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May 23, 2021Best In Tents

How To Repair Canopy Frame

High-quality canopy tents are built to withstand harsh weather conditions and general wear and tear, but you may find yourself with a broken canopy frame for a number of reasons. If you’re invested in a high-quality canopy tent and find that the frame has been damaged, don’t despair. You still may be able to fix your tent frame without replacing it, and we’re here to help you learn how to fix a canopy frame and break down our best tips on how to repair a canopy tent.

The estimated cost of repair and time needed to fix a broken canopy frame will depend on how damaged your frame is and how much DIY work you want to put in. If you need to know how to fix a bent canopy frame, for example, the good news is that it can be a simple task requiring little tools and time. Replacing part of a frame, however, may take multiple hours and require you to purchase various tools and materials.

Why and How Can Your Canopy Frame Be Broken?

It can be frustrating to have to figure out how to fix a broken canopy frame, especially if you aren’t sure how exactly it got damaged in the first place. It can also become essential when it comes time to repair your canopy frame to know how it was damaged and why it is not properly working before you can get started on repairing the issue. If you’re not sure how your frame broke in the first place, there are a few common reasons people end up with damaged tent frames:

  • A physical accident

From cars and other vehicles backing up or running into your tent frame to large crowds shoving against and into your tent, there are various accidents that can easily lead to your canopy frame becoming dented, bent, or angled in a way that makes it impossible to set it up or tear it down properly.

This can sometimes be difficult to spot, as a damaged frame can usually still stand after an accident, which is why it’s important to always do a quick check of your tent during tear down and set up so that you can take stock of any part of the frame that isn’t aligned properly.

  • Improper set up or take down

If you or your setup crew didn’t follow the set-up instructions closely or used improper tools to set up your tent, this may have damaged the frame and will require canopy frame repair. Not all frames are universal, which is why it’s important to check if your tent requires specific tools, parts, and setup procedures.

  • Harsh weather conditions

Though tents can hold up to some rain and wind, extreme weather conditions certainly have the ability to damage your tent frame. Hail can dent your frame, strong winds can bend it and even rip it apart, and other harsh weather conditions can leave you with a frame that’s not in the best shape, requiring attention on your part to keep it maintained.

Tools You Will Need to Repair Your Tent Frame

How Can Your Canopy Frame Be Broken

Helpful tools you might need for fixing a pop up canopy frame include:

  • Replacement steel tubes for the frame;
  • Vise to secure metal and materials needing to be shaped or cut;
  • Steel cutter if you are adding your own replacement parts that need to be cut to size;
  • Sledgehammer for reshaping bent frames or hammering in new parts.

5 Steps to Take to Repair Your Canopy Frame Ribs

Once you have determined where and how your frame has been damaged, you can begin to fix the canopy frame. One of the most popular ways to fix a broken canopy frame is to secure a brace to the damaged section of the frame. This means you won’t have to fully replace a part or rework the entire frame, but add on to what is already there and secure the broken parts. If this sounds like the repair your canopy frame needs, here are the steps we recommend you follow to properly repair your canopy frame:

1. Prepare Your Brace

To properly secure a brace - our recommendation on how to fix a broken canopy frame - you’ll want to ensure you get the best materials and prepare everything to be properly fitted and secured. A brace for your tent can be created with various materials, but we recommend a steel support tube that can be purchased at any hardware store.

While you can use other materials for a brace, like wood pieces or PVC pipe, steel will provide a much stronger brace that will hold up against additional damage and harsh weather conditions. To ensure it is water and rust proof, you can coat your brace in Rustoleum, or another spray paint, to prepare your brace before attaching it to your frame.

2. Drill Holes in Your Brace

When you’ve prepared your brace, you will then have to drill holes into it to attach it to the damaged part of your tent frame and give the support your canopy needs. Because you’ll be drilling into steel, you will have to secure your brace in a vise and use the proper drill bit for drilling into metal. Ensure you are wearing protective face and body gear while drilling holes.

3. Slide Your Brace into the Broken Part of the Frame

When your holes have been drilled, you can adhere your brace to the broken part of the frame. If you have trouble fitting your brace into your tent frame, you may have to invest in an angle grinder to adjust the size of the brace, but we recommend testing this before you’ve gotten to this step. Once inside your tent’s frame, the brace will be ready to secure.

