Creating a Thermal Break

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: Have recently purchased a home with an existing pole building on it. The pole building is in nice shape but we will be replacing the roof panels. My question is about moisture control. The existing roof framing is like a typical house frame roof, with trusses on 24″ centers and a roof deck of 5/8 osb. Would a synthetic roof felt be the proper choice before installing the new roof panels or would you recommend something different? I see a lot of references to AV1 as a thermal break but I believe the roof deck would accomplish this. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks again. CORN FARMER in Burr Oak, MI

DEAR CORN FARMER: Thank you very much for being a loyal reader. Synthetic roofing felt should work just fine for your application, as the roof sheathing will provide the thermal break necessary to prevent condensation issues. One concern – if the current OSB is installed directly to the top chord of the roof trusses, 2×4 purlins will need to be placed on top of the sheathing in order to give the roofing screws something to “bite” into (OSB will not adequately hold screws). The 2x4s can be placed flat wise and should be nailed through the sheathing into the top chord of each truss with two 16d galvanized common nails (even better if the nails are ring shank to aid in preventing withdrawal). We had a similar circumstance when re-roofing my wife’s home a few years ago, and we opted to use A1V reflective radiant barrier draped loosely over the purlins, in order to more effectively utilize the reflective coating on the outer face of the insulation to assist against heat gain in the summer.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is it possible to build a pole structure into a moderate hillside? By way of either setting extra poles and laying 4×4 or 6×6 timbers horizontally to retain the soil against the structure and waterproofing the timbers and incorporating adequate drainage. I really don’t want to invest in building a separate retaining wall as this would create a “gap” between the wall and pole structure to collect debris and snow in the winter. I’ve received poured wall estimates in the range of $30,000-$44,000 just for a foundation making that route unfeasible. My plans are for a 40×60-64×14 structure with attic trusses. Any input you may have is greatly appreciated.

Brett in Dewitt, MI

DEAR BRETT: Yes, it is possible to building a pole structure into a moderate hillside. The easy way – build a concrete or ICF (Insulating Concrete Forms) foundation wall to support areas which require a “cut” into the hillside and mount the building to the top of the wall by means of brackets. (Read about bracket mounting here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/)

I am not expert on concrete foundation work, but the estimates you are seeing appear to be more than sufficient to excavate, form and pour an entire full basement along with a concrete slab in the bottom and have money left over.

(To get an idea of foundation costs read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/)

I actually have personal experience with a situation probably far more dramatic than yours, which you can read about at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/02/grade-change/

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1.866.200.9657
Building KitPrice

Know more about our pricing.

Pole Barn Guru Blog

The industry’s most comprehensive post frame blog.

Ask The Guru

This guru will grant you the answer to one pole barn question!

Pole Building Learning Center

To help guide you in the design of your new pole building.

Photo Gallery

Look at our collection of building photos for creative ideas!

Paint Your Building

Lets pick out some colors!