Perma-columns

Perma-columns are manufactured by the same company who produces the Sturdi-Wall brackets.

Paraphrased from the company’s information:

Perma-Columns are five foot precast concrete columns which are designed to keep wood out of the ground, ensuring a post frame building’s foundation will never rot. They are the first product to combine the economy of post frame construction with the durability of a concrete foundation. Simple installation. No waiting on concrete trucks. No treated wood in the ground.

Perma-Columns use the latest in SCC precasting technology to provide three times the strength of standard concrete. Microfibers add shock resistance and durability. Microsilicia enhances flexural/compressive strength and erosion resistance. A corrosion inhibitor protects the rebar reinforcement from rusting, and a final admixture is added to give freeze/thaw protection. The technology incorporated in this special mix guarantees a lifetime of durability.

The wood column is attached to a “U” shaped steel bracket made of 1/4” steel with 1/2″ thru-bolts and 1/4″ lags. This bracket is robotically welded to steel reinforcement which runs the entire length of the column. All the steel is a premium high strength alloy, purchased domestically.

A sleeve is precast into the base of the column to allow easy attachment of innovative uplift or extender systems.

Perma-Columns have been extensively tested by both Wisconsin and Purdue University. In comparative strength tests, Perma-Columns have proven to outperform the industry standard for wood columns. As a general rule of thumb, Perma-Columns are as strong as the wood they are replacing.

Now, my turn….

I really have no issues with the expected durability of properly pressure treated wood columns embedded into the ground. As millions upon millions of pressure treated posts have been admirably supporting countless pole buildings for decades, the track record alone proves their durability.

I’ve walked on concrete roads poured by the Roman legions, when they occupied what is now England. This attests to the longevity of concrete, in most circumstances (I say this as my 21 year old concrete floor in my garage is crumbling).

Whether using an all wood column or a Perma-Column, concrete footings will need to be placed below the columns. Because prefabricated “cookies” are rarely sufficient in diameter to carry even a minimal load, in most cases a footing will need to be poured – meaning a pre-mix concrete truck, or lots of mixing.

I look at the logistics. A 5-1/2” x 5-1/2” x 5’ chunk of concrete (roughly 1.05 cubic feet) is going to weigh in at roughly 160 pounds plus the rebar and mounting bracket. The total assembly could be pushing 200 pounds. An average sized building could easily have several tons of Perma-Columns, which need to be shipped to the jobsite, unloaded with equipment, and then placed with equipment (as even those strong enough to move one of these, is risking injury).

Once placed in a hole, they need to be jacked into place (the inventor of the product has also invented a tool to assist in this movement). A wood column, even a fairly long one, can be maneuvered into place in a hole with relative ease.

I do not at all doubt the claims of the manufacturer as to strength and longevity. If my issue was avoiding placing pressure treated wood into the ground, I’d most likely opt for pouring the holes full of concrete, then placing Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets into the wet concrete.

2 thoughts on “Perma-columns

  1. I understand that these are probably better but I looked through all your links and I still can’t find an answer I’m looking for. I plan on concreting my pole barn and with the pole barn poles being in ground and they are treated. Should I wrap the treated with something before poring concrete right onto it. Or do you just have the concrete go right up against the pools and skirt board?

    Reply

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