Polyethylene Canopies

All types of portable storage buildings have one thing in common: a polyethylene canopy. The canopy usually serves as the covering for the roof, although shed-like structures often use them for walls and doors. This type of canopy has the same composition as a polyethylene tarp and, in many cases, a replacement canopy for one of these shelters can be created by a tarp fitted to the appropriate size. Although some shelters, such as carports, may be designed with a metal roof, the polyethylene material is designed to last a long time, as well. Warranties on the canopy itself generally last up to five years and then the material can be replaced easily then.

The polyethylene used is heavy duty, as this is ideal for constant outdoor exposure. The heavy-duty polyethylene canopies are then treated to have several qualities to withstand any of the elements outside. This includes being treated to be waterproof, UV resistant, rot resistant, and mildew resistant. Some are even treated to be fire retardant, according to stringent California fire codes. Aside from these treatments, the heavy-duty nature of the fabric has a 14 by 14 denier count, which is designed to be rip-proof. These qualities not only prevent the fabric from deteriorating or ripping but also protect any of the investments inside the canopy structure.

For some structures, a simple tarp can serve as a replacement canopy, especially as individual tarps for any outdoor uses are designed in white, silver, or green. Some canopy structures, however, have a more specific design, which isn’t always met by the design of a tarp. Shed-shaped portable shelters, for example, often have a canopy with three walls and a roof shaped like a shed that fits over the traditional frame. Rounded roof canopies have the same type of concept. Dealers of portable garages and other portable buildings often carry these specific replacement canopies for outdoor shelters of various shapes.

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.

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.

Types of Steel Frames

All types of outdoor shelters are composed of a steel frame and a canopy of some kind. The type of steel, however, varies with the use of the shelter and, as a result, the two types of steel available are galvanized and powder-coated steel. The former is often used for permanent outdoor shelters like carports and portable garages, while the latter is used for temporary shelters, such as wedding tents and pop-up canopies, that will be up for a day. Both types of surfaces are used to protect the steel from corrosion. While some quick methods of protecting steel include painting the surface, this is only temporary and a more heavy duty covering is more effective for keeping a steel canopy frame intact.

What is the difference between the two, at least on a physical level? For powder-coated steel frames, a dry coating is applied to the steel as a free-flowing, loose dry powder. However, the “powder” used is a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer. To get the powder to stick to the steel, the dry, loose substance is applied electrostatically. Then, the powder is cured under heat until it solidifies.

Creating galvanized steel, on the other hand, is more of a chemical process to alter the steel compound to prevent it from corrosion. Galvanized steel is created by coating a steel rod or beam with layers of zinc, which directly protects the steel from rust. The steel is submerged in zinc, which, by chemical bonds, permanently becomes part of the metal. The result is, instead of a thoroughly-distributed mix of zinc and steel, a galvanized steel rod or beam with zinc on the outside, a layer below of zinc and iron, and pure steel on the inside. To protect the steel from corrosion, the zinc will corrode first when exposed to moisture or saltwater.