Dark Oak, and Cedar Red. Applying the paint is a breeze and it dries quickly, with the final colour coming out as shown exactly on the tin although it does dry a little pink before its fully dry but this is normal.

As the title suggests, you’ll just need one coat for a smooth finish, thanks to the paint’s thick gel-like consistency, which also ensures it’s easy to apply using a brush or spraying machine. Perhaps the most amazing thing with this paint is that it doesn’t drip during application. In addition, the product fade-resistant and long-lasting. The paint will last for 3 years before the surface requires repainting which isn’t as long as our previous pick but still, 3 years for a one coat paint is excellent. 

Pros

  • Paint appears exactly as shown on the picture. 
  • Offers 3-year protection on sheds, fences and garden furniture. 
  • Easy to apply and dries quickly.
  • Has thick consistency, thus one coat is enough. 

Cons

  • Some people may think its a little expensive. 
  • Limited colour options. 

Recommendation

The Johnstones Woodcare paint has been created to allow you spruce up sheds and fences. A top quality exterior paint, it comes in vibrant options and lets you put your personality in your garden. We like that it dries in just under 2 hours and the fact that it’s wax-enriched helps waterproof wood within a very short time. 

Even the coverage is pretty impressive at 6m² per litre, which guarantees good value for money. Forget about applying coat after coat, one coat of this Woodcare is enough to get the job done quickly and efficiently. If you’re looking for a shed paint that is easy to apply, dries quickly and lasts long, this one is a great pick. If you usually despise painting your shed or fence, this is a great one-coat option that actually works and doesn’t feel like your applying water.

Read next: Best shed bases to help prevent wooden sheds from rotting


3. Cuprinol Ducksback 5 Year Waterproof for Sheds and Fences (5 L)

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Cuprinol Ducksback 5 Year Waterproof for Sheds and Fences

The Cuprinol Ducksback 5 Year Waterproof for Sheds and Fences ticks all the right boxes when it comes to quality. First, of foremost, the paint is wax enriched, giving it the ability to make wood waterproof just an hour after application. 

Available in a wide range of colours, including Silver Copse, Forest Oak, Woodland Moss, and Harvest Brown, just to mention a few, this paint won’t drip or cause a mess. It also dries quickly in just a matter of 1 to 2 hours. 

The paint is easy to apply using just a brush and you’ll need to make like 2 to 3 coats for perfect results although one coat could be sufficient and give a more weathered look, however, more coats would give it that darker colour. As always, avoid painting wood during damp conditions or low temperatures as this will reduce performance. Dry and sunny weather conditions allow for great results as with all outdoor shed paints. 

In terms of coverage, a 5L tin covers 10 fence panels with one coat or 4.8m² per litre, which is pretty good value for money. It also has a low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) level, this paint has no harsh smells and so it’s totally safe for use around pets. 

Pros

  • Wax enriched and showerproof.
  • Offers long-lasting waterproofness – 5 years.
  • Dries within a 2-hour period.
  • The non-drip formula for less mess. 
  • Comes in a range of colour choices.

Cons

  • Only ideal for rough sawn wood. 
  • Limited colour choices – just 9 of them, actually that is quiet a few.

Recommendation

The Cuprinol Ducksback is a low-cost alternative for the top two above. The colour options with this product come in a myriad of modern variations, giving you the freedom to make your shed and fence stand out. With 3 coats of this paint, you can rest assured that your garden shed will remain weatherproof for up to 5 years. 

We really like the reported consistency of this paint; not thick nor too thin. The non-drip application will also ensure minimal mess and less cleaning to do. A 5L tin will go a long way but unfortunately, there’s aren’t many options to choose from like is the case with our Best Pick. Despite that, each colour is very ‘rich’ and will surely leave an admirable, long-lasting look on your shed.

Read next: Best shed heaters to help keep your warm


4. Roxil Wood Protection Cream – Instant Waterproofing Clear Treatment (1L)

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Roxil Wood Protection Cream - Instant Waterproofing Clear Treatment

The Roxil Wood Protection Cream isn’t really a paint, but rather a clear wood treatment cream, perfect if you want to maintain that natural timber look. Well, not everyone wants a paint to change the colour of their shed and in such a case, a protection cream like this one is a great choice. This product will provide weatherproof protection for a good 10 years, after just one application which is amazing, not other protection even comes close but it also has a price tag to match. 

It works great for new or unpainted sheds, ensuring maximum protection whilst preserving the natural look of wood. When applied, the cream absorbs into the timber and becomes invisible, thus you won’t even tell it’s there. You can use a brush or roller to do the job. A litre of this paint covers an area of 4m² so it can become expensive if you have a large area to cover..

In addition to weatherproofing, the cream additionally provides protection from mould and algae growth and help prevent the timber from warping. The treatment is suitable for use on both softwood and hardwood, and the formula is easy to apply. It doesn’t drip or runoff during application and the finish should be a breeze to wipe clean.

Pros

  • Weatherproofs timber for 10 years or more.
  • Reduces algae and mould growth, as well as warping.
  • Easy, one-coat application by brush or roller. 
  • Effective on both hardwoods and softwoods.
  • Maintains the appearance of wood. 

Cons

  • Quite expensive for a 1L tin.
  • Not suitable for changing the colour of the wood. 

