The Best Exterior Wood Paint – Outdoor Paint

‘Outdoor paint for wood’ describes a huge variety of products which are the perfect solution for sprucing up your garden furniture, breathing new life into an old fence, giving colour and character to a worn-out shed or even for painting your log cabin! It is not all about the looks, though – the best exterior paint for wood is the one that endures the weather – rain, sun, wind and ice – and protects the underlying wood, extending its life for years.

Spruce up your exterior by choosing the UK’s best exterior paint for wood

With so many options, it is not always easy to determine the best exterior paint for wood for a specific project. Once you have done the research and know the type of paint you need, you have all the different brands to contend with. We’re here to help. To make choosing the best exterior wood paint easier, we have put together this guide to brands, coating types, and how to use them across a range of project types.

Below is our buyer’s guide for the best external wood paint in the UK starting with 5 of the top outdoor paint brands. To skip ahead to the product and application guide, click here.

The UK’s Most Trusted Brand – Dulux

Outdoor paint for wood
Dulux Non Drip Gloss

Dulux and their big fluffy dog have been a part of British homes for decades. The UK’s leading paint brand has over 1,200 colours in its portfolio and a range of exterior wood decoration products. These products include their renowned Weathershield range and:

  • Dulux Non Drip Gloss Paint (pictured)
  • Dulux Weathershield Exterior Satin – a mid-sheen finish with a 10 year protection guarantee
  • Dulux Primer & Undercoat for Wood – for bare and new wood

Pedigree with Innovation – Sadolin

Sadolin Beautiflex Woodstain

Part of the Crown Paints family, Sadolin provides superior wood protection. Drawing on 200 years of experience, Sadolin has a product for every project – windows, doors, cladding, decking, garden furniture, fencing, sheds, and more. These products include:

  • Sadolin Beautiflex Solvent Opaque Woodstain (pictured)
  • Sadolin Decking Oil
  • Sadolin Garden Furniture Stain and Protector

The Woodcare Specialists – Cuprinol

Outdoor Paint for wood
Cuprinol Less Mess Fence Care Paint

Part of the Akzonobel coatings family, Cuprinol is the leading wood coatings brand in the UK. Coatings include woodcare and protection products, preservers, colours for your garden, as well as stains, oils, and more. A few of their products include:

  • Cuprinol Less Mess Fence Care (pictured)
  • Cuprinol Anti-slip Decking Stain
  • Cuprinol Softwood & Hardwood Garden Furniture Stain

Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin – Ronseal

Outdoor paint for wood
Ronseal Decking Rescue Paint “Chestnut”

Woodcare specialists with a broad variety of products, Ronseal has a product for everything. Decking treatments, shed paint, fence paint, garden furniture oil and stain, garden paint in a range of colours, as well as cleaners, restorers, and preservers.

  • Ronseal Decking Rescue Paint (pictured)
  • Ronseal Garden Paint
  • Ronseal 10 Year Waterproof Wood Paint

Ease and Speed – Sprayable Outdoor Paint

Outdoor paint for wood
Sprayable Fence Treatment

Let’s face it, painting can be a right pain in the… back. All that bending, stretching, and coating can take its toll. A sprayable coating for fences or sheds can really help speed the process up and ease the backstrain. These products provide the same protection and decoration, just with less of the effort:

  • Cuprinol Spray Fence Treatment (pictured)
  • Ronseal Precision Finish Fence Sprayer

Outdoor wood paint gives a brand new durable look to your fence or shed

Wooden fences and sheds can easily be given a new look, or minor damage and signs of aging can be fixed with a lick paint, or another coating. If you wish to give a colour to your shed or fence, you should go for garden paint. The shed paints are available in many different colours and can be tinted into a custom shade. If you are looking for a more natural look, an exterior wood varnish is a considerable solution: it soaks into the wood and colours it lightly while leaving the wood grain visible.

