Category Archives: How Tos

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. It is the perfect read while dreaming of your new greenhouse!
 “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 and always welcome testimonials, either directly on Amazon to improve our visibility to help more people, or by email to multisheltersales@gmail.com and we will share them on our social media! Thank you for your feedback

It has already proven to 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!

Covering Ends – Plastic & Tarp

Please refer to the Ends page in the assembly guide as well

When you are covering the ends of the structure, there are some similarities and some fundamental differences when you are covering with plastic or with tarp.

The aluminum wirelock channel must be installed on the top side of the hoop before you start the cover. The framing must also be in place before you are putting on the cover.

Your cover will be a rectangle and you must double check if the two ends were supplied as one piece or not.

  • You start at the base of one side and go continuously over the peak so that there is not an edge at the peak.
  • The cover gets fastened, temporarily, at the base first on either side of the door and then pull out to the corners.

If there is ANY wind, do into the wind side first.

  • Please remember that whenever you have wrinkles or folds, you will pull 90 degrees to the wrinkle.

Excess on the end covers will only get trimmed off after the roof cover is on as well.

If you are covering the end with plastic

  • you would go with the extra of your rectangle and fasten it temporarily to the back side of your framing.
  • At the very most, at this stage you will put part of a wire insert on either side of the peak.
  • When the cover is sitting smooth, you can put some strapping on the vertical framing to hole the cover in place.

If you are covering the ends with tarp

  • you will need to remove the wirelock channel first.

This may seem like double work, but the channel is now curved to the building with the required screw holes.

  • The end tarp cover is sandwiched between the hoop and the bottom of the wirelock channel.
  • When you pull the tarp over the peak, you will reinstall the wirelock channel from the top and work down.
  • If you do the left, right or bottom first will be determined by where the wrinkles are (if any).

Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions at all and please watch the videos on our YouTube channel for more information

Solar Powered Inflator Fan Update & Alternative

We have been continuing to get many inquiries about solar powering the inflator fan for greenhouses and livestock buildings, which is used to put air between two layers of plastic roof cover. For the last year we have been experimenting with a solar collecting package to determine what is required, while we work to keep our interested customers updated along the way.

The first thing that must be emphasized, is that you MUST use a squirrel cage type of fan and not a propeller type. The propeller type can not continuously run against back pressure.

The output required will be determined by the size of the greenhouse or livestock building. Our regular 110 volt fan draws .25 amp and puts out 80 cfm. Some small buildings can use a smaller fan and some of the bigger ones require our double output fan which gives 130 cfm.

Our inflator fan works quite well going through an invertor. Any 12 or 24 volt fans which we have tried have been extremely noisy and therefore not feasible.

The biggest challenge which we encountered, is that the specific time the fan is needed the most for heat insulation, is also the time where there is the least capacity for generating power.

We used a single solar collector and a single battery and there was simply not a quick enough capacity for the battery to hold charge when we had several consecutive cloudy days in December/January

To add another solar collector to an already fairly expensive package, really becomes prohibitive and can deter from moving forward with it.

Based on this experience, we wanted to offer an alternative that balanced economy with feasibility. We have come up with a way where the extra roof plastic can be used on the inside of the structure.

This means that you would not need the inflator fan but still have the effect of double plastic with the air pocket for better heat efficiency. This system does require a bit of extra “fiddling” but the net cost will be a little less.

1. The structure is covered with a single layer of plastic just the same as you would if you were only doing a single layer.
2. Take the second piece of plastic inside the greenhouse and fold it double lengthwise.
3. This double plastic will be attached to the underside of the ridge using the same aluminum as you would use to fasten the plastic to the roll up pipe.
4. Next remove the purlins from the one side of the structure and after you have pushed over the plastic, reinstall the purlins under the plastic. You will be pushing the bolts through the plastic.
5. The plastic will be fastened with wirelock to the underside of the end hoops.

We have already had some customers try this out and are very happy with the result. Please call us with any questions or to discuss your specific application and situation where you might use this. We would be happy to help you with your project!

Getting Started with Your Structure Purchase

We’ve had a number of requests from people very green to the process of purchasing structures asking “where do I start?” So we’ve made this check list and supplements to help you out with that! All the information can be found on our website as well, through the links below or the search field on the top left corner of the site. We are also here to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to your call!

You can download our General Information Brochure to get you started!
We’ve also made a Glossary of terms and other starting points in our installation guide. All of which can help familiarize you with items new to you.
Norm’s speech & video Greenhouses 101 is also a good starting point, whether you’re building a greenhouse, storage or any structure that you have in mind.

Recently we have published a book full of information about the planning process “So You Want to Buy a Greenhouse: Your Guide to Planning a Greenhouse Purchase” is available on Amazon, or you can call the office or email multisheltersales@gmail.com to order your copy.

GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR SHELTER CUSTOMIZATION
click here to download this in PDF format

1. Pick a Location: Your building must be level from side to side. If you can’t excavate we can design a variation. End to end slope is ok but if it is more then 1%, we need to know. If you are butting against a building, there may need to be some extra hoops in the first 12’ of length. Building behind something does not provide shelter. You actually increase wind turbulence.

2. Pick a width: Most of our standard widths can easily be modified if it needs to be specific. The widest we do with engineered drawings is 30’ but have supplied up to 36’ wide.

3. Pick a length: Any length is possible; simply by adding hoops If you are building between 2 fixed points, the last hoop spacing can be modified to fit the spot.

4. Pick a height: We have 7 lengths of steel to pick from and do not bend anything until we get an order. Building higher will improve the snow shedding characteristics of the building. Building higher gives more interior space close to the wall but the structure catches more wind. Since building higher catches more wind, the structure may require reduced hoop spacing. Building higher will be a little more costly to heat but does improve natural air circulation. Building lower will decrease snow shedding and may required closer hoop spacing.