4. Fix Your Brace with a Drill on Both Broken Parts

Get your tent brace in the proper place and then drill in (using the holes you have already made) to secure it in place. Remember to attach the brace to both broken parts/pieces of your damaged tent frame to provide extra security and ensure the tent will be set up properly.

5. Screw the Bolts and Other Details to Their Places as Before

When you know your brace is in place exactly where you want it, you can use bolts (and any other securing materials you intend to use) to screw the brace into place on your tent frame. When all is said and done, double-check that your brace is secure, and then set up and tear down your event tent, as usual, to ensure the brace is working properly. When you’ve gotten through this step, you have repaired your pop-up canopy frame, and hopefully, you can be on your way to using your canopy tent again.

What Are the Other Ways to Fix Your Canopy Frame?

Ways to Fix Your Canopy Frame

If your canopy tent frame was damaged in another way, or you simply want to save money and DIY your repair, there are various ways you can go about fixing it, including:

  • Plumbing Pipes - We’ve seen people create outdoor games and full canopy tents out of PVC pipes, so why not use them to repair your damaged canopy frame? If you aren’t worried too much about looks and having a random pipe integrated into your frame, this can be a low-cost repair option. You can even spray-paint the pipe to match afterward and integrate it effortlessly into the pop-up frame’s original design.
  • Wood Pieces - Great for not only measuring and cutting pieces but supplying a solid foundation when repairing your canopy frame, wood pieces are a great supply to have on hand when fixing your frame tent.
  • Hammer - If your pop-up canopy frame simply has a minor bend in one of the steel legs or support pieces, you may be able to repair your canopy frame with a simple household hammer (no sledgehammer needed). A regular hammer might even be the better tool to start with, simply to see if it will do the trick, as a larger tool or sledgehammer may be too powerful and could end up denting and damaging your frame further.
  • Fixing a Ripped Pop Up Tent Canopy - Your tent frame isn’t the only part of a pop-up that can get damaged. If you’ve found a hole or tear in your pop-up canopy, you’ll want to repair the ripped canopy as soon as possible to prevent further damage and preserve your canopy.

Tips to Avoid Damage to the Canopy Tent Frame

At American Tent, we have the highest quality event tents made to withstand the elements, but the following tips will help you to protect your tent and avoid tent damage. 

  • Don’t ignore tent maintenance - Don't just set up your tent and forget it; be sure to perform routine maintenance.
  • Proper tent anchoring - Check the anchoring points whether they are stakes in the ground or dead weights. The straps that hold the top to the frame also need to be checked periodically.
  • Secure tent storage - Store your tent in the protective covering provided, keep it clean, and keep it from exposure to extreme temperatures keep in mind that poles should be carefully stored as well.

What If I Can't Fix My Frame?

If you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with your tent frame, we recommend ensuring that you follow set-up and tear-down procedures as written for your specific tent. Something as simple as one missing part or an improper set-up can keep your tent from working properly, and you wouldn’t want to go through all the steps to repair a pop-up canopy only to discover you simply had to use a different process or order a replacement part.

We know it can be frustrating dealing with a broken canopy frame, and sometimes there simply isn’t anything you can do to repair your pop-up canopy. Luckily, American Tent is here to help! Whether you would like assistance in determining what is wrong with your current canopy frame, or you need to purchase a new canopy tent, our team is eager to help you get back to doing what you do best with the high-quality tent you deserve. Our pop-up tents come in a variety of sizes and can be completely customized in style and design. Contact us today to speak with our team and find the best canopy tent for your needs.

Tony Ehrbar's headshot

Tony Ehrbar

Owner & CEO

Tony's entrepreneurial spirit is woven into the fabric of American Tent (an Inc 5000 company), shaped by his experience running a successful event venue & tent rental service. His recognition as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 is a testament to his impact & dedication to his community. As the Co-founder and CEO of Renegade Plastics, Tony is leading initiatives in the tent industry to integrate eco-friendly, recyclable materials. Contributing as a board member for the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) & the Green Bay Area Public Schools Foundation and being featured by Entrepreneur, Oracle, & Modern Weddings, Tony plays a pivotal role in enhancing the growth and success of the textile industry.

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