Winter No Match for Durable Fabric Structures

December 18, 2017

Commecial fertilizer storage storage facility

High atop the priority list for many is the acquisition of versatile, long-lasting, highly affordable, durable fabric structures. No matter the business enterprise, a typically harsh winter can have devastating effects on virtually every aspect of the industrial, commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors.

That is, unless the proper common-sense precautions are taken to deal with, manage, and ultimately overcome climatic realities that confront us during the cold season.

Since 1992, Calhoun Super Structures has tirelessly examined all aspects of this increasingly popular structural option. To those in the business-community-at-large, it has become the ideal alternative to conventional post-frame or stud-frame buildings. During the winter months, the wide range of usages is a particularly interesting facet of the fabric structure story.

In earlier articles, we looked back to the last glacial period of the Ice Age, from which shelters 44,000-50,000 years old have been unearthed. Remains found in the Siberian Steppe show they were likely made from animal skins draped between sticks, used as the first dwellings for humans. The earliest and most successful type was the loosely woven black tent, associated with nomadic peoples. Centuries later, with industry and business enterprises rapidly expanding, economic needs increasing and the need for a secure habitat met by more than tents, fabric structures have become a fixture satisfying a multitude of year-round needs.

Three key factors in the ongoing tension-fabric structure success story are:

  • Less expense
  • Adaptability of fabric
  • Durability and longevity of the material

Now fabric structures dot the landscape from the extreme heat in places like Saudi Arabia to the frigid cold of St. Paul, Minnesota, and all points in-between. Farmers have been using them since the 1950s for livestock, hay, and equipment storage.

In recent years, a growing number of those working outside agriculture have been discovering what a viable, affordable, and durable option fabric structures are. From equine and recreational centres to the storage of equipment and machinery, sand, and salt, fabric structures have become an integral and highly sought-after multi-faceted tool of business on a global scale.


Salt, Sand and More

Consider what one of Calhoun’s distributors from New England had to say about the value of fabric structures during the winter.

“We have 100 built in New England in all six states for cities and towns,” says the spokesperson from one of Calhoun’s key distributors. “They had either no storage places for salt or their current structures were too old, no longer safe, too small, or incapable of storing it properly in a dry space until it was needed. Our fabric structures served their needs and much more. All the customers are very happy with the products they now have.

“Competitors with metal or wooden buildings say fabric won’t last long but they’re wrong. Our buildings are extremely durable. Replacing a roof on a fabric structure is inexpensive and far less time-consuming.”

As for salt storage, the galvanized steel Calhoun uses both inside and outside, concrete walls and durable covers, result in no corrosion. Buyers are delighted that costs are about one-half less than those of traditional steel and wooden structures. High clearances allow delivery trucks to unload the product inside the structure without any issues.

“Before they actually see fabric buildings, some are expecting tents,” the spokesperson added. “They are impressed to discover these are fully-engineered structures that are long-lasting, less-costly . . . over the building’s life cycle, and with virtually zero maintenance.”

With fabric structures being built along the East and West Coast and parts of Midwestern United States, interest is growing all across North America.

Cost effectiveness also means snow removal companies, other private firms, and municipalities can keep within their budgets by getting larger structures for less money. If the winter is particularly harsh and snowy, a demand for salt or alternatives are easily met. Purchases can be made early in the season and stored securely in bigger structures.


A Perfect Solution

The Town of Hermon, New York is another example of how fabric structures have been highly sought after for salt storage during winter months. Salt and sand was stored outside which meant waste, as well as exposure, to the wintry elements. Indoor storage space was needed for material storage and mixing, and to house the  snow plows and equipment during the summer.

The simple solution was a spacious and efficient 60 X 60 HT series fabric structure salt storage building. In the first year more than 100 tonnes of salt and sand was preserved. Along with the savings anticipated to pay for the building in four years, town representatives were “200% happy” with the customer service provided before, during, and after the building construction by another one of Calhoun’s key distributors.

A recent Town of Hermon testimonial summed it up concisely:

“We love our Calhoun building and have nothing but good things to say about it.”


Diversity to Suit All Needs

On The Forest Boarding in Stouffville, Ontario needed a riding arena for year-round activity. Ample space for lessons and jumping courses was essential so a 70 x 160 foot Calhoun structure was purchased.

After thorough investigation that included consideration of wood and steel buildings, it was evident to the customer that fabric was the ideal choice, in large part because of the affordability.

“I’ve ridden in many different structures over the years and I would pick our fabric arena over every other building of the same size every time,” said a company spokesperson. “It is seven-years-old now and still very solid, withstanding wind and weather on the edge of a big field where it is bombarded daily by whatever the northwest winds bring.

“Most impressive is the inside lighting, the feeling of great spaciousness due to the extra high ceiling and the white fabric. I don’t need to turn on any lights in the day and it is always bright inside. It is so nice in the winter when the sun is shining and you see the beautiful lighting at sunset. People who visit us for the first time are so surprised by the brightness and great space.

Other benefits:

  • Less noise compared to a tin roof
  • Ability to use all year round
  • Two large openings on either side for a good cross breeze in the summer
  • In winter it closes up and can warm up on sunny days

On the recommendation of another one of Calhoun’s distributors, Calhoun’s fabric structure was chosen in particular due to favorable differences in the company’s buildings including steel tresses 10 feet apart instead of 12 feet apart, providing a more sturdy structure with greater durability to withstand strong damaging winds.


Meeting Agriculture’s Winter Needs

A report written by Harold House, an OMAFRA Agricultural Engineer entitled Fabric Covered Structures for the Cold Housing of Livestock, addressed a range of functions for the buildings during the cold season including:

  • An alternative for machinery storage, hay storage, and livestock housing
  • A low-cost well-ventilated cold housing alternative to conventional housing
  • A bright and airy environment in which work can be done by the producer

There are many, many benefits and advantages to fabric structures, particularly, Calhoun’s fabric structures. As a pioneer in the fabric structure industry, we have spent more than 20 years creating the strongest, safest, and most reliable series of structures on the market. We’ve thought of everything, from the strength of your structure to the longevity of your investment and a warranty we stand behind.

Our strength is also in the structure of our company, our employees, and our extensive dealer network.

For further information just check us out at or click here to get a quote today.


Others also read:

The Many Fabric Building Benefits

Portable, Durable, and Lightweight – A Brief History of Fabric Structures

Cost-effective and reliable: Upgrading your farm with a “hoop barn”