Whether it’s your shed, windows or garden furniture, choosing the best exterior wood paint might be the most important step in giving your exterior surfaces a fresh look that lasts.
Being exposed to the British elements means that paint applied to exterior wood often suffers from issues such as discolouration, flaking and cracking. If you choose the wrong paint for the job you’re in danger of these issues appearing on your surfaces much sooner than you’d hope.
Fortunately, we’ve used our extensive experience and combined that with thousands of user reviews to come up with an ultimate guide to choosing the best exterior wood paint that will make your property look great and actually last. Keep reading below to find out which paint came out on top.
Best Exterior Wood Paint Overall: Dulux Exterior Wood Paint
When choosing a paint for exterior wood, you need to make sure the paint is durable, easy to apply and let’s face it, looks great. Dulux Weathershield for Exterior Wood and Metal ticks all these boxes and for that reason, gets our vote as the best overall.
The easy to apply flexible formula gives the paint a high degree of versatility and is suitable for use on most exterior wooden surfaces including doors, window frames, garage doors and porches. With this formula, Dulux have found the delicate balance between the gloss being quick drying but slow enough to ensure you can get a nice smooth coverage by laying off.
In terms of durability, the Weathershield gives a 10 year guaranteed weather protection assuming the surface is already in good condition before application. The flexible paint film is perfect for exterior wood which is particularly prone to expansion and contraction due to the absorption and release of moisture. Being flexible essentially means the paint doesn’t crack or peel during this expansion and contraction process.
The paint comes in 6 diverse colours including Oxford Blue, Monarch Red and Buckingham Green. Our personal favourite is the Conker shade which sets to a warm and rich mid-brown colour in a beautiful high gloss finish. The fact that the paint is mould-resistant means the colours avoid staining and should look better for longer. For south facing resinous woods, it’s advisable to only use light colours.
- Offers 10 year weatherproof protection
- Easy to apply
- Comes in a variety of stunning high gloss colours
- Suitable for application across most exterior wooden surfaces
- You may need to use a suitable primer before the first coat
Runner Up: Ronseal Weatherproof Paint
Our runner up is Ronseal Weatherproof which has been specially formulated to ensure your paint job remains in a great condition for roughly 10 years.
Like Dulux’s Weathershield, Ronseal’s gloss paint is perfect for a variety of objects including doors, gates and fascia boards. It’s suitable for use on both bare and already painted surfaces.
The gloss has a nice thick consistency and in general is simple to apply. Whilst the coverage isn’t quite as impressive as Dulux, you still get a lot of bang for your buck with the result often being both smooth and free from brush marks due to the levelling properties of the gloss.
Ronseal Weatherproof can last you up to 10 years with Ronseal even claiming a lifetime guarantee if maintained with Ronseal wood paint. The flexible formula flexes with the wood which means it resists cracking, peeling and blistering for 10 years. What’s more, the weatherproof properties of the gloss become apparent just 1 hour after application although we’d always recommend applying when dry conditions have been forecast.
The colour choice isn’t too extensive with typical mainstays such as white, cream and dark oak being the only ones available.
- Is very quick drying which makes it weatherproof in just one hour
- Easy to apply
- Easy to achieve a smooth coverage because of the levelling properties of the paint
- Lasts up to 10 years and even longer if topped up with Ronseal’s wood paint
- Lack of unique colours is disappointing
Great Alternative: Sandtex Exterior Wood Paint
Outside of masonry paint, you wouldn’t typically associate Sandtex with home DIY but if you’re looking for an alternative to the Dulux’s and Ronseal’s of the world, it’s worth trying Sandtex’s exterior wood paint.
Their advanced technology exterior gloss is suitable for use on all wood and metal surfaces making it perfect for application on wooden windows, doors, sheds and fences. Due to its versatility, you can also use any leftover paint on items like metal garden furniture.
The thickness of the paint is near perfect which ensures a smooth application and finish without leaving any drips or brush marks. It’s also fairly easy to clean afterwards too – simply use white spirit to wash your brushes (the paint is solvent-based and can’t be cleaned with just water).
Sandtex claim a 10 year guaranteed protective finish that is waterproof, tough and long lasting. The flexible formula also means that the paint won’t crack, blister or flake over time.
The high gloss finish is very chic with an ultra shine mirror effect and comes in colours ranging from Chestnut Brown to Box Red giving you plenty of scope for individuality.
