Get creative with masonry, metal and wood outdoor colour
Adding a splash of paint isn't just for indoors - get creative and bring colour and character to your outdoor space with an exterior paint.
Outdoor paint can be an important final detail in a redesign project or just a neat finish for a quick outdoor spruce up. It can reinvent tired or unloved areas, make your outdoor space your own and help you stay on-trend with the latest styles without having to replace or update what you already have. A lick of paint can complement or contrast against the planted areas of your garden depending on the look you're going for and adds much-needed protection to structures and surfaces that brave the elements. Plus, in most instances, it’s a DIY project that you can undertake yourself, without having to break the bank.
Let our buyer’s guide help find the right paint for you and the task at hand.
Before you begin
There are a few important things to consider before getting stuck into your painting project.
What are you painting?
Our extensive selection of exterior paints work on pretty much any surface in your garden - whether wood, brick or metal - along with a range of paints for more specialist projects.
These paints can be applied to:
- sheds and other structures
- garden furniture
- front doors
- garage doors
- windows and door frames
- soffits and fascia
- barbecues and stoves
- plant pots and planters
What is the quality of the surface?
The kind of surface you’re painting is important - both in deciding what type of paint to use and also the preparation work you’ll need to do (if any at all).
If you’re painting over an older surface, make sure it’s dry, clean and in good repair; that any dust, mould, algae or moss has been removed and any rust has been sanded down. You may need to use a primer and/or undercoat to ensure both the best finish and that your paint job lasts for as long as possible.
How big is the painting project?
The size of project determines how much paint you’ll need, so check your coverage needs before you buy. All of our paint comes with an idea of how big an area you can cover, but coverage can vary depending on how absorbent the surface is.
It can also affect what tools you use - paintbrushes are best suited to smaller, more intricate work, whereas rollers or even a sprayer will help get larger jobs done quickly and effectively.
What finish and colour do you want?
Are you looking for a bright shade that will add a splash of colour to your outdoor space? Or a more muted tone to complement the look of your garden? When choosing your paint, don't forget the end result you want - after all, that's probably why you're tackling the job in the first place. Think about whether you're looking to enhance the existing look of the surface (for example, staining wood to emphasise its natural beauty) or conceal it cleverly with colour.
We offer an enormous selection of colours to choose from and even the opportunity to colour match your exterior paint to make sure it's the exact shade you want. With over 2.2 million colours, our Valspar paint allows you to create your own perfect colour scheme for your garden that will stand the test of time.
For more on our Valspar paint mixing service, check out our helpful guide.
Paint types and finishes
There are three main types of exterior paint - those for wood, masonry (brickwork) and metal.
Exterior wood paint
Suitable for wooden sheds, fences, decking, garden furniture, garden storage, playhouses and other structures
When protecting and colouring exterior wood, there are four options to choose from: paint, stains, varnish and oil. Many of these products are created specially for certain areas or tasks, so explore our range to find the right one for your project.
Completely opaque, wood paint can give a splash of colour to your garden and is available in a massive range of colours. Ours are designed to survive the elements and some are resistant to cracking and blistering even after a lot of exposure. Exterior trim paint, available in gloss and satin, is best suited to smooth wooden surfaces. such as windowsills and doors.
Most are quick to dry and can be re-coated after eight hours.
Stains let the full natural wood grain show through while still giving colour. They soak into the wood and offer protection from the elements - look for ones that are water-repellent.
Many exterior wood stains are showerproof within 30 minutes of application (although it will take several hours for them to be fully dry), making them ideal if you want to turn a project around quickly.
A great choice for new garden furniture and decking, wood oils nourish the wood and protect the finish. Available in several different colour options, they replace the wood's natural oils that are lost through exposure to the weather, and, when applied to decked areas, protect against foot traffic.
Oil can take time to dry, so check the product's details and factor this in when planning.
If you’re looking for more protection as well as a natural wood finish on your doors and windows, choose a varnish. Much more transparent than other woodcare options, they allow the full natural wood texture to come through for a natural look and usually feature UV protection to help the colour last longer.
Choose between a clear varnish that simply protects and adds a sheen to the surface, or a coloured varnish that enhances, or even changes, the natural colour of your wood.
Varnish can be applied to wood that has previously been varnished or stained (although we recommend stripping previous coats), and some are showerproof within an hour of application – although it won’t be fully dry for several hours.
Exterior metal paint
Suitable for metal railings, gates, sheds, garden furniture, garden storage and drainpipes
We offer metal paints that can be applied directly onto galvanised metal or onto rust with minimal preparation, as well as multi-purpose paints suitable for a wide range of projects.
Direct to galvanised metal paint
This is for non-rusting metal surfaces such as galvanised steel, aluminium, copper and brass. It’s formulated so that it can be directly applied without primer and is available with a built-in topcoat too.
Direct to rust metal paint
As the name suggests, this paint is for use on metal surfaces without the need to fully remove the rust. You won’t always need a primer, but will need to clean and sand down the rusty area before application – check the instructions for more information.
Multi-purpose/ Interior and exterior metal paint
Perfect for painting metal inside as well as outside your home, this versatile option protects and revitalises the metal in your garden. We offer a range of both quick-drying water-based and more traditional solvent-based paints.
