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Anyone use a canopy/carport as a woodshed?

Post in 'The Gear' started by tradergordo, May 24, 2007.

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  1. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I was planning to build a woodshed this year. Found lots of different examples and designs online, but the cost seems to be a minimum of $300 in materials and could go higher (roofing is particularly expensive). Then I thought about alternatives and was wondering if anybody has tried these carport/canopies and if so, how well did it work out?

    Costco sells one that looks great, its only $165, the sides can be completely removed if you want, it uses steel pipes which are generally quite strong and durable. I just don't know how long the material will last, or how well it would handle snow accumulation, or long term exposure to wind/rain/sun but if its supposed to be used as a carport then you'd think it would be built to last a long time out in the elements.

    If you used the dimensions of 10x20x7 this bad boy holds 11 cords of wood! (overkill for me, but may allow for walking space or extra gaps for air circulation). Their new version this year has a vented top which I think is also very nice. Box weighs 200 lbs, attached is a picture.

    Seems like this would be so much easier than building one from scratch, and a lot cheaper too. I would put down cover underneath (tarps or cardboard) then pallets on top of that to get the wood off the ground, and possibly some posts in various places with concrete footings to support the wood piles and keep it from leaning against the canopy ribs.

    Thoughts?

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  2. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    I've tampered with them. The instructions say they do not like snow. Heavy, wet, sticky snow will apparently pull the $200 models down.

    I'm trying 8 foot square piles separated by 4' this year. Then I lay poles across the breeze way and throw 25' long tarp over the top in the fall. Then I've got cover to load under for a while.

    ATB,
    Mike P
  3. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    I suspect you will get what you pay for in this case. for $165.00 you will get an el-cheapo rickety shed. I think sheds are over rated unless you live in a very wet area, or are interested in wood storage aesthetics. An uncovered wood pile in a breezy, sunny spot will dry out just fine.
  4. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I agree that drying doesn't require a shed - I just think its nice to have some cover over the wood in the fall and winter so it doesn't get drenched by rain and its absolutely required to keep snow from caking onto the wood, and dealing with tarps is a pain in the neck.

    I guess I'll nix this idea though. I did go check it out last night - they had one set up in the store. The poles seem quite strong and durable and the tarp material also seemed reasonably thick - but I could see how snow accumulation might be a problem. Then again it probably wouldn't be a big deal to go out and knock snow off it as needed. We only got 2-3 small snow storms last season (Philly suburbs) but other years we've had much more. But I could see this ripping over time just like most tarps do, so it probably would be better to build something more durable.
  5. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    I covered more after a couple bad ice storms. We got thick ice [1/4"+] and it stayed for 5-6 weeks.

    I'm planning to cover in the fall just before leaves fall.

    ATB,
    Mike P
  6. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    The other problem is durability, as you mentioned. If you build a shed well, it will probably last at least 10 years, but I can't see one of those tents lasting that long.

    By winter, I should have about 7 cords, and I can only fit 3 in my shed. Luckily, where I live it only rains in the winter. So I'll put the extra wood in Holz Hausens, and tarp them up with a chimney for the winter, then open them up in summer.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I have one of those portable garage units, mine is by a company called "Shelter Logic" - same basic idea of a steel tube frame with a cloth cover. Mine is a "gambrel" (peaked) roof style, my next door neighboor has one that is a quonset hut style by the same outfit, we haven't had any trouble with them, and have both had them for about 4-5 years. I bought mine used, and the P.O. had cut the front door in half for some reason. I'd been patching it with tape and a tarp, which was a bit of a hack, but worked OK for quite a while. This year the zippers on the door started to go, so I ordered a new door, cost me about $80 with shipping, It has worked out well for me - we don't use it for wood, rather it is where the lawn tractor, snowblower and other miscelleneous cruft lives - I have never regretted having it

    My woodshed was purpose built, cost me about $500 or so in material and holds about 6 cords in a 16' x 8' space. I think it is better for wood storage than the portable garage would be, though the portable unit might work reasonably well for the money.

    Gooserider
  8. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm, well maybe the idea is back on the table then.

    Another thing I was thinking - maybe I get 4-5 years out of it as is (like you did, and heck yours was even used, and you're in a harsher climate than me) before it starts to tear. Perhaps at that point I can work on turning it into a more permanent structure with a real roof somehow attached to it (for example bolt plywood onto it, then shingle it). Now I know the frame couldn't handle that weight as it is, but what I've seen some people do with hollow metal tubes (for fences for example) is fill them with concrete. Concrete is very inexpensive, and it turns those hollow tubes into super strong, almost indestructible, solid core tubes... I could also add a couple 4x4 supports. I'd have at least a few years to figure it all out...
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think it would work pretty well to accelerate your summer and fall drying, then you could simply take down the enclosure and tarp your wood for the winter months.

    The thing I like about the carport idea is that, unlike a tarp, it would allow airflow across the top of the pile, which should accelerate the drying process.
  10. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    It might not be a bad idea, though I'd point out that my garage is possibly a heavier duty unit than what you'd likely get from Costco. Mine has a one peice cover over the body, and two end panels, so I don't have the removable sides.

    The label on the cover of mine says it's a "Cover IT" brand, no website, phone 1-800-932-9344, but the phone rings at Shelter Logic, so it's apparently one of their brands, or possibly a name change.

    The Shelter Logic official website

    These folks seem to be a dealer for them, and have a pretty good website Berkshire Cover IT They include some "Tips pages" that are supposed to make the things last longer or be easier to put together. They state, " Our Own Estimates for Fabric Life - Standard 9oz 18 mill fabric, 5 to 6 years: Heavy Duty 14.5oz / 12oz 24 mill fabric, 13 to 15 years" so it looks like it's worth going for the heavy duty fabric.

