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How to Paint A Shed (Easy Guide) [UPDATED 2021]

Patio & garden

How to paint a shed – preparation, picking the best shed paint, how to be successful painting your exterior shed

Thinking about how to paint your shed? There’s a right way to do it, and it’s not difficult. It means picking the right paint, the best shed paint supplies, and  using the right technique. 

Simple! Now I’d never painted a shed before, so while Erin was away for a week visiting family, I decided I’d learn how to do it right.

And over the course of the three days in July, I figured it out.

Before we get to how to paint a shed the right way, you might want to bookmark these other how-to paint posts. We do a lot of specialty items and have some great paint tips.

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Here are the supplies to use to Paint A Shed The Right Way: 

how to paint a shed - before

You might recall last fall we told you the story of Vlad the Russian superstar builder. Vlad built us a shed for the ages. It’s been a godsend.

We’ve quickly stuffed it full of lumber, garden tools, and other odds and sods. But after enduring a particularly horrible Canadian winter, we knew that we needed to paint it.

Ours was built with siding known as “smart panels,” which are designed to resist rot, but aren’t much to look at.

Still, painting the shed not only helps it look a lot spiffier, but it also serves to protect it from wear and tear. A painting shed adds so much joy to your outdoor spaces.

Pale, greyish-beige. Blech. We needed to get paint on those panels, and on the wood trim.

Anyway, up ’til now, Mr. Shed’s been looking real sad. Time to dive into my guide to painting a shed.

So, I took an hour to scrub the dirt of the siding, swept away some cobwebs and bugs from corners, and then got to work!

Buy shed paint here


how to paint a shed 10, outdoor shed paint

There are two considerations – picking a great colour and the right kind of paint.

The kind is the easy part – choose a good exterior paint that promises:

  1. to be mildew resistant,
  2. to be fade-resistant,
  3. to be durable
  4. cover easily.

All of these are key when looking for paint for sheds. – Buy shed paint here

– For the siding, we chose a “paint & primer” acrylic latex product from Para Paints*. The smart panels were pre-primed, so this may have been overkill, but we figured the primer add-in could only help with coverage.

– For the wood trim, we chose an exterior stain that was an oil & latex hybrid specifically designed for projects like decks, fences, and sheds, again from Para Paints.

In terms of colour, choose something that both accents your yard, and complements your surroundings.

We have a lush yard that gets a lot of direct sun. There are several mature trees, and plenty of lush shrubs and bushes. Think: assorted shades of green, and flowering pink and white blossoms.

We opted for a slate blue called “Mid Town Sky Scrapers.” It is a nice pop of colour in our yard, but that brings to mind our Atlantic Canadian surroundings – ocean blues & shoreline greys.

For trim, we chose a crisp, clean shade called “Pioneer White” that looks great against the blue. If you can’t decide what color to pick, you might want to consider using the Nix Sensor to pick a paint color.

painting a shed

How to Paint A Shed: SUPPLIES

shed painting tutorial

I suppose you could do it all with one brush and a step stool, but some supplies can definitely make it easier.

The roller really was key. This sucker sopped up the paint and rolled it on beautifully, like icing on a cake. It was immensely satisfying! – Check prices here

The 4″ brush was another coup. It was great for when I needed to apply thick, long brush-strokes. The smart panel seams would not cover with just the roller, but this brush made quick work of them. – Check prices here

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What kind of paint do you use on a shed?

The best type of paint preferable for painting an outdoor shed is a premium quality, 100% acrylic latex paint. One of the most preferred paints for a shed that people prefer to use is Medallion 100% acrylic latex interior paint.

It is typically the best paint for the shed you can buy. – Check prices here

You should also prefer to use a paint gun because it helps to study the paint evenly all over the shed and works better than a brush. Before you start painting, use the caulk all along the seams of the outdoor shed to ensure protection from excess moisture entering the outdoor shed.

Deciding what kind of paint you use on a shed, it is crucial to decide the colour wisely. There are some things you need to bear in mind when deciding on the colour for the shed.

