The Best Exterior Wood Paint 2021

Exterior wood paint that’s cracked, peeled or blistered can ruin the look and feel of your outdoor space. The best way to fix the defective paint is to rub down the surface and apply a paint that provides long lasting weather protection.

best exterior wood paint

Depending upon the type of finish you require, most exterior wood paint is available in satin or gloss formulas. The majority can be applied via a brush or roller but only a few can be sprayed onto the wood.

If you want a quick answer, the best exterior wood paint is the Ronseal RSL Formula, which provides up to 10 years of weather protection and dries in 1 hour. However, if you would prefer a gloss finish to the exterior wood, the WPRRG Formula by Ronseal is the best alternative with the same 10 years of weather protection.

As with any form of painting, preparation is the most important step in order to achieve the best result. Exterior wood paint can be applied to bare or previously painted wood but many formulas can also be used for other applications.

Exterior Wood Paint Comparison

Exterior Wood PaintTypeGuaranteed Protection
Ronseal RSLWPPBWS750Satin10 Years
Dulux Weather ShieldSatin10 Years
Cuprinol Garden ShadesSatin6 Years
Johnstones WoodcareSatin4 Years
Ronseal WPRRG750Gloss10 Years
Sandtex CollectorsGloss10 Years

Whether you are painting your fence, garden shed, cladding, windows or door, you will want it to be long lasting. Most brands will state a weather protection guarantee to provide you with an indication to the durability of the paint. Quick drying formulas are also very desirable with some brands stating that their paints are dry to touch in just 1 hour.

Below is a list of the best exterior wood paints that provide a tough weatherproof finish and are available as satin or gloss paints.

The Best Exterior Wood Paint


1. Ronseal Exterior Wood Paint

Ronseal Exterior Wood Paint
Ronseal are one of the biggest brands in the UK for exterior wood paint and offer many different types. This particular paint is their most rated and the brand claim that it’s weatherproof in just 1 hour and it provides protection to the exterior wood for up to 10 years. This includes protection against cracking, peeling and blistering.

Other features of the Ronseal Exterior Wood Paint include:

  • Suited for bare or previously painted wood
  • Available in multiple colours
  • Weatherproof in 1 hour
  • Two to three coats recommended
  • Water based formula
  • 750 ml tin

Overall, the Ronseal Exterior Wood Paint is one of the best options if you require a fast drying and long lasting paint. It can be applied quickly by a brush and you can expect 13 square metres of coverage per litre.
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2. Dulux Weather Shield Exterior Wood Paint

Dulux Weather Shield Exterior Wood Paint
Dulux are another reputable brand and they are the direct competitors to Ronseal. Their exterior wood paint is available as a gloss, satin or undercoat paint with an offering of 750 ml or 2.5 litre tins.

As with the Ronseal alternative, the Dulux exterior wood paint provides up to 10 years of weather protection.

Other features of the Dulux Weather Shield include:

  • Water based formula
  • Quick drying
  • Multiple colours available
  • Touch to dry in 2 hours
  • Rainproof finish
  • Mould resistant paint

Overall, the Dulux Weather Shield is an excellent all-round paint that provides a great finish on exterior wood or metal surfaces. It’s also available in a great selection of colours and comes with a 10 year weather protection guarantee for complete peace of mind.
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3. Cuprinol Garden Shades Paint For Wood

Cuprinol Garden Shades Paint For Wood
The Cuprinol Garden Shades is another fast drying formula that can be sprayed or brushed onto the exterior wood. According to the brand, the formula is designed to provide weather protection for up to 6 years after the application of two coats. It can also be used to paint terracotta, brick and stone too.

Other features of the Cuprinol Garden Shades include:

  • 1 hour drying time
  • Colours and protects wood
  • Enhances the natural grain of wood
  • Water based formula
  • 2.5 litre tin
  • Multiple colours available

Overall, it’s a high performing formula that provides an attractive matt finish, which allows the wood grain to show through. The ability to use a fence or power sprayer may also be beneficial if you already own such equipment.
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4. Johnstone’s Garden Colours Paint For Exterior Wood

Johnstone's Garden Colours Paint For Exterior Wood
If you require an affordable exterior wood paint that’s produced by a reputable brand, the Johnstone’s Woodcare paint is the best option. It’s available in a 1 or 2.5 litre tin and with the choice of 20 different colours.

In terms of the long term performance, the brand state it will provide protection for 4 years and it’s also fade resistant.

Other features of the Johnstone’s Woodcare Garden Colours include:

  • Suitable for most wooden garden furniture
  • Smooth and easy to apply
  • Allows the natural grain of the wood to show
  • Water based formula
  • 2 hours drying time
  • Multiple colours available
  • Brush application

Overall, the Johnstone’s Woodcare is a cheap exterior wood paint that’s fast to dry and easy to apply. Unlike other cheap formulas, the Johnstone’s brand has been trading since 1890 and has a great reputation for peace of mind.
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5. Ronseal Exterior Gloss Paint For Wood

Ronseal Exterior Gloss Paint For Wood
Another formula by Ronseal is their exterior gloss paint for wood, which provides the same 10 year weather protection guarantee. It’s available in a 750 ml tin and multiple colours to best suit your requirements. According to the brand, it’s best used upon bare or previously painted wood and it will flex with the wood to prevent paint defects.

