Choosing the best shed paint can entirely transform the look and feel of your garden.
But get your choice wrong and you might end up wasting your time on something that doesn’t hold up well against UV, weathers easily and gives you very poor coverage.
Fortunately, as paint experts, we’ve tried and tested some of the best shed paints currently available in the UK and have given our opinion on what we like and what we’re not so fond of. Hopefully the information we provide can give you a better idea of the shed paint you should buy to totally transform your garden. Enjoy!
Best Shed Paint Overall: Cuprinol Ducksback
Cuprinol Ducksback is one of our favourite exterior wood paints and has appeared multiple times on our blog – often as our number one choice. And in terms of looking for the best shed paint, you certainly wouldn’t go wrong with it.
The water-repellent Cuprinol Ducksback is perfect for application on most exterior wood surfaces but it’s on sheds and fences where it really shines.
The reason it’s so good as a shed paint is down to its ease of application. Like most paint jobs we’d recommend giving the surface a sanding down first but when it comes to Cuprinol Ducksback, not removing imperfections isn’t going to hamper you.
It’s water repellent, offers protection for roughly 5 years and the colour looks great.
What you’ll tend to notice with cheaper brands of shed paint is that the pigmenting of the colour doesn’t necessarily match what you see on the tin. You certainly don’t run into this issue with the Cuprinol Ducksback.
- Even amateur painters can get a high quality finish
- The colour matches what’s on the tin
- It’s easy to thin down and use in a paint sprayer to speed up the job
- Provides very good coverage
Good Budget Option: Johnstone’s One Coat Shed Paint
Whilst Johnstone’s One Coat Shed and Fence paint doesn’t quite have the durability or covering power of Cuprinol Ducksback, it does have one thing in its favour: it’s pretty damn cheap.
Johnstone’s One Coat shed paint is specially formulated for use on rough sawn timber such as sheds, trellis panels and fences making it an ideal budget choice if your shed needs a new lick of paint.
Having a special wax enriched formula, it’s actually a little bit thicker than you’d expect from a typical shed paint (especially one that’s marketed as quick dry!) but you’ll face no problems in getting a nice smooth coverage with minimal, if any brush marks. The thickness also means that unlike most ‘one coat’ paints, this actually only needs the one coat!
The durability of the paint does let it down slightly with a ‘guaranteed’ 3 year life which doesn’t quite match up to some of the other paints on our list. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a negative though as some people like to freshen up their exterior wood paint after a few years anyway.
Colours range from a rich Golden Chestnut to a more exotic Cedar Red with a couple of others to choose from.
- It’s very easy to get a nice, smooth finish
- Is budget friendly
- Conveniently one coat
- Comes in a variety of show stopping colours
- Isn’t as long lasting as some of the other shed paints on this list
Alternative Budget Choice: Ronseal One Coat Shed Life Paint
Ronseal’s One Coat Shed Life paint is another good budget option for those looking to give their shed a fresh colour and a bit of protection.
Formulated specifically for use on rough sawn timber, this paint works well on both sheds and fences but shouldn’t be used on any hardwoods such as garden benches.
Ronseal’s One Coat does what it says on the tin and can absolutely be used with just one coat if you’re painting your shed a similar colour. However, if you’re painting over something that’s highly contrasting the watery and somewhat thin consistency of the paint is going to have a hard time covering it with just one coat.
Due to its consistency, we’d recommend using plenty of dust sheets in your work area as this paint can be a bit splashy!
Ronseal’s One Coat Shed Life is decently durable with weatherproofing lasting around 2 years whilst maintaining its colour for around the same amount of time. Of course, this is inferior to Cuprinol Ducksback but does have that advantage of being cheaply priced.
- Works well as a refreshing paint
- Can paint your shed with just one coat
- Rainproof in just a couple of hours
- It keeps its colour and doesn’t grey
- A good budget choice
- Only lasts a couple of years before you’ll need to repaint
- The consistency is a bit watery
Best Shed Paint Colours: Cuprinol Garden Shades
The second Curpinol paint to appear on our list is Cuprinol Garden Shades. The differentiator between this shed paint and the Ducksback is of course the extensive colour range Garden Shades offers.
Suitable for any type of garden wood, this paint can be applied to anything from sheds, fences and wooden garden furniture. Moreover, it offers exterior garden wood 6 years of weatherproof protection, outperforming the Ducksback paint.
So if this paint has superior durability to Ducksback, why isn’t it the best shed paint overall? Well, the issue is coverage to price ratio. Ducksback is so much smoother to apply and goes a lot further than Garden Shades so we’d only really recommend this paint if money isn’t an issue.
