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I have almost no DIY experience (unless you count computers). I bought this https://www.sukkahdepot.com/product/classic-sukkah-6x8-with-schach/. You can get a better sense of its construction from https://www.sukkahdepot.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/EZ_instruction.pdf, but basically, it has a simple metal frame made from interlocking pieces, and canvas walls.

I assembled it last week. Last night it was somewhat windy and in the middle of the night I found it a bit down the block, on its side and flat as a pancake. The metal rods were still interlocked, so the metal "rings" on the vertical rods that the "pegs" on the horizontal insert into (sorry I don't know the correct terminology) were damaged. They will replace the damaged parts but my question is for the future. So:

What are the best options to "anchor" it in place"? There are some railings on the house I could tie it to, or I could possibly get sandbags or bricks and somehow tie it to them, or perhaps I need to drive tent pegs into the ground. I need some guidance here. If I tie it to the railings can the sukkah act as a sail and pull hard enough on the railing to damage it? If I use sandbags or bricks how much weight do I need? If I use tent pegs what size etc.? Any other ideas?

How can I reinforce the shape, so it doesn't get flattened again? I'm not sure if I'm describing what happened well enough. Basically this rectangular cube was on its side, and then the width X length rectangle is "sheared" (in the shape transform sense), like if you applied pressure to one of the top corners at a downward angle, bringing it to the ground.

Thanks!

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  • Can you locate the tent somewhere that isn't so windy? Perhaps not in a "valley" between buildings, but more of a corner where the item is sheltered from winds ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 7:08

4 Answers 4

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You have two separate issues. #1 is keeping the wind from taking it... because if the wind lifts it off the ground, it will get wrecked. This type of structure is not made to survive being a tumbleweed.

So tying it down is non-negotiable. I'm partial to spiral (corkscrew) ground anchors, because they let you use all the ground above them as your virtual sandbag. You want to fantastically over-do this job. Very consistently, people underestimate the wind and their tent stakes pull out. Nobody ever said "Wow, these tent stakes are stronger than we needed" :)

Part of staking is guying - that is, come from the top of the structure diagonally (looking from the side, not the top) to a tie point on the ground. There can be up to 8 guys of this sort. One might be tempted to have four guys diagonally (looking from the top also. That would create interesting forces in the walls. Guying, on the sides you are able to guy, helps the structure resist tramming (shearing/parallelograming).

What will also help that is internal bracing, or better, rigid sides. Bracing can be done by making an "X" with tent ropes which you then cinch up taut. However, bracing will increase the compressive load on all elements of the structure. So this might just mean the wind bends the structure all up.

So the better plan is to rigidize the structure sides with something like plywood. Assuming that's ... kosher?

  • Given the canvas exterior I would probably add a face on the inside of two opposite (non-door) walls... full width and height and notched to clear structural members where needed and let the velcro be used. Tie that to the existing structure however as suitable, drill and screw, or use conduit clamps.
  • Then I'd measure the distance between the two faces on the inside, and make a third face that will go full width - no need to tie this one to the structure because it'll tie to the other two walls with angle straps.
  • At that point you have 3 sides that are very rigid and will strongly resist tramming horizontally. And better, it will not be transferring high forces onto the metal structure the way cross-bracing ropes would.
  • It would be nice to have a fourth side to resist twisting... but I gather you need a doorway.

The last issue you'll have with tramming is "from the sky looking down". For that you need cross bracing in the horizontal plane. Doing a good job of staking the structure will probably take care of that. But you could also do an "X" under the floor, or better, as the floor! Again, tied to the 3 walls with angle straps. That structure isn't going anywhere!

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    So the better plan is to rigidize the structure sides with something like plywood. Assuming that's ... kosher? That is absolutely kosher. The walls can be pretty much anything that isn't smelly or disgusting. Only the roof (schach - basically vegetation no longer attached to the ground) and the immediate supports under the roof (primarily not metal) have special requirements. I used to love the idea of plywood wall Sukkahs - my evil twin built one - the problem is they are heavy. Which is why canvas and similar materials (despite the wind problem) are very popular. Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 3:33
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Start by tying it to the railings. If your railings break, that's good, because it will keep them from breaking when your kids hit them, but I highly doubt that they are that fragile. That will keep at least one wall of your sukkah from blowing away.

Second, consider drilling holes through the tab-slot connections, and sticking a nail or something there to hold the rods together so they don't flex and come out. This will make the structure more rigid, and allow it to stay attached to the part anchored to the railing.

Third, you may want to cut vent holes in the outer fabric. this should reduce some of the 'sail' tendencies.

Fourth, a rope tied around the poles on the opposite side from the railing, and tied to a 5 gallon bucket filled with sand should be a sufficiently good anchor.

Finally, it doesn't look like we're going to have that kind of wind again soon, so you might just get away with what you have now.

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    "If your railings break, that's good, because it will keep them from breaking when your kids hit them" Always look on the bright side of life!
    – dotancohen
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 11:29
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For rain shelter tents and similar things i have seen the four corners Tied down to very heavy objects. A rope is run from the top of each leg down to a container on the ground at the base of the leg.

You can

. #1 Editors Choice You can cast some concrete in a low profile container with steel loop or eye bolt cast into the top, .

. Get some large buckets and fill with rocks

. Sand bags, there a some that are made to wrap around the legs.

. For light to moderate wind use some large water jugs. The water can be poured out when it is time to take down the structure.

Here is an informative video.

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Tying to railings should work well. That has an advantage over weighting the bottom down because it is in the middle. I wouldn't be too worried about the railing breaking of it is built reasonably well and not already loose.

With that much wind you may want to consider holding down the schach. Plastic cable ties seem to be generally accepted, but ask your local rabbi.

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