How to Paint a Shed

How to Paint a Shed

Activities like painting are amongst the easiest to learn – allowing you to significantly save on your home improvement.

My guide on how to paint a shed offers a beginner-friendly and foolproof way of how you can do it with affordable readily available tools from the comfort of your home. The best part about this guide is that the process is super quick, yet, it remains efficient and long-lasting.

Painting a Shed

Different people choose varying methods for shed painting. However, the principles remain the same. In this guide, the total painting time should be around 5 hours in total. However, it extends for about 2 days to allow for drying time. Depending on the side of your storage shed, the cleaning and sanding process takes about an hour, priming takes another hour whilst painting the trim takes an additional two hours.

Lastly, depending on the hardware you have, painting takes about an hour or two. Since this guide calls for painting with a sprayer instead of a paintbrush or roller, you save significant time. It will take you more than an hour or two if you only used a brush or roller.

Tools Needed

  • Screwdrivers
  • Pressure washer
  • Painter’s tape
  • 180-grit sanding paper
  • Exterior Shed primer
  • Paint sprayer
  • Exterior grade Shed paint
  • Small paintbrush
  • Trim paint
  • Hardware paint
  • Safety goggles
  • Working gloves
  • Mask
  • Plastic tarp to cover the area you intend to work on
When choosing tools for painting a shed, you need to consider several factors. For example,  for a woodshed, you want fade-resistant, mildew-resistant, and mold-resistant outdoor grade paint . Doing so allows the paint to effortlessly stick to the walls of the shed. If you prefer a shinier paint that is easier to clean, opt for the satin option. Alternatively, you can opt for the acrylic latex option.

If you want more subtle colors, flat paint is fine. The quantity of it is also quite important. For example,  a 10 square foot shed will use up nearly 2 gallons of paint with 3 coats applied  (you will not necessarily empty the gallon though). Some painters choose not to use primer on an outdoor shed. However, it is a good idea to do so.

If you are painting on a wood shed that has been painted before or even, newly painted sheds, a prime goes a long way. This is because it helps to better seal the wood surface, thus, enhancing paint grip. Plus, it helps to give you an even better-looking finished product.

How to Paint a Shed

During the priming and painting process, if you have no paint sprayer, opt for a smaller paint gun. For this slightly large project, you can still use a paintbrush or roller. But, it is not recommended since its time consuming and strenuous task. Whilst a paint sprayer can take you about an hour or two, a paintbrush and roller will take you anywhere between 4 to 6 hours to paint an entire shed.

If you were to paint a metal shed, the steps would be nearly similar with some exceptions. So, after washing the shed and letting it dry, you will not sand it. Instead, you will need to remove the rust build-up using a wire brush or a belt sander.

Steps for Shed Painting

Painting a shed integrates 5 key steps.

It’s best to execute this project during the spring or summer season when the weather is forgiving (avoid those peak sunny days during summer though!).

The 5 key steps include:

Step 1 – Cleaning, Prepping, & Sanding

  • Remove all your belongings from the shed such as shed kits
  • If your shed is connected to the electricity, turn off the main power.
  • Tape around the shed to cover up any exposed wires.
  • Move to the exterior of the shed and remove any exterior fixtures and hardware such as light bulbs or locks.
  • Using a pressure washer, quickly clean up the entire exterior of the shed and let it dry.
  • Tape of parts you don’t want to come in contact with the paint. These include windows, lights, trim, and other attached hardware.
  • Using the sanding paper on a sand block, sand the entire exterior of the shed. If your shed has been painted before, it is important to avoid skipping this process as it helps to improve the primer’s grip.
  • When done, use the pressure washer for a second wash around the shed to clear off the dust caused by the sanding process.

Step 2 – Applying Primer

  •  To quicken your process, apply the primer using a paint sprayer.  You can always rent one if you don’t want to buy one.
  • Add primer to the material cup from the sprayer and fasten it
  • Set the sprayer’s control on high to allow for the thick primer consistency to flow quickly, cover the shed faster, and offer a smoother finish.
  • As you apply the primer, use continuous up and down movements with overlapping coats for a subtle and proper quality finish without dripping.

Step 3 – Shed panting

  • For the painting process, you should cover the overspray on the trim after painting if you are using a dark color. If you paint using a light color, simply tape the trim pre-painting. However, for either step, it is a good idea to tape the air vents. In this guide, I’ve shared steps for covering the overspray on the trim after painting.
  • Similar to the primer applying process, we will be using a paint sprayer.
  • Load the sprayer with paint and set the width control to low since the paint is of light consistency. This setting allows you to paint around the edges of the shed without overspraying too much. Alternatively, if you think doing this will be too cumbersome and strenuous, you can opt for a paintbrush. Simply use a small paintbrush around the edges, corners, and crevices to leave the shed looking neat around all areas.
  • Then, cut in around the trim area and set the spray to high to paint the rest of the shed wall.
  •  Apply at least 3 paint coats around the shed. 

Step 4 – Painting the Trim

  • This step is optional. However, if you want, you can also paint the trim.
  • Unlike the bigger sections of the shed, you will use a small brush for the trim.
  • You need to apply at least three coats of paint.

Step 5 – Painting the Hardware

  • Similarly, this step is optional too. If you want, you can paint the hardware or leave it as it is.
  • Since you would’ve removed all the hardware, painting will be easy.
  • With the hardware left on the shape, use painters tape around the hardware and spray paint the hardware.
  • After applying the paint, you want to clean up your sprayer.
  • After your paint has dried, you can add other extra features to your shed such as motion detectors and plants to beautify the area around.
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