When most people think of “winterizing” something they probably think of preparing their lawnmower or vehicle for the winter months. Some people may even think of adding some extra layers of protection to keep the wind out of old, leaky windows on their home. But, if you’re a garden shed owner, you might want to include your shed in your definition of “winterizing.”
Here in the “Northland” winters come hard and heavy. The chilling cold, piles of snow, and whipping winds can age a common garden shed really fast. Thankfully, our sheds aren’t common! We build our sheds with the winters in mind so they should be able to handle the winter weather just fine.
But, there are still some things that you should do each year in the fall before winter rolls in to help ensure a long life for your shed and for your treasures inside of it.
11 Tips On How To Winterize Your Shed
How to Winterize Your Shed On the Interior
1. Clean Up the Shed
Find a free weekend in the Fall and do a deep cleaning of your shed. It’s amazing how much dirt, dust, and other debris can pile up inside a shed. This is a good time to move most of your items out of the shed and give the floor a good sweeping. If there have been oil spills or leaks from the pesticide containers, be sure to clean those up the best you can.
While you sweep, make sure to clean-up all the dirt and debris in the corners and on ledges. If you left the doors open in the spring or summer days, it’s possible that some leaves or other materials could have piled up in the corners. Cleaning all this up will help make sure your shed doesn’t have anything decomposing and causing mold inside it. A clean shed will also just make you feel better about life. 😉
2. Check for Any Structural Damage Or Weakness
Take a look around the interior, making sure that the roof trusses and framing looks good and isn’t compromised anywhere. With the likelihood of heavy snow loads and strong winter winds, you want to be sure your shed is up for the wintery challenge.
If you own a Northland Shed, you shouldn’t have to worry about structural weakness. Our sheds are built with high snow-load ratings and premium structural framing so that they can easily withstand the winter stress. It’s still a good idea though to look around and make sure there are no obvious issues with your shed’s structure.
3. Check for Cracks, Moisture, or Joints that Need Sealed
After the shed is cleaned up and the floor swept out, spend some time looking for any signs of moisture from the outside and checking for cracks in the seals around windows and doors. Also keep an eye out for any rodent activity or damage. The last thing you want is to have your shed be a home for squirrels or a rat family. While you inspect the interior make sure there isn’t any chewed up wood, insulation, etc… from rodents. You’ll want to pay close attention to the following areas as you inspect the interior of your shed.
- Windows seals
- Floor and Wall corners and joints
- Interior door seals
- Roof trusses and sheeting
If you see any signs of moisture coming in or cracks where light comes in, be sure to seal up that area inside and you’ll also want to see if there is any exterior repair that needs to be done to that area (see below).
4. Inspect for Mold or Mildew
As you inspect the shed, keep an eye out for any mold or mildew inside. This is especially important if you’ve had a very humid and wet year and if you’ve seen other signs of moisture inside your shed.
If you do find mold or mildew, be sure to treat it with a mold remover spray like this one on Amazon.
5. Protect Against Pests and Rodents
Before putting your items back in the shed, it’s a good idea to do some pest and rodent control to make sure you won’t have issues with mice, rats, roaches, or termites trying to escape the cold and find a comfortable home in your shed.
Here are a few pest control items that you can use in your shed to make sure the pesky pests won’t feel welcome.
6. Organize your interior, prioritizing access to items you might need throughout the winter.
As you place items back inside your shed, be sure to think through what items you might want to access during the winter. Place these items within easy reach and label boxes so that you can easily find what you are looking for. You’ll thank us for this advice when it is freezing cold and you need to find the holiday decorations. Nobody enjoys rummaging through all kinds of boxes trying to find something when it is freezing cold.
How to Winterize Your Shed on the Exterior
7. Clean up around the shed’s foundation
Rake up any leaves, grass clippings or other organic matter that accumulated around your shed through the summer. As much as possible you want to avoid having these types of material piled around your shed through the winter. If they are left there to decompose, this increases the moisture content around your shed’s foundation and makes mold and mildew more likely to form. Not to mention the chance of mice or rats using piles of leaves and grass clippings for their winter nest.
8. Clean off the siding.
This is a good time to give your shed’s exterior a good cleaning. Spray it down with a cleaner that will knock out mold and mildew and wash off any dirt (and bird droppings) that may have accumulated throughout the year.
9. Check the siding for any damage from the lawnmower and patch up paint spots
After cleaning the siding, check for any damage to it that could compromise its ability to hold out moisture.
If you have vinyl siding on your garden shed, check to make sure there aren’t holes or cracks in it. Sometimes rocks or other debris can be thrown from the lawnmower and damage the siding.
If you have painted wood siding, inspect it for any chips in the paint and touchup as needed.
10. Inspect door and window seals on the exterior
Look around your door and windows to make sure there aren’t any obvious issues that could allow moisture to leak in around them and get to the framing. Use caulk as needed to seal up potential problems.
11. Inspect the roof
Finally, check the roof for any obvious damage and repair it where necessary. If you have a shingle roof, make sure there aren’t any loose or damaged shingles that could blow off in high winds. For metal roofs, look for any signs of loose or compromised screws that could allow moisture to leak around them.
So, there’s your handy list of 11 tips on how to winterize your shed.
But, because we like to generous 😃, here’s two bonus items of fun things you can do with your shed in the winter.
Bonus Item #1: Decorate Your Shed for the Holidays
A shed can be a great place to take your holiday decorations to a whole new level.
You could use it for another structure to display lights.
Sheds make great backdrops for manger scenes.
And, if you are feeling really bold, you could even throw up a giant inflatable Rudolph on your shed roof.
Bonus Item #2: Setup Your Shed for a Winter Hobby Space
With a little work and planning, a shed can be a great place to pass some time during the long winter months. If you insulate the interior and figure out a way to heat the interior, a shed can be a great workspace for your winter hobby. It could also serve as a private space to retreat to when you need some space away from the in-laws during the holiday family get together. 😉
There you have it! With these tips, you should be equipped to get your garden shed ready for winter. A well-winterized shed will help ensure that your building can stay structurally sound and your possessions well protected from the elements. Happy Wintering!