View Full Version : Would you put steel on this garage frame?

08-20-2014, 10:34 PM
I have one of those tent style garages. Winds last winter destroyed the top and end wall with the zipper. Replacements are $200 and I was debating if the frame could handle steel panels instead. I would add purlins across the frame then run the steel just like a normal post frame building. Frame is 2 inch diameter steel tubing on 7 foot centers. The typical plastic tarp cover lasts 2 years then shreds in the winds here. Need to make a decision then scrape up cash from somewhere, I stored the wood pellets to heat the house in there last year. I can make room in the shed off the deck for pellets but then I can't use my wood shop all winter.

Frame(yes I took this in the dark, will get a better pic tomorrow), if needed I can run a ridge board under the top tube as reinforcement, both ends will be wood(rear is already) so I can put in a real door instead of having to fight with iced over zippers.


08-20-2014, 10:46 PM
nope...never....bad idea

08-20-2014, 10:50 PM
Steel or metal roofing? Metal roofing should be fine. Adding the additional support would be good with the freezing temps and ice.

08-20-2014, 10:58 PM
Not enough support for metal roof panels once a good snowfall gets on there. Fiberglass panels are a little lighter but not by a whole lot. A metal carport is really what you need.

08-20-2014, 11:02 PM
all the ones I have seen around here come with metal roofs but haven't looked at the frames close enough to tell if they are different than you have there.
I'd suggest you try and figure out the gauge of the bars used in production for the better answer.
you could reinforce the frame you have of course, but you might need a center pole [or two] to help with the snow/ice, it could weigh more than the metal roof and siding.

08-20-2014, 11:28 PM
Steel is heavy and I don't think that light tubing will support it. Not enough margin for error. And then your vehicle is in there getting torn up.

08-20-2014, 11:44 PM
Truck doesn't fit in there... to long and tall. I use it as storage, snowblower etc. The frame is as big as the ones I have seen them wrap metal siding/roofing around with the ridges going the long way. I was going to put it on running the normal way so snow/ice would slide off. That frame held 2 feet of wet heavy snow 2 years ago so it is pretty dang strong.

08-21-2014, 12:01 AM
If you could put the framing closer together steel top and sides would work great. The building would be shorter, could you get more frames the same size?

08-21-2014, 12:05 AM
Snow load? Diagonal braces from middle of legs up, made from 3/4" or 1" electrical conduit (cheap galvanized
steel pipe, basically) would help a LOT. Using slick powder coated steel panels would probably dump the snow
well, keeping load down.


08-21-2014, 12:07 AM
The smaller ones I looked at around here (NC) have a 2" square tube 5' on center. Corrugated roofing runs perpendicular to the tube frame. They use hurricane anchors similar to the type used on mobile homes. Light snow load rated. You'd have a mess after a high wind and/or moderate snow load. Whatever you had underneath would be a mess too. Your frame would probably buckle midway the straight tubes of the roof.

08-21-2014, 01:28 AM
There are several of those around here that have survived for years, one is really exposed on a car dealers lot on the highway in the town south of me. They are stronger than they look. With the steel running the wrong way and holding the snow it is a bit dented in because they don't shed the snow.

Looks like a toss up, I know the frame can hold 2 feet of very wet soggy snow, and where it sits the wind usually blows it clean. The one freak storm with no wind(trust me, snow here usually means 2-3 days of 30-60mph winds) piled a LOT of weight on the frame. I went out with a broom and the snow was so wet I couldn't move it. Had to get a roof rake and start to pull it off a bit at a time then I could lift the tarp from inside to get it to slide.

The smaller ones I looked at around here (NC) have a 2" square tube 5' on center. Corrugated roofing runs perpendicular to the tube frame. They use hurricane anchors similar to the type used on mobile homes. Light snow load rated. You'd have a mess after a high wind and/or moderate snow load. Whatever you had underneath would be a mess too. Your frame would probably buckle midway the straight tubes of the roof.

08-21-2014, 03:29 AM
Just had a freak hail storm. Dented the poop out of the wifes car. Drat! Off topic. You don't know until it happens what kind of storms you're gonna get.

I would reinforce/reinforce and put on the steel. It's steel, it should handle some poop. Just my humble opinion.

Or.... buy a couple cheapo Harbor Garbage tarps every couple years...................................

08-21-2014, 04:14 AM
Might look into reinforcing what you have with some 1-1/2 schedule 80 pvc pipe. Attach to existing framework with tube strap or conduit clamps. Then screw some plywood sheeting (3/8" CDX maybe) onto your frame and screw sheet metal (aluminum, galvanized or similar) onto the CDX. Probably won't need the sheet metal on the sides, just the roof for weatherproofing and to provide a slicker surface.


