Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about plans for a residential pole barn, lumber going missing, and to building an existing slab.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I’m looking to build a residential pole barn. I would need enough space for 3 bedroom 2 bath. How big of a pole barn would I need? CULLEN in ROCHESTER
DEAR CULLEN: It depends upon what sort of spaces you want to live in. I grew up in a home which was just as you describe and only 960 square feet. Conversely, right now I live in a home which has one bedroom, 1-1/2 baths and has 2400 square feet of living space.
I encourage you to go to lots of open houses, take your tape measure and a notebook. When you find rooms feeling comfortable to you, measure them. Consider spaces you need to create for your lifestyle. Don’t short yourself when it comes to closets, storage spaces, etc. Do you need a family room and a living room? Maybe just a great room?
Once you get rough sizes and needed spaces figured out, fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle to make most efficient use of space. Try to minimize hallways as well as travel distances – think about how many trips get made to a laundry room. How many footsteps are taken during those trips between opposite house ends? Place those utility areas where they are most convenient.
When finished, draw a box around your creation and this will give you space you need.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What grade lumber should we use for the roof purlins on a pole barn building? It appears we have run very short on our project (I think somebody made off with a bunch during the night)! Prime, #1, #2, etc.???? Building in Northeast Pennsylvania, 4ft OC trusses, purlins spaced 2ft OC. JOEL in DUPONT
DEAR JOEL: Sadly jobsites suffer from a high incidence of pilferage. When I was a post frame building contractor, we did a big project in Northern Idaho. We’d lose nearly a unit of 7/16” OSB every night until we had a fence put up around our materials! Apparently it was an overly friendly neighborhood where everyone shared without asking.
To find out appropriate grade for roof purlins you are short, refer to your engineer sealed plans provided with your building kit package. They will specify size, grade and spacing.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing block and slab detached garage. It is old and well built but smaller than I want and the overhead doors are on the wrong face for my purpose. I would like to replace this 24×24 structure with a 36×60 pole barn. Removing that much concrete and then replacing it will add a good bit of cost and time to the project. Would it be possible to use the existing slab and foundation for the posts that would be on it using brackets and the rest of the posts set more traditionally in concrete or using piers and wet set brackets? ROB in ANNAPOLIS
DEAR ROB: Provided your existing concrete has adequacy to support your new building, it would be possible to use dry set anchors to mount columns in those areas. If any doubts about adequacy, you should consult with a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) who can evaluate your situation in person. For cost and ease of construction, I would typically recommend balance of columns being placed in augered holes.