Do you know how to weatherproof a shed? The experts reveal the essential steps

Knowing how to weatherproof a shed is important, especially in winter – our guide explains how to do it

green shed in snowy garden
(Image credit: Janet Horton/Alamy Stock Photo)

Knowing how to weatherproof a shed is key for keeping these garden structures in top condition, as well as all the belongings you have stored inside. This is particularly important in winter, so that they can stand up to rain, snow, hail, and strong winds.

Even the very best sheds need some element of protection – and that's where this guide can help. So, if you've got one of these handy buildings in your yard, don't forget to tick off these essential tasks before the coldest months take their toll.

5 essential tips for weatherproofing a shed

Whether you've transformed your outdoor building into a cozy she shed or you use it as a traditional garden tool storage solution, these tips will help it survive the winter and beyond.

1. Inspect the roof

Heavy snow can cause significant strain on a shed roof, so bear this in mind as winter approaches. 'You should check your roof felt for existing damage to ensure it has enough support,' says the experts at Power Sheds (opens in new tab). 'If it’s damaged, consider replacing it before the cold weather arrives.' As our dedicated guide explains, felting a shed roof is simpler than you might expect.

Scott Gilmore, the owner of Landscape Creations (opens in new tab), agrees. 'You have to check if there are gaps or holes,' he says. 'No matter how small the hole is, you must fix it right away in order to prevent disasters.'

'We also recommend clearing snow using a rake or broom to keep the load down during heavy downpours,' Power Sheds add.

Of course, ensuring your roof is intact is also important for keeping rain out, which will help keep your tools and other stored belongings protected.

Top tip: 'Frozen shed lock? Dip it in warm water and the mechanism will soon thaw,' says Ruth Hayes of Amateur Gardening.

wooden shed in snow

Heavy snow can put strain on your shed's roof

(Image credit: Magdalena Nowak/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

2. Reduce moisture inside your shed

'Moisture build-up inside your shed can lead to issues with mold, rust and even rot,' says the Power Shed experts. To avoid this, they suggest removing damp items and ensuring bikes, garden furniture, and lawn mowers are dry before storing them in your shed.

If you use your shed as a garden retreat, a dehumidifier, available on Amazon (opens in new tab), may also be an option.

On sunny winter days, they also suggest leaving your shed doors and windows open – this way, fresh air can circulate and any damp areas can have a chance to dry. 'Installing air vents or adding a mechanical ventilator, like an electric fan, are also good ways to improve airflow,' they add.

garden shed in winter

Open windows and doors on dry days

(Image credit: Brian Hoffman/Alamy Stock Photo)

3. Protect the timber with a weatherproofing treatment

Another way to reduce dampness in your shed and keep it protected against the elements is to treat the exterior with a high-quality shed preservative. Do this every 12 months, recommends Power Sheds.

Some treatments double up as a stain, or as a paint, so you can give your garden building a fresh new hue. 

Be sure to choose a dry day when no rain is forecast before you start painting your shed. 'Always paint following the grain for ease of application and the best coverage,’ says Ruth.

painting a shed

An annual weatherproofing treatment will help keep your shed protected

(Image credit: David Pimborough Alamy Stock Photo)

4. Collect rainfall with gutters

Collecting rainwater is becoming more and more popular as homeowners look for ways to be more sustainable and reduce bills. Plus, it's much better than tap water for watering plants.

So, why not put your shed to good use, as well as protect it from excess wet, by installing a guttering system? This allows water to run down a plastic pipe, minimizing its contact with the timber, explains Power Sheds. Add a water butt at the bottom so you have a supply ready to use. If you're not too bothered about collecting it, you can direct the water into a drain.

If you already have gutters installed, make sure they're in good condition and free of debris, as well as any downspouts and drains, says Lindsey Hyland, a gardening expert and the founder of Urban Organic Yield (opens in new tab). 'This will help ensure that rainwater is directed away from the shed so it won't accumulate on the roof or around the structure's base.'

shed with water butt

Collect rainwater to use around your garden

(Image credit: Wayne HUTCHINSON/Alamy Stock Photo)

5. Seal any cracks around windows

As well as checking for leaks and cracks in the roof, it's also a good idea to check the floor and walls for any signs of damage, says Lindsey. 'Check the sealant around windows, doors, and other openings to ensure they are intact,' she adds.

She suggests installing door sweeps (available on Amazon) (opens in new tab), as well as weather strips and thresholds to keep drafts out of your shed. 'These are all relatively inexpensive but important items that should be added to any shed,' she says.

shed in snow

Prevent cold drafts and rainwater getting into your shed by sealing gaps around windows and doors

(Image credit: Island Images/Alamy Stock Photo)

When should you weatherproof a shed?

Apply these tips on how to weatherproof a shed ideally before inclement weather hits. That way, you can be prepared, and your belongings are less likely to become damaged.

It's also much easier to weatherproof a shed when the temperatures are warmer and dry, so add it to your list of fall gardening checklist.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.