    As best I can tell, this or the heavy duty version is the current equivalent of my garage I have one of the earlier bolt style frames with a lace on cover.

    It looks like between the two of these, you have quite a few different options, depends on how much wood you want to stack.

    These units DO want to act like sails, so it is vital to really fasten them down well, and I wouldn't be to surprised if the open side units would be worse - I have a 24" screw in ground anchor at almost every upright, plus a couple of concrete anchored 4x4 posts at the front door.
  11. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Just wanted to post a follow up for the benefit of anyone else thinking about using a carport as a woodshed. I DID end up purchasing the one mentioned in the original post, from costco, for about $170. It is pretty heavy duty, and only took about 1/2 hour to put up. Each leg is staked to the ground. The hollow core metal tubes could easily be filled with concrete to make the thing virtually indestructible, but I didn't go that far (maybe in the future, especially if the canopy rips and I want to replace it with a permanent roof).

    I did NOT attach the sides, its just a big roof on poles (although perhaps I will put the sides on if a lot of snow is expected, to prevent drifts from moving up against the wood).

    I spray painted it black to blend in to the woods a little better (less of an eye sore). Its solid, no problems so far. LOTS of great airflow across the wood with this setup. It even has vents at the top to move moist air out from under the canopy. In theory, it can shelter 11 cords (if you stacked it 20x10x7). I currently have 5 cords under it (18x8x4.5), all up on pallets with a nice one foot buffer all around so all wood under it stays completely dry. Since pallets are free, I built a pallet fence all the way around the back and sides to keep the wood from spilling out - this also worked out great and was very easy to do.

    PICTURES:

    Attached Files:

  12. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    One last pic...

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  13. Wolves-Lower

    Wolves-Lower New Member

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    Before I saw your pic I thought in my mind...NO! A $165.00 shed is bound for the trash.
    But upon further review... it looks solid, and the black blends in well.
    I say good job!
  14. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    For the money, I haven't seen anything else like this carport, I've looked at lots of cheap ones that I would never buy, I only even considered buying this one after seeing it in person at the store. Still don't know how long the canopy will last but I'm optimistic that it will last a long time. Hopefully I'll be able to use the frame if the canopy ever does get destroyed.
  15. Wolves-Lower

    Wolves-Lower New Member

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    Is the canopy reinforced with plywood? From the picture it looks like wood, then canvas over it.
    I just built a woodshed, and I have more then $150 in it. And it took a long time to erect.
    Looking at what you bought questions my sanity. :ahhh:
  16. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Wolves,

    Thought the same at first glance but look closer and the wood grain is the wrinkles in the tarp.

    Also why not paint it green, would blend in even better, or a nice camo print!
  17. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    It is not reinforced with anything. Green, camo, or any other color would work - I like the black though.
    Wolves - at least the shed you built is probably designed to last 20 or 30 years with little or no maintenance. The carport - its anyone's guess.
  18. Wolves-Lower

    Wolves-Lower New Member

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    I still think it is a good solution. And who knows how long mine will last???
    Me and my kids did carve our names and dates in it though.
  19. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Looks like a nice setup, and those portable garages do seem to hold up fairly well - I have one that I use to stash the overflow of things from the house garage, and it's held up w/ no problems for several years now.

    A couple of random thoughts - I've got a 3' screw in ground anchor at each upright on mine, which is fully enclosed. W/O the sides your's may have a greater tendency to go airborne in a wind storm, I hope you have at least as good an anchor system. As an optional suplemental anchor, a few ropes from the top down to the pallets you stack the wood on might really help.

    My experience has been that an open sided shed keeps the vertical rain off, but still collects an amazing amount of drifting snow. I would suggest hanging the sides on the carport before winter comes. On my wood shed I nailed a bunch of silver (higher quality grade and lower "eyesore factor") HF tarps to the top rafters all the way around. In the summer I roll them up and tie them to encourage air circulation. Around Thanksgiving time I'll take and unroll the tarps and anchor them down by tieing a split to each grommet hole. The gaps between the tarps still allow for plenty of air circulation, but stop the snow getting on the wood.

    Gooserider
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I was contemplating one of the carports because my 12 X 24 pole barn has filled up with crap over the years and driven the wood outdoors. Then a couple of weeks ago I as at the bankruptcy auction of a landscaping company and picked up a new 15' wide by 100' long roll of 45 mil EPDM pool liner (aka mobile home roofing) for ten bucks. Looks like the wood stays outdoors after all. Just with one heavy honking cover over it.
  21. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    That is a good score BB. The roll sells for about 100x what you paid for it. Makes a great cover, thats what I use.
  22. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah I looked around on the web. Found all sorts of prices but a grand was pretty much in the ballpark. Shipping cost is nasty. The dang piece 25 x 15 I put over the piles liked to have killed my old self getting it up there. Wow that is heavy stuff.

    It reminded me of my time as a hot roofer. On Monday mornings we had to unload shipments of shingles before we went out to the first mop job. 155 pound little fart did not like that at all.
  23. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    I put up a portable garage to store some of my wood in this spring. I bought it from Whiskey Rock http://www.whiskeyrock.com/product/NA62655 everything went together fine and so far it has held up good. They say it will even take a snow load. We'll see. :-S I do have a snow rake if the snow gets thick on top. I am sorry to say I paid way more than 170 dollars for it. :long: I paid something along the lines of 500 dollars with shipping and it took me and 2 friends 2 hours to put up. It came with 8 - 3 foot screw anchors and it is very secure as it has done fine in some pretty big wind storms. It really has accelerated the drying of wood that has been under it since the spring time. Only time will tell if it is a good deal.

    George
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