Category Archives: How Tos

FEATURED PRODUCT: Movable Structures

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The idea of a moving structure allows a user, with a little creativity, to protect 2 -3 times as much area with the same building and investment. It is a very simple concept as long as some basic guidelines are adhered to. It can be applied to many of our standard structures.

Please see our Movable Structures page for more information and don’t hesitate to call us with any questions regarding this unique application.

Photos & Video: Purlins, Windbraces & Crossties

IMPORTANT wind braces are the longer pipes, purlins are the shorter ones, Cross ties are optional, and they are the longest pipes you will get (pictured below, not here)

Installing Purlins


How to install windbraces video is on our YouTube Channel

Below are examples of structures with cross-ties, bars going across the peak for larger structures. These are optional to reinforce the structure. Please see the supplemental Cross-Ties page in the installation guide as well as additional notes below the photos

We’ve had a number of questions regarding cross ties being missing from orders. This isn’t the case, and is done on purpose because the last cross tie interferes with the end cover, so we ship the orders “short” on cross ties to compensate for this. We are sorry for any confusion this has caused and are happy to help you with any other installation questions you may have.

Cross ties, also known as collar ties, are a horizontal bar in a structure which ties the left and right side together. They are usually 3’ to 4’ down from the peak. The purpose of cross ties is to add load strength to the structure. Many people look at cross ties as a nuisance because of lost head space but they have a three fold benefit.

  • By forming the triangle at the peak you create benefit for the dead load which is usually snow load. The top can not come down when the sides can not spread.
  • By tying the left and right sides together, you create strength for the live load, commonly referred to as wind load. When the wind blows from the left, the right side holds it from pushing inward and vice versa.
  • Most importantly, it decreases the rocking motion which can stress a building over time.
  • The cross tie can also supply a very useful support area for things that need to be suspended.

It is important to remember that when you spread out the load you create strength.Photos & Video: Purlins, Windbraces & Crossties

Retightening a Loose Structure Cover

Previously we outlined how to do a temporary fix for loose cover. This should not be left for an extended period. Re-tightening a cover does not have to be done in one day.

  • The job MUST split into two parts lengthwise.
  • The cover must be pulled lengthwise BEFORE it is pulled from side to side.
  • Make sure you do the tightening process on a calm, warm day.
  • You should do the end which looks the worst first.
  • This job will require taking ALL of the cover fasteners out.

Taking a short cut will leave you with more wrinkles.
Areas with wrinkles will flutter more and cause stress points.
This will also cause the cover to deteriorate quicker.

When you are tightening the cover, you should always pull 90 degrees to the wrinkle.

This means that after you have secured at the peak,
most often you will be pulling diagonally to the corner.

Once you have done one end/half and the wind is still down, you can start loosing the fasteners on the other end and repeat the process until complete.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

You can also see additional information in our installation guide:
Tarp Covering Instructions
Plastic Covering Instructions
Wirelock & Side Wall Cover Fasteners
covering options

Temporary Fix for a Loose Cover

There are a number of instances where a cover will need to be installed in less than ideal conditions. This can be either be on a windy day or in the cold (-10C or worse) and the job simply can not wait.

This will almost invariably lead to a situation where the cover will need to be re-tightened on a warmer and/or calmer day.

Doing this temporary fix will get you an extra month of time that you can wait until it warms up and you can do a better job retightening the loose cover.

The lifespan of a cover can very quickly be reduced if it is repeatedly flapping in the hard wind. A very effective, temporary fix to give you more time to do the job right, is to put ropes or straps over the building (as in the photos below)

A 1” or 2” wide seat belt type material is ideal but likely you will need to settle for a soft, marine grade rope instead.

Using nylon rope is almost worse then using nothing because of the abrasion factor.

  • The idea is to put a strap or rope between pairs of hoops every 12’ to 16’ and pull as tight as you can.
  • Use nails or eye bolts on your base as the spot for securing the ropes or straps.

If your cover is especially loose, it is best to install each of the ropes or straps snugly first. Then go back and tighten them as tight as you can. This will prevent you from pulling too much in one spot.

Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about this technique. We would be happy to help clarify anything you need, to keep your building secure.


Winter Storms and Maintenance 

With the upcoming storms in both Ontario and the east coast forecasted, we wanted to remind everyone: it’s okay, and even preferred that the buildings have some snow around them. 

This prevents the wind from getting under them and it also means that the height above the ground is less. This significantly decreases the aerodynamic lift.

As we’ve stated in our winter care articles and in the installation guide, there are things you can do to prepare your building to withstand the storms as best as possible. Taking extra steps during the ‘worst case scenario’ situations can often make all the difference and help your building stay standing.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about any of these situations. Good luck and stay warm! 

