Photo of a storage shed that has been painted gray and white.

Updating Our Old Backyard Shed

In this article of The Impatient DIYer, we're going over a little refresh of the backyard shed that came with our home.  We purchased the home in the fall of 2019, and it was in good shape but it needed a lot of small updates to make it feel like our own.  The shed was about twenty years old, structurally sound, but had a few things that needed attention.  It had a bit of mold and mildew growing on it, carpenter bees or some other insect had dug a few channels in the fascia boards near the roof line, and the walls were separating from the bottom in portions of the shed.

Photo of a storage shed before painting

So in the spring of 2020, we had a lot of time on our hands during the early days of the COVID pandemic to accomplish a lot of projects around the house.  Over the course of a few days, we were able to completely refresh the shed to our liking.  Using an exterior wood filler, we filled in the insect damage and sanded it down.  We also scrubbed the mildew off with stiff brushes and cleaning supplies and screwed down any wall panels that were warping free.  When we took off the under-window planters, we found a decent amount of water damage to the walls directly behind the planters.  We patched holes there as well.

Photo of shed painting in progress

We decided to go with a gray shed with white trim. While this is a trendy color scheme, we went with it as our existing deck was already painted gray (gray trim too), so we wanted it to match.  We purchased some Exterior paint from our local Do It Best store.  It's a little pricier than the big box home improvement stores, but it's a three minute drive versus a twenty minute drive for us. We started by painting all the trim.  As we were going to be painting the walls gray, we didn't need to do any taping as we would be painting over any white paint that got on the walls.  After painting the trim, we taped off the trim and painted around the trim with brushes three to four inches wide.  This would let us easily go over the rest of the walls with a roller without having to get too close to the trim.  The grain of the shed had become very raised over the years, so tape didn't stick as easily to the wood.

Photo of shed painted gray and white

As I was painting the shed, I noticed it took a lot of paint to really coat the wood.  I was about halfway through painting before it dawned on me that the raised grains of the wood were really increasing the surface area needed to paint the shed.  So I took an orbital sander with 80 grit sandpaper to the remainder of the shed.  I like the Ryobi 18V Orbit Sander and most of the whole Ryobi 18v and 40v lines.  They're not perfect, but they've stood up to 4+ years of use and abuse.  I think the great tools for home users.  We also now have an electric mower, so the shed is losing that gas and oil smell we were so used to, just like our Dad's Garage scented candle.  The grass still smells like fresh cut grass with the electric mower, like our Fresh Cut Grass scented candle.

I didn't spend a lot of time sanding, just one pass, but it made a world of difference in how much paint we used.  We ended up using about one and three quarter gallons of gray paint on the entire shed. After painting, we still wanted to use the under-window planters, so to mitigate more water damage, we cut some stiff plastic sheets to match the outline of the planters to keep the coconut fiber liners from coming in direct contact with the walls.  I also cut some 1x4 cedar boards to make decorate shutters for the windows.  The cedar stain came out a little more orange than I like, but it still looks good.  The interior didn't need much work, but the biggest difference maker was buying a couple of motion activated LED lights that turn on when I go in the shed.  Really lights up the place.  So we're really happy with how the shed turned out.  It looks like a completely different shed and really brightens up the back yard.

Photo of updated shed

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