Maintaining Carports and Storage Structures in the Winter

Last month we introduced you to our new selection of carports and storage structures with a blog post offering general tips on how to use them. We discussed things such as positioning and local permitting issues. With winter setting in, we want to expand the discussion to specifically address winter concerns. Portable carports and storage buildings are suitable for most weather conditions, but there are some things that need to be paid attention to if you live in an environment that experiences harsh winter weather.

As we discussed in our previous post, snow is a major concern. Portable carports and storage structures are almost always built with an A-frame roof or a semi-dome design. This is on purpose. All of these designs are such that snow and rain fall off them very easily. But the designs are not foolproof. In especially heavy snowstorms where several inches are falling every hour, it is possible for snow to accumulate.

carport

Preventing one of these structures from collapsing under the weight of heavy snow requires getting the snow off the roof as quickly as possible. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply tap the underside gently with a broom or the snow brush from your car. Gravity will do the rest. If your structure is already bowing under the weight of the snow, it may not be safe to walk underneath. In that case, using a push broom gently on the exterior can solve the problem.

Anchoring Your Structure

It is imperative to anchor your carport or storage structure at least on the four corners. It’s even better if you can anchor along the sides as well. Anchors, by way of stakes driven into the ground, provide the structural integrity your carport needs to withstand windy conditions. Where winter is concerned, here is the most important thing you need to know: any stakes you drive into the ground may become immovable once a hard freeze sets in.

This is good in the sense that a hard freeze will prevent stakes from being pulled up even under very windy conditions. It is bad in the sense that stakes unable to flex with the wind may increase the chances of a carport’s material ripping or the metal frame bending if winds are extreme. Such conditions are rare, but they are possible. The solution is to use a two or three half-hitch knot on your anchor ropes. This kind of knot allows you to adjust the tension without having to move your anchors or the structure itself.

Extreme Temperatures

All of the carports and storage buildings we sell are manufactured using high-quality PVC fabric on top of galvanized steel frames. They will handle most winter weather without a problem. Having said that, extremely cold temperatures can make PVC fabric somewhat brittle. If your structure will be exposed to subzero temperatures for more than a day or so, it’s important that the fabric is secure enough to prevent it from moving in the wind. Otherwise, a combination of wind and ice can result in cracking.

If you can erect your portable carport or storage structure using a permanent building as a windbreaker, you will be better off in all four seasons. Keeping the wind at bay will go rather far in extending the life of your structure.

We invite you to browse our entire selection of portable carports and storage structures. Mytee Products has been supplying truck drivers and property owners with high-quality products like these for more than 30 years. All of our products are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.


Tarps and Straps: Above or Below?

One of the questions we frequently hear from new flatbed truckers is whether to strap a load above the tarp or not. This question arises from the fact that new truckers see their veteran counterparts do it both ways. Some like their straps above the tarps; others like them below. But it is truly a preference thing. There is no single way to use flatbed tarps and strap systems as long as the load is protected and the tarps and straps survive the trip undamaged.

What new drivers should understand is why veterans choose one set up over the other. They also need to know that the same driver may use different setups depending on the load being transported. It is like choosing between Kelley and Triangle truck and trailer tires – drivers make their cargo control choices depending on the loads they typically carry.

tarps and straps

Straps Applied Above Tarps

There are two primary reasons you may see truckers apply their straps over the top rather than underneath their tarps. The first is to prevent the tarps from ballooning in the wind. In such a case, the load itself has already been secured underneath with either chains or additional mesh straps. The tarp has been applied only to protect the cargo from wind and road debris. This set up makes it easy to apply flatbed tarps with very little fuss while using straps to prevent ballooning.

The second reason for strapping over the top of the tarp is to secure a soft load and preventing ballooning at the same time. A good example would be transporting crates of vegetables from a farm to the processor. Such a load is unlikely to be traveling hundreds of miles, so the driver is not worried about securing both the load and the tarps separately. He or she will just throw the flatbed tarp over the load, followed by securing each stack of crates – and the tarp at the same time – with a strap.

