1. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    So I am running out of space for my lawnmowers, lawn equipment, ATV, other toys, etc.

    Here are some photos of my current project. I'm going to be using it as a storage building.


    So what is it?

    The other day at work I noticed one of our cooling tower shrouds (technically known as a drift eliminator) sitting in the gravel. After 25 years of vibration, the fan, motor and gearbox cracked the top lip so they decided to replace it. They had repaired it with fiberglass over the years. The whole thing is made of fiberglass.

    I went inside it and thought, WOW this would make a great storage building. It's about 20 feet in diameter and 7 feet tall which would give me about 320 square feet. So I talked to the shop manager and manged to get it for free. They were going to through it into a dumpster.

    The company that built it and brought the new one took it apart so I came out on my off day and loaded the panels (12 in all) with the fork truck onto my trailer.

    It took two days for my father and I to assemble it. This thing was an absolute "B" to put together. the panels weigh about 100 to 150 lbs a piece. I've got to go back and tighten all the bolts. Instead of using the access entrance panel, I'm going to cut the damaged section out where the shaft went to the gearbox and build a door for it. For the roofing, I'm planning on using that corrugated roofing material. I'm going to call some of these roofing companies and see if they have any scrap/leftover panels instead of buying new ones.

    I'm going to line the floor with plastic and tuck it under the bottom and get some of that "AstroTurf" for the floor.

    Everybody said, why don't you poor a concrete pad and build a pitched roof? Well this thing is only going to be used to store stuff most people would let sit out in the weather and rot anyway. if I does leak a bit, I'm not that concerned about.

    My only concern about using a flat roof is snow but we don't get that much snow here. I can always crank up my 30,000 BTU kerosene forced air heater to melt the snow off if we do get a big snowstorm.

    The ground is somewhat flat but the building is pointed down hill a few degrees. This will work to my advantage so any water will run off it.

    I'm documenting my build so stay tuned if you want to know how it turns out.
    trabant601 likes this.
  2. kev the builder

    kev the builder Loyal Comrade

    thats a nice looking shed it would definitly look good with a conical roof on it not as easy to build as a flat roof tho
  3. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    This maybe the first cooling tower shroud ever re-purposed as a storage building. Allot of people over here use de-comishened sea containers and railcars for storage and even dwellings! Luckily my town doesn't have any codes on using something like this as a storage building. Nobody from the adjacent neighborhood can see it. Well at least not this time of year with all of the foliage!

    I thought a conical thatched roof would look cool. There is a river (more of a large creek) I drive by on the way to work that has thatch growing on the hill. But it would be hard to get to it. I don't know if this is one of those invasive species brought to America like Japanese Kudzu, Scottish Thistles and Ukrainian tumbleweeds. Nobody over here uses thatch for roofing material. I'd have to get someone from the UK to do it for me! Or watch some YouTube videos!

    When I was in the UK, I was fascinated by those thatched roofs. I was watching a TV show where they were replacing a roof with thatched and thought that was cool. The guy said it would last 50 years. I don't know of any asphalt shingles that would last 50 years. He was using a block of wood with some rope to protect the palm of his hand to knock it in place. I'm sure you being a joiner have seen it done. I just can't remember how the thatch is held in place. I guess using hemp rope.

    My idea for a roof support was to use a salt treated 4X4 post in the center and come off each side with four 2X4s. Dad says the longest 2X4s they make are 16 foot. So the radius is about 10 to 11 feet. I'm going to cut some gussets out of 2X4s to go on each end and maybe add some longer ones at a 45 degree angle for more support. Then add some more 2X4s around the center. The framing will kind of look like a spider web when I get done with it. I'm hoping one support beam will be sufficient. This corrugated roofing material is not that heavy.

    If push comes to shove I might have to add four more 2X4s for support beams. I may do that anyway. The less support beams I have, the more room I can have to move my lawnmowers around in.
  4. kev the builder

    kev the builder Loyal Comrade

    The thatchs fastened by u shaped metal spikes like big staples you shouldn't need a centre post you cut the rafters with an angle on the top so that when you fit the first 2 opposite one another they fit tight where they touch the sides you cut a birdsmouth so the rafter sits on top of them a birdsmouth is just a triangular notch on the underside of the rafter to stop it sliding down over the sides after the first 2 you do the same at 90degrees to the first pair then just keep filling in between you end up with a cone shape like an umbrella with straight spokes
  5. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I'm going to check out some videos on YouTube tonight on this.

    After weeks of thinking about this, I've decided this is how I'm going to "roof" this thing. I found some 24' X 24' round silver tarps on Amazon for $50 a piece. I initially decided against using a tarp because they don't last that long when exposed to UV light however my logic behind using two tarps is the one underneath will protect what I have inside the structure when the one on top rots. That will give me time to replace it. Usually these silver last about 3 to 4 years around here.

    The height of the structure is about 7'. I took two measurements and one diameter came to around 22' and the other one came to 23' so it's not exactly square and it's not exactly level either so the tarp should take up an irregularities. I may try to bump it here and there with my father's tractor.

    I'm planning on using a salt treated 4X4 post in the center which will be about 1 or 2 feet above the top rim. That should give me some slope. I'm going to run some 2X4s off the center of the post to each side give the tarp some support. Then mount a piece of plywood on the top of the post. Maybe use some of that pipe insulation around the edges to protect the tarp from sharp points.

    I'm mainly concerned about snow. But I have a 30,000 BTU forced air kerosene heater I can fire up if we do get a large snowstorm.