The best external wood paint products for fences and sheds

Fence and shed paint products are offered by many external wood paint manufacturers in the UK. Here below you can find a selection of those products we consider the best exterior paint for wood.

outdoor paint for wooddescriptioncoverage (1 coat)price (RRP)
Dulux Non Drip GlossA high gloss, quick drying outdoor paint for wood for long lasting protection in 2 coats. Does not drip.12 m²/ L11.70 £ / L | 1.30 £ / m²
Cuprinol Less Mess Fence CareFor sheds, fences and other rough sawn garden wood. Covers in 1 coat, dries fast and is easy to apply.4.8 m²/ L2.00 £ / L | 0.40 £ / m²
Cuprinol One Coat Sprayable Fence TreatmentA sprayable fence paint for even colour in just 1 coat. An efficient spray outdoor paint for wood.3 m² / L2.70 £ / L | 0.9 £ / m²

Make decking safe with the best external wood paint for floors

Decking is the part of your garden which is subject to foot traffic and therefore, it requires a special coating. The best option is to apply a decking coating that soaks into the wood. The two best options are thus, decking stain and nourishing decking oil. Regular garden paints are not recommended for decking due to the fact that they wear fast when subject to foot traffic. If you want to hide the wooden look, there are special opaque decking paints that are resistant to abrasion and UV-radiation and will do just fine despite the foot traffic. These coatings can also be mixed with anti-slip granulate to provide additional grip onto the surface.

Coating your decking is not a job you want to be doing each year – therefore, you should choose for a product that lasts long without fading in the rain and sun. Choosing for a long lasting decking coating is usually also little more expensive, but on the long run it will pay off. The cost of painting decking with exterior paint for wood is between 1 and 2 pounds per square metre.

Find the best exterior paint for wood decks

In the table below you can find some products, including test winners, that are suitable for coating wooden decking.

Decking paint or coatingdescriptioncoverage (1 coat)price (RRP)
Ronseal Rescue PaintOne of the best exterior paint for wood decking according to several tests. Fills in cracks, smooths the surface and gives long lasting colour and protection.8 m² / L14.00 £ / L | 1.75 £ / m²
Wilko Decking Oil and Protector Natural OakA wood oil which makes the surface repel water and last long even in harsh environments.11 m² / L7.20 £ / L | 0.65 £ / m²
Firmtread Anti Slip Deck CoatThe best outdoor paint for wood decking according to Deckinghero. Protects decking from foot traffic and weather while making it safer to walk on – non-skid.8 m² / L10.00 £ / L | 1.25 £ / m²

Give your garden furniture a new life with the best outdoor paint for wood

garden table and chair made art with the best outdoor paint for wood

Garden furniture get a new look with a lick of the best exterior paint for wood.

Worn out wooden garden furniture doesn’t always mean it’s time to get a new set. You can also breathe life into the table and chairs by painting or otherwise treating them. Regardless of the look you wish to achieve, there is a product for your project! Almost any product that goes with the name garden paint is suitable for wooden garden furniture. There are many brands, colours and shades to choose from, like Ronseal Garden Paint product line and Cuprinol Garden Shades with an impressive range of 38 ready mixed colours and even more opportunities thanks to colour mixing.

If you think a complete new colour is rather extreme, and would rather retain the natural wooden look, consider varnish or stain. Varnish is a transparent solution that give the wood a gloss but does not hide its natural beauty. Stain in turn, soaks into the wood protecting it from the inside as well. Stains are available in different shades, yet they do not hide the wood grain, only give it a light colour.

A look into the garden furniture paint products

Garden furniture can be painted with almost any outdoor paint. The best exterior paint for wood furniture is however, one that is meant for smooth wood. We put together an overview of several products of the kind.

Outdoor paint for garden furnitureDescriptionCoverage (1 coat)Price (RRP)
Cuprinol Garden ShadesA suitable exterior wood paint for wooden surfaces in the garden. Opaque paints with a huge range of colours to choose from.Smooth surface: brush 10 m² / L | spray 4 m² / L Rough sawn wood: 3 m² / L 8.80 £ / L | 1.60 £ / m²
Cuprinol Garden Furniture Hardwood StainA special external wood stain for garden furniture. Penetrates wood and lightly colours it. 20 m² / L14.05 £ / L | 0.70 £ / m²
Wilko Garden ColourGives colour to rough sawn garden wood such as new furniture and provides the surface with weather protection.10 m² / L5.60 £ / L | 0.56 £ / m²

