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A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best Stain for Your Wood Shed

An image of a small table and two chairs in front of an orange wooden shed.
Looking to stain your shed? Look no further than ZAR® deck & siding products to revamp your shed.

Choosing the best stain for your wood shed is essential to creating an attractive and practical outdoor storage structure. This straightforward guide will walk you through examining your shed, getting it ready for staining and selecting the ideal stain to cater to your specific requirements. No matter the age of your shed, these valuable insights will help you make an informed choice.

Step One: Assessing the Shed

Before you begin the staining process, it’s crucial to assess the current state of your wood shed. This will help you determine the best approach for preparing it for staining and ultimately help you choose the ideal stain.

Staining a New Shed: It’s Ready to Go!

If you have a new wood shed, you’re in luck! Freshly built sheds typically require little to no preparation before staining. However, it’s essential to allow the wood to dry and acclimate to its environment for a few weeks before applying any type of stain. This allows the wood to release any residual moisture and will help to ensure better stain adhesion.

Staining an Old Shed: How to Prepare

A brown wooden shed to the left of a tall green tree.
For when your shed needs a pick-me-up, count on ZAR deck & siding stains.

For older sheds, you’ll need to invest a bit more time and effort to prepare the surface for staining. This can involve removing old paint or stain, repairing damaged boards and sanding the exterior to ensure proper stain adhesion.

Remove and Replace Broken and/​or Splintered Boards

Start by inspecting the shed for any broken or splintered boards. If you find any damaged areas, remove the affected boards and replace them with new, matching pieces. This will not only improve the overall appearance of your shed but will also help the stain adhere more evenly.

Re-sand Entire Exterior to Remove Old Paint and Prepare for Staining

Once you have replaced any damaged boards, sand the entire exterior of the shed using a power sander or sandpaper to remove any old paint or stain. This step is necessary for creating a smooth, even surface that will allow the stain to penetrate the wood and provide lasting protection

Utilize a Restorative Coating if the Wood is in Decent Shape

A can full of ZAR NuDECK products. The can is brown with a picture of a deck on the side.
Rely on ZAR NuDECK Wood and Concrete Restorative coating to restore old surfaces.


If your shed’s wood is in relatively good condition, you may opt for a restorative coating instead of sanding. Restorative coatings can help to revitalize the wood’s appearance and prepare the surface for staining without the need for extensive sanding.

A restorative coating, like ZAR® NuDECK® Wood and Concrete Restorative Coating, can help rejuvenate old wood by providing a fresh, paintable surface that covers imperfections and signs of wear. It not only improves the appearance of aged wood but also offers protection from further damage. It creates a mildew-resistant and slip-resistant surface, which is especially beneficial for wooden decks, docks and pool areas. 

By applying this water-based solution, you can extend the life of wood and concrete surfaces while also creating a safe and visually appealing finish.

It’s Now Time to Stain: Selecting the Best Stain for Your Shed

The decision on which stain to choose will depend on whether you want the natural look of the underlying wood, a slight color change or completely hide the wood grain and only let the texture show.

Waterproof Wood Sealer

A tin can full of ZAR Deck & Siding products. The can istan with a picture of a deck on the side of the can.
To prevent splitting and cracking in your wood, coutnon ZAR Deck & Siding Clear Waterproof Wood Sealer.


A waterproof wood sealer is an excellent option for protecting your shed from water damage and prolonging its lifespan. It provides a clear layer that seeps into the wood fibers to protect it from moisture without hiding its natural beauty. If you want to preserve the wood’s natural look, this coating may be the ideal option for you.

ZAR Deck & Siding Clear Waterproof Wood Sealer is a high-quality solution for protecting your wooden structures from the elements. It is made to protect wood from water damage and maintain its natural appearance. The sealer is simple to apply using brushes, rollers or sprayers and forms a strong and transparent barrier. 

Furthermore, it contains UV stabilizers that help mitigate the harmful effects of UV rays that ultimately diminish the wood’s fading and discoloration. With ZAR’s reliable waterproof wood sealer, you can ensure that your wood shed, deck or siding maintains its appearance and structural integrity for years to come.

Semi-Transparent Stain

A tin can of ZAR deck and siding treatment. The can is dark gray and has a picture of a house on the side.
To add a touch of color to your wood project, use ZAR Deck & Siding Semi-Transparent Stain. This provides beautiful color while still allowing your wood to be seen.

Semi-transparent stains offer a balance between color and wood grain visibility. They add a slight color to the wood, which still allows the natural texture to be visible. They also prevent water damage and protect against UV rays. This type of stain is perfect for those who want to enhance their shed’s appearance without completely covering the wood’s natural beauty.

ZAR Deck & Siding Semi-Transparent Stain can enhance the natural beauty of your wood structures and protect them from the elements. This stain is semi-transparent, adding depth and character to the finish and providing subtle color. It also safeguards the wood against water damage, UV rays and general wear and tear.

You can use ZAR semi-transparent stain on different outdoor wooden surfaces such as decks, siding, and fences. It provides an appealing and long-lasting coating that safeguards and enhances the look of the wood.

Solid Color Coating

A tin can of ZAR deck and siding treatment. The can is light gray and has a picture of a house on the side.
For vibrant color and coverage, look to ZAR Deck & Siding Solid Color Coating for your next project.


If you want your shed to have a consistent look, consider using a solid color coating. ZAR Solid Color Deck & Siding Coating is a high-quality product that provides excellent protection for wooden surfaces while also giving them a uniform appearance. It effectively covers the natural grain of the wood and shields it from water damage, UV rays and daily wear and tear.

ZAR Solid Color Deck & Siding Coating is perfect for outdoor wood surfaces such as decks, siding and fences. This product is easy to apply and offers a variety of color options to match your personal tastes. With its long-lasting protection, expect a polished and attractive appearance for your wood surfaces with ZAR Solid Color Deck & Siding Coating.

Find All of Your Options for Great Wood Stains with ZAR

When selecting a wood stain for your shed, consider exploring the options offered by ZAR. We carry a variety of high-quality stains and wood finishing products for your wood shed that include a clear waterproof sealer, a semi-transparent stain or a solid color coating to protect and enhance its appearance.

Contact us today to locate a store near you. For more information, you can check out our resource center.