Exterior masonry paint
Suitable for exterior house walls, garden walls and garages
Masonry paint is available in either a smooth or textured finish and is offered in more colours than you might think - ranging from cool greys, bright whites and warm terracotta, to brighter options like purples, greens and blues. There's even black – so whatever look you’re going for, we can help you achieve it.
Masonry paint can be used on stone, concrete, smooth or roughcast rendering, pebble dash and most brickwork. And many types boast fade-resistant technology so that your chosen colour will remain bright and attractive for longer.
Exterior paint finishes
There are three options of exterior paint finish to choose from: gloss, satin and matt (pictured). For the highest level of sheen, choose gloss, while matt offers more of a flat finish. Satin is a happy compromise between the two.
Our range of outdoor paint for metal also includes a hammered finish in a range of colours – opt for this if looking for an interesting, matt effect.
As well as the type you use, there are particular features to look for in your chosen paint that can help provide a perfect finish.
Waterproof/ water-repellent exterior paint
Waterproof and water-repellent paints help protect surfaces from rain and damp (wood pictured). If a masonry surface is particularly porous, extra precautions might be needed to protect it. If this is the case, consider our Waterguard paint which dries within four to five hours and is clear so can be used alone or with a coloured paint for extra protection against the elements.
Breathable exterior paint
While wanting to protect your surfaces from the rain, it’s important that any moisture within your brickwork can be expelled. Our breathable paint allows moisture to escape through the paint, helping to prevent mould and algae from developing behind it and damaging the surface.
Washable exterior paint
Just because you’re painting outside doesn’t mean that you won’t occasionally need to give your painted surfaces a wipe down to get rid of marks or mess. For example, exterior gloss paints allow you to wipe clean your doors and windowsills without damaging the finished look. Some of our masonry paints are dirt-resistant, making it difficult for stains and residue to take hold – perfect for the grubby world of the garden.
Quick-drying exterior paint
With the unpredictable weather here in Britain, finishing your painting job quickly is essential and so many of our paints are quick drying. Check the packaging for advice on timescales to help you plan your project properly and look out for options that are showerproof in 30 minutes, as well as touch dry within a few hours. Be sure to factor in the recommended amount of time between recoats to get the best result.
Anti-scuff exterior paint
Maintain outdoor flooring, such as doorsteps, with paint formulated to be more durable and resist wear and tear. This anti-scuff paint protects against stains, helps your outdoor surfaces look good for longer and ensures minimal scuffs. This makes it well suited for garage floors, protecting against the moving of heavy items like lawnmowers and garden furniture, and even cars being parked.
Anti-burglar exterior paint
Apply this specially-designed paint to your drainpipes or on the top of walls, fences and gates to stop intruders. Our anti-climb paint remains greasy even when dry, making it difficult to get a hold on the surface.
Colour protection exterior paint
Being out in the elements can lead to weathering. Unprotected wood will go grey and discolour over time, and your paint, stain, oil or varnish can fade or even change colour – they can also crack, peel or blister after a while.
Different paints offer different levels of protection so look out for paints designed to remain bright and attractive for longer. UV protection offers a longer-lasting colour, while other options resist the effects of weathering. And if you’re repainting wooden surfaces that are a little on the weathered side, use a restorer to return greying wood back to its original colour.
You might need
Once you’ve found the right paint for you, it’s time to stock up on all the tools you’ll need to complete your outdoor painting project.
Complete any necessary preparation work prior to painting with fillers. Wood ones correct any holes or spaces in wooden surfaces, while masonry options fill unwanted cracks in your brickwork.
Wire brushes are a good way to remove paint and rust from metal and when used with sandpaper will ensure that you have a smooth surface for application. While sandpaper used alone on smaller surfaces, such as door and window frames, helps primers and paint adhere to the surface.
If you’re concerned about an old colour showing through the new one, explore our range of paint removers (also known as paint strippers).
Primers and undercoats
Certain paints and stains require a layer of undercoat or primer before you apply them. This ensures that the paint go on smoothly, that it adheres properly and that the finished effect looks good for as long as possible. We offer primers and undercoats for wood, brick and metal surfaces.
Paintbrushes, rollers and sprayers
Complete your painting kit with one of our paintbrushes, rollers or sprayers.
Sprayers are best suited to painting larger surface areas. They take less time than a brush and some models allow you to control the speed and accuracy of the spray for more fiddly paint jobs.
Rollers are ideal for painting exterior walls – so be sure to pick one that is for outdoor use. If you’re painting areas that are high up, opt for one with an extension pole to more easily and comfortably tackle these parts without needing a ladder.
For smaller areas or more delicate painting, pick up one of our paintbrushes. We offer ones specially designed for use on specific materials, such as those for painting wood or masonry, and even decking brushes that remove the need for kneeling or bending down.
Use a synthetic brush if you’re using a water-based paint, varnish or oil as natural bristles won’t apply it properly to the surface. And to use your brushes and rollers multiple times, clean them after every use with brush cleaner or, for water- based paints, use water and detergent.
Don’t get covered in paint with our range of workwear. From coveralls to dust masks, safety goggles to gloves - we've everything you need to protect yourself and stay safe from splashes and dust.
And remember to protect the area where you're painting - even outside it's all too easy to make a mess. Pick up a dust sheet to stop unwanted paint from ending up on your decking, pathways or patios.
Ladders and steps
Depending on the size of the paint project, you may need a ladder or work platform to help you access hard to reach areas. Explore our selection, ranging from tall extension ladders through to much-shorter step stools to find the one for you.