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Old 01-17-2007, 01:17 PM   #1
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Fabric Garages - opinions needed

My '63 Tradewind is being restored an polished and once I get it back I really do not want it sitting outside.

Has anybody had any experience with these 'Fabric Garages'? Due to cost and no permits required I like the concept of this idea.

Anybody have any experience (or alternatives)? Any suggested brands?

Would love to get some feed back.

-Sig
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Old 01-17-2007, 01:31 PM   #2
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Fabric tent

Sig, I have had one over my trailer for about 2 years now with no problems. I had to buy additional poles to lengthen the original sides by 3 feet so I could get the trailer w/ A/C unit to fit under the top. I sleeved and bolted them together. The tent must be tied down securely to prevent the wind from causing it to flex from side to side... but that is normal for any tent. So far the top and sides are holding up well (they were UV protected material). I had to add material to adapt them for the extra height but so far so good. Ed
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:49 PM   #3
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My wife and I put one up this weekend, I will post the pictures when I get home.

Jim
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Old 01-17-2007, 05:04 PM   #4
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I thought of these as well. One thing I think you would need to check is the rating for snow load.
The last thing you want is a bunch of pipes collapsing on your coach.

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Old 01-17-2007, 05:55 PM   #5
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They work great and I've used them for 8 years. I need to repair both of mine as the material does deteriorate and found that using regular tarps as replacements that they are not up to the same level. Make sure you use all of the parts when assembling it and don't leave the straps that go from one post to the next out - they are tensioners or at least on mine they are and they do work. I also used self tapping screws on each joint that did not have a bolt to hold it together after a strong windstorm partly disassembled one.

So my suggestions:
1. Pick a spot if you can that is out of the wind and the door facing away from the usual direction the wind blows from if at all possible - beside another building is great if you can do it
2. Get one with a front and back as well, some only have the back
3. When it snows you can't leave it, you have to get out and knock the snow off. They don't take a lot of weight.
4. Anchor it well. We used cement blocks and put the poles through and then a bolt through it so it couldn't pull back out (I can take a pic of a leg if you need to see what I mean)
5. Keep the name of the manufacturer and contact detail so you can order a replacement cover when you need one - expect to do this at the 6 to 7 year mark

For the money they provide good value, are very adaptable to your location, and keep your unit out of the weather for the most part. I also use one for my yard "stuff" like picnic tables, chairs, ornaments, gardening tools, riding mower, etc.

Barry
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:05 PM   #6
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Out here in New Mexico the wind can really howl, and this is a concern. My big concern would be however big HAIL. I have seen cars in NM that looked like somone took a ball peen hammer to them. I speak out of ignorance and don't know if the fabric would stand up to a good hail storm. In a case like this if it would act as a buffer and minimize the damage to the trailer I would accept the loss of the fabric as expendable. I also wonder if homeowners insurance would cover wind/ hail damage to the structure.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari57
They work great and I've used them for 8 years. [...]
Barry, I'm very interested in one of these setups -- got a picture?

Cheers,
-jd.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:06 PM   #8
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I am not sure if what I have counts, but I've had a vinyl canopy over an Airstream for three yrs. It held up until this yr thru all kinds of weather, including hail. Now starting to tear at the corners.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:09 PM   #9
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We are on the third year of using ours in NH.

The key to the cover lasting a long time is to put it on in the summer when it is hot.

Recently we saw a barn built using Miracle Truss. They can calculate snow load for you. I like these because you can put them up yourself and specify your size and add a real roof, etc. We are considering one of these for a longer term solution.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5cats
Barry, I'm very interested in one of these setups -- got a picture?

Cheers,
-jd.
I'll take a picture in the daylight tomorrow. I happen to have them disassembled to move closer to my shop and to put on new tarps I've ordered.

