Should I Paint the Inside of My Shed

When the new beautiful shed is done the next question that you’re bound to ask is, “should I paint the inside of my shed?”

So, should I paint the inside of my shed? You should paint your shed if you have limited or no lighting inside it. Paint the interior a light color or white. It brightens the interior, seals the wood, looks nicer, and the contrast against the white makes it easier to find things.

If your garden shed is metal, it probably has a baked-on factory finish, so any additional painting will be pointless. However, if you have a wooden shed, whether old or new, a bright coat of paint on the interior can extend its life as well as giving you more reason to spend time there!

When Should I Paint the Inside of My Shed?

Should I paint the inside of my shed

You should consider painting the inside of your shed if it has little or no interior lighting. Small windows prevent entry but provide limited light. Painting the walls and ceiling will brighten any interior, even one with no windows at all. White paint is best to make the interior seem lighter, although soft pastel colors or light gray work too.

Paint can even hide water stains after repairs, allowing you to know if leaks reoccur. It also reduces or prevents insect damage, and can reduce mildew growth.

If the shed will be a man cave, she shed, kids’ play area, studio or backyard home office it should be painted. The paint will seal the wood and make it easier to clean, find things, and reduce the number of slivers. However, if you’re just storing tools in the shed, it doesn’t need paint unless you want to.

Most metal box-sheds have a baked on the interior finish or are painted white to protect the metal, but also to make the interior brighter. 


Painting Inside of a New Shed vs Old Shed

Painting the interior of a shed with white interior paint job is a good idea. It seals the wood, helps prevent mildew and insect damage, it brightens the interior, and the contrast against the white makes it easier to find things.

It is best to paint a new shed as soon after building as possible. Use a paintable caulk to fill in any holes or cracks. Apply a primer or primer-paint mix, using a brush, roller, and/or sprayer. The wood should still have some moisture in it, so it may not need more than one coat.

An old shed needs to be emptied, and then cleaned of all dust and debris before being painted. Depending on the size and condition of the shed, you may want to use a spray washer to help remove stains and dirt. Once it’s clean and dry, replace any rot areas, patch any large holes, and caulk gaps and smaller holes. The older the wood, the more likely it is to be dry, so it may soak up paint quickly. Prime, or use a paint-primer mix, to seal the wood. A sprayer is best for painting older sheds as the older wood may catch and grab bristles and roller material more.

When is the Best Time to Paint Shed Inside

The best time to paint the interior of your shed is when it’s empty and clean. I realize that’s an obvious statement, but trying to paint the interior by moving “stuff” from one side to the other as you paint, isn’t always practical. Additionally, temperature and humidity also influence when it is best to paint the interior of your shed as they affect drying time and how well the paint will stick.

The application temperature range for oil-based paint is between 40 and 90-degrees (F), and for latex paint between 50 and 85-degrees (F). The lower the temperature in the range, the longer it will take to dry; the higher the temperature, the quicker it dries.

A humidity range between 40% and 70% is best for paint. If it’s too dry (low), the paint may not adhere properly to the surface. If the humidity is too high, the wood may be damp, and the paint may flake once it dries.

Should I Paint My Shed Floor?

The decision to paint your shed floor depends on its use, condition, and how inclined you are to empty your shed. Painting a brand new floor is easier than an old well used one, but the benefits of a painted floor are the same for both.

Painting the shed floor helps protect and seal the wood, it reduces splinters, makes it easier to clean, and it looks so much better. Caulk any seams or gaps, patch any holes or gouges, and use exterior grade oil based paint for decks or floors. A primer-sealer as a first coat is a good idea too. To prevent stored items from sticking to the paint, allow the paint to dry for several days to fully cure. If you’re concerned about slips, you can add painting sand or grit.

Remember, pressure treated material should have at least 3-months to dry before painting. Otherwise, the paint will not adhere properly to it.

Tools, Safety and Protection When Painting Shed Interior

Shed paint and accessories

The cleaning supplies depend on the age of your shed and how dirty it is. Pick what works best for your shed: broom and dustpan, a vacuum, a leaf blower, or a pressure washer if you’re so inclined. The tools, safety, and protection needed when painting the inside of your shed depend on you, and the size of your shed. Use painters tape and plastic to cover hinges, knobs, vents, and windows.

I paint the ceiling and walls of my sheds. I use a latex paint-primer mix with a paint sprayer and do several thin coats from 10” to 12” to avoid drips. I wear disposable paper coveralls with a hood, a face shield, dust mask, and a ball cap. I may look funny, but clean up is a breeze. Leave the door open while painting for fresh air. Once you’re finished painting, put a fan on in the shed or open windows and the door to help it dry faster.

