Farm Horizons, February 1999

A new way to cover it all at the farm

By Luis Puga

Upon entering Myron Oftedahl and Sonja Johnson's storage shed, one thing is immediately noticeable: there is hardly a difference between the light outside and inside.

That's because rather than steel, the two Lester Prairie residents have a Cover-All building.

Spanning 40 feet wide by 80 feet long, the quonset style building is made out of a polyethyline based dura-weave. This weave is simply stretched over a frame and kept tight.

On the ends of Oftedahl and Johnson's building are the remnants of their old barn, boards which they salvaged.

"We had to take a barn down that was in such sad shape it was falling down," said Johnson.

There are a number of reasons that they like their new shed. First, it is transportable.

Said Oftedahl, "If we decide to sell and whoever doesn't want the shed, we can take it down with us."

They also like its appearance over conventional, "square" shaped buildings.

Ben Fox, who is president of Midwest Cover-All, said that his structures are sturdy, too. According to him, the structures can surpass Canadian wind and snow loads.

On top of that, there are no dead air spaces and the ventilation is excellent. He added that it releases heat in the summer, and keeps warm in the winter.

Johnson certainly sees its durability. The workmen were walking across it when they installed it.

The structures can go about any length and about 130 feet wide. Fox said there are many uses for these building, but they are especially good for agriculture.

However, they have also been used for car showrooms and even indoor hockey rinks.

Johnson said that neighbors thought it was a new indoor riding arena because they knew she was getting into horses.

Cover-All is originally based out of Canada, but Fox said its sales have increased 400 percent while in Minnesota.

He adds that the structure has no support poles, but simply works on its tightness around the frame. He also offers the buildings through a lease-purchase agreement, and they last about 35 years.

Oftedahl said his building is guaranteed for about 15 to 20 years. He was happy with the price and felt he had paid about half of what he would have paid for steel.

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