Barry
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:11 PM   #11
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This is a fabric car port I picked at Pep Boys right before Christmas; I believe it was $150.00. My wife and I assembled it this weekend. It originally was 12 X 26. I had to drop out a half section to get it down to 23 to fit behind my gate. Dropping out a half section was easy as I just did not use 3 of the 3 section poles. Leaving out the half section also positioned the poles so they do not interfere with the door. The whole assembly slides together, which I did not like, so I drilled and added a screw at each joint which also made assembly much easier. I did the math and had to raise it 10.5 inches to get the need clearance I needed. I opted for the easy way out and cut up a 6x 6 treated post into 11 inch sections. I lag bolted the bottom pole sockets to the post sections. The road side of the poles is screwed to a new fence. The curb side post sections will be placed in flower pots and filled with concrete to a few inches below top of the pots, dirt will be added and flowers planted, leaving the post standing proud by a couple of inches. I have ordered grommets to add to the tarp to keep the valances from flapping in the wind. We have had several windy days already with no problems. We use the trailer to evacuate for hurricanes and will take the tarp off the frame when we leave. This is still a work in progress and still needs a little tweaking, I am very happy with the results so far.

Thanks Jim
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:39 PM   #12
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JIM CLARK, that's an elegant solution. I passed up buying the 12x20 package at Tools for Less in Vegas yesterday, since I didn't think it would be so easy to make it taller. You lag bolts and 6x6 solution looks good.

Anyway, I bought the fittings for the joints and the glavanized tubing sufficient for a 12x16 (for the Caravel, a first experiment) for $118. It won't have the durable flesh-colored cover, just heavy weight blue tarp, but I'm only using it for sun shade in the summer.

For you guys worried about hail, I wonder if you have a completely covered fabric garage, there would be little or no wind inside, which means you could put a pad directly on the trailer without worrying about it moving and scratching. Seems to me a moving van blanket would do a lot to protect from hail. Anyone have any real data on this?

Zep
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:59 PM   #13
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As far as hail is concerned I think the most vulnerable part of the coach are the endcaps. Perhaps covering the caps with a moving blanket would be a good idea. Another thing about hail is it doesn't come straight down. it is blown in at an angle. Once again, in New Mexico I saw a trailer with plastic skirting that looked like someone took a machine gun to it. Not dents but holes. Granted this is exceptionally severe weather, and my 71 Airstream has been in New Mexico for many years with no hail damage (but it does have a few bullet holes). But it does happen. While I am thinking out loud I have also seen a storm here in NM that picked up awnings and canopies at a state park, landing them about 1/4 mile away, causing secondary damage to other trailers and cars. The same wind storm, which lasted about 15 minutes. Picked up a 18' catamarran (sail was down) which landed inverted on it's 30' mast and pole vaulted it over a car. I was in my Sovereign watching this drama transpire with some kids we took in from a blown down tent. The Sovereign was rocking quite a bit but was one of the few undamaged units at this site. About a year ago another big blow blew over several campers one of which fell on a kid breaking a leg. In my yard I park my Sovereign on a concrete pad on which a mobile home once sat. The pad had bolts set in the concrete to hold the mobile home down in the wind. Now I've got myself thinking it would not be a bad idea to have an anchoring system in my yard for tying down my Airstream in the wind.
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Old 01-18-2007, 01:01 AM   #14
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Fabric garage

Jim, The carport framework you have looks very much like mine. My frame was 12' x 20' x 8'. I was able to get more pole tubes from Lowes in 8 foot lengths that I cut each down to (2) three foot lengths to raise the height of my poles to 11 feet on all 8 of the poles. I then used 1-1/2" PVC pipe in 4 foot sections to run inside the lower tubes bolted to the foot and thru the lower leg so that 1' of PVC extended above the top of each 3 foot section. That fit nicely into the 8' poles and I bolted them together 6 inches above the now joined poles to create the 11 foot poles for the sides. The bottom poles slide thru the center hole of 12" deck blocks used to support 4x4 posts for wood decks. (I'm sure you have seen these at most home improvement stores). Eack foot is now trapped under the block of cement as a way to hold the pole down to my garage apron cement pad. The canvas/fabric tarp was originally tight on the top but weather and weight of snow have caused it to sag a little with time. Heavy snow is always removed before weight becomes an issue. I'm sure the roof tarp will need to be replaced at some point in the future so I hedged my bets and ordered 2 new top tarps from the mfg so I will have them when needed. In warm weather I remove all four sides and in winter I have them on to protect the aluminum from the elements. The tongue and wheel/jack are outside the tent but this I cover with a heavy blue plastic canvas tarp. I am very happy with the look and the neighbors/passersby don't have to look at the A/S in my driveway. The added bonus is if they ask what is inside the tent? I am always ready to give them a tour!!! Ed
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