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STORAGE CONCERN...


STEVE POLLARD
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Guys - I have a question regarding the storage of my classics.... my cars are in a detached garage that I had built about 5 years ago, ( stick built, block foundation, cement floor).  There is no heat and the insulation was not completed ( on my to do list ) , is it OK to park the vehicles directly on the cement floor, or should there be some type of barrier between the vehicles and the floor ( I've heard everything from carpet to plywood ) . I'm located in the Northeast.

 

Thanks

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The cement floor should have had a vapour barrier under it and it should be well cured by now, being 5 years old. I would be more concerned with condensation. If your shed gets warm with reasonable humidity and then cools with no ventilation, you may have enough moisture in the air that it falls below the dew point. The cars will get wet, as will everything inside the shed.

 

What is the cladding and roof made of? If they are metal, you can get condensation on their inside. The roof usually has a vapour barrier under it to prevent it "raining" as the condensation drips.

 

How do you fix condensation? Humidifier; a little heat, just enough to keep it above the dew point; ventilation.

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I have had good luck putting a plastic tarp (silver.green/blue whatever color) down.  I cover the entire floor and just not under the car.  I try to use a heavier duty one. 

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Guest AlCapone

The building has good ventilation... once I complete the insulation, I might have to look into more....     what's the purpose of the lumber Wayne ?

 I had been told that it protected the tires from the damp concrete and it stopped the moisture wicking process. Wayne

 

 

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I use cardboard under my cars in unheated storage.  Refrigerator boxes work great and absorb the oil drips nicely. The cardboard against the cement floor gets the moisture.  The little ribbed area acts as an air layer and the top layer stays dry.  Moving air helps prevent condensation as well and dries anything that does form.  Two trains of thought on storing cars that work best.  Heat it so it stays above the dew point, or keep it frozen until you are ready to take it out for the spring so it never comes up to the dew point.  I prefer heat but I did store one of my cars in a dry basement of an unheated house and it would never warm up enough to sweat in the winter.  The only time it ever warmed up was in the spring when I took it out for the first time.  That was always on a nice sunny day that was usually 50 degrees to be put in our garage for the season.  You could watch the car sweat, then the dry line follow the sweat line right down the car.  Usually took it for a ride as well so that definitely dried anything out that didn't dry otherwise. 

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Sorry, AlCapone, you'll have to enlighten me how the tyres need protection from the concrete.

 

And you'll have to help me understand tyres: they are non-porous, aren't they, so no water can wick itself into a tyre? When you drive the car, they are on the pavement and you don't protect them then.

 

I would have thought the best protection for the tyres is to keep them inflated (or get the car off them) and protected from UV light.

 

My 1939 Studebaker has been in storage for 20 years on concrete floors in various places. The tyres have been kept inflated. The car has deteriorated but that is nothing to do with being on a concrete floor - they all have vapour barriers under them. Far more moisture gets in when you open the door on a warm day.

 

Oh, and I meant DEhumidifier in my earlier post.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)
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"they are non-porous, aren't they, so no water can wick itself into a tyre? When you drive the car, they are on the pavement and you don't protect them then."

 

Sounds reasonable - not the same thing but battery cases (old style) are non-porous and a battery that sits on a concrete floor all winter will be dead in the spring.. One placed on a board will be OK.

Edited by vermontboy (see edit history)
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Lots of old wives' tales here. Batteries stored on a concrete floor won't go dead, tires stored on a concrete floor won't dry out. All rumors that have persistently spread for decades but just aren't true. Also, if the concrete slab is 0 degrees, then the wood sitting on it is also going to be 0 degrees, you're not protecting your tires from cold from that particular source. Wood feels warmer than concrete, but that's just to your skin, which has moisture in it. Your car's tires won't notice the difference. Parking on wood is a non-thing, but I understand that if it's always "worked" for you, it certainly won't hurt to keep doing it. It's like this magic rock that keeps tigers away from my desk. 15 years and no tiger attacks yet...

 

As far as controlling moisture in an unheated space, your best bet is to keep the air moving and to ventilate. The biggest problem is when you have drastic swings in temperature, like in late fall and early spring when it may still go to near freezing at night and warm up into the 50s or 60s during the day. Heavy metal car parts will stay cold longer than the air and all the moisture will condense on it--it will be wet all the time. I use a dehumidifier and put a box fan on the floor at low speed just to keep the air moving around a bit. Your best bet would be to finish insulating the garage and put a small heater in it to at least keep temperatures more consistent (45-50 degrees should be sufficient). Simply insulating won't do anything without a heat source; insulation doesn't make heat, it just contains it and if there is no heat, well...

 

Some moisture may wick up through the concrete, but as someone else pointed out, it should be dry enough by now to not be an issue. The most important thing is controlling moisture and air movement.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Here in North Central Florida, we experience wide swings in both temperature and humidity during the cooler/colder months.  It can be in the low 30's (degrees F.) for a day or two, then be in the mid to upper 70's within another two days, causing some serious condensation problems on my concrete floors and on metal items located in my garage.  I use a combination of ceiling fans to keep the air moving, and a dehumidifier to control the humidity.  This seems to be working so far.  My garage is a 30 X 40 ft. metal building with an insulated roof, and two of the four walls are insulated (there's that "To Do List" thing).  As I recall, my dehumidifier has a rating of 70 pints per 24 hours.

 

No sweat,

Grog

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Thank you Matt, well put. Xclnt. The tyre might become less flexible when cold but it doesn't freeze - there is no moisture in it.

 

Of course, insulation only slows heat flow, it doesn't prevent it. Heat flows through an insulator from the warmer side to the cooler, always. The R value is the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux or heat transfer per unit area per unit time through it, thus units of square metres.Kelvin per Watt (m2K/W) or ft2.°F.hr/BTU).  The inverse of R is the U value = overall heat transfer coefficient. In US customary units the R-value is about 6 times the value in SI units.

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Actually insulating the garage will help even if you don't heat it.  It will keep the temperature more consistent inside so you don't experience the radical temperature swings.  We have been in the low 40's and even mid 30's for the last few weeks with overnight lows down to the upper teens.  I just moved one of my cars to one of my garages for storage of a house we were selling but haven't yet.  That garage is finished and insulated but the heat hasn't been turned on yet this season.  Today when I put the car away the garage was 41 degrees inside before I turned the heat on, which I set at 45.   That's with crappy uninsulated garage doors but an R13 in the walls and an R30 in the ceiling as well as some good southern exposure.

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Actually insulating the garage will help even if you don't heat it.  It will keep the temperature more consistent inside so you don't experience the radical temperature swings.  We have been in the low 40's and even mid 30's for the last few weeks with overnight lows down to the upper teens.  I just moved one of my cars to one of my garages for storage of a house we were selling but haven't yet.  That garage is finished and insulated but the heat hasn't been turned on yet this season.  Today when I put the car away the garage was 41 degrees inside before I turned the heat on, which I set at 45.   That's with crappy uninsulated garage doors but an R13 in the walls and an R30 in the ceiling as well as some good southern exposure.

As someone suggested above, corrugated cardboard will be a good insulator  

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I have had my thermostat set at 38 F. for about a week now. The run times have been low. I started heating the 26 X 40 garage two winters ago and generally keep it between 38 and 42 when I am not working in it. I use natural gas on a separate meter from the house and my total for the two seasons has been $540. Nothing in the garage has frozen, the cars are above dewpoint, and I think it has generally been the best of conditions for the cars. In the long run the cars will benefit from it.

 

There is a programmable thermostat that I can control from a booth in the diner if I stop for coffee; makes it nice to walk into. It is worth looking into.

Bernie

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