Drums take up a lot of space so some drummers may think about storing their kits in a garage or shed so they’re out of the way, but is this a good idea? Or will it cause damage to the drum set?
The Quick Answer
It is not recommended to store acoustic or electronic drum kits in a garage as it may expose them to extreme temperatures or excessive humidity which can damage the drum shells, heads and cymbals. Drums should ideally be stored in a temperature and humidity controlled building.
Issues With Storing Drums in a Garage
There are four main issues with storing drums in a garage or shed:
- The drums will be exposed to temperature fluctuations and extremes (depending on climate)
- Some garages can get very humid which will damage the drums permanently
- Sound will leak out from the garage and potentially annoy the neighbours
- Some garages are prone to dust and pests
Let’s take a look at each of these problems in a little more detail.
Drums should not be exposed to extreme temperatures or excessive fluctuations in temperature otherwise this can permanently damage them.
The ideal temperature range to store drums is between 45-77°F or 7-25°C. Garages are usually not temperature controlled so it can be difficult to ensure that the temperature falls within this range. This is a particular problem if you live in a very hot or cold climate, or experience extreme winters and summers.
- High temperatures are likely to cause the drum heads to stretch whereas low temperatures are likely to cause the drum heads to contract.
- Hot and cold environments can cause wooden drum shells to warp.
- High temperatures can soften the glue.
- Cymbals kept in very cold temperatures are more likely to crack.
You also need to make sure that the drums are not exposed to direct sunlight as this can dramatically increase their surface temperature and cause the finish to fade. This can be an issue in garages with windows as they may need to be covered.
If the garage changes temperature significantly during the day compared to at night this can also lead to warping of the drum shells as they contract and expand.
Electronic drum kits should also not be exposed to extreme temperatures as this can harm the electronics in the drum module. They are usually more resistant compared to acoustic drum kits but they should still not be exposed to excessive heat or below freezing temperatures.
High humidity is common in a garage, especially if you live in a particularly humid environment. It can also be a big problem if you store a washing machine in your garage, or if you keep a car in there too.
High humidity will cause wooden drum shells to warp and permanently damage them. It can also damage electronic drum modules. Humid environments can also cause cymbals to oxidise more quickly and turn green over time which also affects the sound.
Very low humidity can also cause the wood to dry and crack in extreme cases, however this is less common than high humidity in a garage or shed.
The ideal humidity for storing drums is 40% to 60%. Anything significantly above or below this can cause permanent damage to both acoustic and electronic drum kits.
Garages are Not Soundproof
If you have neighbours and plan to play your drums in a garage, be prepared for your relationship to suffer!
Garages are not soundproof and although you can take some soundproofing measures to minimise this issue, you will not be able to eliminate it completely. It is highly likely that your neighbours will be able to clearly hear your drums being played if they are within a fairly close proximity.
Check the rules in your local area but keep in mind that neighbours can make complaints if they find your drumming to be a nuisance.
Dust and Pests
The final issue with garages is that they tend not to be very clean. Props to you if your garage is perfectly clean and spotless, and free from excessive clutter, but unfortunately most garages and sheds aren’t in great condition!
Pests such as rodents and insects can eat into your drum kit (or wires on an electronic kit) and cause permanent damage and at the very least it’s not very hygienic for them to be crawling all over your drums.
Garages are also typically very dusty, especially if you do not have proper flooring or walls. This dust will quickly settle on the kit meaning it will need to be cleaned much more frequently compared to if it was stored inside the house.
Tips If You Need to Store the Drums in a Garage
If you really have nowhere else to store your drums in the short term, then the garage might be your only option.
However, you need to make sure that the humidity is below 70% and the temperature is above freezing and below 30°C/ 86°F at least, otherwise if can cause permanent damage.
Here are some tips to try and keep your drums in better condition if they are being stored inside a garage:
- Clean the garage and make sure it is free from pests and excessive dust.
- Keep your drums in cases or at least covered with a blanket.
- Use a dehumidifier periodically (if necessary) to avoid the humidity getting too high.
- Make sure you do not use a washing machine or tumble dryer in your garage.
- Ensure you do not store any wet clothes, exposed liquids or any other sources of humidity in the garage.
- Do not place the drum kit in front of a window where it could be exposed to direct sunlight.
- Use a heater if the temperature is too low.
Best Environment to Store Drums
The best place to store both acoustic and electronic drum kits is inside a temperature and humidity controlled environment.
- Ideal temperature: 10-20°C/ 50-68°F
- Ideal humidity: 40%-60%