Category Archives: Articles of Interest

Installing Multi Shelter Solutions Buildings

One of the most common questions we get asked is regarding installation of our structures. We have tried to create a simple yet effective solution for your applications, and recently have revamped our installation guide with more pictures, a glossary and more detailed instructions about everything to empower our customer more.

These structures are supplied as kits, intended for our customer to be able to install themselves. We are available for whatever questions you may have. We have confidence that you will be able to install these structures yourselves with a small team of people. You will get a complete manual with every order. You can download our instruction manual through the links below for a preview or to prepare for your delivery.

There is quite a bit of information contained in this manual that it CRITICAL to be understood. These structures are more complex to assemble than your typical Swedish Furniture.

The pages are in the order they should be read.
#1-2 are very important notes about installation and the rest of the manual.
1. START HERE
2. Warranty, Codes & Site Requirements
3. Anchoring-Base Brackets
3. Anchoring-Anchor Posts
4. ridge & hoops
5. Purlins & Windbraces
6. -optional- Cross Ties
7. Covering-Plastic Roof
7. Covering-Tarp Roof
8. -optional- Roll up Side Walls
9. Wirelock & Side Wall Cover Fasteners
10. -optional- Inflator Fan
11. Ends
12. -optional- Door Options

click here to download a step by step breakdown of the process in PDF format and click here to see a photo explanation of the process. You can also view the additional articles, links or videos on our how to page. Please note, not all pages or options apply to everyone. TO BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MANUAL ABOVE, NOT AS A STAND ALONE RESOURCE.

Please see our more detailed installation page for more information

Plan Now & Enjoy the Nice Weather!

While we are enjoying the nice weather of the summer, it’s always a great time to be thinking of your late summer and fall projects. Often we hear people rueful that they were not able to get their structure up before snowfall since winter always sneaks up. What better time to plan for those projects than now!

We have many wonderful weather days for installing, rather than having to settle with a less than ideal day to put the building up and especially fasten the cover down. Friends and neighbours would likely be more willing to help as well.

  • These buildings are great for storing the hay and other equipment for your farm.
  • They can cover your swimming pool to extend your season into late fall/early winter.
  • Park your RV, boat or other fun summer toys over the winter to keep them protected.
  • Plan for a garage so this will be the year you don’t need to brush snow off your vehicle.

There are so many great uses, call us today to discuss your project requirements and out there ideas!

The fall is always a busy time here at Multi Shelters. We would love to help you with your 2017 project, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Inflator Fan Overview

An inflator fan is a very small fan which is attached to the inner layer of a double layer structure cover. Because the inflator is a squirrel cage type of fan, it can run continuously against the back pressure it has created without over heating.

The primary benefit of the process of putting air between the two layers of cover is to reduce heat loss. By having this cushion of “insulation”, the building experiences a significant reduction in condensation. The air filled pockets acts as a shock absorber therefore substantially stiffens the building in very windy locations. Covers tend to last longer since they are always tight.

The closer you are to achieving dead air space, the more these benefits can be maximized. 4”-5” of air space is optimum. Too much air space will result in air movement and reduced efficiency. When installing a double cover, both layers are on the outside of the structure but only the inside layer is pulled tight.

For all of those who are either off the grid or too far from a practical source of electricity, stay tuned for our solar powered inflator fan announcement coming very shortly

Please see #11 in our installation guide for more information https://multisheltersolutions.com/our-structure-options-coverings/installation-guide/

Installing Multiple Covers into One Wirelock Channel

This post covers another one of our most frequently asked questions,

HOW TO INSTALL MULTIPLE COVERS INTO ONE WIRELOCK CHANNEL!

We hope the description and video can help clarify this issue a bit more. Thanks for your feedback!

The beauty of wirelock is its ability to hold multiple layers of covers, even covers in different directions (i.e. roof and ends or 2 long lengths).

Before starting you must at least have the cover tacked at the opposite end. This will give you resistance for pulling the cover tight.

Our wirelock channel will hold up to 3 layers of 6 mil plastic securely.

Two layers of 12 mil tarp will not be held securely in the wirelock channel. This is why we recommend that the top of the end wall tarp be sandwiched between the channel and the hoop.

If you have never installed these covers before, it is recommended to use at least 3 people.

  • After the bottom of the end cover has been secured, pull the end cover over the hoop first.
  • Person “A” will hold it from the inside of the structure in such a way that there are no wrinkles.
  • The roof cover can now go over the channel as well.
  • Person “B” will pull on the roof cover while person “C” installs the stainless spring steel wire inserts.
  • “C” will start from the peak and work down.

It is critical to remember that “A” and “B”, who are pulling on the two respective covers, must always be pulling at least a foot ahead of “C” who is installing the wire insert. This will allow a little give in the covers so that there will not be damage.

With more experience “B” and “C” can be done by one person.

