Dear Pole Barn Guru: Garage Doors & Dutch Doors

Welcome to our newest feature: Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment. 

Email all questions to:

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Which is more cost effective one large overhead door (mechanical opening) or one small and one medium garage door (mechanical opening.)?  Big enough for an f350 15 person van and a pickup to both get through. Yearning in Ypsilanti

DEAR YEARNING: Your van should measure right at eight feet wide and seven feet tall, so I would normally recommend a ten foot wide by eight foot tall door for it. While standard full sized pickups will fit through a nine foot wide by seven foot tall garage door, going to ten foot width, tends to keep mirrors on much better. A single door should be 18 feet wide by eight foot tall.

 Installed in the gable (peaked) endwall, with a clearspan truss above, the single wider door will be a better bargain. In the sidewall, a structural header will be required above the door, which (depending upon the roof snow load) makes the doors themselves pretty well a wash for price.

 One item to factor in – electric remote door openers. Two overhead doors, take two openers – the wider door, only one. In most cases, I am going to recommend using the single wider door.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I found your company on a review website and read that many customers were very satisfied with your horse barns. In the past, I have always used wood buildings, therefore the sides of the barn enclosed the back of the stall, and the dutch doors leading out to our pastures were also wood. When you build your barns, do you add a wood backing to the stalls and dutch doors? If not, is there another solution to the concern that a horse may kick the metal siding, or scratch themselves on the dutch door opening?

Thank you for your time. I am in the early stages of creating a business plan for a small horse facility, and LOVE the flexibility that metal barns allow for future expansion. Once I get a little further in the process I will be in touch to get a quote for a barn, arena and storage building to get the facility started. JAYME

 DEAR JAYME: Thank you for your kind words.

 Whether the barn is wood or steel siding, the siding should always be isolated from the stall walls. If wood sided, and not lined, it allows the horses to potentially kick the wood siding off of the framing.

 By using 2×6 tongue and groove select decking for the stall walls, it provides are rigid wall as well as protecting the siding.

 For Dutch Doors, my preference is always to go with an all metal Dutch Door, which is prehung in metal jambs. This takes care of the potential damage to the dutch doors, as well as the horses being scratched on the door opening.  Wood doors tend to end up hanging off the hinges in a year or two, and having to be rehung, repainted and usually…replaced.  The all metal Dutch Doors will appear spendy, but not when you compare them to replacing a wood door every few years

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