Author Archives: admin

Plans, Scissor Trusses, a Possible New Building

This Monday’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about plans for buildings, the flat portion of a scissor truss bottom chord, and a possible new building for a “local.”

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Wondering if you sell plans only. I already have a building designed and wonder what it would cost to make sure it is built correctly? Our area doesn’t require stamped drawings. Thanks LEE in RICHMOND HILL

building-plansDEAR LEE: We only provide building plans along with an investment into a Hansen Pole Buildings post frame building kit package. We firmly believe every post frame building should be structurally designed and plans sealed by a Registered Professional Engineer. Whether stamped drawings are required or not, if an engineer didn’t design it, who did? It is frankly just not worth risking your life or your valuable possessions in an attempt to save a few dollars.
You won’t be able to acquire needed components yourself for what we can deliver them to you – and we insure everything is provided, so you aren’t making needless trips to your local hardware store. You truly don’t want to become a piece-mealer: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/03/diy-pole-building/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, Trusses sitting on top of post. I have scissor trusses it looks like the trusses were made for a 6 x6 post I have 6 x10 post. The flat that is cut on the truss is only 6″ so only thing that touches the top of the post is the 6″, 4″ then would be unsupported. This cannot be right? KURT in SAINT HELENS

DEAR KURT: Most metal plate connected wood truss manufacturers fabricate their scissor trusses with a cut at bottom chord ends allowing for a level bearing point on top of either walls or notches cut into post frame building columns (see “H” in example).


Length of this cut is typically equal to minimum required bearing surface, with a minimum of 3-1/2 inches. What your trusses have is entirely within structural design parameters and will perform admirably and is “right”.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi there.

We’d like to build in Hurley, WI. Can you deliver there and what, if any, service do you offer?

Looking to build a place to put a shop, park a 30 foot camper, a fishing boat and two trucks, plus some storage.  Would like a lean to either to side or wrap around.

Please advise as to whether it is reasonable for us to inquire with your company, given the distance.

Thank you! VICKIE in HURLEY

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR VICKIE: Considering it is only 375 miles from Browns Valley to Hurley, you are almost local! Hansen Pole Buildings provides post frame buildings in all 50 states (yes – even Alaska and Hawaii), so Wisconsin is not an issue.

A member of our team of Building Designers will work with you to arrive at a design solution best meeting with your needs, budget and available space. We provide third-party engineer sealed structural plans for your new building, along with all supporting calculations. You get a completely itemized Materials’ List, delivery to your site and a comprehensive step-by-step manual to guide you (or your builder, should you opt to use one) through assembly. If, for some obscure reason) you get stuck, or off track we provide unlimited free Technical Support via Email during your construction process.

Not only is it reasonable for you to inquire with us – you would be making a grave error should you not! Please give us a call (866)200-9657 and ask to speak with a Building Designer.

 

11 Reasons Post Frame Commercial Girted Walls Are Best for Drywall

11 Ways Post Frame Commercial Girted Walls are Best for Drywall

Call it what you want, drywall, gypsum wallboard even Sheetrock® (registered brand of www.usg.com) and most English speaking adults know what you are talking about. In post frame (pole) building construction, wall girts (horizontal version of studs) are placed in bookshelf fashion, resisting wind loads and providing framework to attach sheathing and/or siding to exterior and a material like drywall on interior. Learn more about commercial bookshelf girts here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/.

It turns out horizontal framing lends itself well to vertical application of Sheetrock® and here is why (horizontal being used to describe drywall run long direction left and right):

1 – Defective Seam – Horizontal rows needing more than one drywall panel creates (instead of avoids) butt-joint humps, which are not flat and are a twice (minimum) effort defect. Outlet and switch cover-plates, window and door trim, baseboards, pictures, mirrors and cabinets don’t sit flat. Using any “butt-joint product” erases all “claimed” benefits of Horizontal!

2 – Unsupported Seam –Light switch and countertop electrical boxes within a horizontal seam equals more weakness and butt-joint doubled, minimum, efforts.