- Is durable and offers weatherproof protection for roughly 6 years
- One of the quickest drying paints on the market
- It’s water-based and isn’t harmful to animals or plants
- It doesn’t yellow over time
- It’s very expensive for the coverage you get
Highly Reviewed Choice: Johnstone’s Garden Colours
The second Johnstone’s paint to appear on our list is their Garden Colours Woodcare paint. This all-rounder comes in a plethora of eye-catching colours and is definitely worth a look if budget isn’t an issue.
Johnstone’s Garden Colours is formulated for use on exterior wood and when we say it’s an all-rounder, we’re not kidding. You can use this paint on anything from sheds and fences to summerhouses and garden chairs.
The paint is very smooth to apply and takes a couple of coats to get the perfect finish. The consistency of the paint is spot on and you should be able to get a coverage of around 12m²/L which is a similar ratio to some of the best one coat paints. The paint can look a bit streaky when first applying but its self-levelling properties fixes this issue when setting.
Johnstone’s Garden Colours is fairly durable and should last around 4 years before needing to be entirely repainted. Whilst it’s marketed as fade resistance there’s a chance you’ll need to give it a fresh top coat after a couple of years or so to expand its life.
- Has a variety of eye-catching colours to choose from
- Is fairly easy to apply
- Works on a variety of different exterior woods
- It’s easy to clean off brushes and equipment with warm, soapy water
- It’ll set you back a few quid if you’ve got a large shed
- It will require a bit of maintenance after a couple of years
Versatile Shed Paint: Ronseal Garden Paint
Ronseal’s Garden Paint is one that’s similar to Johnstone’s Garden Colours but is more durable. The downsides? It’s steeply priced despite not significantly out-competing some of the other paints on this list in terms of performance and you’ll also need three coats.
Whilst typically you’d use this paint on exterior woods in the garden, it’s actually been formulated to do a lot more. Painting on substrates such as metals and stone isn’t out of the realms of possibility so this paint really gives you the opportunity to coordinate the colours of your garden more specifically.
As mentioned above, to get the perfect finish you’ll need to apply 3 coats and with a coverage of roughly 12m²/L you’ll find that painting your shed can become rather expensive. Moreover, for optimum you’ll need to use a brush meaning the job is going to take quite a long time to finish.
In terms of durability, Ronseal’s Garden Paint matches up well with other paints on this list. Once fully set, the paint forms a flexible film that is able to keep up with wood that expands and contracts so you’ll avoid any cracking or blistering which is a big bonus.
- Forms a durable, flexible film once fully set
- Highly versatile and can be used on multiple surfaces to coordinate your garden colours
- Water-based formula dries very quickly
- Very easy to apply by brush
- It’s rather expensive
Best Shed Paint Colours
Finding the best shed paint colours is really a matter of personal preference. If you want something that looks soft in the background you could choose earthy colours such as Beach Blue which gives off the ultimate relaxed look.
For something that pops a bit more and gives your garden an injection of colour, you could choose something flowery or fruity such as Purple Pansy.
Of course, more natural colours such as Forest Oak will give your shed a classic look whilst bringing out the grains in the wood.
Ultimately, you should choose something that you think is going to look best according to what your garden looks like. It might just be a case of renewing the faded colour you already have!
Shed Paint Buyer’s Guide
In order to choose the best paint for your shed, there are some things you should look out for before you buy. Let’s take a deeper look…
The UK is synonymous with having terrible weather so choosing a shed paint with high durability will not only mean that it’ll fight off the British elements but will in turn mean you won’t have to repaint your shed as often.
One particular issue we face when it comes to sheds is how the wood expands and contracts depending on temperature and moisture changes. Having a paint that sets with a flexible film will help deal with these subtle size changes and ensures the paint doesn’t crack or blister.
Ease of Application
Whilst Britain is full of DIY enthusiasts, we don’t exactly want a paint that’s going to be a hassle to apply and which requires the utmost precision and skill to achieve a good looking finish.
Therefore, look for something that is known to apply smoothly and has self-levelling properties so that you avoid those pesky brush marks.
As mentioned above, colour is a personal choice. And that’s why it’s a big part of the buyer’s decision when it comes to choosing a shed paint. In our opinion, Cuprinol Ducksback is the best shed paint but if they don’t have the colours you want, take a look at something else like Cuprinol Garden Shades.
You’ll need to think about the trade off between price and paint quality but if you’re happy with that, go for the colour you really want.
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Want to learn more about different paints? Feel free to take a look at our recent “best kitchen cabinet paint” article!