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Hi all,

I'm in the planning process for a shop/building to store my toys. Probably 40x40. I'm in central Texas. I plan to build a metal building with a concrete floor. It will be insulated, but not air conditioned. I'll design is so I can open the shop doors in the summer and hopefully get enough air flow that it is bearable. I might put a small room on the side and put a window A/C in there, or something. But the main storage part will not be air conditioned. I will have a non-permanent heating solution, such as electric or propane space heater(s) for when I'm in there doing things in the winter. I have a lot of questions, but firstly I wanted to poll the group about your experiences with air circulation (and rust...and mold). Is this something I need to be concerned about? I currently park my tractor in my attached garage and don't give this any thought, but I see it get talked about in some threads on metal buildings. Any permanent vents (such as roof ridge vents) seem to defeat the point of insulation in the building, but I could do this. I've even seen people talk about condensation problems in their lean-to, and someone said you can add vents, but I wasn't clear what that means since the lean-to is open air to being with. Anyhow, appreciate any lessons learned, or comments on your experience dealing with this in your buildings. Thanks
 

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Our shop is steel siding and roof, spray foam insulation, and LP gas heater. I run a dehumidifier year round and just installed a ceiling fan. It's not the coolest in there in mid July/August, but it is cooler than outside. I have the dehumidifier set at 50RH and am happy with this set up.
 

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Hi all,

I'm in the planning process for a shop/building to store my toys. Probably 40x40. I'm in central Texas. I plan to build a metal building with a concrete floor. It will be insulated, but not air conditioned. I'll design is so I can open the shop doors in the summer and hopefully get enough air flow that it is bearable. I might put a small room on the side and put a window A/C in there, or something. But the main storage part will not be air conditioned. I will have a non-permanent heating solution, such as electric or propane space heater(s) for when I'm in there doing things in the winter. I have a lot of questions, but firstly I wanted to poll the group about your experiences with air circulation (and rust...and mold). Is this something I need to be concerned about? I currently park my tractor in my attached garage and don't give this any thought, but I see it get talked about in some threads on metal buildings. Any permanent vents (such as roof ridge vents) seem to defeat the point of insulation in the building, but I could do this. I've even seen people talk about condensation problems in their lean-to, and someone said you can add vents, but I wasn't clear what that means since the lean-to is open air to being with. Anyhow, appreciate any lessons learned, or comments on your experience dealing with this in your buildings. Thanks
My metal pole barn has an insulated ceiling (but not walls) with one ceiling fan in the middle of it. I'm going to have to put in some vents due to the white mildew/mold that forms during the warmer months. I haven't looked into a solution, yet, but I'm leaning towards one on each end of the barn. I'd like to find some that I can open and close from the ground so I can open them in the summer and close them in the winter; maybe with a fan built into it. Anyway, I would recommend some sort of ventilation!

Edit: My barn was here before me and has no ridge vents (or any vents).
Edit 2: I run that ceiling fan year-round, but still have the issue in the summer.
 

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If the earth temperature is typically cooler in TX, as it is here in MN (about 45F year around), you may want to consider pouring your slab on top of 2" foam sheets. This will provide a thermal break and your slab will not be cool to humid air, condensing moisture. Pouring over a 4mil plastic sheating also creates a moisture barrier so the slab does not draw up ground moisture. Pouring over either tends to really slow down setup time and, as such, is not popular with some concrete finishers.

Unless you have something going on in your building that will be creating humidity, I can't see where any type of ventilation system will do anything for you. To the contrary, if the outdoor air is humid, you'll just be pulling humid air into the building. If you don't have any thermal break between your slab and the ground, then that humid air will be continually condensing on the slab as the air is being changed by the ventilation.