  • Painters tape
  • Plastic
  • Paintable caulking
  • Stepladder
  • Mask or respirator
  • Safety glasses or face shield
  • Cleaning rags
  • Paint sprayer
  • 1” brush
  • 4” brush
  • Roller and tray
  • Extension pole
  • Primer or paint-primer mix
  • Paint

How to Prepare a Shed for Painting

You have to paint over clean, dry surfaces, so your first priority will be to clean the shed to within an inch of its life! Start by hauling out everything that’s inside the structure- you will want to wait for warm, dry weather to begin this task.

Also, while you’re at it, what a great opportunity to get rid of the stuff that inevitably accumulates in a space like this- your goal should be to put back in the newly painted shed only what belongs there and that you still need. Throw out, sell or give away the rest!

Then, clean. Sweep it out, then use a shop vacuum to get into the nooks and crannies, and then wash down all the wood surfaces with trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution. Then, let everything dry thoroughly for a couple of days before moving on to the next step.

If you’re painting a new shed, you can skip this step, but be aware that if it’s made of pressure-treated lumber, you will need to wait anywhere from 3 months to a year to let it dry thoroughly before painting. That’s something to consider if you’re buying or building a new shed – if you don’t want to wait to paint, don’t buy pressure-treated!

What is the Best Paint for Painting the Inside of a Shed?

You should use not only a top coat of paint but also a primer. You are probably going to be painting over raw wood, and it’s going to suck up a lot of paint. A good-quality primer will cut down on the number of coats that you will need to apply, so it’s worth spending the money and taking the time to start with a primer coat.

For the top coats on the walls, go with a good-quality latex paint that will be able to withstand temperature and humidity extremes that you don’t usually encounter inside a heated and air-conditioned house. On the floor, use exterior porch and floor paint for maximum durability.

When it comes to color, you cannot go wrong with white for your shed interior. The odds are good that if it has any windows, they are small, so space tends to be dark, to begin with, and a dull, dark or muddy shade on the walls will just intensify that effect. On the other hand, the white paint will make the shed’s interior seem larger and brighter. Whether it’s going to be a space for work or leisure, white will be the best backdrop!

How to Apply Paint to the Inside of a Shed

You have three options for applying paint to the inside of your shed: brush, roller, or sprayer. Whichever method you choose depends on the nature of your interior surfaces.

If your walls and ceiling have exposed studs, you have lots of nooks and crannies, rather than a single smooth surface. The surface of the wood is likely to be rougher as well.

Painting with a brush is going to be a tedious job, and you’re likely to miss some spots as you go. Those exposed bits will end up sucking in moisture and lead to faster deterioration of the wood. A paint sprayer will do a better job of giving you complete coverage in a shorter amount of time.

If your shed’s interior walls and/or ceiling are finished with sheets of plywood, you can use a sprayer or a brush or roller, depending on your preference. A roller or sprayer will go much more quickly and give you an even, smooth application, but in a small shed a brush will work just as well.

Start with the ceiling- the first rule of painting is work down, as paint inevitably drips downwards. It’s a good idea to use the same color on the ceiling as on the walls, to keep the space as uninterrupted as possible.

Don’t use a special ceiling paint, though- this is your shed, not a formal living room.

First, apply the primer and let it dry thoroughly before proceeding with the top coats.  It’s better to apply multiple thin topcoats rather than one thick one.

Let the first coat dry for two to four hours before applying the second one. Leaving a fan running can speed up the drying process.

Tackle the floor last – you’re going to inevitably end up with some paint spatters from your wall painting on the floor. White is not a practical floor color, especially in an outdoor space- a dark grey will hide the dirt that gets tracked in a while at the same time coordinating nicely with the white walls. (I don’t need to tell you to work from the back wall out to the door, do I?) Let the floor dry for a couple of days before moving your shed contents back in.

Finishing the Job

Now that you have a brand-new, gleaming-white shed interior, you are probably going to be inspired to keep it as neat and tidy as possible!

If you’ve got exposed stud walls, what a great opportunity to build in as much between-the-stud shelving as you can! Whether those shelves end up holding flowerpots or paint cans, you can definitely maximize your storage without using up a lot of the floor space.

You can also hang up all your tools in those niches to keep them well organized- if you want to go crazy, you can even draw the tools’ outlines so that you always know exactly where everything goes!

The cavities between studs are also an ideal place for storing lengths of wood, bamboo poles for the garden, or long-handled garden implements like shovels and hoes. Just nail a strip of wood across about halfway up the wall, and slide the stuff in. They’ll be out of the way but instantly accessible at the same time.

If you have finished interior walls, you can turn that formerly grubby space into a backyard get-away. Men, bring in an old couch and put up a big-screen tv for your man-cave. Women, what a great spot for a writing desk to work on a blog! And if you have children, this bright and cheery space could be their playhouse.

So, should you paint the inside of your shed? If it’s dark and dirty, and you can envision more and better uses for it if it’s fixed up, of course, you should! A few afternoons of work can give you a functional workspace or a backyard hideaway for years to come!

Leave a Comment