How to Keep your Garden Shed Cool in the Summer

Garden buildings such as a shed, log cabin, or summer house can easily become too hot in the summer months, particularly if we are once again subjected to a heatwave.

A garden building being too hot is not only uncomfortable, but can be unsafe to inhabit for long periods of time. The human body’s internal temperature may rise to dangerous levels, and high humidity and heat can reach a point where the body is no longer able to cool itself through sweat.

Excessive heat might also damage items you have stored in the building. Power tools and other machines could overheat and burn out if used in this environment. Even your smartphone might warn you about its temperature if you have it inside a hot shed or garden office.

Why does my shed get so hot?

When the sun is beating down, whether in the summer or at other times of year, your garden building could be taking the brunt of it for a long portion of the day, turning it into a sweat box. Many types of cabin are designed to retain heat, meaning that they will only become hotter as the warm weather continues. During the summer, the ground and air may be heated up around them, with the highest temperatures occurring around 4:00PM after a full day of being slow-cooked by the sun.

Whilst the outdoors might be cooled by the wind, the inside of your garden building might not benefit from exposure to this, meaning that it receives the full heat effect of the sunlight on an otherwise mildly warm day. In particular, sheds and cabins that are positioned in direct sunlight with no shade are often the most vulnerable to being easily heated up.

With shed temperatures sometimes exceeding the outdoor temperature by as much as 10°C, it is important to consider methods of cooling it down if you wish to continue using it for more than a few minutes at a time without being left a sticky, sweaty mess.

How to keep a shed cool in summer

Whether you are trying to work on a project, relax in your garden bar, or have the kids use their playhouse, you probably don’t want it to feel like a sauna. Here are some methods for cooling down a hot garden building:

Insulate the shed

Insulating your shed or cabin can not only protect against heat and cold, but also against moisture buildup that could rust your tools and cause mould. In general, insulation helps to regulate the temperature of a building, so that it is not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer.

For further information, check out our ultimate guide to shed insulation or find out how to insulate a summer house.

See also: How to Insulate a Shed Floor.

Don’t have the time or resources to install your own insulation? Check out our range of pre-insulated summer houses that will provide you with a good temperature for work or relaxation all year round.

Double glaze or cover the windows

Like building insulation, double glazing is also effective at regulating the temperature of a building. A single pane of glass on its own has a heat-trapping effect on a garden building, meaning that your comfortable log cabin could easily become a greenhouse. An additional layer of glass or styrene helps prevent heat from penetrating (up to 55% heat reduction), and also stops cooled air from escaping.

Whether or not you have double glazing, it is also useful to simply cover them so that they don’t have prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. This can be achieved by sticking pieces of fabric over the windows so the light is blocked. Kitchen foil is also useful for this purpose, as its reflective surface will cause the sunlight to bounce off. This won’t make the shed feel air conditioned, but it will significantly prevent the build-up of heat inside the building.

A more convenient (and stylish) option is to fit an awning onto the wall of the building to create a shelter above the windows or doors.

How to reduce the heat in your shed on a hot day

Ventilate the cabin

One of the easiest ways to cool down your garden building is to let the hot air out and the cool air in. Firstly, don’t leave it closed up all day. Opening the doors or windows in the early morning before it has a chance to warm up can make a substantial difference to how hot it will become, especially if there is wind to take advantage of. Even if a building has already heated up, creating an airflow from one exit to another will help to cool it down and ensure its indoor temperature does not continue to climb.

You could also install a vent to help improve airflow within your shed, log cabin or other garden room. Read our guide to shed ventilation for more details on exploring this option.

Provide it with shade

Smaller sheds and playhouses might be able to be moved to a position in the garden where shadows will shield them from the harshest sunlight. Or, if you have not constructed your garden building yet, consider which location will have the least sun exposure. The shade from your house or a tall tree could provide this much-needed reprieve during the hottest times of day.

However, if you choose to place your shed or cabin directly beneath a tree, be warned that it will be a target for bird droppings, tree sap, and falling leaves or pines. If a tree is vulnerable to falling in strong wind, this could be hazardous in the long run.

You could also shade your building by throwing a tarpaulin or other large sheet over it that will reflect or absorb the bulk of the heat temporarily until you want to use the building. Of course, this might make the building and the garden look less aesthetically pleasing while in place.

Alternatively, it is also possible to erect a garden shade structure such as a pergola or gazebo above your shed. Acting as a second roof, this provides additional sun protection for your building.

Cool down your cabin with a fan or air conditioning

If your summer house or garden office has an electricity supply, plugging in a fan is a no-brainer. Air conditioning units can be expensive, but might be worth it if you plan to spend a lot of time in your garden building. Alternatively, you could install a ceiling fan.

In the absence of a constructed electricity supply, running a long extension cable from your house will enable you to plug in a cooling device. Fans are excellent at creating airflow, but it is important to create a route for it to work. Rather than just blowing hot air around the inside of your shed, think about this in combination with ventilation, so that it helps to replace hot air with cool air from outside.

The UK also commonly experiences high humidity in combination with the heat during the summer months, which can cause moisture problems inside garden buildings. To combat this, a dehumidifier is recommended.

Spray it with water

Unless your area is subject to a hose pipe ban, spraying the outside of your garden building with water is an effective way to temporarily cool it off. The water will absorb some of the heat from the surface and remove it during evaporation. Just make sure you close the doors and windows first.

Which shed material stays cooler in summer?

While all garden buildings are capable of becoming too hot in the summer, the material they are built from makes a significant difference to how quickly they will heat up and how much heat they will retain.

Why do metal sheds get hot in summer?

Metal is not an insulator, so it will easily take on heat and transfer it to the inside of the building. They will become painfully hot to the touch on a summer’s day.

Do plastic sheds get hot?

While plastic sheds in the past have struggled to remain durable through adverse weather conditions, modern plastic sheds are manufactured from materials like HDPE, which is much more resilient and can withstand extreme temperatures. However, plastic is not a strong insulator and offers limited protection against heat without insulation.

Are wooden sheds better for summer?

While a wooden shed, cabin or other garden building can easily become hot inside (especially depending on its windows), the wood itself will not contribute to the increase in temperature. As a natural insulator, wood is a temperature-regulating material that is absolutely the best choice for a comfortable garden room that will stay cooler in the hottest heatwaves than the alternatives.

Take a look at our range of wooden sheds.

Check out this expert blog to compare which material of shed you should buy.


Whether you are planning to saw wood in your workshop, attend a virtual meeting in the garden office, or enjoy cold drinks in the garden pub, there are plenty of things you can do to make them comfortable on the hottest days of the year. If DIY is your thing, you can prepare by installing insulation, ventilation or air conditioning. If you’re ready for a new building, consider our insulated garden rooms.

Looking to cool things down on the cheap? Open the doors and windows, set up a fan with good airflow, and consider how you can provide your building with shade.

By following the tips in this guide, hopefully you will find that you are equipped with a range of options and lifehacks for enjoying your garden building throughout the summer. Be sure to check out our other blogs for more garden building advice.