If l build a shed as a shop what do l need to do to prevent moisture tools rusting?

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Forum topic by Jim Reeves posted 06-04-2018 06:18 PM 3031 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Reeves

211 posts in 3798 days

06-04-2018 06:18 PM

I am having a very hard time making down steps to shop in basement even worse coming up.
To around city bylaw shed size max 10×10’ no permit.

Was thinking of building 3-4 sheds 4 ft apart on a continuous deck doors opening 2 ft on eachshed would give me a 4’ wall between shedswith a roof over all 4 sheds myfriend did this.

But should l insulate walls roof floors to prevent rust and to put heartier in when cold?
Anyone have any ideas?

-- jim

15 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


13395 posts in 3155 days

#1 posted 06-04-2018 06:38 PM

Get it off the ground will help otherwise you need vapor barrier and insulation in the floor. My shop is elevated and I have no moisture problems even though we have a lot of water.

-- Rick M,

View WhyMe's profile


1281 posts in 2336 days

#2 posted 06-04-2018 06:38 PM

Depends on your climate. I live in central Virginia and the humidity is terrible. I fully insulated my shop and run a dehumidifier and it stays at 50% humidity and I have no issues with rust. With the low humidity I can get by without running my window A/C a fair amount of the time during the summer.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5290 posts in 4735 days

#3 posted 06-04-2018 06:47 PM

Off the ground, plenty of air flow (windows?), insulate, and keep the tooling waxed.

-- [email protected]

View CyberDyneSystems's profile


306 posts in 2964 days

#4 posted 06-04-2018 06:54 PM

Where are you located/climate?

I am assuming since this will be your shop, you will have power.

Perhaps as a cost savings, you could insulate ONE of the structures, and run a dehumidifier to help when needed.
I’d imagine a 10×10 space would be a breeze for a good dehumidifier. (or perhaps even full air conditioning)
This would be the shed where all the tools are stored, with enough space for small projects.

Plumb the dehumidifier so that it drains outside, no need to mess with having to empty it.

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View BroncoBrian's profile


894 posts in 2734 days

#5 posted 06-04-2018 06:59 PM

I suggest building it in Colorado. Let me know if you need my address, I will clear a few trees to make room for our new shop.

I used to install high-end automation systems that required racks of electronic equipment in Houston. We would require the contractor install a dehumidification system regardless of A/C. Humidity exists on cold days too! It is pretty cheap and can be plumbed to the exterior easily so you don’t have a mess. I do not think you need to raise the shop if that was not your intention. 400 windows and natural ventilation won’t keep enough air moving to prevent rusting. A dry space will be more comfortable at all temperatures.

Reason #243 that Colorado is better than Texas.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View JCamp's profile (online now)


1182 posts in 1326 days

#6 posted 06-04-2018 06:59 PM

Kind of depends on how ur gonna build it. If u go with concrete u have to have plastic under the concrete. I did a gravel floor for a while and highly recommend not doing that. Wood floor is fine as long as it’s braced well since you’ll have a lot of weight one it.
You’ll also need air flow. Make sure there’s a vented roof and windows that u can open and ceiling fans
Instead of building multiple buildings,that just seems cluttered to me, I’d suggest 1 building with at least 2 sides that hav large concrete pads. I personally like working outside in the daylight. This would allow u ample room to work as well as a good amount of storage in the 10×10 building. If your codes allow you could always have a car port put up next to the building and that’ll allow more room for you to work outside and in the shade. My parents had a metal car port put up for about $1300 for a 18×21 car port (roughy 4x the size of the building you are wanting to build). Also with a car port you can always use it for the kids to play under or to have parties and such

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1423 days

#7 posted 06-04-2018 07:04 PM

...use them a lot and keep them oiled. I’ve been in a shed for over twenty years. No rust to date.

View lew's profile


13120 posts in 4530 days

#8 posted 06-04-2018 07:32 PM

Gets pretty cold in your neck of the woods in the winter. I think heat will be a necessity and so would insulation. Maybe you could use those roll down awnings for walls between the sheds, in the winter.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View RobHannon's profile


337 posts in 1306 days

#9 posted 06-04-2018 07:46 PM

Paste wax everything that can rust.