3 – Structural Defect – Horizontal only reinforces a vertical studwall height of 4’ or less, a full-height studwall’s top-plate is never connected to the bottom plate. As in and due to #2 above, Frictional Contact is minimized (instead of maximized by Vertical).

4 – Seam Deception…4’x8′ Panels – Example 1: 48” tall by 102” long wall, Horizontal = 48” (technically) and it’s a 24” wide butt-joint or a minimum of doubling 48″ (Vertical = the same, generously, 96” but they’re easy 6” wide joints). Example 2: 96” tall by 102” long wall, Horizontal = 222” with 50% being 24” wide butts (Vertical = 192” of 6” wide easy joints, yes less)…in a Kitchen Horizontal = 100% of 24” wide butts (Vertical = 0%). Yes, Horizontal does taper area twice (minimum) in order to hide its butts, so very minimally just another 24” was added and #5 below was not factored into Horizontal’s monumental fraud.

5 – Self-Defeating Angles – Horizontal only uses one of a panel’s tapered edges and puts other taper at ceiling corner and baseboard creating (instead of avoiding like Vertical) a twisted angle having to be shimmed or additionally mudded. This too, instantly erases all “claimed” benefits of Horizontal by doubling seam amount, patching itself to equal Vertical!

6 – Unfriendly Seams – Horizontal celebrates chest height seams and pretends there’s no 24”-wide floor to ceiling butt-joint and ever present baseboard bevel of unfinished work. (Vertical has easy joints and top is screwed, taped and mudded later with ceiling corner and baseboard spots can also be done separately).

7 – Unsafe Installation – Horizontal needs two people for a safe installation and panel is airborne, literally creating chances to cause injury (Vertical easily tilts-up with just one person). Using a panel lifter is not even as easy and safe as Vertical’s tilt-up.

8 – Additional Waste – When correctly covering a knee wall, half wall, tub front, column or soffit by first removing both tapered edges, Horizontal can’t use these tapers elsewhere (Vertical can and does). And, Horizontal wastes four times as much mud on their completely unnecessary butt-joints and baseboard bevels…if ever done.

9 – Destructive Ignorance – Foundation and Framing crews go to great pains to make everything flat, level, plumb and square. Horizontal destroys those efforts with their defective humps and baseboard bevels (Vertical keeps this perfection).

10 – Costly Slow Complication – Horizontals depend upon pricey special muds and even messy tape or taping tools wasting mud. Taping tools still require a second step of knifing tape and muds require a mixing step. This is more expense, more time, more tools and equipment and more water…for an inferior job! Vertical’s superior with cheapest ready-mix bucket muds and dry self-adhesive tape. Again, Vertical’s seam treatment is just for looks.

11 – Fire Rating Fail – Most Single-ply or Single-layer drywall for Commercial Work is required to be installed vertically, to obtain drywall’s actual fire rating. 

Post frame construction and vertical application of drywall –  faster overall and immensely better in every way.

Room in a Barndominium Part 2

Great Room (487/481/680)

barefoot-contessa

We like the open feeling of a great room, especially with 16 foot high ceilings and a huge bank of windows across our South facing wall. Ours is well over 1000 square feet. For our lifestyle this was far more practical than separate Dining (148/196/281), Living (256/319/393), Family (311/355/503), Rec (216/384/540) and/or Entertainment/Media Rooms (140/192/280).

Master Bedroom (231/271/411)

Ours gets lived in (and is on the large side) – we have a small corner gas fireplace and a big screen tv in ours. We also have a sewing/craft loft above a portion accessed by a wheelchair lift.

When I was in Oregon, our 16 foot square Master Bedroom was just not enough, so I added another dozen feet of length, stepping down a step, with an open beam ceiling and a wood burning brick fireplace. 

