Best exterior wood paint: brush up your outside space with fresh colours

The best exterior wood paint can give your outdoor furniture, buildings and doors a bright, bold new look

Best exterior wood paint: Sadolin Superdec
(Image credit: Sadolin)

Looking for the best exterior wood paint to update your outside space? Whether you want to add a splash of colour to your fences, give old garden furniture a fresh new look, protect exterior woodwork or even turn a garden shed from drab to fab, the best exterior wood paint is essential if you want a professional finish. 

Available in a wide range of shades, these days there's really no limit to what you can do in terms of adding colour to your outside space. Painting exterior surfaces is also an easy DIY project that anyone can achieve once you have the right tools for the job. 

Feeling inspired to add refresh your outside space? Take your pick from our round-up of the best exterior wood paints and find out what they can do to make your outdoors look great. 

Want even more advice on the best garden products to buy? Head to our dedicated buying guide page for all the latest deals. 

The best exterior wood paint

Best exterior wood paints: Cuprinol

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

1. Cuprinol Garden Shades Exterior Woodcare

Best for matt colour: enhances the grain and protects natural wood

Size: 1ltr, 2.5ltrs, 5ltrs
Coverage (sprayed on rough sawn wood): 1ltr covers from 2-3m²
Coverage (sprayed on smooth planed wood): 1ltr covers from 10-12m²
Drying time: Touch dry in one hour
Reasons to buy
+In addition to wood, can also be used on terracotta, brick and stone+Up to six years weather protection
Reasons to avoid
-May need several coats to achieve the effect you want-Not suitable for use on decking

Special pigments in Cuprinol Garden Shades ensure a rich colour on sheds, fences, summerhouses, garden furniture and planters while enhancing the grain. Add a fresh feel with a bright Beach Blue or an ice cream flavour with Sweet Sundae. Brush on for greater coverage or spray for a smoother look. Coats must be applied no more than eight hours apart. There is a wide choice of ready mixed colours while a colour-mix service offers even greater options.

Best exterior wood paints: Sadolin Superdec

(Image credit: Sadolin)

2. Sadolin Superdec Satin Opaque Wood Protection

Best for opaque coverage: hide stains and marks for a smart look

Size: 1ltr, 2.5ltrs, 5ltrs
Coverage: Up to 10m² per litre
Drying time: Touch dry after one hour. Recoat after 16 hours
Reasons to buy
+Opaque finish covers stains and marks+Self priming and undercoating+It won’t crack peel or flake
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for decking

If you want to completely cover weathering on old wood, change a colour you’ve grown tired of or hide stains from spills at garden parties, Sadolin Superdec has an opaque finish that will do the job. Highly durable, it is perfect for cladding and exterior joinery. It erodes by weathering, so the coating stays flexible and doesn’t crack, peel or flake. Self priming and undercoating, it will protect for 10 years. Available in more than 300 shades, your wood can be as colourful as your flower beds.

Best exterior wood paints: Valspar

(Image credit: Valspar)

3. Valspar Exterior Wood & Metal Gloss Paint 

Best for covering multiple surfaces: make light work of exterior surfaces

Size: 1ltr, 2.5ltrs
Coverage: Up to 10m² per litre
Drying time: Two to four hours
Reasons to buy
+Can get good results with fewer coats+Impressive choice of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Can show brush marks

Add some polish to your wood or metal trim with this Valspar Exterior Wood & Metal Paint, available in gloss or satin, which will cover every kind of surface, from hardboard and vinyl to rusty galvanised metal. It has exceptional elasticity to protect it from cracking, flaking and peeling for up to 15 years. Great coverage paired with a steady flow and leveling leaves a smooth finish in half the time, while its UV resistance will keep it looking good. As for colours, well, there are 2.2million, so you are sure to find one you like.

Best exterior wood paints: Sandtex

(Image credit: Sandtex)

4. Sandtex 10 Year Exterior Satin (or Gloss)

Best for enduring coverage: perfect for woodwork (it's even used on lighthouses)

Size: 750ml, 2.5ltrs
Coverage: 15m² per litre.
Drying time: Four to six hours. Recoat after 16 hours
Reasons to buy
+Enduring coverage+Suitable for wood and metal
Reasons to avoid
-Limited range of colours

A paint brand that’s used on lighthouses certainly has the skills to make products that can withstand blustery and wet weather in the back garden. A Sandtex trade paint was used to decorate the red and white stripes on the Happisburgh Lighthouse in East Anglia. Not surprisingly, it is confident enough in the durability of its low sheen Exterior Satin (and Gloss) to offer a 10-year guarantee. The paint will give exterior wood a sleek, sophisticated finish, and is tough, waterproof and flexible enough not to crack. It is available in nine colours, including Soothing Green and Gentle Blue.

