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What You Need to Know Before Painting Your She Shed Black

graphic design business from a black barn

Do you love the modern look of Mark & Loni’s Star Cabin from Adore Magazine, but are not sure how the black paint will hold up over time on your wooden shed? This is a conversation we have been having with many of our customers lately, so we thought we would share a little further information, to help you with choosing the right paint for your climate in order to look after your She Shed, maximising the lifespan of your cabin.

It is generally accepted that it’s not ideal to paint timber weatherboards or wall logs with darker colours and the primary indicator for measuring that is called the Light Reflective Value of the paint that will be used.

What is Light Reflectance Value?

The Light Reflectance Value (or LRV), of a colour is an indication (0% to 100%) of the amount of visible light that any given colour will reflect. All paints have an LRV, and if you can’t find it on the tin of paint, make sure to ask your paint retailer for more info. The higher the paint is on the LRV index, (the closer to 100), the more light it will reflect, while the lower the LRV, (closer to 0%) the more likely it will be to cause a timber to crack or warp. So, the paint colour you choose can help minimise the risk of sun damage and prolong the life of your SheShed cabin!

A semi-gloss exterior paint with an LRV of 50-100, is ideal for an external surface like the walls of the shed or the outside of a door. This is because most of the light is bounced off the surface, and not absorbed by it. The colour black has a LRV of approximately 0-5% and will absorb almost all the sunlight; Weatherboards or wall logs in this colour will therefore absorb a large amount of heat, which can manifest itself into problems like warping, cupping, splitting and resin bleed.

In contrast, white paint has a LRV of up to 99% and reflects heat, keeping the surface cooler. Any given colour choice will fit between these extremes and will be given an LRV value. Traditional suppliers of timber weatherboard and wall logs, restrict paint colours to an LRV of 40-45% or greater. This means that mid and darker colours cannot be used under warranty on standard timber weatherboards and wall logs.

So, before you pick up that brush, check with your paint supplier for the LRV of your colour choice as you may not be covered by warranty if the LRV value is too low.

What other considerations are there?

It is important to recognise that in warm climates on a hot day, you may have your air conditioning set at 23 degrees, whilst the outside is 39 degrees. This results in your cabin suffering from temperature variance issues. The front of your cabin or door will be hot and there will be a drawing out of moisture from both the timber and paint, whilst the interior of the cabin or door remains cool and unaffected.

Painting a door black will accelerate this issue, resulting in the door constantly swelling then shrinking with the temperature changes until it cannot take anymore, resulting in cracks and warps. A black paint has a LRV of approximately 0-5%, whilst white has an LRV of around 95, so by making a wise choice with your colours you can A.) prevent your warranty from becoming void, and B.) significantly extend the life of your cabin.

Paint, Colours & Your Sheshed Warranty

Our Sheshed warranty only covers cabins that have been completely painted, with a minimum 3 coat system (Minimum 1 coat primer/ 2 top coats) on any timber surfaces including, but not limited to, Doors, Windows, Walls, and Facade components. The LRV value of the external paint, varnish or stain must be 40% or higher for the Sheshed warranty to apply*.

Varnishes & stains that don’t repel moisture or UV and don’t have an LRV value of greater than 40% are not suitable for use on Sheshed products.

If you are ever in doubt, is a great idea to chat to your paint specialist about the LRV index and what is best suited to your climate and shed location. When looking for paints for your exteriors, firstly make sure it is a good quality exterior paint and secondly check the LRV index.

*Whilst Sheshed/ Fort Group may advertise Sheshed cabins that have been painted with colours that have a lower LRV value than 40% we take no responsibility for defects than can manifest themselves into problems like warping, cupping, splitting, resin bleed and excessive shrinking/ timber movement, loosening of timber knots etc.

Do you have any questions?

We would love to help answer those for you!


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