Master Bathroom (115/144/210)

Being empty nesters, it was convenient for us to have washer and dryer in our bathroom, directly next to our walk-in (or roll in my bride’s case)closet. Originally we had a good sized prefabricated fiberglass shower unit, however this was removed and replaced with an open roll-in shower with a rain head.

Our first experience with open showers was in Costa Rica years ago, I’d never go back to a traditional shower if I was building from scratch. No, they are never cold.

Master Closet 

Neglecting a walk/roll in closet would be a serious design flaw in my humble opinion.

Secondary Bedrooms (130/139/178)

We actually have none! Our children are all grown and gone – but what about a guest room? 

For guests it takes not only a bedroom and a closet, but also another full bathroom. Easily a $10k investment. We did some math and found it would be far cheaper to pay for guests to stay at our not too distant Super 8 hotel (plus they get a free hot breakfast).

Have kids underfoot still? Unless you want them to become bedroom recluses, keep these spaces small.

Other Bathrooms (93/146/313)

In our world we have only a half-bath off our great room for guests on our living level. We do have a full “man bathroom” downstairs. 

At least one guest bathroom is best designed as being ADA (wheelchair) accessible. There are at least two million new wheelchair users every year in our country, so it is best to plan accordingly.

Laundry Room (67/87/145)

A well planned laundry room has plenty of space for a folding counter as well as ironing. If not on the same level with bedrooms, a laundry chute can prove more than a welcome addition.

Home Office

Mine is huge – 18’ x 24’ as it originally housed many of our business staff. Now, it is just me, so I have filled this space with a couch, coffee table, end table and a single bed for afternoon power naps!

In most cases, as youngsters grow up and go off to college a secondary bedroom can become a home office.

Utility/Mud Room (30/48/80)

These things have to go somewhere – water heater, furnace, water softener, etc.  Try to avoid my previous sins of making this area an afterthought. 

Hallways/Stairs

These are fairly unavoidable and since we don’t actually live in them, not much thought is given to them until it is time to move something big up, down or through one. To avoid damage to walls, people and belongings I would encourage four foot finished widths for these spaces – you won’t be sorry.

Work from this list to put your ideal spaces into priorities – “must have”, “would be nice to have” and “who cares”. Think about your family structure now and throughout your future years in this home.

Lastly, decide how large (or small) you want each room to be. Draw out each room, cut out and arrange the rooms according to your priorities as to where each room ideally will fit into the grand scheme of things. And there you have it, your new barndominium design!

Room in a Barndominium

Room In A Barndominium

I read plenty of chatter in Facebook barndominium groups where people want to see other’s floor plans. In my humble opinion – this is a mistake. Building your own barndominium, shouse (shop/house) or post frame home from scratch gives you probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to craft a home specifically to fit your needs.

Home sizes can be split up into three groups – small (under 2000 square feet), medium (2000-2999 square feet) and large (over 3000 square feet). In discussions about possible rooms and sizes average square footage (sft) for each size will be indicated.

Entry Foyer  (65/89/138 sft)

Most homes have some sort of space inside the front door where coats and boots are removed, etc. Coat closet should be in this area as well. 

Our shouse in South Dakota has a tiled floor in this area located where top of stairs and  elevator are. Ours is on small end of spectrum, at well below average. My own personal favorite was in my Willamette Valley home where I created an ‘air lock’ entry – front door opening into an area where a nearly full glass door divided it from living spaces. This design was very practical for maintaining interior temperatures.

Kitchen (193/275/423)

Face it, we all have to eat. This is going to be your ideal dream home, so kitchen space is not a place to skrimp. Ours is most certainly beyond large average.

In our shouse’s case, I personally enjoy to cook, my bride to bake. Our kitchen tends to also become a social place where company congregates as meals are organized and prepared. Things I feel we really did right in ours include:

4’ x 8’ center island. We designed it with a two foot bank of cabinets on one side, a two foot space for a chair from each side (and grandkids can crawl through) and four feet of cabinets on other side. This chair space worked out to be ideal for my wife’s powered wheelchair after she became a paraplegic. 