It is also important to remember the wrist technique for installing the wire insert. Do not slide the wire straight back and forth. This causes abrasions on the cover.

As you move back and forth, apply pressure with the thumb on the next parallel spot of the wire insert.
Use a needle nose pliers to get the last tip into the channel.
The next wire insert does not have to be overlapped.

For more details and to watch an illustration, please see our YouTube Video below

Infrared Plastic Coating

Another variation on greenhouse plastic is with an IR (infra-red) coating.

  • The IR plastic can reduce your heat loss by up to 20% over a regular double poly installation.
  • Even though this plastic has a hazy look to it, the light transmission properties are actually a couple percentage points better.
  • This plastic comes standard with an anti-condensate coating which means there will be less dripping in the greenhouse.

All of these features make IR plastic an attractive alternative for many people in spite of the fact that the cost is roughly  20% more then regular plastic. This plastic does not have an inside or outside.

The cell structure that the Infrared plastic is made from is significantly different from the regular plastic. This gives the plastic a much softer texture and feel and contributes to it not being as strong as regular plastic. This is why we suggest that it only be used as the inside layer of a double plastic installation.

The slight restriction for people with shorter greenhouses is that the IR plastic only comes in 100′ and 150′ rolls. You would either have a friend who can buy/use the extra or be prepared to “waste” some. There are also not quite as many choices for available widths as with regular plastic.

Please call Norm to specifically inquire about more information regarding these special coatings.

you can see more information on our covering options page

Choosing a Cover – Poly vs Tarp

Everyone wants to save money but they also want value for the dollars invested. One of the things that sets MSS apart is with the cover choices we offer.

The two main areas of covers we offer are the 12mil woven tarps and the 6mil plastic. (Other options available, call to confirm)

Both of these choices are by no means the heaviest that are out there, but they do provide excellent life span for the investment.

When you consider the cost per year on our 12mil white tarps, which have an 8-10 year expected lifespan, they stack up very favourably to the 20-24mil covers that are available.

  • The main reason 12mil is even an option for us to use is that our hoops or ribs are much closer together and therefore provide much more support to the cover.

Using 6mil plastic gives even more options.

  • Going clear (greenhouse) allows the necessary light transmission for plant growth.
  • Going white (livestock) allows light while still providing a shade factor.
  • The option of a double layer with air between, provides even more benefits for heat loss and condensation reduction and added stiffness in extremely windy locations.
  • The biggest attraction for the 6mil plastic is the life span you get for the investment.

Call to get your custom quote today. We would be happy to help you.
You can also see our covering page for even more detailed information

So You Want to Buy a Greenhouse…Your Guide For Planning a Greenhouse Purchase

Norm published a book that we wanted to let you know about.
 “So You Want to Buy a Greenhouse: Your Guide to Planning a Greenhouse Purchase”

​It’s available on Amazon for purchase, or you can go through our facebook page

We appreciate your support!

We are quite excited and know it will be a valuable resource for many. You can email or call the office and we will ship you out a copy if you don’t want to purchase online.

Based largely on Norm’s Greenhouses 101 speech from the Guelph Organic Conference, with many extra tidbits and stories from Norm’s experience along the way over the last 45 years, it’s certainly a useful resource for anyone considering, or maintaining their structure of any application. Please contact us if you have any questions. We hope you’ll enjoy the book and would love to hear what you think!

“I should have known that I would get into this business when I was younger because the highlight of my birthday was always getting new pieces to my Mechano set. Now, I often describe these structures as big Mechano sets. It feels very fitting.”

Are you considering purchasing a greenhouse to start your own operation?
Are you unsure of all your options and what you should know?
Do you want to know what you’re getting into?

Using Norm Eygenraam’s 45 years experience in the industry, we have created this book for you to help! Through illustrations, tips, stories, photos and more, we help you understand all you need to consider. We do use Multi Shelter Solutions examples throughout, as that is what we have easiest access to, but this is by no means a sales book.

This guide is meant to inform you of your choices and show you key considerations in your planning journey. We have tried to make this book as informative as possible, no matter which direction you choose to go.

Enjoy, and happy planning!

Available on Amazon for purchase, or you can go through our facebook page
We appreciate your support!

Building Permit Questions

A question that we are asked regularly is “Do I need a building permit for this building?”

The simple answer is “Generally, yes”

And to get a permit for one of our structures, you need to have engineered drawings from us (which we have for most of our standard buildings)

However, there is seldom a month where we do not hear a strange interpretation of some rule which we have not heard before.

There continues to be a huge variation in the interpretation of the rules. This goes beyond the fact that certain areas get more snow and wind then others and therefore require sturdier buildings.

Our focus will continue to be getting an understanding of what it is that you are dealing with so that we can put together a structure package that will serve your needs for years to come. Educating our customers on weather dynamics on these buildings continues to be a valuable component of that process.

Many of our customers, who are putting their new building out of sight and they get along with their neighbours, will put up the building without asking questions.

