Protect and colour your outdoor wooden structures
Wooden fences, sheds, playhouses and other outdoor structures are constantly battling against our British weather. Keep them from looking weathered and protect them from rot with a lick of protective paint or treatment.
We offer a wide range of exterior paints, oils, varnishes and stains to protect your outdoor wood. And with so many colours available, you can style your structure however you like.
Not sure which one to opt for? Check out our buyer's guide to help you find the exterior paint to protect and colour your wooden shed, fence and more.
You will need
Bucket - if required to dilute cleaning products
Filling knife - to apply wood filler
Paint brush - choose a slim, narrow one for cutting in around features such as window frames
Garden paint sprayer - if necessary
Paint kettle - if necessary
Decorating cloths and rags - to clean up any splashes whilst the paint is still wet
For inspiration on shed paint patterns, check out the video below packed with four colourful design ideas.
How to paint a wooden shed or fence
Preparation is key for a longer-lasting finish.
Wood needs to be completely dry, so the best time to apply any paint, stain or treatment is after a dry spell and when no rain is expected for a few days. Make sure it’s a warm, dry day (above 10°C) but try to avoid very hot days, as intense sun could result in it drying out before it's had time to penetrate the wood properly.
If using a paint sprayer, we advise avoiding using during windy weather - otherwise you could end up spraying more than just your fence or shed.
- Make sure you always read and follow any specific product instructions before you begin.
- Keep paint and treatments out of reach of children.
- When spraying wood preservative, wear safety goggles and a mask.
Prepare the wood before applying any paint or treatment. Use a stiff brush to get rid of any dirt or cobwebs.. If the surface is covered in algae, dip the brush in diluted general-purpose cleaner and scrub it clean before rinsing off.
Allow the surface to dry before painting.
Now is also the time to make any repairs and replace any decayed sections of wood with healthy timber. For small areas, use an exterior wood filler which can then be sanded flush with the surface prior to painting.
If your surface has previously been painted, sand down any flaky areas and consider using a power sander for any large areas.
Cover any nearby surfaces with cotton dust sheets in case of overspray or drips. Cover plants that might get splashed and trim back any unwanted foliage to give yourself plenty of space to work. Tie back any climbing plants that can't be covered or you don't want to cut back, using plant ties and canes.
Cover any concrete posts prior to painting, especially if you're spraying. Wooden posts can be painted, so there's no need to cover.
Give the product a good stir before painting (some tins recommend a good shake to make sure you get a consistent colour). Check you're happy with the colour by finding a small hidden patch of wood and try it before you stain the whole fence or shed.
If using a brush, pour the paint into a paint kettle (this will be lighter and easier to handle than a large can of paint). Or if using a roller, pour the paint into the tray provided.
If you're using a paint sprayer, read the instructions provided with the sprayer as they can differ. Check if the paint needs to be diluted with water before use.
As a general rule, place the sprayer onto a firm, flat surface and pour the paint into the sprayer’s tank/ vessel – some products clip directly onto the paint can.
Step 5 - If using a timber brush or roller
Use the timber brush or roller to apply a thick, even coating along the grain of the timber. Apply brush strokes in the same direction as the grain and be careful not to spread the paint too far.
Avoid runs or drips by not overloading the brush or roller with paint and work it in well. Pick up any wet edges before they begin to dry in a drip shape and don’t let the paint collect in crevices as it will create runs.
For any end grains, such as the tops of posts or at the corners of sheds, we, we recommend dabbing the brush on these areas to make sure that the product soaks into the wood.
Step 5 - If using a paint sprayer
Pressurise the sprayer and choose the most suitable spray option provided.
For the best results when spraying, use long, sweeping, horizontal or vertical arm movements along the direction of the panels or woodgrain.
Take your finger off the trigger when you move to the next piece of timber as this will help achieve a neat, even coverage and prevent you spraying too much paint on one spot.
Hold the nozzle about 15cm from the surface and overlap each pass by 50%. This will make sure the whole area is covered with the correct amount of paint.
Use a brush to paint any crevices or hard to reach gravel boards.
Allow the first coat to dry as recommended by the instructions and apply a second coat if required. When you’ve finished, scrape as much paint or treatment off your brush and clean with a paint brush cleaner.
Pour any remaining paint in the sprayer back into the paint vessel. Clean the sprayer, nozzles and filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
Wait until the paint has completely dried before removing any coverings from your plants, paths etc. and screwing back into position any handles or accessories.
Stuck for ideas of what to do with your leftover paint or preservative? Don't pour it down drains or watercourses as they can pollute waterways. Instead, find out how to responsibly dispose of unwanted paint and paint cans with our helpful guide.