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Question DetailsAsked on 2/18/2018

Do I need roof vents in a desert area storage shed?

I am building a 9'x12' storage shed at my winter home in the southern California desert. The summer temps will routinely go well over 100 degrees however the humidity is low. The shed is to be used for the storage of typical household items and an electric golf cart (naugahyde seats, fiberglass body, wet cell batteries). During the summer months the house will be unoccupied and the shed will be unopened for several months.
Is it advisable to install a roof vent? If so, how many and which

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Voted Best Answer

You're probably ok with none but I'd throw 2 gable end vents on either end to be safe (just cut a hole in the wall and installation is screws) this will vent the roof/shed with the added benefit of not potentially violating your roof (would be a big issue since you arent there for months on end and are storing valuable stuff)

If you're set on roof vents you can buy vented ridge and that works well and is easy to apply. Just make sure there is room for the air to escape at the ridge between the plywood or boards (an inch or 2 is ample) and you're good to go.

If were me I'd get gable venting with a solar powered fan and it will stay really nice in there.

Source: I am a roofer. I'd check with someone local though for better information (we dont have deserts here so I may be ignoring something obvious :P)

Answered 2 years ago by BravoKilo224


I agree with BK224 - without venting it may reach near 150 degrees in there on a sunny day.

Ridge vents - work very well provided you have eave vents too, but unless snow country tend to let a lot of dust in with desert conditions - duct accumulates on the roof and then blows into the vents. One thing I have done, but you have to check it yearly and empty when it strats getting heavy (typically many years between emptying unless blowing sand/sandstorm area), is using an open-weave (so air passes through readily) non-woven geotextile to make a "dust diaper" down the length of the shed, hung from the rafters at each side of and under the slot in the sheathing under the ridge vent. (You cut a 1-2 inch wide slot in the sheathing at the ridge, to go under the ridge vent, to let airflow through). I double the edge over and put in grommets, then hang from 16d nails driven into the rafters on each side, leaving it hanging in a U or trough shape under the slot to catch most of the dust. Note rdige vent are pretty useless unless there is air inlet to move in under the roof and cool it and remove the hot air under the roof - in a shed can be from insect screened eaves, or sometimes from screened vents lower down on the walls.

You can do similar thing with end (gable) vents, which should be large sized (like 2x3 feet or larger) - you can hang the open-weave geotextile inside the louvered vent, bringing the bottom down onto a ledger board or to a shelf which catches the dust that accumulates. Otherwise you may find 1/8" or more of dust in there. I would expect gable vents to maybe be more dust-resistant, but if wind swirls dust up against a gable end could pump in a lot of sand and dust.

Note - battery - will likely be pretty dead after months sitting out in the shed - both from lack of use and from the high heat. During the non-use period I would store that in a cool basement spot. Technically it should be on a trickle charge during that time, but I don't like them from a fire hazard standpoint. Harbor Freight and other places have solar cell trickle chargers which should be safer from a fire standpoint (no charging cathing fire concerns) - about $25-50 for a 5W trickle charger (be sure to get right voltage for your cart).

Be sure to leave venting if tarped so the minor hydrogen gas from the battery charging cannot build up to explosive levels under the tarp, and always best to have the battery out of the vehicle during long term storage like this in case it goes bad and bursts. (Beware of freezing too if any chance of freezing nights there when it is stored in the shed - charged battery is good to about -30 but a discharged/very low charged one can freeze up and burst open in temps as high as about 15-20 degrees.

I would advise canopy tarping what you have stored in there - tarp draped over the items but not in contact, to catch the dust - do not have in contact with items or fully confining the air around the items because at those temps you will get plastic sticking to things, possible condensation mold from cold nights, etc. Use it like a dining fly to catch dust settling out of the air and shed it to the sides.

One other thought - for that environment, a heat-reflective roof (taking into consideration any condo association or homeowner's association or such regulations) might be a very good idea - there are some shingles out there which come in conventional earthtone colors and still are much more reflective than normal shingles, without looking like a house trailer roof.

Don't forget sealing doors and construction gaps with metal flashing/screening against potential rodnet/snake/scorpion and such critter entry.

And adequate standup off the ground (typically 1 foot or so) on concrete and treated timber for the bottom deck framing if any chance of termites or carpenter ants.

And if in Santa Ana winds country as is likely, don't forget high wind earth-anchor tiedowns or in-ground foundation supports (like bolted U-brackets in concrete blocks or piers) which should also handle all but catastrophic quakes.

And of course, since going to be vacant for 3 months, consider higher than normal security construction, and don't forget normally you have to pay more for homeowner insurance if vacant for more than about a month for typical policy - fail to do that and you may find any losses while gone will not be covered.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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