What to do When You Can No Longer Use a Canopy

Most permanent shelters like carports and portable garages are designed to stay outdoors for several months, if not years, at a time. But, while the metal frame of a canopy might be designed to last ten to fifteen years before being replaced, the canopies aren’t designed to last that long. Although canopies are made from heavy-duty polyethylene and treated to be UV resistant and waterproof, they usually last a maximum of five years before being worn out and torn. To keep your portable shelter going, purchasing a replacement canopy is necessary. But what do you do with the old canopy? Polyethylene can’t be recycled and, instead of having these tarps sit in landfills, other options exist for reusing tarps.

One trend for going green has been to reuse materials that won’t decompose. Whether that’s melting down plastics or turning laminated juice cartons into handbags, reusing these unrecyclable pieces of “trash” keeps them out of landfills. As far as tarps are concerned, some fashion designers take old tarps, be it the polyethylene one from your canopy or a canvas truck tarp, and use the material for something fashionable. Freitag, for example, uses old tarps to make bags, be it a handbag or messenger bag, while Real Deal Brazil makes them into hats. Both companies accept donated tarps.

Aside from donating a tarp for fashion, others have found uses for them. Some artists, for example, incorporate tarps into sculptures. But, if you’re not an artist, one suggestion for reusing your old canopy tarps instead of throwing them away is to use them around the house, such as a painting tarp, or to make them into Halloween decorations. Tearing up an old silver tarp from a carport into a spider web and attaching it to your porch means you won’t need to go to the store for Halloween decorations.

Why Use a Seasonal Vehicle Shelter?

Seasonal vehicles, as explained by their name, can only be used for certain parts of the year. Whether you go camping with an RV or smaller camper or prefer to go boating, any of these vehicles need to be put in storage. For some who own a brick and mortar garage, this is a no-brainer, as a boat or camper will fit in the garage. But what do you do if you don’t own a garage? One option is to put up a portable storage building for your shelter. Such dealers as Portable Garage Depot and Shelters of America make portable storage sheds specifically designed for these buildings, including RVs with a longer body and additional height.

Some might argue that leaving your vehicle outside exposes it to the elements. Of course, this is actually leaving your vehicle outdoors and not fully protected by a shelter. Any portable shelter for a seasonal vehicle consists of a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene canopy. The canopy, which covers the roof and all sides, is made from heavy-duty polyethylene and is treated to be UV resistant, waterproof, and rot and mildew resistant. But, as some air is allowed to circulate under the canopy, moisture doesn’t get trapped under the shelter, as it does with shrink-wrapping a boat, and the vehicle won’t have dry rot, mildew, or mold build up on its surface.

These structures, essentially, can be stored anywhere on your property and can last through rain, wind, and snow. Some structures, however, are better for more extreme weather conditions like snow. If your area experiences large snowfalls, a rounded roof shelter is better for long-term protection of your boat, RV, or other seasonal vehicle, as the snow or water will roll off the roof instead of building up on top. With full protection on all sides, weather, including UV rays and water, generally stays away from the vehicle. But, as animals can come in, checking on the vehicle occasionally is a good idea.

Zoning Laws for Carports

Installing a carport is significantly more convenient and economical than constructing a brick-and-mortar garage from scratch. Both structures, however, may need local approval, as seen in a recent news item about a man fighting for his carport. For him, as well as others, the carport on his property doesn’t comply with local zoning regulations. This includes the dimensions of the building, as well as having one on his property. But when does a carport, portable garage, or temporary shed constitute as a permanent structure in the same vein as a deck or porch? According to the article, this is generally when the structure is cemented into the ground. If you plan to pull the structure from the ground and not keep it in place permanently, the carport or portable garage doesn’t need a building permit.

For those that want a carport or portable garage on their property, this poses somewhat of a dilemma, but that can be quickly resolved by contacting any local office in charge on zoning regulations. As these temporary structures may count as permanent, contact your local office about getting a building permit anyway for one of these structures. If you do need a building permit, ask:

• Does a carport count as a permanent structure only if you have to put it in the ground? Is it not a permanent structure if you don’t cement it or set it in concrete and take it down for part of the year? As RV and boat canopies may only be up for part of the year, asking this is important, as putting up an RV canopy might end up being a permanent structure needing approval in your area.
• What dimensions are allowed? Where on my property can I put this building? As
carports and other portable storage buildings come in a number of sizes, zoning laws may have limits on how large a portable garage, carport, or RV shelter can be, as well as where you can place it on your property.

As purchasing a portable shelter can be a small investment, asking these questions before you purchase a portable storage building might help you from picking a product that can’t be put up on your property.

Large-Size Rounded Roof Shelters

The previous post was about peaked roof shelters on a larger scale, also referred to as industrial size shelters, and rounded roof shelters can be found on this scale, as well. At this height, rounded roof shelters are used for all of the same purposes as the peaked shelters from before, but merely the shape is different. If you’re looking for an alternative to constructing a new barn, one of these industrial sized shelters can be constructed instead. As with all types of portable storage buildings, these can be expanded over time if you need to add any additional vehicles, equipment, or other investments and don’t have enough storage space.

