As early as 1840, early pioneers were lured to Florida and Georgia by the promise of cheap and plentiful land. With few provisions they needed to erect shelter quickly and cheaply. Cedar and cypress were abundant and were cut for framing and siding, while rocks or bricks made of oyster shells and lime were used as pilings to keep the shelters off the ground.
In an era far before the advent of air conditioning, air flow was important. The elevated floors provided a crawl space for ventilation beneath the homes. Wide shade porches provided welcome relief from the relentless sun.
Where home décor has gone in for shabby chic and grunge fashion, cracker houses are making a comeback in the Deep South. Developers in Florida are attempting to capture the casual, homey style with modern developments such as colored steel roofing, cedar siding, and of course – the deep shade porches.
Pole (or more technically correct, post frame) construction lends itself perfectly to the “Cracker House” style. A basic rectangular “box” is the basis of the structure, with a steeper gabled roof line (often 6/12 to 8/12) and dimensions such as 30 feet wide by 36 or 40 feet in length, or 36 wide by 48 foot long.
The elevated floor can be easily supported by short columns spaced every 10 or 12 feet, depending upon overall building dimensions. One of the beauties of the post frame design is no need for interior bearing walls, which allows for rooms to be best fit for the needs of the homeowner – with easy removal or addition as family sizes ebb and flow.
The deep shade porches can easily be done either along just one long sidewall, or wrapping around to also include one or both ends – or the entire home. The porches are a flatter roof slope, such as 3/12, with columns spaced along the outside edges to support rafters placed every 10 to 12 feet to match the roof support columns of the main building. The deep shade porch columns will also be used to support decks and railings.
Steel is, of course, the most prevalent roofing material for pole buildings. Affordable and durable, it is perfect to get the ideal cracker house look. A myriad of siding choices are available, depending upon one’s individual preferences and budget.
Want to capture the flavor of the old Deep South, while hanging onto the pocketbook? Look no further than the pole building cracker house!