Sunday, June 19, 2016

Car shelter

My friend Rajesh recently moved to a village near our farm. Being a village there are not many rented homes available here. Therefore he had to take a small house vacant at the time he moved here. Covered car parking is not available in that house.

It rains around 2000 mm here during monsoon. As per normal rain pattern here it rains heavily between June and August. Car remains wet for approximately 3 months in that time. It is a recipe for rust to invade the metal body of the car! Therefore he needed a car shelter to keep the pouring rain water away from the car and allow it to dry up. It was not wise to spend lot of money for the planned car shelter to be constructed in the rented premises; he will have to leave it there whenever he decides to move out of the rented house.

Minimum cost of conventional car shelter is above 20,000 Rupees. Our search for lowering the cost did not lead to any major cost reduction. Solution was elsewhere - it was there in a plant nursery. I noticed a low cost poly tunnel in a nursery. It is in the form of a tunnel with polythene sheet covering on PVC pipe skeleton. We decided to replicate that poly tunnel and use it as car shelter.

Poly tunnel skeleton - notice bent PVC pipes.
A car and a scooter are parked inside for testing.
My friend's poly house car shelter consists of 20 ft. long PVC pipes bent in semi-circular or parabolic shape. Two ends of the pipe are buried in the ground to a depth of 1 ft. and secured there using cement concrete. We used 6 such bent pipes at 3 ft. distance making the total length of poly tunnel 15 ft. We ensured width of the tunnel is enough (around 11 ft.) to comfortably open the car door when the car is inside the shelter so that the driver can get in/out of the car when the car is in the shelter.

Completed poly tunnel car shelter
Heavy wind can cause strong lifting force on the pipes buried in the cement concrete footings poured into the pits dug in the soil. Smooth PVC pipe secured using cement concrete can pull out of the concrete holding it to the ground. To be on the safer side we decided to glue PVC T joints at the end of the pipes buried in cement concrete to make it difficult for the wind force to pull the pipe out.

After this we draped UV stabilized polythene sheet on the skeleton. It is important to use UV stabilized sheet to avoid the sheet crumbling to powder because of UV component in sun light. Oh yes, we tied one pipe at the top center line to ensure skeleton pipes don't move away from their position. This is how it looks after completion.

Cost? Approximately 5,500 Rupees (+ some elbow grease - we did not put a value to that as it was fun doing it). That translates to 82 USD @ 67 Rs. conversion rate as of today. Probably a car shelter can't get any cheaper than that!

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