This is certainly not a practice we recommend or encourage but acknowledge as a reaction to officials who do not understand these buildings or how they work. It is difficult to understand why identically fabricated building, installed on nearby locations, can run into a problem simply because of what they are using the building for.

As an example, in one week, we received calls from two prospective customers, the first had been given a 10 page form to fill out and the other was ready to order his building since he had been specifically told “you do not need a permit for a tent”.

In most municipalities these buildings are classified as low human occupancy, temporary buildings. We have engineer approved drawings for a number of our standard buildings as governed by the Farm Building Code.

With the large amount of variations that we offer, we are sometimes in a situation where the building is somewhere between two approved units. It is quite easy for us to upgrade the building to a higher wind or snow rating but that does not mean it will be automatically acceptable without a specific set of engineer evaluated drawings for your site.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification on any point of confusion.

It is your responsibility to verify these things before building.

We are not familiar with regulations in each municipality.

Please also see our building permit page for more updates

Season Extension: Hanley Caterpillar Tunnels

The third area to discuss regarding season extension are those structures that are simple enough to disassemble and relocate to another spot-primarily referring to Hanley Caterpillar Tunnels.

The real lure of these buildings is their low cost and simplicity to move. Generally the area is prepared in advance and then the tunnel is moved over the area when the planting is to be done.

Since the original design specified 6′ hoop spacing, the intent was always to remove the cover before risk of heavier snow fall. More often now, growers are going to 5′ spacing (and sometimes 4′) to allow the covers to remain on longer or even permanently.

By having a smaller hoop spacing, it allows the cover to stay on permanently, which allows for a much earlier start in the spring.

The key to the concept of the hanley working is in the rope.

  • The back and forth pattern of the rope resembles the way a person would lace up a boot.
  • Typically there is a spring loaded clip at the base where the rope passes through.
  • Once the rope is fully installed, it is important to tighten it through three passes from end to end.
  • If the rope is not tight enough, the wind will create wiggle and movement sideways.
  • When the plastic is tight enough, it also allows the grower to slide the plastic up the hoop to allow ventilation.

Generally the plastic is about 25′ longer then the tunnel.
This allows the installer to bunch up (pig tail style) the extra poly at both ends between a pair of posts.
It is important to get the plastic as tight as possible lengthwise first.
There must also be a rope from the top of the last hoop to the tie off post.

There are a couple of challenges to consider with the hanley tunnels.

  1. One of these challenges is to create a proper entrance. Typically entrance is achieved by slightly lifting the plastic and ducking underneath.
  2. The other are of challenge is the low shoulder height of the structure. This restricts the use to a couple rows of taller items in the middle and a couple rows of shorter plants along the side. The width of the tunnel does lend itself to three regular size beds.

Once you have learned about the nuances of the hanley tunnels, and asked any questions that come up, you will be better prepared to have these efficient season extenders work for you and your application.

Feel free to look at our Hanley Application page for more information and photos, and give us a call with anything else you require.

We are pleased to have many happy customers these structures are working for, and look forward to you being next!

This concludes our week long series of Season Extension. Check out our new book if you want to know more “So You Want to Buy a Greenhouse…Your Guide to Planning a Greenhouse Purchase”

Season Extension: Ventilating & Heating

To make your greenhouse more of a year round functioning entity, there are two main areas in which you have to make the structure more efficient-Heating and Ventilation.

1. Heating is your biggest expense for the winter so retaining heat is a priority.

The easiest way to retain heat in your greenhouse is to install a double poly cover with air in between. A small squirrel cage blower attached to the inside layer of plastic aids in maintaining air between layers.

The more dead air space between these layers you can create, the closer you will be to achieving a 30% reduction in heat loss. Holes will result in air movement and therefore less efficiency. 3″-5″ consistent space is ideal. It is a given that you would have less then that around the edges and over the ridge.

Double plastic will have a considerably longer life span. It is important to realize that as plastic gets older, the light transmission will be reduced which will reduce production.

Infrared plastic (IR poly) does further reduce heat loss and increase light diffusion so it can also be a consideration when looking for ways to reduce heating costs.

2. Ventilation is also one of your biggest considerations for the warmer times of the year. Ventilation can be done through forced or mechanical methods or passive through vents or roll up sides.

Vents are extremely effective since they can be placed higher up where the heat needs to be expelled. Mechanical ventilation is more costly both up front and to operate but it is easier to control since it is attached to a thermostat. For mechanical ventilation to be effective, it needs to be sized and located properly.

Roll up sides are less costly and simpler to install but are restricted by the fact that you have to be there to open and to close.

Climate control is especially challenging in the spring and the fall since most days you will have the need for both ventilating and heating.

One area that you need to be especially aware of is stagnant air. Without proper air movement, circulation and exchanging, stagnant air can cause many different types of diseases. It is important to understand what your plants require

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of our series about Season Extension and Your Greenhouse coming soon!