Winter Care & Maintenance

These buildings are not industrial grade shelters and, as such, some caution must be exercised under some winter storm conditions….

Please see our Winter Care & Maintenance Page and  the WINTER CARE & other key points page in our installation guide for additional information

Our structures are designed in a gothic shape with a slippery cover to be lightweight and snow resistant. This encourages the snow to slide off quickly.
This is not an industrial high snow load building. We do our best to always point out applications where the capacity of the structure is being compromised. Extra hoops or thicker steel are an economical way to increase wind and snow load capacity. We take pride in the sturdy shelters we manufacture and supply, but must point out that we cannot warranty against weather conditions.

Snow removal, when occasionally required, is a simple task. DO NOT GO INSIDE A BUILDING WHERE THERE HAS BEEN OBVIOUS STRESS!


Cold Weather Poly Install

If you were one of the many people who, last fall, were faced with putting the cover on in less than ideal weather, you will be looking at significant wrinkles once the weather starts to warm up.

You will need to tighten the cover to prevent premature wear due to flapping in the wind.

Tightening does not have to be done all at once. You can do half one day and half on another.

It is important to remember that you are always pulling at 90 degrees to the wrinkles. Most of the tightening will need to be done lengthwise first.

If you have a loose cover and no time this week to tighten things,
there is a temporary fix!

  • Take a soft length of rope (do not use nylon!) and throw it over the building where the cover is particularly loose.
  • Tie the rope off at the base as tight as you can.

Please call if you need clarification for this procedure and we would be happy to help

Installing Before Winter

There always seems to be so much pressure and panic at this time to get a building before winter. The only thing that is important to get done sooner then later is the foundation work.

There will be lots of decent weather days between now and Christmas to get the job done.

If you think that it is too late to get it done and you will simply wait until next spring, please remember that you said the same thing last spring (or even a few months ago) and as usual the busyness of life got in the way.

Give us a call today to see how you can get that foundation taken care of before freeze up.

For those of you who want to get the structure up now and cover it in the spring, I urge you to cover the building sooner then later for a couple of reasons.

  1. First is that there will be lots of other things vying for your time in the spring
  2. Secondly, the more snow you have on that spot which has to melt, the more moisture you will have in the building.
    The more moisture you have in the building the more condensation issues you will have.

You want to give that ground the most time possible to dry up before you need to start using the building.

In my humble opinion, even though putting the cover on in late fall or early winter is more difficult and not pleasant, the benefits of having more time for the ground to dry, far outweigh the time spent to adjust the cover  in the spring

Structures on Blocks or Shipping Containers

Storage containers and over sized concrete blocks are the economical solution for needing to elevate structures to create more storage capacity.

One consideration is when the product being stored does not lend itself to stacking, such as salt, sand or soil, there is the added dimension of outward push on the wall. Not only does the pile push outwardly, but an operator scooping the product will create even greater push.

Storage containers and over sized concrete blocks are the economical solution for such a situation. The weight and the stability which both the containers and blocks give, eliminates the need to anchor into the ground.

Containers are often simply put on the ground.

When going more then two layers with the blocks, there should be a concrete pad or special preparation of the soil to provide stability.

When choosing this foundation method, it is important to consider how and where the shelter will shed water and snow.

The top of the wall or container must be sealed to the possibility of moisture going inside.

The other thing that must be given proper consideration is that the shelter is able to deal with the extra wind load created by elevating the shelter this much.

In most of these installations, the wind load on a building is at least double of what it would be if mounted on the ground.

sand storage on blocks Haystorage on blocksBrunelle Container pictures 001Brunelle Container pictures 012

Organic Greenhouses/Shelters-uses and benefits

There are many benefits to having a greenhouse structure for organic growing and housing.

They are often used a season extender for protecting crops from the elements, blight, and fungus. Since Organic growers and farmers do not use pesticides, this type of protection is often required for some of the more sensitive crops.smaller high profile

The structures are easy to move to allow the expansion of the growing area.These structures can easily help to give you the opportunity to grow more crops in a limited area. What many of our customers also do, particularly with Hanley Caterpillar structures, is start growing the early crops under the protection of the structure, and as the crop is stable enough, they move the structure to be able to start the next planting.

Knight Hanley Structure

Our structures are also used for organic livestock raising to ensure the animals have a healthy, safe and protected environment out of the elements. They are versatile structures, and only require the changing of clear to white plastic for the various uses. The environment allows the animals to have sunlight, but still get the shade they require.


The combination of the double layer of plastic, roll up sides, and inflator fan, on both the greenhouse and livestock shelters, helps to reduce condensation and keep the structure ventilated.

We have different options to power the inflator fan or create the cushion of air required for the double layer poly benefits for those off grid customers or if the structure is out in the field away from electricity as we know many of our organic growers and farmers are in these situations.