Can You Paint Plastic Sheds?

can you paint a plastic shed

Plastic sheds are a popular choice for homeowners who want some outdoor storage but don’t really have the budget nor the time for a wooden or concrete shed. Plastic sheds are a lot easier to assemble than their more heavyweight counterparts.

They also come in a variety of sizes and colors, so there is definitely something for every person’s needs and preferences. These sheds can last you a good while too, and after a few years, you might feel the need to change up its look, or maybe touch up on a few spots faded through years of being outdoors and exposed to weather changes. One of the easiest and most accessible ways to do this is with paint.

Can you paint plastic sheds? Yes, you can! You can technically choose any paint you want, but if you want your paint job to last, you need to choose paints and/or primers that are made specifically for plastic or resin sheds.

Read on and I am going to tell you how to paint your plastic sheds, as well as what tools, paints and primers you can use to ensure a good and polished paint job that is going to last.

How To Paint A Plastic Shed

If you want to give your old plastic shed a makeover, just prepare these materials and follow our easy steps. You may already have some of these in your home.

You Will Need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Water
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Masking tape
  • Old newspapers

Step 1: Sand down your shed

The first thing you need to do is to use some fine-grain sandpaper to sand down the surfaces that you want to paint. This is because plastic is usually very smooth. If you paint directly over it without abrading it first, the paint may come off a lot easier and you might need to repaint your shed more.

Sanding your plastic shed first ensures that the primer and paint have a rougher surface to stick to, so your paint job could last a lot longer.

A 120 to 220 grit sandpaper is recommended, but you can use whatever is available to you. Just be reminded that coarser grains of sandpaper cause bigger scratches. You don’t really need your plastic shed to get very rough and scratchy. Just a little fine sanding is enough to make the paint stick better.

Step 2: Rinse your shed

The next thing you need to do is to grab a pressure washer, a hose, or maybe just a bucket of water to rinse your shed. This is to wash away any of the dirt and dust that may be left over from the sanding process, and ensure that you will have a nice, clean surface to paint on.  

A pressure washer or a power washer is ideal for this task, since its added force ensures that almost all of the dirt, dust, and plastic particles are washed away and you are left with a near spotless surface ready for painting.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, a bucket of water will do just fine. You can use a scrubbing pad or a brush with it if you want your surface to be spotless.

Step 3: Cover areas that need protection

Once your shed has been rinsed and dried, you will then get some tape and newspaper, and maybe some scissors or any cutting tool to cover up any of the areas in your shed that you do not want to paint. 

You can technically skip this step, but if you want your paint job to look more polished and professional, don’t forget to do this properly. Ensuring that you correctly cover areas of the shed that you don’t want to be painted can save you a lot of regret and “oh no I messed up” moments later.

Step 4: Prime your shed

After you have covered any surfaces that you don’t want to get painted, use your roller to cover large surfaces with primer. To get into corners and smaller surfaces with more precision, you can switch to using a brush.

A primer is specially formulated to make the paint stick better to surfaces, and given that we are painting plastic which is quite slippery, we will need to use it for this painting project. It also helps your paint last longer and prevents chips and cracks.

It is also useful if you are painting your shed to be a different color than its original, or if your plastic shed has become discolored through weathering and usage, because primers are usually tinted with white. When you use a primer, you would be able to effectively cover up the original color, leaving you with a clean base upon which you could neatly paint on a new color.

Step 5: Paint your shed 

While your primer dries, make sure to wash your paintbrushes and paint rollers to get them ready to use with your paint. You could skip washing them and use other brushes, but the finished look would be the same. The only difference is you are left with more brushes to wash when you are done painting.

Just like with the primer you used earlier, use your paint rollers to cover larger areas with paint, and then switch to the paintbrush for more detailed and precise strokes. Let it dry for two hours (or for the recommended time in your paint’s packaging). Check your shed.

If you want to, you can add another coat until you reach your desired opacity. Take out all of your newspapers and tape, and voila! You just gave your plastic shed a whole new look.

Paints and Primers for Plastic Sheds

There are a lot of primers and paints available on the market. Shopping for paints can be pretty daunting when you haven’t done enough research. There are so many colors and formulas that can get pretty confusing. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from any of the shop staff so they can direct you to what paint may best fit your needs.

However, if you want to feel more independent at the store, here are some recommendations on what kind of paint and primer to use if you are planning to paint plastic sheds, or any outdoor plastic.