Separate side-by-side refrigerator and freezer units. There is seemingly never enough space inside a standard combined unit. We also raised ours a foot above floor level so we didn’t have to stand on our heads to see what was at the bottom.

If one is good, two are better. This applied to our ovens, where one is stacked above another. This became even more important after my wife’s accident, as she can easily reach the lower oven. We also have two dishwashers – one of my pet peeves is fixing a meal for a large group and having dirty dishes remaining on counters and sinks. Two dishwashers solved this. We also raised each of them a foot off the floor and it has made loading and unloading so much easier! Our other duo is his and hers microwaves. Even though it is just the two of us here, it is amazing how often we have both of these in use at the same time.

We have large spaces (four feet) between island and surrounding kitchen counters.

Long eating bar (easily seats five on bar stools) – at the same height as the top of raised dishwashers, with sink and range on the other side and lower. With a passle of grandchildren, this makes serving and cleanup a breeze.

One thing I did miss (and I have had before) is a trash compactor.

Walk-In Kitchen Pantry (17/31/51)

Originally we did not have one in our shouse. After my bride’s accident, we ended up adding a full sized elevator, requiring a mechanical room. The space at living level, above mechanical room, became our pantry. Even with our kitchen having side-by-side refrigerator and freezer units, there just was never enough room, especially around Winter Holidays. Our pantry has both a refrigerator with a top freezer and an upright freezer. Refrigerator is a handy spot for 12 packs of soda and adult beverages, as well as when guests bring refrigerated items over for a get together. 

We also used heavy duty shelf brackets and have two foot deep shelves all up one wall and above cooling units.

Come back tomorrow for more on designing your new barndominium.

How to Find the Length of a Pole Barn Diagonal

Not until reader DON wrote did I realize this information was missing from our Construction Manual (however not any more):

“I’m building a 26×40 pole barn (girts will be nailed to the outside post) and need to finish squaring it up. My square root for the 26×40 is 47.707441767506 and the square root of 25.9×39.9(took3″ off for girts) is 47.56910762248962 Can you tell me what the measurements are in inches after the decimal points? I just want to make sure I’m getting it exact and need a bit of help from someone experienced. Thanks a bunch!”

For those who have not recently utilized their math skills, here is an example: building is 50 feet in width and 84 feet long. Measurements are from outside of column to outside of column, with girts projecting 1-1/2 inches in all directions from column outsides.

Explanation:

A picture helps greatly with this problem, so we begin with a rectangular pole barn.

We note distance (drawn in red) is diagonal of our rectangle, or k. We should also note this diagonal divides our rectangle into two congruent right triangles. We can therefore find length of our diagonal by focusing on one of these triangles and determining hypotenuse. This can be done with the Pythagorean Theorem, which gives us:

50^2 + 84^2 = k^2

2500 + 7056 = k^2

9556 = k^2

Taking square root gives us:

k=97.754795 feet

For Don’s building: 26 feet^2 plus 40 feet^2 = 2276

Taking square root of 2276 = 47.707 feet

Less 47 feet leaves 0.707 feet or 8.489 inches (taking decimal of a foot times 12).

0.707 feet – 0.667 feet (eight inches) leaves 0.04 of a foot or ½ inch.

From table above our diagonal is 47’ 8-1/2”.

If, for some reason, corner columns were held in to 25’9” x 39’9” to outsides, then diagonal would be 47’ 4-5/16”.

