written by: Cory Q
Vent of choice.
Drill with large bore bit (3/8 or larger).
Expanding foam and/or outdoor caulk.
My guess is that you are asking yourself "Why the hell would I put a vent in a shed?!". If you aren't asking that, you may be saying "Screw this, I don't even have a shed!". If you don't have a shed, then this article won't be of much particular help to you, but it will contain as many juicy pearls of wisdom as I can dole out in one sitting about "home repair".
So, you have decided you have a shed. Now, why would a shed need a vent? Not all of them would. It depends on what you want to store in it. In my case, I am keeping collapsed boxes, the lawn mower, and the weed eater in there. All of these items are ripe for rot if they are too hot and humid all the time. The best way to beat that is a little airflow. You can tell if the shed needs a vent by walking out to it on a pleasant day. If you open the shed and it is miserable hot and moist, then it needs a vent. Oh, and the shed has to be wood. Metal sheds are not meant to be ventilated.
Once you have decided to vent you have to pick the vent. Most of the easy to find vents are activated by forced air (like you would need for a clothes dryer). I have a hard time finding a totally passive vent with a flashing on it (a slanted metal piece to deflect rain). I did eventually find one at Home Depot for $7 but it had an 8-inch duct on it. I had to trim that down before instillation, hence why the tin snips is on the materials list.
I got home with the vent and picked a place for it on the shed. Back facing was the best solution. I didn't want to go through the work of tearing up shingles to put in a top vent. I do it 'close enough' remember. Once you have picked a spot for the vent hold the shaft end to the wall and trace out the circle with a pencil. This will be the line to cut on.
Next, drill a pilot hole for the blade of the jig saw. After that hole is big enough, take the jigsaw and cut as best you can on the pencil line. Don't forget the safety goggles because there will be saw dust and sweat and so forth.
OK. So, you cut out the hole as best you can and realize it is not so much round as an ovoid. Hold the vent up to the hole and figure out where you are too small. Cut those parts out with the jigsaw.
OK. So, you now have a hole that really isn't the right size or shape. Too late to go back now. Walk to the back of the shed and jam that hacked up (because of the tin snips) vent shaft into the misshapen, rudely cut hole.
Once you get that vent wedged in there good, you will notice that there are horrible gaps or that the flashing won't fit flush with the shed. This is where caulk or expandable foam comes in real handy. "Great Stuff" foam can be procured at any hardware store for about $4 a can. Good silicon caulk is about $3 a tube, but you need a caulking gun for maximum effect there.
A note about foam vs. caulk. Caulk cleans up with soap and water usually or it will say on the tube how best to clean up. Expanding foam say right on the can not to let it touch your skin. If it does get on you, it just has to wear off. Yup, it is with you for about 4 days. Trust me. Foam is a mess to clean up, but fun to use. Caulk seals better but takes a lot more goop to fill huge gaps. I had to use both for this project.
After you have caulked the vent to the shed to seal it and pumped foam in to fill the remaining hole there is only one real step left before clean up. The vent I purchased had a large mesh over one end. So large that bees or hornets could get through it. I know those little bastards would just LOVE to infest my shed and use it as their base to enslave my neighborhood to make us work in their underground pollen caves but I said to myself "Not on My watch buddy!". A roll of screen material is $6 at Home Depot (that is a huge piece of screen too, approximately 48" by 60"). I went to Ace Hardware first, since it is closer, and one of the Very Helpful Guys there pulled some old metal screen material out of their trash in back for me. I got a 3' by 18" patch for free.
Cut a piece of the screen material to fit over the shaft of your now installed vent. Use duct tape to secure the screen to the end of the vent shaft. This way, no bees or hornets can get into the shed itself. They can nest in the vent, but you would be able to eradicate them from either side then.
Then end product should be a decent covered vent on the outside and a horribly cut hole filled with various goo with a sharp tin shaft sticking into the interior of the shed covered with old screen material on the end. The key is that the airflow keeps things from getting to hot and moist and rotting away.
Project time "should" be 30 minutes. It took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes counting clean up.
That's about how it goes for me.
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