Other features of the Ronseal Exterior Gloss Paint For Wood include:

  • 10 year weather protection guarantee
  • Dries in just 1 hour
  • Multiple colour options
  • Brush application
  • Creates a desirable shine

Ronseal are the leading brand when it comes to exterior wood paint and you can rest assure that their gloss formula will provide great results. For the best finish, it’s recommended that you provide 2 or more coats.
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6. Sandtex Exterior Gloss Wood Paint

Sandtex Exterior Gloss Wood Paint
Sandtex are another popular brand in the UK that produce various paints. Their exterior gloss wood paint uses advanced technology to provide an ultra mirror shine for the best gloss finish on wood or metal.

As with many of the other paints, Sandtex state that it provides up to 10 years of weather protection and remains shiny.

Other features of the Sandtex Exterior Gloss Wood Paint include:

  • 750 ml tin provides 11 square metres of coverage
  • Flexible formulation that resists cracking
  • Washable for removing small marks
  • Solvent-based paint
  • Application via brush or roller
  • Tough waterproof finish

If you require an exterior gloss paint for wood that’s able to maintain an ultra shiny finish, the Sandtex formula is the best option. It also offers great value for money when compared to some of the alternative gloss paints.
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Exterior Wood Paint Buying Guide

Painting exterior wood with a paint that can withstand the unpredictable British weather can transform your outdoor space. Exterior wood paints are available in a range of finishes and colours and can be brushed onto the wood where most are dry to touch in 1 or 2 hours. Repainting the wood not only improves it aesthetically but it also adds to the protection. Whether you are painting windows, cladding, doors, fences or other garden components, the paint will provide many years of weather protection.

To help you make an informed buying decision we have produced the below guide regarding exterior wood paints.

best exterior gloss paint for wood

Gloss vs Satin Finish

Most exterior wood paints are available as a gloss or satin formula where both provide multiple years of protection.

Gloss paint is the best option if you require a high-shine finish that’s easy to clean and hard wearing. It’s the most popular paint for exterior windows, doors and other bits of trim.

Satin paint doesn’t provide the shine and is great for hiding imperfections due to there being no reflections from the finish. Choosing between satin or gloss is a matter of personal preference with both providing great protection.

Weather Protection

If you are going to all the effort of preparing the wood and applying paint, you will want the paint to be long lasting. The best exterior wood paint will often last for up to 10 years but cheap alternatives will be far less.

It’s important to note that the wood needs to be prepared appropriately and the application needs to follow the manufacturers instructions. Failing to do so will effect the durability of the paint and it may begin to flake, peel or blister.

Drying Time

Due to the unpredictable weather in the UK, a fast drying exterior wood paint is highly recommended. There is nothing worse than it beginning to rain as you are waiting for the paint to dry because it will ruin the overall finish.

All paint manufacturers will state a drying time on the instructions with Ronseal offering the fast drying time of just 1 hour. Before applying additional coats of paint, you should always wait the recommended amount of time for the best result.

Preparation

Before you begin painting the exterior wood paint, you will want to ensure the surface has been prepped. Ideally, you will want to use a 120 grit sand paper on bare wood and sand in the direction of the wood grain to ensure the surface is smooth before painting. If it has been previously painted, you can use a lighter sand paper to prepare the surface or use a paint stripper. If the wooden surface is in a bad way, you may want to use an electric sander to improve efficiency.

Once the wood has been sanded, you then have the option to use a filler to fill any gaps in the wood. Failing to prepare the surface correctly can result in cracks, blisters or peeling appearing like in the image below.

best exterior wood paint uk

Application

Most of the formulas listed in this article require application by hand or roller. However, there are other formulas that can be sprayed using a fence or power sprayer. Application instructions vary between brands and for the best result, you should follow them closely.

As you are painting, you should always paint in the direction of the wood grain for the best finish. One common mistake that many people make is not allowing enough time for the paint to dry between coats. Therefore, don’t be impatient and allow enough time for the paint to dry between coats.

Maintenance

Over the years, the painted surface may suffer from a few knocks and tough dirt. However, you can easily clean most painted exterior wood with warm soapy water with no issues.

If part of the painted surface has become damaged, you can lightly sand the area until smooth and apply another coat.

Conclusion

Updating the exterior wood in your garden with fresh paint can make a huge difference. Wooden doors, windows, cladding, sheds, fences and other components can be easily painted and protected in just a few hours.

All of the recommendations within this article are suited to a range of budgets with different finishes. For the best result, you should ensure the wooden surface has been prepared correctly and follow the manufacturers instructions.

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