Does a Shed Really Need Ventilation?


Sheds aren’t exactly the most airtight of structures, which probably leads you to think that ventilation isn’t all that necessary. But is this true? How would your shed benefit from installing vents?

All sheds require adequate ventilation to ensure proper airflow. This allows toxic fumes from paints, solvents, and gasoline to escape; stops moisture from building up in winter, which helps to prevent mold and mildew from forming; distributes the heat more evenly in the summer, and increases the lifespan of your shed.

Depending on what your shed is made from, you’ll need the right vent to match. This article will guide you through the options available to you so that you can make the right choice.

Shed Ventilation Ideas

Ventilation is often something we should apply more often to sheds as it’s where we like to store paints, fuels, and other toxins. There are many reasons why you should vent a shed other than because of the products you keep in it.

Signs that your shed needs a vent:

  • The smell of stale air
  • Mold appears on the walls or the protection sheets you store there for painting
  • Itchy eyes, nose, skin, and throat when you go into your shed
  • Being able to see the condensation from your breath when you go in

Apart from the difference in appearances of a metal and a wooden shed, there are also different ventilation solutions for each. A wooden shed may already have gaps, but you want vents near the floor to prevent rot. Metal sheds may have a bigger problem with rust from condensation.

For a Wooden Shed

Cheap wooden sheds will have a lot of air gaps, so you may not need to worry too much. But tight-fitting doors, roofing, and insulation panels will trap gases Inside. And this is dangerous if you spend any amount of time in there with the door shut.

How to install a vent in a wooden shed:

  1. Choose a vent proportional to the size of your shed. A 10 × 10 square-foot shed will have a 5 × 10-inch vent. In other words, calculate the vent size by halving the square foot floor plan and then apply the result to square inches.
  2. Think about whether you want to cut a hole in the roof for a turtle vent and damage the waterproofing or go as high as you can in the wall for a garble vent.
  3. You want two vents at opposite ends of the shed to encourage airflow. Mark up the hole to the size of the vent, and make sure there are no obstructions on either side.
  4. Drill a small pilot hole and go out to see if the exit is in a good place.
  5. Cut the holes to fit the vents.
  6. Use a glue sealant along with any screws needed to secure and waterproof the vent into place.

Passive vents work on wooden sheds, but it is also worth considering fan-assisted ventilation. Fans ensure that fresh air flows in and that the fumes are not getting blown back and forth inside the shed.

Whichever form of vent you use, you want to make sure that nothing living can make its way through. Gable vents should come with fine grills or screens to block out the bugs.

For a Metal Shed

Metal sheds tend to have better waterproofing, which means you can resort to more exotic methods of ventilation. Ridge, turbine, or skylight vents are efficient ways of venting a steel or aluminum shed.

  • Turbine Vents – If the shed roof is metal, you may want to consider an active turbine ventOpens in a new tab.. The turbine freely rotates as the wind blows across its blades, drawing air up and out of the shed.
  • Skylights – A skylight ventOpens in a new tab. may also be a choice if you have the budget for it. With a skylight, you have the choice of opening it all the way when you are in it, then locking it off when you close up for the day. You might also want to check out a skylight with solar panelsOpens in a new tab..
  • Ridge Vents – Ridge vents sit at the apex of the roof for maximum condensation release. Though these are effective at keeping the rain out, it is a type of vent that is better to install during the construction phase of the shed.

Shed Vent Kits

Other types of vents are available that are easy to install as an afterthought without damaging the integrity of the shed.

Shed vent kits can include the following:

  • Turtle Vents – Turtle vents or louvers are common on RVs and keep the profile of the roof low while still drawing air up and out through the roof. Turtle ventsOpens in a new tab. prevent moisture build-up at the peaks of roofs and come in a range of colors to better match your tiles.
  • Cupola Vents – These are extravagant solutions in the form of a chimney. Rather than open exhaust holes for smoke, cupola ventsOpens in a new tab. cover the exterior to prevent birds and wasps from making a home in the peak.
  • Window – Another option is to open up a large hole in one of the walls of the shed. This will let in much-needed natural light. And when you need ventilation, you can open the window.
  • Solar Gable Ventilation FanOpens in a new tab. – Rather than worrying about having wind or convection vent your shed, consider a solar-powered ventilation fan. This will work regardless of you having power in your shed, and it will turn on while the Sun is shining.

To get a good flow of air, you should install an air return grill on the floor or towards the base of the wall. This will draw in the fresh air and ensure a good circulation around the items sitting on your floor, stopping them from going rusty or moldy.

Do Insulated Sheds Need Vents?

If you have an insulated shed, you may want to have better control over the amount of heat you are venting. A small gable vent will not lose too much heat if it is low to the floor, but you will still notice a draft by your feet.

  • Power Ventilation – For an insulated shed with mains power, a wall-mounted powered ventilation fan will give you the best control. The fan will regulate the temperature and prevent the build-up of fumes. You can turn on the fan at will or wire it into a timer.
  • Speed Vent – Simple gable fans will leave a gaping hole when you turn them off, but you can also buy them with speed vents. The outer speed vent fins will collapse and seal the fan when it is off and prevent pollinating insects from nesting in the workings.
  • Automatic Skylight – For high-end sheds that are larger and more complex than your average design, install an automatic roof vent opener. These systems work on heat-activated hydraulics. The heat gathering toward the apex of the roof heats and pressurizes the pistons, pushing a skylight open, and letting in air.
  • Temperature Controller – An electric alternative is an extractor fan with built-in humidity and temperature controllerOpens in a new tab.. The controller will allow you to set the limits of an acceptable climate and activate the fan.

Graham Walsh

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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