Fabric Buildings in Ice and Snow

Ever seen a photo of a picturesque cabin with an even layer of sparkling white snow piled on the roof, the windowsills and the bushes out front? In reality, heavy snow piles on the roof can damage a building or even cause it to collapse. Fortunately, some features of fabric buildings make them safe and sturdy all year long. 

Our custom fabric buildings are engineered to meet or exceed snow load requirements. Snow load may be dictated by local codes, or you may choose to overengineer and build to a higher potential snow load. Because snow can weigh up to 20 pounds per square foot (depending on the wetness of the snow), proper engineering is an important step toward a safe building.

In addition to engineering, fabric buildings have several advantages in snowy areas.

  • Any roof pitch is possible. On a building with a steeper roof pitch, gravity will cause ice and snow to slide off the roof instead of piling up.
  • The reflective properties of fabric will help accumulated snow melt more quickly. Melted snow will run off the side of the building as harmless water.
  • Ice breakers can break up sheets of ice and snow, protecting anything next to your building from large chunks of debris. As this video shows, large sheets of snow and ice can be hazardous to people, objects and plants on the ground: Sheets of Ice Smash Down in Shopping Mall. Adding ice breakers to your building is an effective way to prevent ice from striking people and objects near your fabric building.
  • On non-insulated fabric buildings, the heat from inside the building can help roof snow melt more quickly. Because fabric buildings retain inside heat better than other building types, a non-insulated building is a good choice for cold storage or other buildings with low occupancy. 
  • Adding peak ventilation can also push warm air out the roof of the building, causing snow and ice to melt. Using one-piece intake/exhaust vents at the peak of the building can help warm air escape while keeping snow out. 
  • Professional installation crews construct the building to meet all requirements and specifications. Whether that’s adding accessories to enhance the look of the building or reinforcing the fabric to make the building more secure in severe weather, our crews will make sure your structure is built safely from the start.  

Winter weather is a perfect reason to consider a fabric building. Your building will be engineered to withstand all conditions. The reflective property of fabric further enhances the ability for snow and ice to melt instead of accumulate. Adding features such as a steeper roof pitch and ice breakers will make your building even better suited for snow. While there’s no type of building completely safe from the dangers of winter, fabric buildings on a rigid frame can withstand ice and snow better than most.