I'd like to use my wood shop in the winter. It's a detached, 20x14 shed and I installed a 5000watt garage heater already but it takes a while (hours) to heat up and it's probably very wasteful since there is no insulation. I'm looking for the best place to start to help heat it up quicker and keep it warm longer. The walls are 2x4 studs so I could use bats and the ceiling is gabled with storage above. I did noticed that it appears the eves are open vented too so heat is probably just rising right up and out the eaves, is it okay to block these?

I'm in New England so it gets pretty cold, it's about 19F right now. Ideally I'd like to work comfortably when it's 30F>

I'm worried if I add bat insulation I'll have to cover it which adds to the expense not to mention at like $40/section it would cost a lot to do the walls let alone the ceiling.

Update with picture. enter image description here

Could I vault the ceiling so it stays vented but still gives me space up there? Basically insulated with rigid foam and plywood up the rafters?

3 Answers 3


edited after picture added to question

It's tough to get a big shed like that warm when everything's cold. You can heat up the air quickly, but the slab, the walls, the contents all soak up that heat so it takes a while to warm up. That happens even with insulation, although it probably won't be as cold first thing in the morning if it's insulated.

I'd probably go across the collar ties so you have a little less space to heat and a good area above for ventilation. You'll want to cut in a small gable vent at either end. I'd say I'd use foam board on the ceiling, it will be easier to deal with than bats. To use bats you'd have to add collar ties. The foam board will leave some space so air can flow up from the eves over the insulation to the space above the rafter ties and out the gable vents.

It will be a lot cheaper to use bats on the walls. Left uncovered they'll be prone to tears. You could cover with pegboard halfway down and hardboard from the pegboard down to the floor.

Not really a cheap project unfortunately, it adds up to a few bucks any way you slice it. You could buy one of those battery powered jackets ...


The picture helped immensely.

I would insulate with 2" rigid foam and call it a day. Cut it so it is a press fit in place, and if you want to get fancy, fill the gaps with door and window foam, but it will get messy. Covering it with thin plywood will help, but it will drive up the cost and the foam will cost plenty to start with.


If your heater is convection type (with fan) then swap it for radiant heaters. Look at restaurant outdoor patios for ideas. A couple of well-placed radiant heaters will keep your body and face warm. Then add a small fan heater pointed at your feet.

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