How to Prevent Rust on Your Steel Shed

How to Prevent Rust on Your Steel Shed
August 03, 2021

Adding a high-quality steel shed to your property is one of the best ways to keep yourself organized and protect your belongings. Outdoor storage sheds come in a variety of sizes and styles, making them perfect for just about any home.

While steel sheds are an excellent storage solution, anything made of metal has the potential to rust. Learning how to prevent rust will help ensure your shed looks great and provides reliable performance for many years.

Purchase a High-Quality Shed

When shopping for a storage building, look for a high-quality metal shed that’s made of galvanized steel. This material is specifically treated to prevent rust and corrosion, making it your first line of defense for steel shed rust prevention. A polyester or rust-resistant paint can also provide additional protection.

A metal shed with a pitched roof will help keep rainwater from pooling and getting into the interior. Built-in air vents also help ensure your shed receives sufficient airflow. If you're going to buy a new shed, look for one that has these features. This will put you in the best position to enjoy a rust-free experience without having to put in too much extra effort. 

Understand How Rust Forms

If you want to learn how to prevent rust, it's important to understand what causes it in the first place. Moisture entering your building is the number one cause of rust and corrosion. This is often caused by condensation and lack of airflow. Being conscious of this and taking steps to ensure the best possible environment are some of the most effective methods for steel shed rust prevention. 

Choose Your Location Carefully

If you haven’t already installed your new shed, take some time to choose the perfect location for it. Try to find a place where it will be in partial shade and that is somewhat protected from harsh elements.

Make sure the spot you’re considering isn’t in a low-lying area that often floods. Also, don’t build your shed near elaborate gardens or flower beds, as these areas are likely to retain water.

Build a Solid Foundation

The best way to keep moisture from getting inside your steel shed is to build it correctly in the first place. This includes ensuring you have a solid foundation. There are several options, including concrete pavers, gravel, or a concrete pad. While all of these will work, if moisture is an issue, then gravel or crushed rock are likely your best options.

No matter which type of foundation you choose, it’s important to make sure it’s even and level. If the thickness isn’t consistent, you won’t get a tight fit. This makes it more likely that moisture and rain will find their way inside.

For additional steel shed rust prevention, consider purchasing a base kit from your shed’s manufacturer. This metal bracket elevates your shed, keeping it off the moist ground. It also allows you to add flooring to your shed. This will help keep moisture out, protect the items you store inside, and give your shed a more upscale look and feel.

How to Insulate a Steel ShedHow to Insulate a Steel Shed

Add Some Insulation

Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes in contact with cool surfaces. Adding proper insulation to your shed will give it year-round temperature control, helping to reduce condensation and protecting the items inside.

Foam boards are an excellent option that won’t break the bank. You can add foam board insulation by simply cutting it to the right size, then applying it to the inside of your roof using an adhesive. When installing your insulation, make sure you leave an air gap between the foam board and your shed’s roof panels.

Make Regular Repairs

If you're concerned about how to prevent rust in your steel shed, you’ll quickly start to understand the importance of ongoing maintenance. Regularly inspecting your shed and making repairs right away will help prevent rust and ensure a small problem doesn't turn into a big deal.

If you find that your shed has suffered small damage, like a dent or scratch, clean the area and cover it with one to two coats of sealant and rust neutralizer. You can also prevent rust on small dents and scratches by adding a coat of clear nail polish. 

As part of your regular maintenance, you’ll also want to check your roof regularly to make sure there are no areas that are leaking. If you find any, make sure your repair them right away.

For even more protection, consider adding weatherproofing to your shed’s roof. While most high-quality metal sheds already have a weatherproof coating, adding additional layers can help reinforce the weatherproof compound. You can safely do this within three to four months after you've purchased your new shed. 

Ensure Proper Airflow

Making sure you have plenty of airflow is another important key to steel shed rust prevention. If your shed doesn’t have vents or a window already, consider adding them. This will allow fresh air to get into your shed and will help dry out areas where moisture tends to collect.

Running an electric fan inside your shed will also help increase airflow and regulate the temperature. If you find that you’re dealing with moisture inside your shed, an inexpensive fan can go a long way towards solving the problem.  

Prevent rust in your steel shedPrevent rust in your steel shed

Install & Maintain Gutters

If your shed doesn’t already have gutters, consider installing some. This simple addition will direct water away from your shed and keep it from pooling near its foundation. Once your gutters are installed, keep up with the maintenance to ensure they remain free of leaves, branches, and other debris. This will allow rainwater to flow through freely so your gutters can successfully protect your shed. 

Add a Dehumidifier

If you’re storing items that are fragile, sensitive, or valuable inside your shed, investing in a dehumidifier is a great idea! You’ll need to have a working electrical outlet inside your shed and make sure your regularly empty the water tray. Otherwise, the dehumidifier won’t work correctly.

It’s also important to note that a dehumidifier only works when temperatures are above 21 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it won’t be a good solution for colder climates during the winter months. However, if you’re in a coastal area or a warm, humid climate, this is often a good solution for keeping moisture low.  

Use Moisture Absorbents

If you’ve taken some of the precautions above and humidity is still a problem, try using some moisture absorbents inside your shed. Materials like charcoal briquettes or cat litter have excellent liquid-absorbing properties. Placing them in an open container inside your shed will allow them to absorb the humidity, reducing the chances that your shed will develop rust.

Properly Store and Stack Your Contents

Over-filling your shed can decrease airflow and increase the chances it will start to rust. If the items inside your shed are tightly packed together, start by taking everything out. Then, inspect the inside to make sure you don’t need to make any repairs.

Sort through the items you’re storing and decide whether you truly need to keep them. Once you’ve decluttered, thoughtfully stack your items inside. Try to avoid placing anything right up against the walls and leave some space between them so air can freely flow.

If you’re storing chemicals in your shed, it’s important to make sure they’re always properly sealed. This will help prevent spills and ensure you won’t have to worry about contamination, which could cause damage to the interior of your shed.

Treat Rust Spots Immediately

Unfortunately, steel shed rust prevention isn’t always completely effective. Sometimes, no matter how many precautions you take, you’ll still end up with some rust spots on your shed. If this happens, it’s important to address the issue right away. Not only is rust unattractive, but it can also damage the structure of your steel shed.

When you notice rust, start by scrubbing it off using a steel brush dipped in white vinegar. If there’s mildew as well, clean that area with a steel brush dipped in bleach.

Next, power wash your shed to remove any excess dirt or grease. Once the building is completely dry, apply a rust-inhibiting primer and a fresh coat of paint. If you don't want to paint your shed, you can also use an acrylic finish that’s specifically created for metal buildings. Apply several coats, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.

Shop for a Quality Rust-Resistant Shed Today!

Learning how to prevent rust in your steel shed will increase its lifespan and ensure it looks great on your property for years to come. Just remember, preventing moisture inside and ensuring proper airflow are the two most important keys to steel shed rust prevention. 

If your current shed doesn’t offer sufficient rust protection or you’re just starting to think about adding a shed to your property, then Arrow Storage Products is the perfect place to start. We carry a wide selection of high-quality, rust-resistant sheds at prices that make them affordable for most homeowners. Take a look through our inventory today!

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