08-21-2014, 06:02 AM
I'm guessing the metal ones we all see are sided with aluminum. I'm also guessing the frame you have is constructed the same as the metal ones. I'm saying it would work.

08-21-2014, 06:16 AM
Nix the steel. Put your money into a wood building instead.

08-21-2014, 07:05 AM
Pretty sure with some simple reinforcing, it could bear your garden variety metal siding/roofing no problem. That stuff is pretty light.
6bg has a good point, check the math and see where it lands you. Not sure what building materials run in your neck of the wood.
On the other, other hand, I picked up a green military style tarp new at Rural King last year for an outside project and that thing has been fantastic. Kinda smelly at first, but it is quite durable and weather tight.

08-21-2014, 07:14 AM
My 2 cents - corrugated Tin on the sides, the green/semi-transparent corrugated panels on top to allow sunlight into the shed. Will it hold a ton of snow? Probably not. But if cloth is holding up that long I think corrugated tin should work fine.


08-21-2014, 07:16 AM
Framing isn't strong enough to support the weight.

08-21-2014, 07:56 AM
I would put 2 2x4"s between each of the rafters. Run one under them (horizontal) at the peek and put a couple supports to the floor. Pretty much the same for the walls.

Sounds like to have a good what to do already.

Unless you have alot of free lumber building a 20'+ shed isn't gonna be cheap. Reinforce and anchor should get you there.

Jerry Jr.

08-21-2014, 08:31 AM
Know how to build a pole barn? That would be the cheapest and safest alternative. Those poles in the picture aren't meant for any load. Replace the plastic or build a pole barn style car awning. Or purchase a metal one.

08-21-2014, 01:37 PM
You own a tent.
I don't think it's feasible to try to turn it into a building.


08-21-2014, 02:06 PM
I almost bought a steel shed last year but was warned off by a friend who told me that condensation gathers on the inside of the roof and drips continuously.If I where you I would think about cladding with Marine Ply with roofing felt at the top.

08-21-2014, 02:09 PM
We had one of them and used one of those real heavy canvas tarps. Winter came, ice form, it collapsed under the weight.

08-21-2014, 02:18 PM
You own a tent.
I don't think it's feasible to try to turn it into a building.


Good way to put it! I have a 20'x20' car port and have had a couple of the temporary "tent" shelters. The shelter frame is not really strong enough to build on, any hole you drill will weaken it further. Keep your eyes open for a deal on a steel car port. Some of them you can get cheap it just takes 2-3 weeks for it to be delivered and then another 2 weeks before the crew shows up to set it
up. I picked mine up used at a moving sale and paid a whooping $400 for it and partially disassembled it and moved it, easy job done in a day.

08-21-2014, 04:04 PM
Check at the big box stores like lowes and home depo .. they used to sell a 8x8 or 8x10
Steel storage shed kit dirt cheap .
My mother bought one a few years ago for less then $350
It was simple to put together and is probably less money then buying material to put a roof on your canvas structure

08-21-2014, 04:10 PM
I just googled " metal storage sheds "

An arrow 10x10 storage shed is $389 shipped to your door .

Not a lifetime building by any means ... but a rather less expensive way to put up some storage space

08-21-2014, 04:15 PM
Those things are not made for the north country. Pretty much every one I have seen in my community has been trashed after 2-3 winters. Either the wind or freezing rain followed by heavy snow does them in. I have only seen one frame collapse and that was lighter than the one pictured. While the frame has held up to some heavy snows I suspect the poly cover generally fails first thus saving the frame. On the other hand some of the "steel sheds" they sell don't look much stronger that that frame and they seem to hold up reasonably well. I would think that a steel roof might distribute the load better than a poly or canvas roof which usually starts to sag, allowing more snow to build up, concentrating the load to specific members.

08-21-2014, 05:46 PM
For an investment in some 4x4's and a whole heap of 2x4's you could probably have something nice. The horizontal poles don't look like they are up to the task of a large load, and the unbraced angle at the sidewall may give out on a corner. I learned a long time ago to buy/build the best once, and then maintain it. Built to your purpose and to your specs, you will have security in peace of mind

08-21-2014, 09:03 PM
The legs are well anchored into a 2x12 treated platform, that is what keeps these cheaper sheds from collapsing. I was planning extra bracing and a new center beam for the roof to take the load. I can clear span the 20 feet with one of those glulam 2x12s and each end will be anchored into a wooden wall. Adding a couple extra rafters would be easy enough too. My budget is very very limited and I am tired of a new plastic tarp top every 2 years to the tune of $200. A 10x10 Arrow building is borderline to stack 6 pallets of wood pellets in, been there done that have one, it leaks from every seam and the doors are junk.

