Dear Guru: Will a Treated Post Rot in the Ground?

Pole Barn Guru Blog

Welcome to 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.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Will the poles y’all use that are embedded in the ground rot?  How long will a pole building hold up? KENNEWICK GIRL

DEAR KENNEWICK: Will they rot? Maybe eventually, but none of us will live long enough to witness it. The probability of a properly pressure treated post rotting off is small. Small enough so over my three plus decades and 15,000 buildings of experience, I’ve never experienced it happening.  Keep in mind I said “properly treated”.  There are companies who “treat” their poles but not with the right procedure and proper depth of treatment. Make sure you are purchasing a pole building with properly treated poles!

 As to the lifespan of a pole building, unless hit with an unexpected natural disaster, or the building is purposefully torn down, as long as proper maintenance of the siding and roofing is done, there would be no reason to not have the building standing hundreds of years from now.

 See also my blog about a properly treated post:

 https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Where are you located? Anonymous in Arizona

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Browns Valley, MN.

 And where is Browns Valley, MN? This is probably one of the most often asked questions from our clients. By road, Browns Valley is 107 miles south of Fargo, ND; 209 miles west of Minneapolis, MN; 173 miles north of Sioux Falls, SD and 1596 miles east of Portland, OR.

 If you were to place a map of North America on a dart board, and threw a “bulls-eye”, you’d probably hit Browns Valley!

 Hansen Pole Buildings’ offices and warehouse is located on the South Dakota side of Lake Traverse (of course everyone knows Lake Traverse is the southernmost point of the Hudson Bay watershed and on the continental divide where supposedly if a raindrop fell on the bulls-eye – it would divide and go three different directions!). Yes, we are really in the state of South Dakota. Like many rural border towns, our mail is delivered from the nearest post office, which just happens to be in Minnesota.

 We are an internet based company, which means it doesn’t really matter “where we are”, as we design and sell buildings in all 50 states, including shipping to Alaska and Hawaii.  Since most of our products do not ship from our home office but from locations often within 25 to 100 miles of anyone’s building site – shipping is included in the price of every custom designed building kit. 

So to better answer the question “where are you”?  Everywhere!

DEAR POLE BUILDING GURU: I already have a perfect concrete slab which is 40 X 70.  (a previous building burned down) Does this present any issues for a new pole barn?  It was a quonset hut.  The old footings will be removed, as they weren’t that good to begin with. Darwin in Dayton, MN

DEAR DARWIN: AS long as you are not relying upon the old concrete slab to support the weight of a new building, it should be fine. Concrete is one of the best fire-resistant products found in building construction. However, intensive heat affects the strength of concrete.

 I normally would recommend to building the new building larger than your existing slab. Allow enough room around the perimeter to allow for easy digging of holes – say 44 feet by 74 feet or larger. A narrow strip of concrete can then be poured between the existing slab and the new pole building skirt board.

 If you do not want to go larger, it is possible to use a concrete saw to cut out portions of the slab where the building columns will be located. Again, allow for easy digging of holes, by making the cutouts six to 12 inches larger than the diameter of the hole to be bored.

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