Repair or Replace: What Do I Do If My Fabric Structure Cover Becomes Damaged?

Repair or Replace: What Do I Do If My Fabric Structure Cover Becomes Damaged?

Both HDPE and PVC fabrics are used to construct superior fabric structures that are highly resistant to harsh weather elements that may cause ripping and tearing. The engineered materials are lightweight, yet strong, and resist impact, mold, mildew, and rotting. However, unavoidable accidents may cause damage to fabric-covered buildings, and with age, these materials may breakdown and weaken on older fabric structures.

Fabric buildings are built to last during harsh weather and withstand normal deterioration from the sun’s UV rays, but every fabric structure has a life cycle and a point occurs when a decision must be made whether to repair or replace the covering on a tensioned fabric building.

Recognizing Damage That Needs Repair

Damage may occur to the fabric structure’s cover from accidents, abnormal wear, heavy weather events, or debris impact from high winds. When the watertight membrane has been compromised, steps to repair the damage should be promptly taken. With regular inspections and maintenance, you can detect early signs that signal a repair is needed to prevent further damage to your fabric building:
• noticeable tears in the fabric
• water stains on the floor or fabric
• pools of water gathered at low spots
• wind whistling through the fabric
• rusted framing members
• unusual slackness to the structure

If Your Fabric Cover Becomes Damaged

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for inspections and cleaning.

Some level of inspection should occur daily, monthly, and yearly, along with scheduled cleanings which will also assist in detecting if the fabric cover has damage. Calhoun’s fabric structures feature a smart design that increases the life of the fabric and the structure with three layers of protection that reduce corrosion and prevent snow, ice, or water from entering the gasket or building.

The design of our Kedar Panel System prevents the fabric from touching the metal frame, which eliminates any risk of corrosion at wear points on the cover. Always choose a manufacturer that features a hot dip galvanized steel support system to add an extra measure of corrosion and rust protection to the framework. If you find the structure of your fabric building has been jeopardized, contact the manufacturer to discuss your options for repairing the damage yourself or with the help of local service providers.

If minor damage is found, take photos of the tear or puncture.

The size and type of damage will determine if it can be easily repaired by a local service provider or your in-house facilities maintenance staff. Extensive tears, jagged rips, or portions of the cloth that are missing may require the expertise and materials that only a tensioned fabric manufacturer can provide. Consider sending pictures of the damaged area to the manufacturer’s representatives. It is quite possible they can walk you through the proper steps for repairing moderate damage, or they can schedule an on-site inspection and consultation.

When the damage is major, consult with the manufacturer.

Calhoun will consult with, and repair, a damaged fabric structure, no matter who the original manufacturer or installer was. When major damage is discovered, our goal is to advise on the right choice to help you decide when to repair, and when it’s best to replace the covering. If the structure’s framing and operating systems are intact, the owner may consider replacing the entire portion of damaged fabric, pending the fabric cover system used during installation. We can help you get in touch with our local Calhoun dealers who can repair most damage, and we are always willing to offer technical assistance in the repairing, recovering or re-skinning of your fabric buildings.

Making The Decision to Replace

Sometimes the age of the fabric structure, the frequency and extent of previous repairs, or repeated exposure to extreme weather for extended periods can make replacing a fabric structure the best option. At this point, there are two options – to completely replace an older or structurally damaged building, or recover the fabric structure to protect your assets and extend the total life of the structure.

If your building features the bag covered system that is pulled over the entire structure, it is certainly more affordable to replace the fabric cover, especially on a smaller structure. When major fabric damage has occurred or when the fabric has become detached from the framing system, work with the fabric building manufacturer and local representatives who have the necessary tools, expertise, and materials to recover and re-skin your fabric building. Additionally, educate yourself on the warranties offered by the manufacturer to learn about coverage on the cost of replacement.

While it may not be an ideal situation to replace the fabric on a tensioned fabric structure, is certainly is more economical and has lower project costs over a traditional structure. Since the fabric coverings are virtually maintenance free, the cost to replace is the only cost of ownership. When you work directly with a fabric building manufacturer and their local representatives, you can expect the recovering and re-skinning of your fabric structure to be a fast process, with minimum downtime.

When you need an affordable, efficient bag covered structure or a fabric building installed with the Kedar Panel System, Calhoun Super Structure offers a variety of colors to replace your present material or structure. Sometimes an aesthetic change to a building’s architecture can bring fresh life and new opportunities to a business. If you are replacing the fabric, it may also be a good time to consider a building extension or other add-ons to enhance your structure’s performance and gain additional capacity.


To avoid being in a situation where you need to consider repairing or replacing your fabric cover, read our article, What the Best Fabric Structure Professionals Do, to ensure you are installing the strongest and safest structure possible.