Considering the frame held up to close to a 2 tons of heavy wet snow I am not worried about it to much, just wondering if the $500 expense for the steel is the way to go. Want to go with a pole barn but not in this years budget. The $500 isn't either but I can sell off some silver if needed.

Just did some calculations and the steel roof panels would add 158 pounds to the frame, I just went out and put all my weight onto one of the rafter trusses and it barely moved... at 5'11"" I am not a lightweight either! Figure another 100 for wood purlins to screw the panels onto and I don't see an issue with a little extra bracing.

08-21-2014, 10:19 PM
I think you have the correct answer Mary. That's what I woud do in your place. Drilling a small round hole in a tube doesn't weaken it much at all.

08-21-2014, 10:56 PM
Figure another 100 for wood purlins to screw the panels onto and I don't see an issue with a little extra bracing.

A couple vertical braces (say 3 or 4 ) down the center will make a huge difference. Not saying that it will be equal to a poll barn or a stick built but I think you can make something that will last for several years. Hey, if it held all the weight with the tarp it should hold the weight with some reinforcement and tin.

Jerry Jr.

Jim Flinchbaugh
08-22-2014, 09:48 AM
One of our pistol shacks at the range is one of those tent frames. It was firred out with wood strips and
covered with steel roofing panels on the top and three sides, with one long side opento shoot out of.
It gets 2-3 feet on it every winter and has been standing for near 15 years. It is nounted on railroad ties in the ground
because it tried to turn itself into a box kite one year in a wind storm.

08-22-2014, 10:13 AM
Run some 2X4s down the length on the roof so you have something to put the metal panels on. You can then put a 2X4 at each upright pole down to the ground and hook it to the roof 2X4. This will give you extra support for the roof and you will not have to drill the pipes. Find some plumbing strapping to hold the upright 2X4s in position and screw 2X4 to 2X4. .
You could put the end 2X4s on the outside to attach your wood for the end and the door.

08-22-2014, 06:07 PM
Don’t know if this would be of interestbut many years ago (1979) I needed a storage shed up at my cabin. I had nospare money but I had a bunch of short 2x4s, 5 pieces of ” exterior plywoodand some random width boards from recycled crates. I got hold of enough 2x6(used) for floor joists, built a frame 8’x20’, nailed on the plywood and thenframed the walls by nailing the short 2x4s into square frames and then putthose frames together like a little kid’s building blocks. I built the frontwall higher than the back and made my rafters by nailing short 2x4s into “laminated”4x4s. I covered the walls with crate boards laid edge to edge and then coveredthe cracks with more crate boards. The roof got one single layer of boards andthen covered with asphalt rolled roofing. That shed is still standing and it iswater proof, although the asphalt roofing needs to be replaced soon. The lakeis at 5400 ft. and we get a lot of snow there. Main cost was the nails as allthe other material was free recycle.

08-22-2014, 06:18 PM
Your frame is flimsy. I can see that in the photo. If you put a metal roof on it, you are risking your life.
I have seen a much sturdier steel building crumple from the weight of the snow on top. Snow is heavy. It didn't take much!

08-22-2014, 08:30 PM
It MIGHT work, but you're gonna have to build a frame to hold the existing framework up. If it's like the ones I've seen, not much better material than in a swingset frame, and it may already be rusting from the inside. Those slanted sidewalls worry me. The 2" rectangular sheds with sides perpendicular to the ground hold up well here(not as much snow as you, thank goodness) and are had for $7/800 at most(with roof only). You've probably spent that much on sheet covers already. Plus, somebody will buy your frame for a few bucks for a project maybe.

08-22-2014, 09:23 PM
I would never sell that frame, could always be re-purposed into a greenhouse... it will hold the weight easily, especially with a ridge board added under the top tube that is tied into solid wood walls each end. I can also add a center post, I don't park in it because the truck is 2 inches longer than the building.

Snow blower and wood pellet storage, probably move the lawnmower back into it from the small arrow shed(tired of braining myself on the 5 foot door frame). The arrow shed is my building material storage, when I can find good scrap or take something down that is small I do it. Low on materials at the moment though, a friend needed some stuff for his garage roof that was rotted out. I will get paid for it via some free oil changes so it all works out in the end.

09-18-2014, 10:35 PM
Started framing in the door end. Will end with an 8 foot wide by 74 inch tall door. Planning on 2 doors that swing out or maybe a real garage door if I can find one really cheap. Ran out of materials so tomorrow is a lumber yard trip so I can finish framing and get the plywood on the end. Then I can order the ridge board for it or build 3 more sets of rafter frames to support the top. Really miss the storage space for everything but cash flow is very tight with all the medical copays from the car accident last fall. Building as I can afford it, listed some silver on ebay to raise some extra cash this month.