    On the outside I'm going to mount some turnbuckles to some bolts and attach the hooked ends will go into the grommets on the tarp which are 3 feet apart. I should be able to cinch it down tightening each turnbuckle kind of like torquing head bolts on a cylinder head. If that makes sense.

    I need to get this thing under roof ASAP, because I am running out of space in my garage and my other storage buildings. I was thinking about rounding up all those corrugated plastic election signs that are placed down the local highway once the election is over. I checked my work schedule and I am off that day!

    If I take them now, I could get arrested for stealing. Yes someone got arrested the other day for stealing their opponent's campaign signs! But once the election is over the day after, they are considered trash and have to be removed.

    I think they would make good building material. Some are quite large, like 4' X 6' !

  6. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    Interesting project good to see it being used rather than just dumped. Another vote for a conical roof if you can manage it
  7. trabant601

    trabant601 Loyal Comrade

    I would like to see what your project looks like now. Did you paint it?
  8. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I haven't got to that stage yet but I'm planning on it. I've got to knock the calcium buildup off the top with my pressure washer first!

    I just tightened the remainder of the bolts up the other day. I reused a bunch of the SS nuts/bolts and washers that held it together. This stuff was galled up and hard to tighten but that was something I didn't have to buy.

    What's making this job so time consuming and difficult is it's about 85F to 90F (29C to 32C) in the direct sun and very humid where I live so the heat index is closer to 100F/38C . I can usually deal with this kind of weather if I am not doing anything but any kind of physical activity makes it feel even hotter. They say people in this subtropical climate sweat about 2 to 3 liters per hour. I could wait until fall when it cools off but come November, it usually rains every day and I want to get this building completed before then. The only thing worse than working out in this heat is working in the rain.

    That section that is damaged where the shaft went through, instead of repairing it, I'm going to enlarge the hole to about 4' wide and 4' tall with a reciprocating saw and make a door. There is removable access panel on the backside that is facing my garage but it's not big enough to get a lawnmower or my ATV through.

    Right now I've been following up on some leads for some material for the roof. Instead of buying new + paying tax on it.

    Today I put an ad on Craigslist to see if anybody had any used or leftover corrugated roofing material. And within a couple of hours a guy answered my ad. He built a chicken coupe and had several sheets leftover which is enough to cover the building. It's galvanized 8'X3' panels. 30 sheets so that should be enough to do it.

    He said I could have it for $200. Otherwise new material is going to be at $375 including tax. So I've saved about $150 on that.

    Instead of buying 2X4s from Lowes or Home Depot (big box hardware store), I found a local guy who sells rough cut lumber. So I'm getting some 16' 2X4s for about $5.00 a piece instead of buying the machined down stuff for $10 a piece. So I'm saving some money there.

    I'm hoping after all is said and done I should have less than $500 in this thing. That will give me more than 400 square feet of storage.

    If you notice that 20X24 building behind it which is about the same size. I had that thing built 13 years ago. The concrete pad was $1000 and the building was $4000. So I don't know what that would cost me today based on inflation.
  9. kev the builder

    kev the builder Loyal Comrade

    It's a good feeling using preloved and cost effective materials(sounds better than second hand and cheap)and a lot better on the wallet
  10. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Due to my work schedule and this bloody heat (and rain), here is the latest. I took my reciprocating saw and cut out a hole out in the damaged section the shaft went through which is 4' wide and about 6.5' tall.


    I checked to see if my riding mower with it's 46" deck will fit and enters the building perfectly. The rear tires on my ATV are slightly less than 4' but I think it will fit as well. I made a few doughnuts inside the building with my mower cutting some grass!

    I bought a salt treated 10' 4X4 post and found some leftover corrugated roofing tin. The guy told me this tin was 3' wide but a bunch of it was 2' wide so I'm not sure if I'm going to have enough but I can always buy some more from a supplier if I need to.

    The guy who is supposed to be cutting my 16' 2X4s hasn't shown up yet. He said all of this rain has put him behind because his sawmill is outside so hopefully he's going to deliver my wood this week so I can get started on building the roof structure next week on my seven days off.

    I got a new idea of building cheap storage structures. Used tires!

    I'm sure these are plenty of tire stores around here who would love to give me their old tires since they have to pay to dispose of these things.
  11. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

    How is it going? You said in your othr post it was 95% finished ?
  12. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    I had been giving Kev the builder an update since he's a carpenter (joiner?), I didn't know anyone else was interested in this project.

    I finally got the roof on last week. I kind of put it off for awhile due to the heat, humidity and rain. I continued working on it last week when the temperature finally dropped to 30C. 35C is just too hot to be doing this kind of physical activity. For me anyway.

    But I was busting my butt trying to get this thing under roof before the rainy season. Just in time because within a couple of weeks the weather has went from 31C to about 16C and more rain.

    All I got left to is to build a door (out of roofing tin) and run an electrical cord from my garage for some lights and trickle chargers for my lawnmowers and toys. And find one of those 7 1/4" metal cutting discs for my Skill Saw so I can round off the edges around the roof.

    The building didn't turn out looking exactly as I had envisioned. I am able to stand and walk on top of it so I believe it's structural secure and should withstand snow.

    The other day we got 2" of rain off the hurricane and some of the 2X4s were a little damp and a bit of water was running down the inside of the walls where that side slopes downward but the ground remained dry.

    I estimate I have less than $600 in this project and I have about 430 square feet of ground. That gray building behind it is 20X24 and cost me $1000 for the concrete floor and $4000 for the building 15 years ago.

    Here's some photos. They might be a bit out of order.


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