Tips for using a fabric garage

June 1, 2008 | By Richard Prince


I have an antique truck and a brand new truck. In winter I store my antique truck in another garage that has limited access but now that the warmer weather is here I want to bring it home but I don’t want to park my new truck in the driveway under the oak and maple trees.

I am considering a fabric garage for the antique because I have a secure location away from the trees but it’s not easy enough to get to for daily use. My concern is with moisture as it will sit on what is now a lawn. I live in Massachusetts and we get our share of wet weather here.

My question is what kind of conditions can I expect inside a fabric garage?


Storing it in a portable garage is certainly far better than leaving your antique outside in the elements, but there are certain precautions you should keep in mind.

You say that you would put the shelter on the grass but, of course, after you do that the grass will soon die and your truck will then be sitting on the soil.

The problem with this is the moisture that will come up and attack the underside of the truck.

Two good things you can do to combat this are create a vapor barrier between the ground and the truck, and make provisions for good airflow in the structure.

Put down two or three layers of heavy gauge plastic sheeting to discourage moisture from coming up out of the soil.

If feasible, keep the truck elevated off the ground by creating a “floor.”

A concrete pad is great but this is often not practical because of the cost, your zoning laws, etc.

An easy and inexpensive alternative is to build up a floor using shipping pallets that are reinforced along the paths of the wheels. You can often get these pallets for free from supermarkets, home centers and other businesses that are happy to get rid of them. Besides getting the truck up a few inches this also allows for good airflow at ground level.

If you can, always keep a small, slowspeed, low-draw fan running in the shelter to ensure constant air flow. This step will go a long way in preventing any condensation from accumulating on the truck’s surfaces.

If you use the truck very infrequently, it may be worth sealing it in a plastic bag made for that purpose. When used correctly, these are very effective at preserving the vehicle’s condition but they are a nuisance if you run or drive the truck with some regularity.