I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Siding Materials, Fascia Boards, and Venting

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about siding materials, fascia boards and gable vents.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If a house or pole barn has metal on the outside does it still need plywood or OSB sheathing under the metal? GARY in JESUP

DEAR GARY: Provided steel siding and/or roofing has an ability to withstand snow, wind and seismic loads as well as adequately transfer shear – then probably not. Your building’s Engineer of Record can produce calculations to verify if underlying sheathing would be required for your particular building, at your particular site. This is one of a plethora of calculations done by Hansen Pole Buildings’ third-party engineers on every building we provide.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How is fascia installed on the ends of rafters? Should it be raised up to match the purlins? I have a pole barn with no overhangs. WAYNE in MARTINSVILLE

DEAR WAYNE: I will do some interpreting and guess your “rafters” are actually trusses and you have a building with trusses every two or four feet resting on truss carriers. With no overhangs, truss ends are capped by an “eave strut” or eave purlin – usually a 2×4 or 2×6 placed vertically. Top edge of your eave strut should be bevel cut to match your roof slope and installed so top beveled edge is in same plane with tops of adjacent uphill roof purlins (e.g. raised up to match purlins).

All of this information should be included in your engineer sealed building plans, as well as outlined in assembly instructions provided along with your building kit package (at least it is with those who invest in Hansen Pole Buildings).

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I recently purchased an existing pole barn (30’ x 40’) which has no vents whatsoever.   The previous owner was reliant on just all the various air gaps and leaks for the building to breathe.  I would like to seal up some of those gaps for rodent control, and then replace those square feet of ventilation with actual vents.   

At a minimum, I’d like to put a gable vent on each end, and then probably some soffit vents as well.

I saw on your website a discussion of a 2-piece gable vent, designed to work over the ridges in pole barn siding.   Yet I don’t see where I could purchase those vents.   Can I buy those directly from Hansen, or would I have to go through a local dealer or contractor? GREG in DEARBORN

 

 

DEAR GREG: You can contact Justine@HansenPoleBuildings.com for a price and availability. For a building your size you will need 576 square inches of net free ventilating area – 1/2 on each end and located in upper half of your gable triangles.

 

 

 

 

 

Planning for Lighting in a New Pole Barn

Both of my post frame buildings outside of Spokane, WA have no windows on the garage/shop level. This means when inside, with doors closed, it is dark – one is forced to rely upon electricity or radar to navigate.

Reader KRISTI is preparing to build her new pole barn and had some questions about how to light up her life:

“Hi there!

I plan to have a 36’x40’ pole barn built before the cold weather hits here in Michigan and I have a couple of quick questions if you don’t mind. 

First, I will be using this building as workshop so it will definitely be insulated and heated. I’m planning to run a radiant slab heat system. My first question is regarding windows. I want to be able to see outside but more importantly, I want all the daylight I can get! That in mind, which wall would you recommend to bring in the most light? How do I frame up the interior walls around the windows? How difficult is it to add windows once the insulation and sheathing is done inside? Lastly, would you recommend using clear acrylic panels along the tops of the walls? I’m a little worried it will yellow over time & I’m not sure how I could insulate the acrylic if it’s even possible. 

The barn will be in an open area with little to no shade & will have a large garage door on the east end, and 12’ walls with a ceiling. 

Thank you in advance for any time you should spend on answering my questions! I totally understand if you are too busy to indulge me and if I could only ask one question I would ask how to frame out the interior walls for a window. 

Thanks again!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Gambrel roof pole barnTo get the most light, place windows on the south wall. Easiest way to frame your exterior walls (interior walls around windows) is to use what we refer to as commercial girts (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/). Once you have finished insulating and an interior wall covering, there will be an extreme degree of difficulty to add more windows – it is best to plan for them in advance and install at time of initial construction. This also allows for them to be incorporated into engineered building plans as increasing openings. Without engineering, can compromise the structural integrity of your building. While eave light panels are very effective for unheated buildings, in your case you would be heating much of Michigan, if you used them. Here is some more reading on light panels: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/02/acrylic/.

We will be looking forward to helping you with your new pole barn!

An Avoidable Building Failure

I had already begun working on this article when I saw on Facebook a great post frame prefabricated wood roof truss setting video (https://www.facebook.com/ruralrenovators/videos/2443278165738995/) posted by Kyle Stumpenhorst of Rural Renovators, LLC (https://rrbuildings.com/).