The typical rounded roof portable garage most are familiar with is the smaller sized shelter, which is usually the longer shelters used for RVs and other seasonal vehicle storage. These shelters are longer than they are wide. Barn-style rounded roof shelters, on the other hand, have the opposite type of dimensions, with the width being longer or equal to the length. In terms of storing vehicles, however, the vehicles, be it RVs or farm equipment, should be able to fit inside one of these shelters. Doors, in the case of these shelters, are at least twelve feet high. Larger vehicles needing to fit into the canopy will need larger doors.

With the last industrial sized shelter mentioned on this blog, the doors were insulated aluminum roll-up doors. This, however, is somewhat of an anomaly in terms of portable shelter construction, and usually the standard roll up or zipper doors are made from the same polyethylene material as the rest of the shelter. All of these rounded roof shelters have attached roll up or zipper doors made from the same heavy-duty polyethylene treated to be UV resistant and waterproof.

Peak Style Storage Buildings

One product sold on portable storage building sites like Shelters of America and Portable Garage Depot is a peak style storage building. These industrial-sized portable buildings resemble portable garages, somewhat, but are designed on a larger and sturdier scale. Some portable buildings are designed for people to go inside and work, and that’s often the purpose of these larger buildings, although some can be used for storing multiple large vehicles. The sturdiness that these buildings have is rooted – literally – in the structure of the building, including a solid, square end pipe ending frame, and in the stakes used to hold it into the ground.

One of these industrial sized storage buildings, on the smaller end, can be 20 feet wide, 30 feet long, and sixteen feet high. As this size is on the lower end of industrial sized structures, others expand on these dimensions. The door, in addition, is at least twelve feet high. Buildings designed for holding larger vehicles, such as trucks and RVs, may need a higher door to fit the vehicle inside. Regardless, the overall structure is much like a barn, only portable. Like a barn, they can store various pieces of farm equipment or seasonal vehicles, or can be used as a large work space. As a result, the entire space, once the door is pulled down, is fully enclosed.

The main characteristic of a peaked storage building is the sturdiness and, inside, the frame includes metal rafters, which are spaced six feet apart, as part of the galvanized steel frame. Another important quality is the door, which, for these larger buildings, is a steel roll up door, as opposed to the polyethylene roll up or zipper doors seen on smaller shelters. While both types of roll up doors are effective for their respective structures, the roll up door on these larger structures is made of insulated aluminum.

Different Types of Portable Garage Frames

As you can see from the Shelters of America video above, portable storage buildings come in a variety of styles. This includes the two you see here, a barn-style portable building and a peaked roof portable garage, as well as the rounded roof portable garages that were mentioned in previous posts. Some flat roof portable canopies are available, but these are rarely used as permanent shelters and, instead, as garden canopies. What do you use each type of portable building for? Are some styles of portable buildings better than others for certain pieces of equipment?

The peaked roof portable garage is one of the more common types of portable buildings on the market. From general portable shelters like carports to smaller portable sheds, this design is used. In some cases, as for carports, polyethylene side walls aren’t added and the polyethylene roof protects the vehicle sufficiently. But if you need all-around coverage, which is important if a seasonal vehicle is being stored, then one of these shelters can be designed with polyethylene canopy walls. This design is standard for smaller portable sheds. The peaked roof canopy in the video, however, is taller than average and is probably best used for RV storage or as a carport for a medium-sized truck.

The second style of shelter seen in the video is a barn-style portable garage. Essentially, this type of peaked shelter functions much like the ordinary peaked roof ones, except it’s a wider structure. Because of the barn-like style and shed-like design, these shelters are typically used for housing farm equipment. Farm equipment, like vehicles, includes regularly used and seasonal designs, and one of these barn-shaped shelters can house both regularly-used and seasonal farm equipment equally.

Setting up an RV Shelter

If you’re someone who goes camping regularly, you would like your RV or camper to last several years. Owning an RV requires significant maintenance, especially as it is a seasonal vehicle and will be in storage for several months during the year. One way to store an RV is by using a large portable garage, particularly a rounded roof style portable building. This type of portable building is longer than average and is usually designed as being taller and narrower than peaked roof portable garages. For a better idea of how RV storage with a rounded roof portable garage works, watch the Shelters of America video below:

Two options are available for at-home RV storage if you don’t own a brick-and-mortar garage: an RV tarp or a portable garage. While custom fitted RV canopies are available, a portable garage shaped for your RV, much like the rounded roof portable buildings seen in the video above, gives the vehicle more breathing room and, when the RV is in use, the shelter can function as a carport or as additional storage during the summer months.

