How Long Should a Fabric Shelter Last For

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Image of the comparison between a poor tensioned shelter and a well tensioned shelter
Many people think fabric shelters aren't as sturdy or as strong as steel sheds... which leads them to also believe that Fabric Shelters don't last a very long time. This is not true!

A well looked after and properly engineered fabric shelter can last in excess of 20 years. The steel framework lasts for a very long time and the shelter fabric cover can last over 20 years before you would need to consider replacing it (remember: you can always purchase replacement fabric covers).And what does that give you? A fabric shelter that can last as long as you need it to!

But when it comes to longevity, there are a few factors you should consider:

  1. Engineering
  2. Installation
  3. The Steel & Fabric
  4. The Purchase Condition
  5. Warranty

Engineering

A correctly engineered product is a safe product. How can you expect a fabric shelter to last if it’s not engineered to the correct standards or wind requirements?

Many countries like Australia are challenged by the world’s most extreme weather. As part of the Australian Standards, different regions across the country have different wind ratings. Any structures that are built or placed in those areas need to confirm – otherwise they could fail. For example ‘Wind Region D’ in Australia includes the regions prone to severe tropical cyclones, with winds exceeding 280km/hr.

Structures (including fabric shelters) that aren’t engineered to the appropriate standards or ratings will be more likely to fail, and could cause serious damage.

Check out our article on the importance of fabric shelter engineering.

Installation

Appropriate care should be taken throughout the fabric shelter installation process, as this will ensure longevity. Here are some tips for installing a shelter:

  • Take care when positioning screws and/or bolts
  • Cover any joins, screws or sharp edges with a protective layer (e.g. duct tape)
  • Install the cover on a day with no wind
  • Ensure there is even tension, so there is no pulling or excessive stress on the seams

Image of a poorly tensioned shelter vs a well tensioned shelterPoorly tensioned shelter compared to a well-tensioned shelter.

Steel & Fabric

Of course, if your shelter is engineered then you shouldn’t have any issues with the steel. We advocate using quality steel and steel components (preferably Australian Made), complying to the applicable standards.

The type of fabric used in a fabric shelter can greatly impact its lifespan. Polyethylene (or PE) works best for fabric buildings for a variety of reasons – it’s more resistant to salt and corrosion, UV abrasion and dust. Poorer quality fabrics don’t have the same resistance, and will deteriorate or wear out much quicker.

You will also want to ensure your supplier can provide you with replacement covers.

Purchase Condition

This refers to if you’re purchasing a second-hand or imported shelter.

You might find a second-hand shelter weathers quicker because its been pre-used, however you should still be able to purchase replacement covers from the supplier. Make sure you double-check whether or not its engineered.

On the other hand, imported shelters are typically non-engineered. These shelters work well for temporary cover in low wind areas, although faced with a storm or wind-event, these shelters have been known to blow down.

Image of a non-engineered shelterA non-engineered shelter.

Warranty

It’s a good idea to double check that your supplier offers a warranty – this is a good indicator on longevity. Fabric shelter suppliers should be able to provide you with a warranty, usually a minimum of 5 years. Allshelter provides a 10 year warranty.

So remember, even though Fabric Shelters can last over 20 years (or as long as you need them to with replacement covers), its a good idea to check on the engineering, installation process, steel & fabric, the purchase condition and the warranty.

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