Best exterior wood paints: Johnstone's Garden Colours

(Image credit: Johnstone's)

5. Johnstone’s Garden Colours

Best for bright transformations: great colours at an inexpensive price

Size: 1ltr, 2.5ltrs 5ltrs
Coverage: 12 m² per litre
Drying time: Two hours
Reasons to buy
+Easy to apply rich colour+Reasonably priced outdoor paint
Reasons to avoid
-May need extra coats

If you like colour in the garden but also want to appreciate the natural look of wood, Johnstone’s Woodcare Garden Colours offer both. Paint the fade-resistant smooth colour on your garden buildings, fences, arbours, dining sets or planters and you’ll still be able to see the texture and grain of the wood underneath. There are 20 colours to choose, so add a cheerful splash by painting your patio furniture with Merry Berry, or create a backdrop for plants to pop against with Steel Smoke.

Best exterior wood paints: Rust-Oleum Garden Furniture Paint

(Image credit: Rust-oleum)

6. Rust-Oleum Garden Furniture Paint

Best for garden DIY and upcycling projects: transform your furniture in a flash

Size : 400ml
Coverage: Approx 2m²
Drying time: Touch dry in one hour. Full dry after 16 hours.
Reasons to buy
+No priming or sanding necessary on most surfaces+Easy to use – shake and spray+Sophisticated chalky finish
Reasons to avoid
-Nozzle can become clogged, wasting the spray remaining in the can

Rust-Oleum is a favourite of DIYers and crafters; their go-to if they want to upcycle battered old furniture or bling up a plain new piece. Take a tin of Garden Furniture Paint, and you can transform a shabby garden bench, table or chairs in the press of a finger. The result is a soft-touch matt finish that is mould, algae and water resistant. With no need to wax or lacquer it, It is durable enough to be scrubbed clean. The paint can be directly applied to wood (bare or painted) but also brick, stone, plaster or even metal and plastic, if suitably primed and rigid.

Best exterior wood paints Dulux Weathershield

(Image credit: Dulux)

7. Dulux Weathershield Quick Dry Exterior Gloss

Best for making a good first impression: welcome guests with a glossy front door

Size: 750ml, 2.5ltrs
Coverage: 16m² per litre
Drying time: Touch dry in two hours. Dry after six hours
Reasons to buy
+Glossy and durable+Six-year weather protection+Quick drying
Reasons to avoid
-Will need an undercoat to prime surfaces-Dark colours may need two coats

When painting outside, it's important not to forget the front of the house. Kerb appeal is crucial as visitors can form an instant opinion right on the doorstep. Make sure your front door is smooth, glossy and colourful, not dull and peeling with Dulux Weathershield Quick-Dry Exterior Gloss. The paint has a water-based gloss finish and guarantees six-year weather protection for exterior wood and metal. Its weatherproof paint film is mould resistant to minimise staining and flexible to resist cracking, keeping the paint looking better for longer compared to conventional gloss paints.

Best exterior wood paints: Ronseal Fencelife Plus

(Image credit: Ronseal)

8. Ronseal Fence Life Plus Matt Shed & Fence Treatment

Best for transforming brown sheds and fences: wave goodbye to boring surfaces

Size: 5ltrs
Coverage: 6m² per ltre
Drying time: Four hours
Reasons to buy
+Suitable for transforming sheds or fences+Quick drying with five-year lasting colour+Can be used on damp wood
Reasons to avoid
-May need several coats to get the desired colour

Timber fences and sheds can look nice and natural, but try putting on colour to make the rest of your garden really pop. Ronseal Fence Life Plus Matt Shed & Fence Treatment can take your panels to the next level, creating a wonderful backdrop for flowers and uncovering your shed's potential for other uses. It gives five-year protection on rough sawn and smooth planed wood, and protects it from rain, frost and snow, and even fading in the sun. It can be brushed or sprayed on, and even be applied to damp wood – useful given our often showery summers – and will be rainproof in one hour.

How to buy the best exterior wood paint

Where to buy the best exterior wood paint

Amazon: loads of brands and rapid delivery 

B&Q: wide range of specialised outdoor paint 

Wickes: The best picks and good prices 

Little Greene: Exterior paints with a luxury look


The paints and treatments often offer guarantees of several years for their long-lasting protective qualities. The details are easy to find on the side of the paint tin. 

Mould, mildew and algae resistant 

This will counteract the effects of our damp weather or storage in outside spaces that can leave surfaces looking mottled.

UV protection and fade resistant 

When we do get some sunshine, you don't want your freshly painted woodwork to look dull or the colours fade because of it.

Paint and primer in one 

The fewer the preparative undercoats needed, the quicker the job gets done, so if you're trying to complete a quick weekend makeover project, this could be the product for you. 

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