Asked on Sep 14, 2020

Door on outside storage room has vent?

Kathy Gunter LawKen EricksonAnn|The  Apple Street Cottage


I want to replace this vented door with a barn door because the swing of this door takes up a ton of space in the tiny storage room. What is the purpose of the vent? Can I hang a regular barn door here or does it NEED the vent?

Edit: Reversing the swing of the door would make it necessary to move the car every time you access the room, so that’s not really an option.

8 answers
  • Mogie
    on Sep 14, 2020

    Stale Air

    • The air smells
    • Items stored begin to smell
    • Respiratory issues and eye irritation


    • Fumes from gasoline, pool chemicals, fertilizers and other products you store in your shed are dangerous to your health
    • Short-term exposure can cause respiratory issues and eye and skin irritation
    • Some chemical fume mixtures can be explosive

    Excessive moisture

    • Causes mold and mildew to grow
    • Inhaling mold can cause respiratory issues, headaches, and other concerns
    • Mold and mildew can also damage the items you have stored in the shed


    • Causes wood to rot
    • Metal tools, roof and siding to rust
    • Causes mold and mildew to grow with the same issues as Excessive moisture


    • Heat makes working in your shed uncomfortable
    • Heat can cause mold to blossom causing respiratory issues
    • If your shed is hot, then proper venting will help reduce heat


    • Cold makes working in the shed uncomfortable
    • Heating means insulation and vapor barrier, so no cracks or crevices for “fresh” air which means you need proper ventilation
    • Heating can also cause condensation and its related health issues if not properly vented

    You could add a window to the barn door and that would make it venting.

  • Redcatcec
    on Sep 14, 2020

    Perhaps at one time the room was housing chemicals or items that gave off an odor or fumes, and ventilation was needed. Or someone was working with chemicals that needed ventilation and rather than having a fume hood (much more expensive than a vent plus needs maintenance and monitoring), a vent was installed. It served a purpose. Depending on what the room is going to be used for currently, you may or may not need a vent.

    A barn door would work, maybe a pocket door might be another possibility. Both of these can be vented if needed.

  • Johnavallance82
    on Sep 14, 2020

    Hello Nancy,

    To allow free flow of air, otherwise you will get a build up of condensation in there and it will destroy and begin too rot things, as I can attest as my storage containers did not have a free flow of air..........Best wishes

    on Sep 14, 2020

    Probably air circulation to prevent moisture. You may miss it when it’s gone - maybe you need an idea to cover it more attractively?

    could you not change the swing with the same door?

      on Sep 14, 2020

      Of course! Barn doors are very poorly sealed - which is a good thing if you need a bit of airflow in the room. I think it could work without the vent. One caution tho - any openings will invite rodents if that’s a problem in your area. Mice can get into tiny openings. 😬

  • The room may have had mechanical equipment that needed air. What is in there now?

  • Ken Erickson
    on Sep 14, 2020

    Vents would allow heat and cooling to enter or leave that room. It could also prevent mold. Maybe that was the only door the previous owner had when installed. Barn doors do save space, but don't seal up an opening like a regular door, so a vent wouldn't be needed. You could also install a door that swings out instead of in.

    • Ken Erickson
      on Sep 14, 2020

      Yes, I think the barn door idea will allow air to enter. They don't seal like a regular door because they are outside the frame and air will go around all sides. An accordion closet door can fit your opening as another alternative. You said that you store gas in there, so you do need to allow fumes out. I personally have gone to all battery operated lawn equipment except for a leaf blower. The gas for that is in and outside Rubbermade cabinet.

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    on Sep 14, 2020

    Most of the time, these are installed for ventilation. You could experiment by covering the vent for a short period of time to see if it causes issues. Another idea would be to change the swing of the door out instead of in. You can install a fan in the room as well.

    • Kathy Gunter Law
      on Sep 14, 2020

      I would put a vent fan in there to be on the safe side. However, a sliding barn door doesn't seal like a regular door so that might provide enough air circulation.

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