Straps Applied Under Tarps

Likewise, there are several reasons for applying straps underneath flatbed tarps. The first is to make sure maximum load securement is achieved. Sometimes a trucker will carry a load that does not conform well to tarping, so placing straps above the tarp would not provide the best securement. By strapping underneath, where straps come in direct contact with the load itself, the cargo can be made more secure. A tarp goes on top, secured at the corner and along the sides with bungee cords.

Drivers may also choose to apply straps underneath in order to avoid loose corners flapping in the wind. They use the same setup as described above. Flatbed tarps are placed over the already secured load and held in place with bungee cords. Along the same lines, this setup is also preferred among drivers who do not like the visual presentation of exterior straps.

Lastly, there are cases in which the driver really has no choice. Drywall is a great example. Most drywall shippers tarp their loads in the shipping yard so that there is never a question about the drywall being protected. All the driver has to do is to secure the load to the trailer and pull away.

Regardless of how you decide to use your tarps and straps, Mytee Products has a full selection of both. We also carry a full line of cargo securement supplies, tires (including 11R22.5 and 11R24.5 truck tires), tarping systems and accessories, portable carports and storage structures and, of course, a full line of steel, lumber, hay, and mesh tarps. If you need it, we have it.


What to Remember When Choosing New Truck Tires

Whether you are an independent operator or a fleet manager, you will face the decision of choosing new truck tires at some point during your career. You will be looking at tires for both tractors and trailers as well. What you choose will directly affect how your trucks perform down the road. It is safe to say that choosing truck tires is as important as choosing flatbed tarps and tarping systems.

Truck owners have a few standard choices in terms of size:

  •  295 truck tires
  • 285 truck tires
  • 11R22.5 truck tires
  • 11R24.5 truck tires

There is also the question of bias, radials and tubeless tires to consider. Ideally, a truck driver wants a tire that will provide maximum performance under most weather conditions and specific load requirements. Those requirements may change throughout a driver’s career. Therefore, a truck owner may have to reconsider all of his or her options whenever tires need to be replaced.

truck-tires

Size and Load Concerns

Perhaps the two most important factors when choosing new truck tires are size and load concerns. When we speak of size, we are talking about the size of a tire in relation to the rig on which it is being mounted. Size needs to be considered from three angles:

  • Vertical Clearance – Vertical clearance is the amount of space between the top of the tread tire and the structure above it. However, it cannot be measured solely by the amount of space that exists when the truck is at rest. Clearance changes along with axle movement as the truck moves down the road. Drivers need to consider total clearance on either end as dictated by a truck’s axle stop.
  •  Front Tire Clearance – This is the distance between the edge of the tire tread and the front of the tractor in the steering position. It must be measured by moving the front to full left, then to full right. Minimum clearance will occur somewhere between the two lock positions.
  • Tire Width – The overall tire width becomes important when mounting tires side-by-side on the same axle. Tire width must be measured at the top position rather than the bottom. Remember that the width at the bottom will increase under load as the tire surface is compressed.

In addition to the size of the tires themselves, drivers have to consider the kinds of loads they are carrying. Some shippers pay based on weight, expecting drivers to carry loads as heavy as possible while remaining within legal limits. One way to maximize load weight is to reduce the weight of tires and rims. But tires not rated to handle the weight of heavier loads will obviously be inappropriate.

Drivers and fleet managers can choose either bias or radial tires depending on their needs. Both choices include several subcategories including tubeless, tube-type, low profile, and wide-base single tires. Again, the choice relies heavily on the rig being used and the types of loads most frequently carried.

As with flatbed tarps and tarping systems, there is no particular tire that works for every driver under every circumstance. Tires are a very personal choice that each rig owner has to make individually. Thankfully, there are enough options and manufacturers to meet just about every need.

At Mytee Products, we are proud to serve our customers with a full line of truck and trailer tires. We carry several of the best-known manufacturers including Triangle truck tires. We also have multiple sizes as well. While you are shopping for truck tires, do not forget to upgrade your stock of flatbed tarps as well.