Foundations for Fabric Covered Hoop Buildings

Accu-Steel Integrity workshop on Washout Block Foundation

Washout Block

Let’s start off with one of the most popular and readily available foundation options referred to by many names such as: Wash-out block, Ecology or Eco Block, Bin Block, Jumbo Block, or Interlocking Lego block amongst several other names. This typically comes in 2ft long x 2 ft high by 3ft or 6ft long weighing in at 2,000 to 4,000 pounds apiece. For smaller buildings you may just use a row or two stacked up and bolt your steel truss anchor plates to them using wedge anchor bolts, as your buildings get larger you may need to tie them together with steel plates or add additional buttress blocks alongside your foundation at each truss mount. Wider trusses will also require you to epoxy your anchor bolts vs using wedge anchors. You can procure Bin Blocks from your local redi-mix plant and are made from cement left over from a pour that returns to the plan on the cement truck. These can be an affordable option as the materials have been subsidized by the original job. The downsides include you may get a variety of mixes and some may have spent more time of the truck than would be ideal.

Three Tips for using Washout block for your foundation

  1. Accu-Steel trusses are measured at the outside edge of the base mounting plate – if you set your blocks where the outside edge the same distance as your Truss width you will be able get all of you anchors holes where you need them – avoid getting with-in a couple inches from the edge of the block
  2. You will have a joint every 3 to 6 ft so check your layout prior to your building shipping to see if you need any extra wide base plates near a seem to ensure you are not drilling a mounting hole near the edge of the block. You will need the dimensions for your base plates for this and then measure based on your Truss center spacing to determine where each will land. You can mix in a 3 or 6 ft block to avoid joints at your base plates. Also consider where you ratchet blocks will mount on the outside of the block secure your cover and at the ends if you have a conestoga or end walls to secure.
  3.  Try to have your foundation exterior size match your building a cleaner endwall installation now or in the future, this will also help you avoid any wear points on your fabric cover.
Accu-Steel Advantage Building with Pre-cast wall foundation

Pre-cast Wall Panels

Pre-cast foundation walls comes also come in a number of shapes and names including: T-panel, L-Panel, Jersey Barriers. Pre-cast panels can give you more height and longer sections creating fewer seams and a more precise fit to each other and the floor. They are ideal for specialty buildings such and fertilizer or grain & commodity storage. You can select the height wall to accomodate your bushel storage needs calculated for the product your are storing. These walls may also require an additional wall bracket to support your Truss base plate and they are typically slimmer than an option like the Eco Block.

Accu-Steel Advantage building with Pony Wall

Wood Pony Wall

For smaller hoop buildings you may opt for a Wood beam constructed Pony wall. As your building get’s larger your beam size will grow as well, until you get to a width of building that requires more than a wood foundation. Your Pony wall maybe covered with Steel panels similar to a pole barn or you may opt use wood paneling, unless you are only needing a cover then you may leave your framework uncovered. Wood Pony walls may also require and additional wall bracket to support your truss base plates. For a 30-40 ft wide building 6×6 Posts could be ideal upsizing to 6×8 or 2×10 glulams may work for even larger buildings depending on local wind ratings etc – posts need to be set deep enough in the ground to provide the support your building requires.

Accu-Steel Cattle Barn on Steel I-Beam foundation

Steel I-Beam Foundations

I-beams are a common option for specialty buildings like the Accu-Steel Cattle barns, Cattle barns often use I-Beams all the way around or just on the front/bunk side of the barn. Barn back walls may use Poured in place or Pre-cast L-Panels between the I-Beams or in place of them to support the Trusses. The concrete wall provides additional animal protection and ease of cleaning for the deep pack or manure storage under roof and typically is paired with a power curtain for additional protection in harsh climates or adverse weather days. This options is available for most Advantage profiles & up to mid-sized Integrity trusses. i-beams provide additional clearance and can be steel sheeted providing a ponywall look, which can be aesthetically appealing for barn or riding arena.

Accu-Steel Advantage Building on Helical Pile Foundation

Helical Pile Foundations

Helical Piles can be used to build in any season and remove the need for pouring a concrete foundation. Steel Piles can be driven into the ground and have the truss base plate bolted to the top. On one hand this is a very simple solution that is quick to install, on the other hand it may require geo-tech reports and boring that can be cost prohibitive for smaller projects. They can be permanent or temporary, which could be ideal if you have to relocate the building in the future. Pictured above is an example of trusses mounted on Helical Piles with an Eco block wall inside providing air flow, and protection for the building and contents as well as providing product containment. We have a local contractor with the capability to drive helical piles in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Workshop with Shipping Containers

Shipping Container Foundation

Another Steel foundation option are shipping containers, have many names such as: conex box, intermodal container, storage container, cargo container, freight container, ISO Container, sea can and sea Container among others. These give you additional secure storage space as well as 9 ft of wall height increasing your overall ceiling clearance. you could put two 40 ft containers back-to-back on each side to support an 80 ft long building and set any width apart to accommodate your truss width. Storage container buildings are great for temporary buildings that will be relocated or for long term storage needs. Truss baseplates are typically secured welding plates to the roof. Either mount the base plates to the outside edge of the building putting them under roof or to the inside edge providing more ground space under roof. When under roof you can store items on top of the container under your fabric roof or even put floor trusses across to the other container for a second level of storage. 

Be sure your containers are properly weighted for size cover you choose. Either ballasts in the container or steel brackets securing the building to an adequate anchor/foundation. containers can be places in parallel, perpendicular or stacked to provide the clearance and access you require – stacked containers will require bracing. Depending on where you mount your baseplates you may be able to mount your cover rachet blocks to the side of the container or you may need to mount them internally to the baseplates by using a secondary internal pull pipe option for your cover.


We have multiple shipping container suppliers with-in a couple of minutes of our Merrifield, MN offices. Depending on your local codes and/or your cover size you may need to use some kind or ballast to weight down your container or brackets to anchor attach it securely.

Fabric Covered building on concrete Pier foundation

Concrete Poured in Place

Pouring can take many forms, you may fill forms to create Piers or bore a hole to create a concrete anchor you may opt to use a sauna tube to extend the pier above ground or construct a form over a drilled hole. to seal in the building, contain livestock or crops you may want to set forms to pour a continuous curb or wall footing for the entire length or perimeter of the building. If you are pouring a solid slab for the interior you may have your cement contractor pour your floor and foundation stem walls. For cattle barns you can pour cleanout alleys, feed bunk pads, curbing and stemwalls and texture your floors for a non-slip surface.

Pour in place may become your best or only choice when your building is too large for other foundation options – pour in place is a viable option for all sizes of hoop buildings. We have an example of a Accu-Steel Integrity Fabric Hoop building onsite using augered holes and wood forms with poured in place concrete piers.

Tip for Poured Concrete

  1.  Make sure your concrete doesn’t extend beyond your rub rail creating a wear point on your fabric cover be especially careful of any rough edges.
  2. See what if any impact having a permanent foundation may have on permitting requirements where you are building
Hardywoods LLC

10257 Hardy Woods Trail | Merrifield MN 56465 | 218-656-2166