How’s your garden shed looking? The spring sunshine is wonderful, but it tends to highlight winter damage and show up the tatty bits. It’s time to get your shed shipshape for what we’re hoping will be a long, hot summer. You need wood preservative… and you need it now!
Is your shed dying for wood preservation attention?
How do you tell if your shed needs attention? If the structure itself has suffered in the winter storms, you’ll need to get busy with DIY shed restoration before using a wood preserver. Replace shorn-off screws, hammer in replacement nails or add more if anything’s come loose.
Shed doors are exposed in all weathers and can bow and twist more than the body of the shed. If your door has come loose wait until the wood is dry then fix the doors so they close smoothly, sanding the edges if necessary. And clean the door frame clear of spider webs, compost, leaves and insects.
The less damp, the better. If any of the wood has rotted, see if you can replace it. Seal any gaps with plastic wood or gap filler foam. And replace any worn, cracked, bowed or tatty-looking shed roofing felt. The summer sun can make old felt go all crispy, then it cracks and leaks the following autumn.
How’s your putty? Old, brittle putty leads to leaking windows, which means condensation and damp inside. Make sure your shed windows are watertight and check the putty is good for another year. If not, it’s a ridiculously simple job to re-putty each window. Do it indoors and out for a really good, strong seal. Alternatively, you can use silicone to seal your shed windows, basically the same stuff used in fish tanks and aquariums.
Finally, give the entire outside and inside of your shed a good brush and wash to remove dust, dirt and webs. Top Tip: Don’t use a Karcher jet or power washer on your shed. It’s far too powerful!
Now you’re ready for shed maintenance. It’s time to choose your favourite wood preservative.
Garden shed renovation – Exterior wood finishes for sheds
The fine art of wood preservation is particularly important for garden sheds. You can easily suffer algae, rot and mould, all of which can shorten the useful life of your shed. The sun’s heat bleaches and bows wood, the damp makes it swell, snow puts pressure on the integrity of the roof. The list is endless.
Creosote is hard to get nowadays unless you are a farmer, it’s also a toxic and dangerous product. Luckily there are some excellent wood preserver products out there that are either solvent or oil-based and there’s something for every exterior wood preservative project and budget.
We recommend Ronseal Shed and Fence Preserver, which is brilliant at protecting your shed from rot and making it waterproof. It penetrates deep into the wood, giving long lasting protection through all weathers. It can be applied to rough, sawn and smooth timber, and you can either brush it on or spray it using a garden spray system. Be aware however that not all garden spray systems are solvent-resistant meaning that the washers and seals may start to perish after a day or two, resulting in leaks. If you can get the job done in a day then it’s still a cost effective way of doing large areas quickly.
Top Tip: You can also use wood preservative on the inside of your shed for a belt-and-braces wood preserver job. Be sure however to allow for good ventilation during application and drying.
What if you have a brand new shed?
Most sheds come with a base coat of wood preservative already added. But you should always treat your new shed straight away, once it’s installed, with a good quality, water-resistant wood treatment. Exterior wood oils and decking oils can offer additional protection if used over the top of a wood preservative. If the preservative has been freshly applied, leave between 24 and 48 hours before applying any oil based products on top.
How often should I seal my shed?
Once a year is great. Doing so can keep wooden buildings in good condition for many years after their expected sell-by date.
Exterior wood dye for sheds
What about exterior wood stains and dyes for sheds? Our customers rate Ronseal Decking Stain pretty highly, an exterior varnish that protects and colours decking as well as any other type of exterior wood. It dries to a lovely semi-translucent matt finish, comes in all sorts of fab natural colours, repels water, includes UV filters to help prevent your shed going grey and works beautifully on hard and softwoods. Best of all, it’s really easy to apply with a brush or roller.
And how about wood preserving paints? We love Sadolin’s Woodshield, as it’s so much better than ordinary gloss paint. It is flexible, resists cracking, peeling and flaking, doesn’t need a primer or undercoat and can be painted over existing gloss paint or wood stain. It dries in four hours or less, delivers a gorgeous opaque finish and gives your garden shed up to eight years of protection. Nice!
Garden shed restoration and decor – Next steps
Once you’ve restored your shed to its pre-winter glory, think about ongoing garden shed maintenance. Make it a habit to check your shed every time you’re in the garden, and fix problems as soon as they arise.
Even if your shed is already old, there’s plenty you can do to keep it in good nick for years to come. Take a look at this article, from the Chiswick Herald, about one of Britain’s oldest sheds.
If you’d like to take things a step further and transform an ordinary wooden outbuilding into a stunning outdoor living and fun space, here’s a link to loads of photos of fabulous creative garden shed ideas.
Your garden shed repair tips
Do you have any tips to share about shed repair, making your shed last longer or look better? Leave a comment below.