Container Shelter Fabric: Everything you need to know about shelter fabric


Everything you need to know about the fabric used in Container Shelters.

Have you ever wondered what type of material is used for container shelter fabric?

How can the material withstand harsh weather?

Many people think that container shelters aren’t sturdy, aren’t weatherproof and definitely not strong enough for industrial applications. But that’s not true.

They’re used in industrial applications for many reasons: to allow for more natural lighting, create a cooler working environment and because they can be relocated easily. The fabric cover plays a big role in these reasons or benefits!

Container Shelter Fabric Types

The two main types of material used for container shelter fabric are HDPE, and PVC.

HDPE‘ stands for ‘High Density Polyethylene’. HDPE fabric is known for its superior perfomance in extreme weather – extreme temperatures (both heat & cold), rain stress, wind & snow.

PVC‘ stands for ‘Polyvinyl Chloride’. It’s a heavier and stronger material.
PVC tarps for example, are more frequently used by homeowners and tradies. This is due to their lower cost and range of product quality.

Whilst PVC is a stronger material, HDPE is harder and more abrasion resistant, and also more resistant to salt and corrosive materials. As a result, it has a longer lifespan.
In contrast, a budget PVC tarp may not even last a few years in the sun before hardening and becoming brittle.

PE Fabric & it’s Properties

At Allshelter, we use high-density polyethylene fabric for all container shelters and fabric structures.

The PE is comprised of a high density weave and a low density coating. The weave is produced in a special weave pattern to enhance flatness, tear properties and abrasion resistance.

PE fabric for container shelters works better for a number of reasons. The PE fabric is more resistant to salt, corrosive materials, and abrasion from sand, straw and dust.

As above, PE material performs well in even extreme weather and wind. Fabric covers designed for use in cyclone areas can withstand winds of up to and over 300km/h!

But let’s dive into some additional properties of the PE Fabric.

1. Abrasion Resistance

Abrasion resistance refers to the ability of a surface to resist wear from rubbing or friction. In a fabric shelter, the interior of the cover has the most abrasion because the fabric is sitting on the frame. The fabric and frame is subject to movement from the wind, which causes rubbing.

You could have the strongest fabric in the world. But, without some form of abrasion resistance your cover will wear through. Allshelter PE fabric has the perfect balance between protection & strength.

The PE fabric used by Allshelter has a thick interior coating which can handle this abrasion, and helps to extend the cover life.

Image of a container shelter, showing the relationship of the frame and fabric.
The fabric is sitting on the frame – making it easy to understand how wind movement can cause rubbing.

2. Fire Retardant Shelter Fabric

A Fire Retardant PE material is available for those unique applications where human occupancy and commodity storage is a concern. The PE material is an engineered fabric with the added benefit of Fire Retardant (FR) inhibitor treatment. FR Fabric is used when a ‘fire rating’ is required according to the standards for building location or use, and to meet local certifiying authority requirements.

Situations where fire retardant material might be required include areas of public use and high-use areas (such as emergency assembly and intensive manufacturing).

3. Cleaning the Fabric

PE Fabric is waterproof. To clean the material, use water and an eco-friendly mild detergent, with a soft bristle brush. That said, normal rainfall will usually keep the cover clean.

4. Material Colour

The standard colour of material used in container shelters is white interior with a white exterior. This colour combination gives the most light transmission. Unlike a traditional building or steel shed, normal daylight will keep it bright enough you don’t need to rely on artifical lighting. A saving on energy costs!

Image of the interior of a shed vs a shelter
Comparison of inside of a steel shed vs a shelter – note the amount of natural lighting coming into the shelter!

5. PE Fabric longevity

There are container shelters out there with PE material, that have got a life of 20 years and still have not been replaced.

Check out this article – How to get the Best Lifespan out of Your Fabric Shelter.

The wind is the most damaging to the fabric, however tensioning is really important. If you find your container shelter has a loose cover, you will need to re-tension. We recommend doing this on a warm day, as the fabric will be soft and pliable.

Notice how the fabric is taut over the frames. Fabric covers should not be loose as it can cause damage and will wear faster.

In summary, PE Fabric is durable, strong and resistant. That’s why Allshelter is able to offer a 10 Year Warranty on all Container Shelters.


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