While coming up with the idea of the color of paint, consider a color that matches your home’s paint. Most of the customers follow this color matching rule to pick the best paint for the shed exterior.

Everything being equal, your shed isn’t the spot to be intense with incredible colour. Nothing else irritates the eyes as much as a shed that has a mismatched tone to all the other things close to its area.

An overall dependable guideline is:

  • If a shed is in the exterior of the house, pick a color like that house.
  • On the off chance that a shed is situated nearer to a fence, pick a shading that coordinates with that fence.

This is the least demanding approach to dodge a total confused shading plan from house to shed or shed to the fence.

In the event when you successfully coordinate the colors with shed primer, at any rate, you’ll have a house that offers a pleasing (non-hostile) appearance. You can also refer to mix and match different colors to have a surprising appearance.

Make sure that the shed is completely cleaned before you start painting it. Painting a dirty shed might affect the result after painting.

Best Technique for a Painted Wooden Shed

how to paint a shed, paint for sheds
Walls are done, but I still had to paint that upper trim! Oops…

Ok, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one. If you’ve painted before, you’ve a pretty good sense of what works, and what doesn’t. But with an exterior projects, it’s worth remembering a few things.

  • Mornings and evenings are better than afternoons. Afternoons (especially in July) can be hot. Painting in the heat is no fun. You’ll get frustrated, and start rushing. No good.
  • Take your time.  Again, don’t rush it. Painting can be meditative – I swear! There’s something calming about careful, deliberate work, where your surface is gradually coated in a lovely new shade of color. Also, for the more delicate steps, like edging, you can take your time and paint accurately, without the need for all the sticky, green painter’s tape.
  • Paint the trim first, then the walls. I did the opposite. It would have been easier in retrospect, to paint the trim white first, and then go back with the blue later. Why? As I was painting the upper trim, my paint dripped down and blemished the wall! Which meant touch-ups. Nothing crazy, but it would have saved me a bit of time to have painted the trim first. I find it easier to paint walls without messing up the trim, than painting trim without messing up the walls.
  • Leave the dog inside. I invited the dog to keep me company. He got blue paint all over himself. Blue doggy means bathtime for doggy.

If you’re still wondering how to organize a shed, have a look at my guide about Shed Organization with the KonMari Method.

That’s it! All told, I spent three mornings and two evenings on the shed. And we’re really happy with the results!

how to paint a shed 11, shed paint colors

How our Outdoor Shed Paint is Holding up [update 2021]

Our shed has been a workhorse since we built it and painted it back in 2014. So it was time to update this post with more information on how the exterior paint is holding up and what we have done to the shed to maintain it since then.

A few things have happened to the exterior painted finish that we’ll want to address soon. As you can see from this updated photo, the white paint on the shed’s roof trim has stripped away significantly.

how to paint a shed - exterior paint on shed
Painted shed – updated 2021 –

The trim paint stripped away after a major hurricane and wind storm in the fall of 2019. Our plan is to scrape off the loose paint and repaint the trim again. Overall, we are still really happy with the wear and tear – hurricanes aren’t exactly typical weather!

blue painted shed with privacy wall and camping chairs in foreground

As you can see from this last updated picture, the paint on the shed walls is holding up very well. We are able to pressure wash it and it comes very clean, even years later!

We started to clear the back garden around the shed to create more useable backyard space too.

You can read more about our DIY Privacy Wall here.

Have a look at these other posts about painting outdoor buildings and sheds:

Short FAQ about “How to Paint a Shed”

How to paint a shed door?

If you’re wondering how to paint a shed door, you should start with cleaning the surface first. Then, it’s time to sand your door and prepare all the materials. Prime the door and then start painting.

How to paint a shed floor?

Make sure to plan your DIY project on a sunny day (Ideally with air temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.).
1. Clean the shed floor
2. Sand sharp edges.
3. Seal with a sealer or primer.
4. Stir the paint.

How to paint a shed roof?

1. Clean your brush
2. Apply the first coat of primer and let it dry
3. Clean brush with mineral turpentine.
4. Stir roof paint
5. Apply 2 coats of roof paint
6. Allow at least two hours between coats

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