6 Tips to Prevent Metal Sheds from Moisture and Condensation

Condensation

Condensation is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the air surrounding an object cools to its dew point, causing water airborne water vapor to condense into water droplets on its surface. We’ve seen this on the side of every can of cold soda or water bottle you’ve ever drunk. You’ve seen it on the inside of the windows of your home on a cold winter day. It’s everywhere, including your shed. That is unless it’s adequately insulated.

Metal buildings are designed to protect our valuables. They’re great for storing cars, equipment, and sometimes even your mother-in-law when she visits. Whatever use you have for your metal building, you expect your valuables to be protected from the elements. Steel buildings are designed to be moisture and mold-resistant, but there’s a caveat to that: condensation.

When the outside air has cooled at night, but your shed’s interior remains warm from sunlight, condensation can form. Condensation is a pesky occurrence that can cause a lot of frustration and damage to your important items over time. It can allow mold and mildew to form on clothes and fabrics and cause cars, tools, and equipment to rust. No one wants that. But how do you stop moisture from building up and damaging your things? We’ve got some ideas, so just sit tight!

Problems Caused by Condensation

Condensation is a purveyor of destruction. Those little raindrops clinging to the inside of your metal building’s roof may not seem like much of a problem now, but they can certainly become one! Given enough time, they can wreak havoc on your most valuable possessions. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common forms of damage resulting from condensation.

  • Mold and Mildew

If condensation finds its way into your shed, soft materials like fabric can develop mold and mildew. Not only will this damage your valuables, but it can stand the potential to cause illnesses from airborne particles.

  • Rust

Good ole’ iron oxide. Rust can cause thousands of dollars in damage to exposed metal, including vehicles and essential equipment. If you’ve ever seen a junkyard, you’re aware of how pervasive rust can be on automobiles.

  • Decay

Steel is moisture resistant. Wood is not. If your storage buildings and houses any form of wood, like lumber, furniture, or woodworking materials, they are at risk of damage from condensation. Moisture can warp and rot unprotected wood, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Solutions to Condensation in Metal Sheds

Let’s stop moisture in its tracks! Now that we know what causes condensation and the horrifying things it can do to your valuables, it’s time to come up with a solution. We’ve compiled a few different approaches to ensuring moisture doesn’t find its way into your metal barn or garage.

1. Have the High Ground

Building your shed or garage on the ground that rests above the surrounding land will ensure that ground-based moisture won’t get into your shed.  Condensation will develop from any surrounding moisture, even dampness on the ground. You’ll see this in action in areas with running water like creeks, ponds, and rivers.  

2. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Your shed will need ample ventilation to prevent moisture buildup, but too much can actually draw it in. Investing in active fans or even passive ventilation systems for your metal building’s roof can significantly reduce condensation in your metal building. Not only will it prevent moisture buildup, but it can also alleviate high temperatures often found in unventilated sheds. High temperatures can damage your stuff just as quickly as moisture can. 

3. Insulate! Insulate! Insulate!

Insulation is hands down your most effective means of preventing moisture in your steel structure. Applying either closed or open-cell insulation can do wonders to block the buildup of condensation by providing a thick barrier between the cool exterior air and the warmer interior temperatures. 

4. Use a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are a fantastic method of reducing condensation. They typically work by drawing moisture from the air via a refrigerated coil and expelling excess water through a hose. Dehumidifiers are a great tool, but they’ll need to work in conjunction with other anti-condensation techniques like insulation or waterproofing for the best results. 

5. Anti-Condensation Paint

It’s really a thing! In fact, it’s a popular option for reducing mild condensation issues found in many basements. It won’t do much against heavy condensations that are substantial enough to drip. 

6. Install Moisture Barriers

The best defense is a proactive one. When first installing your shed, taking the time to install vapor barriers along your foundation, walls and roofing can do wonders for keeping moisture issues at bay.

Conclusion

Water is a ubiquitous element. It’s everywhere, and stopping it can sometimes be overwhelming. But have no fear! The most effective method of keeping moisture out of your storage shed is by planning and accounting for it during installation. Using vapor barriers and installing insulation during the construction phase will keep moisture from ever showing up in the first place. But, if you haven’t proactively armed your metal building against the effects of condensation, taking some of the steps written above will help tremendously. 

Metal buildings are built to withstand some of the most violent weather on the planet. They’re often rated to withstand heavy wind, storms, rain, and even seismic activity. They’re water-resistant and rust-proof. But what about the things inside your building? Condensation can be a tricky issue for many owners. However, with a bit of research and preparation, you can protect your shed, and by extension, your vehicles, equipment, and valuables from damage.

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