An insulated building will go along way to prolonging the life of your equipment, even if you don't heat or A/C the structure. We bought a foreclosure a few years ago for a second home, as my bride took a job 150 miles from our primary home. It had a two car attached garage that was uninsulated. It would stay, at best, maybe 10 or 15 degrees warmer than the outside air in the winter. The only real benefit it had in the winter was not having to scrape frost off the glass in the morning or brush snow off. In the summer, that garage was a sauna and in the dog days of summer was probably 20 degrees or more hotter than the outdoor temp, from the heat being generated by the roof. Those temperature extremes are really hard on equipment. For example, high temperatures cause plastics to age more rapidly and become brittle. We insulated the garage, sheetrocked, taped and painted it. We also added an overhead heater that we only utilized when working in the garage. The garage was typically a minimum of 30 degree warmer than the outside air in the winter, without operating the heater, and near the same temp or cooler than the outdoor air in the summer. The insulation alone made a huge difference. At a minimum, I suggest you research the cost to insulate the ceiling/roof.
 

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If your building is a traditional metal roofed/sided and not going to be insulated I would make sure it had house wrap under the roof and walls.
 

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Obviously it is warmer there than in IL but mine is similar size and fully insulated. I have a home HVAC system. We had a party on a 100 degree day and had perhaps 40-60 people in there. Nobody would leave and some wanted the temp turned up. Well insulated steel buildings are very efficient and I think a decent size window air conditioner would make a very noticeable difference for you in the whole building. I like what I have and the only real issue I have had is I get it cool and then if I open a shop door it doesn’t warm up so much but the humidity goes up so I have to turn it down some. A smaller unit might be better at keeping a warmer temperature without the humidity. Your mileage may vary.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If your building is a traditional metal roofed/sided and not going to be insulated I would make sure it had house wrap under the roof and walls.
It will be insulated. The main question is without A/C, but insulated, does this lead to mold issues like a crawlspace might have. (For example, if I put a fabric covered thing under my house in my crawlspace, it will be full of mold). I've seen people talking about having these issues in metal buildings and I want to insure I don't have that. Certainly an A/C would remove humidity, which I might just do especially since if well insulated it sounds like it might not be that costly to cool down the shop. thanks!
 

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I've seen people talking about having these issues in metal buildings and I want to insure I don't have that.
Again it is a different environment here but I have never heard of mold issues and I know a lot of people with insulated sheds that do not cool them, only heat in the winter. Up here almost no one puts in ac or dehumidifiers. For what it is worth there is no comparison between my basement and my shed, the basement is much damper. Of course it is cool dirt on the other side of the wall.
 
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Where I live in Western Illinois mold is not a problem but moisture can be. Even with a moisture barrier and gravel under the slab the floor will get wet sometimes. Usually about this time of year on a sudden warm humid day.

I run a dehumidifier starting about this time of year and shut it off when it gets colder in early October. I do this because I noticed tools getting rusty. I also have a portably air conditioner that vents through a window. All this keeps the moisture under control. My shop is smaller 28x30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Where I live in Western Illinois mold is not a problem but moisture can be. Even with a moisture barrier and gravel under the slab the floor will get wet sometimes. Usually about this time of year on a sudden warm humid day.

I run a dehumidifier starting about this time of year and shut it off when it gets colder in early October. I do this because I noticed tools getting rusty. I also have a portably air conditioner that vents through a window. All this keeps the moisture under control. My shop is smaller 28x30.
Thanks.. This is one of my worries. dont' want all my stuff rusting!!
 

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I agree, surface rust on bare metal is an issue here just have not seen mold. The insulation and vapor barrier keeps some moisture out because before I had an insulated building right about this time of year there be days where the floor was wet.
 

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Generallly best/least expensive way to keep humidity down is to use a fan or fans on timer. Our most humid area is the pool equipment area underneath the "breakfast room" of the house. I've actually 2 fans in there to keep things dried out some. Works. Otherwise, anything metal will rust like mad. These fans come on about 4 times/day for about 15 to 30 minutes.

Have 1 big industrial fan in the basement of the carriage house where the walkbehinds and some tractor implements are stored. It is timed to come on once/day for about 30 minutes.

Have a fan going all the time in the house utility room where the main air handler is located. It is just off a crawl space. In that crawl space, we had to put an industrial (around $1200) dehumidifier to keep its humidity controlled in that encapsulated space. It does a good job. Before, a normal humidifier didn't work, then tried 2 or 3 fans. Didn't work. Were getting mold smells. The industrial dehumidifier has things under control.
 
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