- Tough waterproof finish for exterior wood & metal
- Flexible formulation to resist cracking
- 10 Year Guaranteed Protection
- Ultra mirror shine Gloss finish
- Slow drying time – make sure to schedule your painting when there’s at least 2 consecutive days without rain forecast
Best Exterior Satin Paint Option: Dulux Weathershield Quick Dry
Moving away from the high gloss finishes, if you’re looking for something a bit flatter, we’d recommend Dulux Weathershield Quick Dry Satin. This satin paint retains many of the durability traits of the high glosses but has a flatter, modern finish.
Being a satin paint, it’s not going to have the same durability as high gloss but it’s still suitable for a variety of purposes such as on external timber joinery (door frames, cladding etc.) and holds up well on various types of wooden garden furniture.
The thickness of the paint is decent and people with experience of painting shouldn’t have an issue with achieving a uniform, smooth finish. Total beginners might have issues with brush marks if they’re not comfortable painting (being quick dry isn’t ideal here) but thorough preparation of the surface will help substantially with this.
In terms of durability, the paint is expected to last for around 10 years and is both flexible and mould resistant. This gives it the benefit of avoiding cracking and also staining/discolouration. Of course, it’s not going to offer you the same protection as a high gloss but it does look better.
The attractive mid-sheen finish is complimented by the range of colours available for you to choose from. Hazelnut Truffle, Misty Sky and Green Glade are just 3 stunning colours from the collection of 8.
- Huge coverage of 18m²/L makes your paint go further
- One of the quickest drying paints on the market
- Avoids cracking and peeling whilst being mould resistance prevents discolouration and staining
- Comes in an attractive mid-sheen finish
- Lacks the durability of high gloss paints
Best Paint for Wooden Windows: Johnstone’s
If you’re looking for the best paint for exterior wooden windows you don’t need to look too much further than Johnstone’s Exterior Gloss. It has a 6 year life meaning it not only looks fantastic but is durable too without needing too much maintenance.
Aside from your wooden windows, you can also apply this gloss to a variety of exterior wooden and metal surfaces including doors, cladding and various types of joinery.
The formula is on the thick side but this is handy in that the application is smooth and the coverage is very even if applied correctly. It doesn’t leave any brush marks which is a major plus, especially for beginner DIYers. Being as thick as it is does mean it takes longer to dry than most glosses so be sure to only apply this when dry weather is forecast.
The 6 years life is achieved by having a formulation that is both water resistant and flexible. Water resistance prevents any discolouration whilst the flexible paint film avoids problems such as flaking and cracking which is typically associated with exterior paint. Overall, beyond a touch up, this gloss should last a long time. For optimal performance we’d recommend using Johnstone’s Exterior Undercoat.
Colours include anything from Admiral Blue and Chocolate to Cream and Victory Red meaning you have a variety of unique colours to choose from and to really create your own exterior style.
- Nice thick consistency gives a smooth, protective finish
- Great colour selection available to create your own unique exterior style
- Very easy to apply
- Can be used on a variety of wooden or metal surfaces
- Takes a while to dry fully – schedule your painting during a period of warm, dry weather
Best for a Wooden Fence: Cuprinol Ducksback
Our pick for the best fence paint goes to Cuprinol Ducksback (and not just because of the great name).
The Cuprinol Ducksback ticks all the boxes when it comes to choosing the best fence paint. It’s water repellent due to being wax enriched, offers weatherproof protection for around 5 years and the colour looks fantastic.
One thing we notice with cheaper brands of fence paint is that the pigmenting of the colour doesn’t always match what you see on the tin. You certainly won’t be having that problem with this paint.
You can read our full Cuprinol Ducksback review here.
- You don’t have to be an experienced painter to get a high quality finish
- Fantastic colour
- Can be thinned down to use in a paint sprayer
- Great coverage from 1 tin
What kind of paint do you use on outdoor wood?
It’s no secret that we have terrible weather year-round in the UK so choosing a paint for outdoor wood is an important decision. In general, you’ll want to find something that is durable, waterproof or water repellent and doesn’t discolour.
For us, this means we’d tend to go for something like high gloss. High gloss is incredibly durable and the wood-specific glosses tend to have a flexible film paint. Why flexible you ask? Well, wood changes size, depending on the moisture levels within it. When it’s wet and high moisture in the air, the wood will tend to expand (or get bigger). During drier seasons, the wood contracts, or gets smaller.
Naturally, the layer of paint isn’t immune to the expanding and contracting of the wood and if using a poor paint, it will likely start to crack and peel. That’s why we’d always look for the gloss to be flexible – it avoids many of these pitfalls.
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