View ClaudeF's profile


1145 posts in 2482 days

#10 posted 06-05-2018 02:21 AM

Good advice above. In addition, for hand tools that are in a toolbox (wrenches, planes, etc), put several silica gel packs in the boxes with the tools. My carving tools as well as my tool box of wrenches are kept in my un-air-condidtioned garage in Louisiana, with heat and high humidity. My carving tool box has the silica gel packs and so does my wrench toolbox. No rust! If you are familiar with them, silica gel packets are those little packets that are in packages that come in the mail. After a year or so, you can put the packets in the microwave for a minute or so to heat them up and drive out the absorbed moisture, then put them back with the tools.



View HerbC's profile


1804 posts in 3634 days

#11 posted 06-05-2018 07:39 PM

Better double check your building codes…

I’m pretty sure if the individual “sheds” share a common roof and / or floor that the total structure will be counted as one building for code purposes and you may find yourself in hot water regarding permitting and all the other rules… And don’t rely on fact you know somebody who has done it w/o permits and “got away” with it…

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View mel52's profile


1448 posts in 1040 days

#12 posted 06-06-2018 03:07 AM

Praying might help !!!!!!!!!!

-- MEL, Kansas

View tomsteve's profile


1038 posts in 1994 days

#13 posted 06-06-2018 05:38 PM

i installed a ceiling fan in a shop i had a problem with surface rust in. kept it running and no more surface rust problem.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3177 posts in 2269 days

#14 posted 06-08-2018 10:45 PM

In any enclosed space with a roof, moisture from ‘humidity’ alone takes a long time to create rust.
+1 Keeping tools waxed/greased/oiled before storage, and using them often will prevent most tool rusting issues.

IMHO – Single largest source of surface rust on tools is condensation. So best to design shop space to avoid condensation events!

Condensation event? When temperature drops below dew point of ambient air in shop and condensation forms on top of tools that are still warmer than than new cooler air temp.

Since temperature drops every night, and with every passing low pressure weather cell; those with high humidity levels can find condensation prevention to be a challenge!

Options: (many others have already posted these ideas)

Best option and most expensive is have a well sealed work space. This means; raised floors (or epoxy sealed concrete), vapor barrier walls/floors/cealings, and controlled HVAC system to allow full control of indoor space temp/humidity. (just like your home)

Adding De-humidification is as option. De-humidification takes time, and works best when building limits air exchange between indoors and external weather. If you often work with shop doors open, then De-humidification can be a losing battle and waste of electricity.

Temperature control is generally a good option. Heat shop to allows be above dew point of current humidity level and you will never see condensation events. Sometimes simply adding local heat source (light bulb inside tool) to keep a tool warmer than surroundings will prevent condensation on tool.

Good air circulation can help prevent moisture forming on flat surfaces during temp changes, as it helps to keep everything in shop near same temperature. As long as temperature fluctuations inside shop are slow, this helps to prevent condensation events, and keep top surfaces of tools dry when there is condensation.

For some shop environments condensation control can be really hard; especially those not insulated, or not well sealed, in a high humidity location.
For those spaces, condensation event rusting can be prevented by covering the tool flat surfaces (along with regular wax application to slow rust formation). Covers can be many things; cardboard, blankets/towels, magnetic sheets (sold for table saws), or even 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick plywood. Idea is have condensation form on tool cover and not on tool iron surface when temperature changes. :)

Nice part about tool covers is it almost doesn’t matter how you build you shop space as long as you prevent direct water contact. Covers prevent condensed water sitting for extended periods on tool surfaces which creates ugly rust and pitting. The only caution I suggest is that if you use a cover that can absorb water, that if be checked regularly to ensure it is not wet and holding moisture on surface, or you have good circulation to help keep it dry.

Best Luck!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3779 days

#15 posted 06-09-2018 03:05 AM

All of the above. I am also in Central Virginia. I was out of my shop for over a year due to an illness and I have lots of rust.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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