Stain Or Paint Your Shed? Combination Of Beauty and Utility

After constructing and waterproofing your shed, you may be faced with the decision of whether to apply a protective layer of staining or paint. While both options have their own benefits and drawbacks, determining which is the best choice for your shed can be confusing.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of staining and painting a wooden shed to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re choosing between staining or painting, there really is no losing end of the stick here because they both are good in their own right. The choice ultimately boils down to the area and climate you stay in. And of course, preferences, because stains and paints have their own pros and cons.

However, both are effective at protecting your shed and are also great at giving your shed the aesthetic looks that you are after. That’s why it boils down to individual preferences.

As such, it is important for us to talk more about the pros and cons of stain and paint so that it will be easier to make a more informed choice in relation to which of the two is the right one for your shed.

Why is the stain or the paint necessary for your shed?

Once you have built or assembled a shed on your property, the one thing you need to understand is that the shed itself is not a finished product. True enough, you can already use the shed as it is but you also have to know that the shed needs to be finished in the sense that it needs to be given a layer of protection against the elements.

To give you a better idea, take a look at an older shed or even an older house. It is quite easy to spot these structures because they come with faded looks and rotted wooden parts that will immediately make them stand out in the worst possible way.

So, the reason why these older sheds and houses have that appearance is that they have been exposed to a combination of different environmental factors since day one. We are talking about factors such as UV light from the sunlight, rainwater, and pollution. All these factors can ultimately wear out the exterior of any shed 

It might be true that most of the wood that is used for sheds today is already treated to make sure that it can withstand environmental factors that can damage them. However, that alone will not suffice because you still need to provide your shed with the protection it needs to make sure that it does not get damaged or will not wear out due to the effects of the environment.

As such, the purpose of an outer coating on the shed is to make sure that the shed is further protected from externalities such as rainwater and UV rays. The purpose of applying this coating in the form of stains or paints is to protect the surface of the wood similar to how your clothes or a coat protect your skin from getting exposed to the effects of the environment around you. 

If not stained or painted, there is a good chance that you will end up seeing your shed rotting or fading sooner than expected. Moreover, you might even see the water getting inside the shed more as the shed begins to age.

Should you stain or paint your shed?

When it comes to choosing between staining or painting your shed, both options have their own advantages and disadvantages. One advantage of staining your shed is that it is more breathable and allows the wood to absorb a small amount of moisture, which can be beneficial for the wood.

Staining is also typically more budget-friendly, as a gallon of wood stain can be cheaper than a gallon of paint. In addition, staining gives the shed a natural look by filling the pores of the wood and forming a thin layer on top, rather than covering the entire outer appearance with a thick layer of paint.

Staining is also easier to apply, as it only requires a thin layer and does not require a primer or multiple coats.

On the other hand, paint has a longer lifespan and can last for 5 or more years, compared to stain which typically needs to be reapplied every 3 to 5 years. Paint also provides more customization options, as there are many different types and colors to choose from.

Additionally, paint is easier to maintain, as it can be easily wiped clean and is not prone to attracting dust and debris like stains can be. However, paint requires more prep work, including the use of a primer and multiple coats, and can be more expensive than stain.

Ultimately, the choice between staining or painting your shed will depend on your budget, maintenance preferences, and desired appearance.

Benefits of Staining a Shed:

Natural look: Staining a shed can give it a natural, woodsy look that blends in with the surrounding landscape. This can be especially appealing if you have a lot of trees or other natural elements in your yard.

Protects wood: Staining a shed can help protect the wood from weather damage and fading, extending the life of the shed. It can also help prevent rot and other forms of wood decay.

Easy to touch up: If your shed does suffer from minor scratches or chips, staining is generally easier to touch up than painting. Simply apply a fresh coat of stain to the affected area and it will blend in with the rest of the shed.

Benefits of Painting a Shed:

Customization: Painting a shed allows for more customization and personalization. You can choose any color you want, making it easy to match your shed to your home or the rest of your outdoor space.

Long lasting: When applied correctly, paint can provide a more durable finish than stain. This means it can last longer and require less maintenance over time.

Hides imperfections: If your shed has imperfections or blemishes that you want to cover up, painting can be a good option. The paint will cover these imperfections and give the shed a more polished and finished look.

Drawbacks of Staining a Shed:

Limited color options: Staining a shed only allows for a limited range of color options, typically shades of brown or gray. If you want a more vibrant or unique color for your shed, staining may not be the best option.

Requires more maintenance: Staining a shed typically requires more maintenance than paint, as it needs to be reapplied every few years to maintain its protective qualities and appearance.

Drawbacks of Painting a Shed:

Requires more prep work: Painting a shed requires more prep work than staining, as the surface needs to be properly cleaned and sanded before the paint can be applied. This can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

More expensive: Painting a shed can also be more expensive than staining, as it requires more materials and labor.

Which is better urethane or paint?

Now that you know which is better between staining and painting is the better choice for you, let’s look at what is better between urethane and enamel paint is better if you are someone who has chosen to paint your shed instead of staining.

Urethane is actually not pure paint but is more of a plastic sheet layer that is applied to your shed or any other similar structure. This gives the shed a glossy look that makes it stand out due to how the layer of plastic gives it that sheen. However, the problem in relation to urethane is that it can be more expensive than other types of paint.

However, in all other cases, urethane tends to win out. It is easier to apply compared to enamel paint because you can use it on low-pressure and high-pressure spray guns. Urethane also sprays a larger portion, which means that painting a shed using a spray gun will be quicker and easier with urethane.

On top of that, urethane is more durable than other types of paint as it was basically developed to be a longer lasting type of paint.

So, with that said, urethane is the superior type of paint to use on your shed if you are looking to paint it instead of staining it. However, you should know that urethane can be a bit more expensive. This means that, if you are on a tight budget, you might want to skip out on using urethane.


Both staining and painting a shed have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Staining is more breathable, budget-friendly, and gives the shed a natural look, but requires more frequent reapplication and has limited color options.

Painting is more durable and provides more customization, but is more expensive and requires more prep work and maintenance. Consider your budget, the level of maintenance you are willing to commit to, and the look you want for your shed when deciding between staining or painting.

Manny Moore

Getting my hands dirty and building a place that me and my small family love is a driving factor for what I do and how I do it. I want to share what I have learned and practiced so that it is just that much easier for everyone to have another tool in their tool belt. Your home should be a place that you love and feel comfortable in and your backyard should be no different.

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