Recommendation

This Roxil Wood Protection Cream is arguably the best wood preservative on the market. It creates a weatherproof barrier that protects timber for 10+ years, no shed paints even come close to that. Superbly thick and creamy, it’s easy to apply with a brush and soaks into the timber in seconds. The best part is that it only needs one coat, meaning you can save time and effort, unlike paints that have to apply twice or thrice to achieve perfect results. 

Then there’s the added protection in the form of preventing mould and algae growth, a benefit you don’t get with any other product. This makes it useful for both old wooden sheds and newly sawn wood. The cream even makes wood surfaces easy to wipe clean. 

The major drawback is that the treatment is quite expensive for its 1L size. But considering how long it will protect your shed, and how much this might save you in the future, then there’s no doubt that it’s worth more than the initial investment. 

Don’t forget to also protect the contents of your shed with a shed alarm with build in sensors


Buyer’s Guide To The Best Paint for Protecting your Shed

Before you begin the search for the best paint for your shed, you have to consider some crucial features in the products so as to get fantastic results. Obviously, the main purpose of painting your shed is to increase its life against the elements as well as giving it an exquisite finish. A high-quality paint should also guarantee long-lasting protection. 

That said, let’s look at all the details to be carefully considered before purchasing a shed paint. 

Protection period

Not all paints are equal in terms of weatherproof protection. Some provide 5-year protection whilst others such as Roxil Wood Protection Cream offer decade-long protection against the elements for as long as 10 years, some less. Some products are made with wax enrichment and they start offering waterproof protection almost as soon as you’re done painting. And that leads us to the next point:

Drying time

The last thing you want is a drop of rain down your freshly painted surface. It can easily spoil the beauty if the paint is still fresh on your shed. As such, the paint should be quick-drying so that you won’t get caught if the weather turns. Even children and pets are not safe around fresh paint. 

So if possible, go for paints that dry quickly and that’s anything from 1-2 hours. Also, note that paint dries quicker on warmer days than on colder days. 

Coverage

Coverage is measured per litre and it’s the size of the area that each litre of paint will cover. Now, this is a factor that you need to analyse carefully. Paint may have greater coverage, but then you need to apply like 3 coats to get the results right. 

Another one may be on the lower side, yet just a single coat of it is enough to get the job done. However, with the second option, you may end up purchasing an extra tub or tin to complete a larger shed. So you have to do these kinds of calculations against your budget in order to purchase that ticks your boxes. 

Environment-friendly

Paint odour can be harmful and very irritating to work with. Therefore, always try to look for paints that don’t smell that bad. The paint should also be safe for plants, children and pets. Obviously, every manufacturer strives to produce environment-friendly paints, so virtually most paints should be fine but most are dangerous if they get into water such as ponds, so this is something to be aware of. 

Type of paint

The choice is between water-based and solvent-based paints. The former dries quicker and it’s easy to clean up with just soap and water. Water-based paints also contract and expand with temperature variations, making them perfect for varying weather conditions. 

On the other hand, solvent-based paints take longer to dry and can only be cleaned by turpentine or paint thinner. They are a good choice for garden sheds that initially had an oil-based coat. 


Shed newly painted to protect it from rot

FAQs

How do you paint a shed?

  1. The first thing you need to do is clean and prepare the shed. Scrub away any cobwebs, dirt and mould. 
  2. Next, fill in any cracks in the timber with filler and sand the surface down to clear any old paint. Sanding will allow for a smoother paint application. 
  3. Thirdly, apply a wood treatment or an oil-based primer to protect your garden shed from weathering. If it rained recently, give the shed at least 2 days to dry before starting to paint. 
  4. If your shed is dry, clean and primed, apply your select paint colour. You can use a brush, sprayer or roller. A sprayer is the easiest and fastest option. 
  5. Apply a second coat after the first coat is dry and maybe even a third if you think it needs it. This will ensure an outstanding finish. 

Is it necessary to use a primer before painting?

Sure. Priming any piece of timber is necessary because it acts as an undercoat to the surface before the actual painting. This ensures that you get great adhesion of paint to the timber as well as increased paint longevity. However, some paints and creams can be applied directly to timber so check first. 

Can you paint pressure treated timber?

The short answer is yes. But, most pressured treated sheds won’t require additional treatment for 10 to 20 years. 

In what temperature conditions does the paint dry faster?

Exterior timber paint dries quicker in warm rather than in chilly weather. Also, painting wood when it’s too cold results to ineffective forming of film and this affects the paint’s resistance to cracks and how it holds up over time. But remember, cold, dry air can cause the paint to dry quicker than hot humid air. 

Shed painted bright red to protect from the weather and make it look good

Final Conclusion

If you want your shed to look attractive and withstand the weather’s hazards such as heat, snow and rain, you have to invest in a good shed paint. The best paint for protecting your shed should offer at least 3-year protection and that’s what you get from the paints herein. 

For us, the two shed paints that stand out of the crowd are; Cuprinol Garden Shades and Johnstones Woodcare One Coat Shed & Fence Paint. 

Our best pick the Cuprinol Garden Shades is suitable for a variety of uses and its wide range of colours makes it even more popular with homeowners. It’s a water-based formulation that’s easy to use and it’s the only paint that provides unrivalled weather protection in the form of 6 years but just make sure you give it at least 2 good coats as its nearly impossible to touch up afterwards. 

The Johnstones Woodcare One Coat Shed & Fence Paint is more affordbale to buy, yet it completes the job with one coat. Moreover, you get plenty of wax-enriched paint to use and one that dries and waterproofs wood quickly.  

And that’s it from us. We hope you have found a good paint for your shed.

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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