Outdoor paint for painting your log cabin, windows or doors

The exteriors of log cabins are usually exposed to harsh conditions especially because the most residential log cabins in the UK are located in the coastal areas such as in Aberystwyth in Wales. Wind, sun, rain and snow will fast wear the exterior of a log cabin if it is not appropriately protected. However, protection is not the only thing exterior paint for wood offers – you can also brighten up the looks of your cabin by painting it. Similar type of exterior paint for wood can also be used for painting the window frames and doors of a log cabin or another building.

the best exterior paint for coastal areas uk applied on log cabin

A log cabin’s exterior can be freshened up by exterior wood paint.

There are a few of things that require consideration before the painting project:

  • Choose the best exterior paint for wood in your project: always consider the environment – if your cabin is located in the coastal areas were wind blows harder, rain falls heavier and salt is in the air, you need a high quality product to make it last for 7 to 10 years.
  • Prepare the substrate according to the paint’s requirements: each paint may require slightly different surface preparation especially when it comes to primers and sanding. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions before painting.
  • Seal the logs before applying outdoor paint: especially on the coastal areas in the UK, it is good to seal the logs with a proper wood sealer or water repellent preservative. This counts especially for new, unpainted log cabins if they are not treated before assembly.

Find the best exterior paint for coastal areas UK

Here you can find some exterior wood paint products that are suitable for painting wooden houses, log cabins as well as windows and doors. They belong to the most durable exterior wood coatings – for example all Dulux Weathershield products are given warranty of at least 6 years.

Exterior paintDescriptionCoveragePrice (RRP)
Dulux Weathershield Exterior GlossA test winner: the best exterior paint for coastal areas. 6 years guaranty for weather protection. 18 m² / L31.25 £ / L | 1.75 £ / m²
Dulux Once GlossFor doors and windows, one coat covers the surface. 12 m² / L28.59 £ / L | 2.40 £ / m²
Sadolin Beautiflex Solvent Opaque Woodstain All exterior wood, durable protection for 7 years.13 m² / L15.20 £ / L | 1.20 £ / m²
Sadolin Superdec Satin Opaque Wood ProtectionA superior exterior paint for wood with 10 years of protection to all exterior wood surfaces. 10 m² / L19.95 £ / L | 2.00 £ / m²

Paint exterior wood like a pro – 8 tips to get the most out of outdoor paint

In general painting outdoor wood is an easy DIY job. However, even the best exterior paint for wood won’t help if the fundamental preparation and practices are not followed.  We have collected some common mistakes and misunderstandings regarding outdoor paint for wood, and made a list of tips to help you succeed in your painting project!

  1. Preparation is the foundation of a successful paint job – even the best outdoor paint for wood won’t help if the surface is poorly prepared. This is true for any exterior paint for wood or masonry surfaces.
  2. Never use an interior paint outside – interior paint is simply not made as durable as outdoor paint and will not endure sun, rain, wind and snow but starts deteriorating shortly after application.
  3.  Do not mix paint from different manufacturer’s – sometimes mixing two bottoms of paint cans might seem like the most convenient solution, but, beware, it is not! The recipes of different manufacturers may vary just enough to make sure your attempt to combine them fails.
  4. Never ever paint on damp wood – it goes without saying that even the best exterior paint for wood won’t dry on a damp surface.
  5. Check the weather forecast before starting – most outdoor paints are rather sensitive for the weather during the application – it should not be colder than 5°C, it mustn’t rain neither should it be sunny. Each product has their own recommended application circumstances.
  6. Invest in good quality – the quality of primers and exterior paint is usually reflected to the price. Therefore, you may pay more at once for a known quality brand. Rather that than renewing the paint as an annual spring project.
  7. If you want even hire quality, rely on trade paint – trade paint is known for being of higher quality than ordinary consumer paint. There is however also a difference in application and required level of experience so, if you work with trade paint, do it well.
  8. Make sure the whole paint system is a match – if you choose for a solvent based exterior paint, you should use a solvent based primer. Same goes for water based products – a water based primer can only be topped with a water based outdoor paint.
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