Acrylic Latex Paints

The brand of paint should come second to the type of paint that you get. Just as I have said before, any paint can work on your plastic shed. However, the best variety you could get to use for outdoor plastics are acrylic latex paints. 

Acrylic latex paints are rather popular and user-friendly, so there is a good chance that you can easily find it at a hardware store near you. They are popular because they are water-based, therefore easier to clean. And because they are water-based, they also do not need to be mixed with a solvent, therefore helping you spend less on your paint job.

Another thing that makes them ideal for painting plastic sheds or any outdoor plastic or material is their breathability. Your plastic shed will be constantly exposed to the elements. This means that they will be exposed to weather changes–from extreme heat to cold, to rain, to humidity, to dry weather, etc.

This constant environmental change can cause a lot of stress onto your materials. Acrylic latex paints can contract and expand as the weather requires. This helps slow down the negative effects of outdoor exposure like chipping, cracking, or fading, thus helping your paint job to last longer.

Sometimes, you may not be able to find acrylic latex paints at your local shop. If this is the case, make sure that you have exhausted your possible sources. Have you been to other shops? Have you looked online?  If you have done so and are still left with nothing, and you still want to paint your shed right away, you can use any other household paint you can get your hands on. 

Just make sure to pair it with a proper primer. This means using water-based primers for water-based paints and oil-based primers for oil-based paints. Also, make sure to sand your plastic shed surfaces properly. Since you cannot find the best paint you can use, make sure you do not skimp on the preparations needed to help paint last longer. 

If you don’t have a paint roller or paint brushes, spray paints could also be an option. In fact, acrylic latex paints, which are the best for painting outdoor plastics, can also come in a spray paint form.

Just make sure to follow our painting process and do not forget the preparations needed to make our paint adhere better, like sanding and using primer. Fun fact: primer can come in spray form too! 

You may also want to be extra careful with covering up places you do not want to be painted, as spray paint can be a little hard to maneuver, especially for beginners. It has a bit of a learning curve and it may take some time to perfect the proper distance and movements you may want to get an even coat.

You do not want the wrong color to go in the wrong place! When dealing with spray paint, it may help to practice your technique first on a piece of scrap plastic, wood, or metal. You can do this until you get the hang of controlling the spray can and are confident enough to finally use it on your shed.

If you want to use spray paint but cannot find the acrylic latex variety, you can go back to the basic premise that you may use any paint that is available to you, as long as you sand your surface beforehand, and use the proper combination of primer and paint (oil-based primer for oil-based paint and water-based primer for water-based paint).

If you’re thinking of painting your plastic shed then you might want to consider reading our article on are plastic sheds fireproof?

Acrylic Latex Primers

Acrylic latex primers are the best accompaniment to acrylic latex paints. They are formulated similarly, thus helping them work well together so they could last longer. An acrylic latex primer will add to the adherence of a plastic shed, which it initially would severely lack.

With an acrylic latex primer, the acrylic latex paint would have an easier time sticking to the plastic shed, thus also minimizing cracking, peeling, or discoloration. It enhances the benefits of an acrylic latex paint like ease of cleanup, breathability, and ability to adapt to different weather and temperature changes.

Painting home furnishings and surfaces for yourself is a relatively forgiving task, unless you are an absolute perfectionist. You can do anything when you paint. Just keep in mind the effects that a certain product or its absence may have on your finished project. 

If you are not able to find acrylic latex primer–or any kind of primer at all–you can skip on using a primer when painting your plastic shed, but you should also expect that this will mean a shorter lifespan for your paint job. Your paint could crack, peel, and fade earlier, and your shed will need more repainting.

If you have no other choice but to not use primer, make sure to do the other parts of preparing and painting properly. Do not skip the sanding of the plastic, and make sure to put additional coats of paint for a thick, even coat.


Plastic sheds are a convenient and useful addition to your home, and painting them is just as easy as installing them. The world of paint might be a bit daunting, as there are so many brands and varieties, you cannot be sure which would be best for you.

However, the best thing to remedy this is what you are doing right now–research! Painting your plastic shed might need a bit of preparation and elbow grease, but the process is very simple and straightforward. Just keep in mind the basic rules and the principles behind them, and any painting project you have will be a breeze.

So if your shed is in need of a makeover, don’t hesitate to pick up that brush!


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Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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