When picking out one of these shelters for an RV, the one thing to consider is how large the structure should be. First, all of the dimensions of the vehicle should be taken into account, and this includes the height, width, and length of the vehicle. Any appendages to the vehicle, such as roof ventilation should be added to the overall dimensions. As an RV will be in storage for several months, the building should be slightly larger than the vehicle, or large enough that the vehicle and a person can fit inside. Although the building itself is designed to protect the RV from UV and water exposure, the vehicle should still be checked for dry rot, mildew, and if any small animals crawled inside.

Rounded Roof Portable Garages

Portable garages come in several shapes, some of which may accommodate your needs better than others. One common type of portable storage building is a rounded roof shelter, which has a tall, curved frame and is usually used for longer vehicles like RVs. Smaller versions are available but, generally, portable garages with rounded roofs are used for longer vehicles. The frame for this shelter, which can be seen in the Shelters of America YouTube video below, is essentially composed of curved pieces of galvanized steel – all of the same size – connected together by straight pieces of steel.

 
Rounded roof portable garages have the same composition as other types of portable shelters, with a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene canopy. Rounded roof portable buildings are better suited to certain climates, however. In general, a portable garage frame and canopy should withstand faster winds and large amounts of snow or rain, but rounded roof portable garages are better suited for people needing storage in areas experiencing large rain and snow falls. The rounded design allows snow or rain to simply roll off the roof and not accumulate on top.

In terms of assembly, as you can see by the video above, the polyethylene canopy stretches from one side to the other, once the frame as been assembled. As a shelter, this fully-enclosed design, as soon as you add back and front polyethylene zipper doors, is ideal for protecting vehicles or other investments that will be in storage for several months. This includes RVs, boats, motorcycles, and farm equipment. For all-around coverage, the polyethylene canopy keeps out UV rays and is waterproof and, being somewhat breathable, allows air to circulate and prevent mildew and dry rot from forming on the vehicle.

Storing Farm Equipment

Like storage options for cars and seasonal vehicles, farm equipment has its own portable building options. Some manufacturers of portable storage buildings cater to farmers or those needing to store agriculture equipment of various sizes and provide products that can fit equipment like tractors and larger equipment. These shelters, although designed with the same frame and canopy as all portable storage buildings, are designed with a rounded roof or barn-like shape, but, no matter the style, these portable storage shelters have steel frames of varying sizes and canopies to protect the equipment. Whether the equipment is something you use all year or is only for certain seasons, these shelters can protect the vehicles needed to maintain your farm.

Portable storage buildings for farm equipment come in various sizes, some small enough to fit one piece of equipment and others large enough for a truck or RV-size vehicle. Although styles for these buildings include barn-like or rounded roofs, all structures are essentially the same. This includes a steel frame made from powder-coated or galvanized steel to protect the metal from exposure to the elements and deteriorating. A heavy-duty polyethylene canopy is added to all of these shelters for full enclosure. As with all portable buildings, the canopy here is designed to be UV resistant and waterproof. These properties not only protect the equipment inside from the wear and tear of being outside but they keep the canopy in solid condition.

When farm equipment is stored in one of these portable shelters, it is protected from constant UV and water exposure and, as these structures are somewhat breathable, mildew and dry rot won’t build up on the vehicle when stored for several months at a time. If the farm equipment is a piece you use regularly, these structures will still protect your investments daily when not in use by having these same properties and sturdy design.

Protecting a Motorcycle

Many outdoor portable shelters are geared toward protecting cars and larger seasonal vehicles like boats and RVs or campers, but what about smaller vehicles? In some areas, motorcycles may be considered seasonal vehicles, as riding them in nicer weather is a better trip than taking them through the snow. But that’s not to say that motorcycles aren’t used in colder weather and rode through a foot of snow. Regardless of when you ride your motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle, it should be stored properly. If your home isn’t equipped with a brick-and-mortar garage, putting up a smaller portable storage shed, or motorcycle shelter, is one way to store and protect a motorcycle. If you already own a portable garage or carport-like shelter, the motorcycle, for everyday use, can be stored in one of these portable buildings, as well.

Seasonal vehicles, be it an RV or a motorcycle, are stored for several months at a time. While in storage, these vehicles should be protected from exposure to UV rays, as well as moisture from rain and snow. The ideal shelter for storing a motorcycle for several months is one of the smaller portable buildings. These buildings have a peaked roof or rounded roof design, with the heavy-duty canopy extending from one side to the other and over the roof. For a fully-enclosed shelter, a back and front door can be installed with kits for adding a zipper or roll-up door. Once fully enclosed, the portable shelter will protect the motorcycle from exposure to UV rays and moisture, and, with some breathability in the shelter, mildew and dry rot won’t form on the motorcycle.

When putting a motorcycle in storage for several months, the vehicle should be checked at times to see if small animals have entered the shelter. However, if you plan to use a motorcycle even in colder weather, one option is to put it under a portable garage or carport with other vehicles, such as cars, that you drive regularly.