I live in the UK, with damp cold winters and modestly hot summers. I have a 2.4Mx2.4M (8ftx8ft) shed that I use as a woodworking workshop. I'd like to make it warmer in winter and cooler in summer. I think there are some challenges in achieving this while avoiding condensation in the winter, unless I put permanent heating in there like I have in my home. Is this correct?

For cooling in summer I was thinking of fitting an extractor fan on one of the gable ends and a filtered intake on the opposite gable, to allow fresh air to flow in and hot air to flow out. Will this totally ruin my ability to keep the shed warm and dry in winter? I guess I could fit a shutter onto each and seal them up when it's colder.

For heating in the winter I was thinking of fitting a moisture barrier on the inside and then a layer of mineral wool insulation, maybe with a sheet of plywood over the top. I'm no expert though, and I worry this might just result in the mositure being trapped between the barrier and the wood and subsequent damp/rot will come creeping in.

In summary I don't really know what I'm doing and would appreciate any advice.

2 Answers 2


I have a similar shed ( 12 X 8 US ft.), I have mineral wool insulation with OSB ( cheap imitation plywood ) over it. It also has an 8 X 4 ft glass skylight. I have aquariums in it and put plants in it in very cold weather. I am impressed by how comfortable the temperatures are. It has about 600 watts of aquarium heaters and lights ( they cycle off/on). I use a 8 in. diameter fan in the one window when hot. Moisture has not been a problem; no moisture barrier. I have aluminum ( aluminium ) along bottom edge of the skylight and condensation does drip from it. Our lowest temperature is 15 F , typically 32 F, 0 C , at night in winter.

  • Interesting, so I guess the heating from the tanks helps keep it warm in the winter. Maybe I'm overestimating how much heat is needed to keep the shed warm enough in winter once it's insulated.
    – Foritus
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 8:05

A few lights with old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs - if you can get them - may be all you need for heat, after you've insulated the shed. I use incandescent bulbs in some of the lamps in my house in the winter and then swap them out for LEDs in the summer. I really notice the difference in the heat output. We have central heat and ac in the humid south, but we avoid using them because of the sound they make; and we like fresh air.

Consider placing air intake vents near to the floor for cooling ventilation. If you want to get crazy, you could run a pipe underground to cool air before you pull it through your shed.

  • Yes, I add a 150 w incandescent to my shed on the coldest nights. Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 20:19

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