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How to: paint the garden shed

"How do I paint my wooden garden shed? How can I give my garden shed a fresh new colour and at the same time protect it from rain and/or rising damp? What should I use: oil, wood stain or lacquer?"

On this page, you'll find all the answers, in the form of handy step-by-step instructions, accompanied by a selection of our best wood protection products for your garden shed.

Step 1: Preparation

Step 2: Wood treatment

As with all paint jobs, cleaning and properly preparing the surface is an important step to take before starting to paint your garden shed. 

The first thing to do is therefore to make it clean. A garden shed that already has a considerable lifespan and that has withstood many weather influences, might be a little bit of a challenge to clean. But not to worry: a few simple things can already get you a long way!

Start off with a duster, to remove cobwebs, loose dirt or sand. Next, wash the garden shed, by simply using water and a household detergent. Use a soft cloth or a sponge so you don't damage the wood. Green deposits can be removed with soda crystals dissolved in water or by using a specialised power cleaner for outdoor wood, e.g. from Xyladecor. After washing everything, be sure to rinse with water to avoid leftover foam residues. Let the wood dry thoroughly. Is your garden shed brand new? Don't skip this step entirely, but just degrease the wood and sand it.

Sanding is the second part of your preparation. Garden sheds with large flat panels are easy to sand with a sanding machine. Don't use too big of a grain size, unless you need to remove old layers of paint or if the wood is very weathered. In that case, you can sand off the top layer of the wood using sanding paper with a large grain until you see the natural, healthy wood colour again. A colour renovator might come in handy as well. Do not forget to dust off the sanding dust before continuing to the next step. 

For the second and last step, there are a couple of choices to make. Do you want to use a transparent wood stain or an opaque wood stain? "Er, what's the difference?", you might think. Well, by using a transparent wood stain, you maintain a natural-looking wood colour. Even more so when you use a colourless transparent wood stain. Then, the colour barely changes. Do keep in mind that colourless stains provide hardly any protection against greying.

Tinted transparent stains can create a slightly bigger difference, depending on the shade used. For example, when you use a dark wood colour on a light type of wood, you will definitely see the difference. Nevertheless, transparent stains are absorbed into the wood, leaving the wood pattern very visible (colour differences included) and thus preserving the wood's original character. 

Opaque stains also leave the wood pattern visible, but with less nuance. They form a covering film over the wood and also allow you to add a pop of colour to your garden shed. 

Applying a transparent wood stain is pretty straightforward: you apply one or more coats using a brush. How many coats are needed, depends on the state of the wood. Are you applying a touch-up coat or painting previously untreated wood? And if touching up, how long ago was the previous touch-up? 

If your garden shed was stained around two years ago and is still in good shape, just one coat will suffice to freshen it up. You can then easily use a one-pot system like Xyladecor Tuinhuis or V33 Tuinhuis.

You will need two coats of the latter two products when your previously stained garden shed is not in perfect condition anymore. You can also use Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 Plus or Sikkens Cetol Novatech in that case. 

Three coats are recommended when you're using Xyladecor Tuinhuis or V33 Tuinhuis to treat a new/untreated garden shed. If you also want to use Sikkens here, then we recommend to apply one coat of Sikkens Cetol HLS PLus first, followed by two layers of Sikkens Cetol Novatech. Do you prefer Sigma? Then apply three layers of Sigma WoodProtect 2in1 Classic Satin. 

Painting with an opaque wood stain is not all that hard either. You don't need a separate primer as you do with lacquer or wall paint, for example. You can just start applying the wood stain straight away!

When you're using an opaque stain such as Xyladecor Tuinhuis Colour, V33 Tuinhuis Color, Sikkens Cetol Opaque or Sigma WoodProtect Solid, two layers will most likely suffice for good coverage and optimal protection of your garden shed. 


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Xyladecor Krachtreiniger voor alle Buitenhout
From €23.45 

Quickly and thoroughly removes dirt and other types of contamination on garden wood.

Quickly and thoroughly removes dirt and other types of contamination on garden wood.

Transparent stains

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Sikkens Cetol Novatech
From €36.45 

Opaque stains

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Sigma Woodprotect Solid Satin
From €41.45 

Opaque stain resistant to extreme weather conditions.

Opaque stain resistant to extreme weather conditions.


  • Remove dirt and degrease

  • Sand the wood

  • Apply the right number of coats

  • Behold, a beautiful and protected garden shed!

Useful tools

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Progold Paint Bucket
From €2.85 
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Xyladecor Spray & Brush
From €44.45 

Tool for applying maintenance and protection products to wooden surfaces. The device combines a sprayer and a brush, for easy and even application of products on various wooden projects.

Tool for applying maintenance and protection products to wooden surfaces. The device combines a sprayer and a brush, for easy and even application of products on various wooden projects.

Tintrio Reviews with ekomi.nl
ProGold Flat Brush 7530 Classic
From €3.95 

Need help?

If some of the steps aren't entirely clear to you, or if you are in a specific situation that isn't covered by our how-to guide, then our experts will be happy to help.

Contact us