A garden shed should be somewhere you go for a little peace and quiet. A space you can unplug from the world for a few hours, get to tending your garden or working on a hobby, and just enjoying some calm. Of course, that dream of some time in the shed can quickly turn into a nightmare if you notice that paint is flaking on the front panels, there is some moss growing on the woodwork, and the whole frame could do with a new lease of life.
Caring for and painting a shed seems like an easy enough job to do, especially if you’re looking to take it from a drab and dulled stain to something with a pop of colour. It is important though to know what you’re getting yourself into, and what pitfalls to avoid when painting a shed, especially if it will be your first time doing it.
Join me as I guide you on a whirlwind journey through the world of shed painting, what you need to do, and how to get a bright pink shed!
Sheds are the enemy of novices
I would never let someone who doesn’t know how to paint exterior surfaces anywhere near a shed with a paintbrush unless they can tell me what direction the grain is going. If you have recently built or installed a shed, and can’t tell what direction grain goes, don’t let a drop of paint or stain touch it.
Remember eating Rice Krispies as a kid? How does replacing Snap, Crackle & Pop with crack, peel & flake sound? Because that is what will happen if the coating on your wood hasn’t been applied correctly. Wood needs to have a degree of breathability to deal with the seasons. Going against the grain will see your paint sit uncomfortably. So how can you tell which way the grain goes? Don’t instinctively rub your hand on the wood, unless of course, you want to have a hand full of wood splinters. Take your brush when it is dry and rub it on the wood like you’re painting. Go a few times back and forward in each direction. You’ll be able to pick up on which direction lacks any resistance. That’s the direction the grain is going on. Obviously, it is fine to go back and forward on strokes for complete coverage, but always try to do most of the application going with the grain.
So which shed paint should I use?
Firstly, never call it shed paint. You don’t refer to interior paint as wall paint or paint for chair legs as chair leg paint, so simply saying paint will do just fine for sheds. Typically, sheds are best suited to having water-based paints applied on top of water-based primers (or oil on oil, just don’t mix the two). You will want a paint advertised as being formulated for use outdoors, as it will have two things going for it; deeper colour pigmentation to help the wood take colour better, and UV protection. I would never apply a paint that didn’t have UV protection; otherwise, you would end up with a shed that is faded on one side from sun exposure and completely unchanged on the other.
But what about having a pink shed?
Ah yes! Don’t think I forgot about painting a shed any colour of the rainbow. Sadolin Superdec (which you can find at https://www.thepaintshed.com/sadolin-superdec-tinted-colours) is going to be your best friend if you want to paint. It is a water-based exterior wood paint which should be used on cladding, just like a shed. Because it has an acrylic resin dispersed in water, it can be applied like a traditional paint over bare or previously stained timber.
Remember, you want to use a primer first and double-check that your wood is nice and dry before using paint, e.g. if it was raining yesterday, you should not paint the wood today. If you happen to have, or know someone with, a pin type moisture meter, the magic number is 20%. If the meter hits that or anything below, you’re good to paint.
And when painting a shed, you have to be patient with each coat. Unlike a quick-dry paint for inside your house, you need to give exterior paint a long time to dry in, become flexible, and firm up. That’s why you would typically pop on one coat every 24 hours, so think of it as something to do over a long weekend. The longer you give yourself, the pinker/greener/whiter etc. a shed will look.
How do I keep my shed looking good?
The key to keeping your shed looking as good as possible is down to preservation. And that means using a stain or preserver once a year on the shed. Now, don’t go thinking it will be a case of simply cracking open a can on a sunny day and quickly applying a new coat. You’ll want to go around the shed and give it a quick clean, especially if it sits on the grass. Remove any mossy patches or algae you can see sticking to the wood. It is common to get some light sandpaper and give the shed a brief once over. Not only will clean it down, but it will give your new coat of preserver something to cling on to. Just remember to give your preserver time to dry in; at least a day.
Working more with wood
Decking is a whole world unto itself, which you will want to read up on. If you want a primer on popular decking options, this article about composite decking is a good place to start.
That’s all I have to say about painting sheds. I hope you’ve found it interesting and now have some tips which will make the paint job easier.