How to paint a shed- a step-by-step guide to glow up your garden

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  • So your shed is looking a little tired after the long, wet winter and you want to give it a colourful glow up. But if you’re not sure how to paint a shed, you just need to follow this easy guide to give your garden a mini-makeover in no time. With lots of garden shed ideas out there, you’ll soon be conjuring up all sorts of ideas for your own outdoor outbuilding.

    The Great British weather can be hard on our sheds, summerhouses and outhouses, so it’s common for them to need painting, varnishing or re-staining every few years or so. And giving them a lick of paint, no only gives them a brand new look, but will help to protect them from any weather damage too, so it’s a win-win for all! Plus it’s a chance to update the ‘decor’ in your garden, just like you would a piece of furniture in your house.

    Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Cuprinol says, ‘Whether it’s a workspace, a place to socialise or a sanctuary away from the house, sheds provide us with a little place of our own and a creative outlet for an individual’s unique artistic vision.’

    How to paint a shed

    Image credit: Protek

    Before you start, make sure you have cleared any climbing plants or shrubs from around your shed, tying back tree branches or grasses so they don’t get damaged. If you have flowers or plants nearby that you don’t want splashed with paint, cover them in sheeting or bin bags, just while you do the messy bit, then you can uncover them again. Also check the forecast and choose to do your painting on a dry and reasonably warm day. If rain is expected in the next few hours, maybe postpone your project to a clearer day, so your paint has a chance to dry properly

    You’ll also need to choose your paint colour. Whether you go for a creamy off-white, a pale sage green, pretty duck egg blue or something more adventurous like a bright cobalt blue, vibrant fuchsia pink or sunny cornflower yellow, go with a shade that will sit well with your plants, outdoor furniture and personality.

    What you’ll need

    First protect the ground around your shed by laying dust sheets or plastic sheeting. Even if your shed is surrounded by gravel, paving slabs or grass, you still won’t want splatters of paint all over it, so it’s best to cover it all before you begin.

    How to paint a shed- a step-by-step guide to glow up your garden

    Next check your shed for signs of damage, such as rot, or loose slats. Fix any slats with nails or wood glue and pin down any loose roof felting too.

    Using a stiff or wire brush, remove any loose dirt, cobwebs or algae so that you have a smooth surface to paint on.

    Using masking tape and newspaper, mask off and cover any windows, then use the tape to carefully cover hinges, locks and handles, so you don’t have to worry about getting them splashed when painting.

    Image credit: Cuprinol

    Using your stirrer (a stick, or off-cut of wood will do!) give your chosen paint a really good stir and then either decant into a plastic pot, or leave in the tin. Start at the top of your shed and using a wide brush, start applying your paint, as per the manufacturers guide. Be careful not to let it drip too much and use long, steady strokes that go along with the grain.

    Use your smaller brush for any trickier, hard-to-reach areas and for going around windows or locks. For larger, flat areas, you could opt to use a roller, depending on how large your shed is and how quickly you want to get it painted.

    Cover all sides of your shed, and if you want to, the inside too. Leave for the recommended drying time, before applying a second coat if needed.

    Once your shed is completely dry, remove the masking tape and newspaper, and un-cover the ground and foliage surrounding it. If drips have come through onto brickwork or patios, use warm soapy water and a hand-held brush to scrub it away carefully.

    Then step back and revel in the glory of your new, painted shed.

    Image credit: Protek

    How do you prepare a shed for painting?

    Always give your shed a good clean before painting over the surface. Built up dirt, cobwebs or climbing plants such as Ivy, won’t look great covered it paint, and will results in an un-even and un-sightly finish. Use a stiff, wire brush to remove loose bits of dirt and a damp cloth to fully prepare the surface. While you might be tempted to use a power washer to give your shed a clean, it’s worth steering clear of this option, as your shed might not be as waterproof as you might think, and you don’t want to end up flooding the inside! A power washer might also be a bit too fierce for shed to handle and you might cause more harm than good.

    Do I need to sand my shed before painting?

    Some sheds might benefit from a light sanding before you apply your paint, so it’s worth checking the advice on your chosen paint before you get started. If they do, it might be worth borrowing or hiring an electric sander, as sanding an entire shed using sand paper will be time consuming, not to mention hand-aching!

    Usually however, a shed won’t need sanding first, but will benefit from a good clean instead.

    What kind of paint do you use for a shed?

    You’ll need to make sure you are using an exterior wood paint, to ensure it will withstand all weather conditions. An acrylic-latex paint will give the best finish and should stop you from having to re-paint your shed every year.

    In terms of finish, most exterior paints will dry with a matt finish, however it is possible to buy ones with a more satin finish to them.

    When it comes to colour, be as bold and adventurous as you want, and if you fancy using two shades to create a striped look, or several shades of the same colour to create an ombre effect, then you go for it!