5. Pick a base or foundation: The standard package comes with a Base Brackets under each hoop to secure the building to a beam. This beam can be ground mounted or on blocks, posts, slab or shipping containers. We can supply a welded steel base rail if the structure needs to be moveable. We can supply Anchor Posts. Each hoop would sit on a post that may need to be set into concrete. Please remember that there simply is no such thing as too many anchors.

6. Pick a cover: The standard covers we offer are 12 mil tarp (white or green) and 6mil (white or clear) White tarp has a typical 8-10 year life and gives summer shade and winter light. Green tarp has a typical 6-7 year life and is hotter in summer and colder in winter. 6mil clear plastic must be used for plants. Typical life span is 5-6 years. 6mil white plastic is used where shade is important but still need light. Typical life is 4-6 years. Doubling up on plastic reduces heat loss by 30%, minimizes condensation and increases life span by 50%

 7. Determine ventilation: Roll up Side Walls are an economical add on to our greenhouses or livestock shelters to provide natural ventilation. Roof vents and exhaust fans are available options

8. Building ends: Our package prices include covers for both ends. The assembly guide gives pointers on framing Ends We can supply steel frame ends, with or without a variety of sizes and types of doors.

If you haven’t had a look yet, our installation guide has quite a few pointers and tips of things you may need to consider for your unique application as well. We look forward to hearing from you with any other questions or comments you have, either through our contact form, or call us toll free 1-866-838-6729

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. It is the perfect read while dreaming of your new greenhouse!
 “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 and always welcome testimonials, either directly on Amazon to improve our visibility to help more people, or by email to multisheltersales@gmail.com and we will share them on our social media! Thank you for your feedback

It has already proven to 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!

Greenhouses 101 & 202

Norm spoke at the Guelph Organic Conference January 31, 2015 on Greenhouses 101: Knowing the basics before you buy-Choices and Consquences
You can find the articles and information posted, as well as a video of his presentation and the Q&A below.

Greenhouses 101: What are you trying to accomplish? What are you dealing with?Greenhouses 101: Climate and Air Effects on your Structure
Greenhosues: 101: Covering Options
Greenhouses 101: Greenhouse Shapes & Configurations
Greenhouses 101: Orientation and Location
Greenhouses 101: Knowing the basics before you buy
Greenhouses 101: Greenhouse Choices

Norm did a presentation at the Guelph Organic Conference on Greenhouses 202: Making sure your structure survives the elements. The presentation is broken into three parts for easy viewing, the last section of which is the Q&A. These tips apply for greenhouses, storage buildings, livestock shelters, really anything we sell. Key Points Covered in the presentation:

1. Some basic principles of engineering so that the forces exerted on the buildings could be better understood.
2. The many components of anchoring. Anchoring prevents a structure from settling under snow load, prevents lifting under aerodynamic forces and prevents shifting with wind forces.
3. The similarities of an airplane wing to the shape of a structure. What happens when surfaces become bigger, wider. lower and higher.
4. How uneven loads can happen and how to prevent them.
5. The proper procedure to removing excessive snow load

Read more here: Greenhouses 202: How to get your structure to survive the elements

Watch more here:

https://youtu.be/TS1y_UmMJ38

https://youtu.be/zTAeGxObtGs

https://youtu.be/y8NGn4jqA4c

Retightening a Loose 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.

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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 the WINTER CARE  page in our installation guide for additional information. We also have a Winter Care FAQ page with articles we have posted on this topic

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. Uneven snow loading is deceiving, since the total weight is not a problem but the lateral force can cause the hoops to distort.It is rare to have any significant snow build up on the roofs; however,

DO NOT GO INSIDE A BUILDING WHERE THERE HAS BEEN OBVIOUS STRESS!

Be aware of these scenarios where excessive snow build up is possible and damage could follow:
A wet snowfall followed by dropping temperatures
A building 90° to the prevailing wind (drifts could form on the backside of the building)
A building attached to and situated downwind of a taller building (significant drifting)

A building 90° to another building that has a higher roof, could cause a surge in snow weight when the snow on the upper roof slides off.

Preventative measures for excessive snow build up (where possible):

Build structures inline with the prevailing wind
Build structures level from side to side to create uniform shedding
Do not attach your building to a larger existing building

Install a heat source to melt the snow

Economical additions to increase your structure’s snow resistance:

Install cable or tubular cross-ties at each pair of hoops, to create a triangle (when using cables there is no need to put them under tension)
Place wooden or metal support posts under the ridge. These can be suspended from the ridge with no more than ½” ground clearance. This will provide support as soon as there is load and structure movement will not dislodge your supports.

Use closer hoop spacing for the first 12’ section away from another bigger building

Pointers for removing snow:

NEVER remove all the snow from one side and then the other
Remove the snow off the top of your building before using a machine (snow blower, etc) along the sides

Use a padded piece of 1×4 wood on a pole (create a “T” shape) as the best tool for gently bumping the inside of the cover

BEWARE of this sequence which creates a “worst case scenario”:

Freezing rain, followed by dropping temperatures, Lots of snow followed by rainfall. It is easy to triple the weight of the snow load in 30 minutes.

Please call us if you have any questions about any of this. Thank you

Important Winter Care Articles

We have published a few articles regarding winter care and maintenance, and suggest anyone who has purchased a structure from us to review them to make sure your shelter is safe over this winter. As always, we are available for anything you are wondering or concerned about. We would be happy to help.

Winter Care & Maintenance
Winter Storm and Your Structures
Putting up Structures After Snowfall
Weather Cautions
Cold Weather Poly Install
Temporary Fix for a Loose Cover
Retightening a Loose Cover
Installing Before Winter