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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tension structure or tensile structure?

As per the FSA (Fabric Structures Association), a division of the Advanced Textiles Association, a tension structure or tensile structure is a structure that is characterized by a tensioning of the fabric or pliable material system (typically with wire or cable) to provide the critical structural support to the structure.

Tension structures are fabricated as permanent or temporary canopy structures for commercial or public assembly, temporary event structures, modular industrial construction, and landscape artwork.  This unique fabric canopy strives for a light and airy look by minimizing the amount of framing and utilizing the strength of the fabric to help support the stability and equilibrium of the structure.

Fabric tensioned structures are typically used as a lightweight roof, protective cover, shelter, skylight, advertisement and/or identification for stadiums, arenas, shopping malls, amphitheaters, bandshell, stage cover, tents, and shade structures for airport and transportation depots.

Tension structures utilize technical fabric roof membranes, a combination of catenary cables and clamping systems, and a minimal amount of framing to create proportionally lightweight structures capable of spanning great distances. Tensile membranes are available in exterior grade vinyl and woven fabrics and Teflon™ coated fiberglass. These translucent tensioned membrane structure fabrics carry from seven to twenty year warranties.

Do you make tension structures for private residences?

These unique and very attractive tensioned shade structures are NOT for the typical private residence.  Depending upon the overall size and scope of each project, price ranges start in the tens-of-thousands to hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.

Eide Industries, Inc. primarily fabricates and installs tensioned structures for commercial applications only. Eide provides design and engineering services to insure that sites are suitable to sustain 5,000 to 20,000 pounds of tension at each stress point; otherwise severe structural damages may occur.

Is a tension structure right for me?

This depends on budgets, the application of the structure and projected return on investment of displaying an elegant piece of art at the facility.  Due to the high stress loads in concentrated places, the steel and foundations of the structures are large and costly.  The price of a tension structure can cost more than double the price of a conventional canopy, but can quickly be recouped with the draw of new business to your mall, restaurant, nightclub or establishment.

How much does a tension structure cost?

Today’s prices for engineered fabric tension structures are in the neighborhood of $120 per square foot, although prices have ranged from $60/sqft to $400/sqft. Every design is unique and prices will vary depending upon the overall complexity of project, size, design, engineering calculations involved, scope of work, municipal codes & permit requirements, time tables and other site logistics.

Upon full project discovery and disclosure, our professional staff will work with you to produce a fixed price for required engineering certifications. Once engineering certifications and materials are defined, a firm price will be provided for project management, manufacturing and installation services.

With over 69-years of custom fabric and metal fabrication experience, Eide Industries, Inc. will provide ideal solutions for your project’s engineering design certifications, project management, manufacturing and installation needs.

What materials are used to build a tension structure?

The frame and cables are typically constructed with steel. The cables will either be stainless steel or coated with a clear PVC finish to protect against corrosion. Cable terminations will exude an elegant style such as the products furnished by Frontier Technologies Ronstan. The steel frame will be finished with a smooth layer of powder coat over a base of primer. If the structure is located near a harsh marine environment, then an epoxy wet paint finish is recommended.

The covers are usually made of high tensioned architectural fabrics such as PTFE or PVC. PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) is a high strength architectural fabric manufactured by Sheerfill by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and SEFAR. PVC materials are manufactured by a variety of respected companies such as Serge Ferrari, Naizil Coated Fabrics Inc., Seaman Corporation, Hiraoka & Co. Ltd. and Verseidag Coating and Composite.

How long does it take to make a tension structure?

The time it takes to build a tensioned membrane structure depends upon the material, size and scope of the project. Historically, it takes anywhere from five (5) to twelve (12) months to complete a tension structure project. A typical tension structure schedule of events includes, but is not limited to:


(3) Weeks for 3D design drawings from time of approved contract terms and receipt of deposit

(3) Weeks for engineering analysis and calculations from time of design approval

(3) Weeks for stamped engineering report and drawings after completion of engineering analysis

(2) Weeks for field measurements from time of footing completion

(2) Weeks for shop drawings after field measurements are surveyed

(2) Weeks to order and receive materials after completion of shop drawings

(4) Weeks to fabricate frame and fabric membrane after receipt of materials

(1) Week to paint frame after its fabrication is complete

(2) Weeks to deliver and install frame and fabric membrane

(22) Weeks Total*


*Schedule is based on a medium sized project.  Additional lead time may be required for:

• Large projects (over 4,000 square foot)

• Customer’s desire to negotiate contract terms

• Customer’s approval time of design drawings

• Possible design revisions due to engineering requirements

• Permitting authorities time to review and approve project

• Possible coordination with schedules of other subcontractors on site

• Acquisition for any specialty materials that are uncommon and not stocked locally

• Delivery to any site outside the vicinity of Southern California and the South West Region

Who is TensionStructures.com?

Division of Eide Industries, Inc.
16215 Piuma Avenue
Cerritos, California U.S.A. 90703-1528

Ph: (800) 422-6827 ext. 125
Ph: (562) 402-8335 ext. 125
Fx: (562) 924-2233


TensionStructures.com is the lightweight tensioned fabric structure division of Eide Industries, Inc.

Eide Industries Inc. is a Los Angeles based custom manufacturer of architecturally designed tensioned fabric structures, commercial shade structures, industrial protective covers, cable supported structures, framed fabric shelters, commercial awnings & canopies, transporter trailer canopies and custom canvas products offering engineering design, industrial sewing, metal fabrication and worldwide installation services.


  • California Contractors #211771 – B, C10, C61, D03
  • Los Angeles City Approved Fabricators #FB01716 – Type 1
  • Arizona Contractor #133892 – CR-3 Awnings, Canopies, Carports & Patio Covers
  • Hawaii Contractor #CT-33409 – C44B Awnings & Patio Covers
  • Nevada Contractor #68052 – B-5 Prefabricated Steel Structures ($1,000,000 Limit)
  • Nevada Contractor #68053 – C14H Awnings & Louvers ($1,000,000 Limit)
  • Washington State Contractor #EIDEIII893QW – Awnings, Canopies, Patio Covers, Exterior Screens