Dear Pole Barn Guru: Do You Offer Custom Size Buildings?

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.

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DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’ve found what I think might be a great deal on a pole barn kit for only $3500 on Craigslist. Here is the ad, what is your opinion? DEALING IN DALLAS

Steel PolesThis is a new bolt up pole barn kit. It does not have plans, it does have nuts and bolts and has green sheet metal screws but the sheet metal is white so you may wanna buy white screws.
requires a few welds after bolt up.

This is a hay barn style so there is not sheet metal for the sides it is a frame and a roof.

Steel roofing and wall panelsWhite roof with Burgundy ridge cap
29ga rib panel


frame made of 3″& 4″ square tubing and z-purling for easy assembly and components are labeled.

DEAR DEALING: This is a bad joke, right?

Seriously now, this is not a pole barn, it is someone’s poor idea of an all steel building. Here is my take on what this is – a steel tube building:

Look at the holes on the flanges on the bottom of the columns – they have been all oblonged out, this has been assembled, at least as far as the columns being stood up.

No plans? This is most certainly not a structure which might possibly believe the building has been engineered to meet any type of climactic loads, especially wind.

The steel sheeting has not been protected from the weather, chances are good the paint has been softened by water sitting in the skid. Why the screws and ridge cap do not match the roofing color is totally baffling.

My recommendation – run away from this one as quickly as possible. Invest your hard earned money into a quality building which will meet your needs and last a lifetime.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:  Hi I have a simple question. I am thinking of putting up a small pole building. I may prefer to do it in stages. Is it possible to put up the roof and maybe one side then put up the rest later.

Do you have a local contact in the Boise, Idaho area?


DEAR LEAH: Although you will get the best bang for your investment by constructing the building all at one time, it can be done in stages. You would be better off financially to borrow the money to complete it, as the interest you pay will be less than the added costs of creating multiple deliveries for small quantities of components.

With this said, if you intend to do the roof and one wall – pick one of the endwalls, as this will aid in the transfer of wind loads from the roof to the ground, and in many cases proves to be less expensive than just a roof.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designers are located all across the United States. We do not come visit your building site, so a local contact would serve no advantage.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am thinking of putting up a 60×104 covered riding arena, pavilion style (open sides with 4′ kick boards all the way around). Small I know, but it suits my purpose well. And I might completely enclose it at some point.

I plan to use 8x8x16′ posts (8 ft o.c.) and metal trusses: the type that bolt together at the peak, and rest on and attach to each post with a vertical stabilizer flange. The purlins will be wood. Roof will be be metal. Outside wall height is 12 ft. Roof pitch 4/12. The snow load in my area is 40 lbs.  Wind rating 90 mph. Soil type: gravelley sand, bearing capacity up to 5000 lbs. though 2000 seems to be the going poundage for all intents and purposes.

My contractor believes this building– basically a big roof– can be supported with conventional pole barn type footings. He wants to dig 48 inch holes (obviously to get get below the frost line) then will set the poles on some sort of concrete footing (a pad really) and back fill the holes. He says pole barns have been built this way for a hundred years (for good reason: friction) and that my building won’t blow away or lift.

Due to the size of the building and the fact that it’s clear span, I sought the advice of an engineer. The engineer insists the footings be 2’x3’x4′ and wants the poles anchored to the footings before backfilling. Once the engineer explained the dynamics of wind and lift, I totally agreed with him.

My contractor however, thinks the engineer is completely wrong! and still wants to use the ‘old school’ smaller footings (begrudgingly with some anchors).  He says those 100 year old pole barns are not only still standing, but that pole barns are being built TODAY in the exact same way. He feels I’ll be wasting my money by going with those huge footings.

Now I am at a loss as to what to do about those darn footings!  Your advice would be most welcome!

Thank you! DANA

DEAR DANA: The engineer you hired has gone to school to learn his trade – a minimum of four years of university education, plus several years as an engineer-in-training, before entering his or her professional practice. Over 50% of all contractors did not graduate from high school. If my point has not yet been made, let me tell you I am voting in favor of your engineer. Any contractor who will not follow the recommendations of a registered design professional should politely be sent packing.

Unless you have had a soils report done by an engineer, I would suggest using no greater than the 2000 psf value:

While I am doling out free advice…..

I would recommend you enclose both 60′ endwalls to the ground – here is some background as to why:

I’m concerned about the ability of light gauge steel trusses to span the 60′ distance with your snow load. Prefabricated wood trusses are probably the way to go.

Also, the 12′ eave is very short for a riding arena:

Have you considered ordering a complete kit package?

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