Dear Pole Barn Guru: Grade First or Set Posts First?

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 or Saturday 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:The prices for everything in upstate New York are ridiculous. Did get a good excavator but not sure of whether to grade and put shale base down first or find someone to do the posts first. So at this point I am on hold. ANGUISHED IN ASHLAND

DEAR ANGUISHED: You should set the posts first. We just need to know the amount of grade change across your building site, to make sure we ship adequate length columns. As fill is rarely adequately compacted, it is far easier to stand the posts, than to have to dig through the extra thickness of the fill in order to get the columns properly embedded in undisturbed soil.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 32′ x 48′ pole barn used as a garage. It has 4 windows, 2 overhead garage doors with openers, 1/2″ foam board insulation with foil backing on sides and roof, 10′ from floor to trusses with no ceiling, just open. It has a 4″ concrete floor over stone.

My problem is moisture. In the summer there is white mold on things. Things in plastic storage containers get musky smelling. There is mold on the concrete underneath things.

The pole barn was built at the end of 2008. It gets full sun for at least 8 hours a day in the summer. It’s very frustrating. I’m guessing it’s lack of ventilation, but I don’t know what to do. It gets really humid during the summertime in southern Indiana.

Any suggestions? INHUMANE IN INDIANA

DEAR INHUMANE: Your problem is with too much moisture coming in, in relationship to the ability for it to be exhausted back out. These are common issues with pole barns where people try to make them too air tight.

As it is too late to add a good vapor barrier under the concrete floor, it should be sealed. Read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/07/concrete-sealer/

At the least, the ridge should be vented. More information on ventilation is available at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/02/pole-building-ventilation/

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