This is not a paid endorsement for Kyle – however I do believe Kyle really cares about doing a job right. If I personally lived in his immediate service area of Franklin Grove, IL and needed a post frame building erected, I would call Kyle – and wouldn’t ask for bids from anyone else. I am willing to pay for someone who truly takes pride in what they do.

Photo above and excerpts in italics are from a July 29 updated posting at www.fox9.com (for full article: http://www.fox9.com/news/widespread-damage-east-of-twin-cities-after-tornado-reports).

Areas east of the Twin Cities were among the hardest hits spots after storms ripped through Minnesota and Wisconsin on Sunday.

There were at least four reports of tornadoes created by the storms across Minnesota — including one near the area of Scandia — but none have been officially confirmed by the National Weather Service as of Sunday night.

Daniel Kaiser said, “In probably 15, 20, 25 seconds, it was kind of in and out of here so that wind, it didn’t really last too long. I was just kind of amazed to see all of the trees down from the wind we had here.”

Several decades of old trees lay across Daniel Kaiser’s lawn in Scandia. He’s also dealing with some unusual debris.

“That’s one of the solar panels from across the street,” he explains. “It’s amazing how much force that must have been coming through here carrying these things because they aren’t light.”
One solar panel ended up stuck several feet off the ground in a tree. Onlookers were surprised by the damage.

“I’ve never seen that,” said Rob Thompson. “Almost 52 years old and I’ve never.”
Down the road, the damage was even worse.

“The siren went off and Terry said, ‘Go downstairs’ and so we all went downstairs,” recalls Mark Johnson.
The Johnson’s roof was ripped off their pole barn.
“It just got underneath the roof and ripped the whole roof off and sucked all of the insulation out.”

I can tell you right now what happened, and then will show why. This entire roof – steel roofing and wood roof purlins was lifted off from roof truss system because of a poor connection. Long time readers will recall me mentioning how most engineering failures are due to poorly designed or improperly installed connections.

Many Midwest pole building suppliers and contractors provide buildings with sidewall columns anywhere from seven to 10 foot on center. A single pole barn roof truss is placed at each column. 2×4 roof purlins are installed (on edge) across purlin tops. One popular supplier uses a nine foot spacing with 20 foot long purlins to span two ‘bays’ (a bay being space between truss columns).

Design wind speed is 115 mph from 2015 IBC (International Building Code) Figure 1609.3(3). This is based upon IBC Risk Category II for buildings like your home. For this purpose, we will assume an Exposure B for wind site (building in the photo is Exposure C, roughly 20% greater loads). Wind exposure is explained here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/wind-exposure-confusion/.

Using appropriate calculations wind load (uplift) for components and cladding in this area of roof is 33.547 psf (pounds per square foot). Weight of roof purlins and steel roofing can be used to resist this uplift (roughly 1.105 psf). This makes our net uplift 32.442 psf.

For the sake of this discussion we will assume purlins are spanning eight feet between truss centers and spaced every two feet. This means each purlin end has 16 square feet of surface to possibly uplift x 32.442 psf or a total of 519.072 pounds.

We are going to attach purlin to top of truss using a 60d pole barn nail (roughly 2/10 inch in diameter). From the 2015 National Design Specifications for Wood Construction (NDS) Table 12.2D with a Specific Gravity of 0.55 (assuming roof truss top chords are Southern Pine – other species may be less) and a nail diameter of 0.200 inches, these nails are good for 109 pounds of resistance per inch of depth of penetration (lbs/in) into truss top chord.

109 lbs/in multiplied by 2-1/2 inches = 272.5 pounds. Because this connection is not controlled by metal strength a load adjustment factor of 1.6 may be applied giving total resistance to uplift of 436 pounds or 19% overstressed.

Even worse would be if a purlin is used to span across two adjacent bays of roof. Using the previous example, our uplift loads at each end would be reduced to 389.304 pounds per end (and working), however at our truss at center uplift would be nearly 1300 pounds!

There does exist some solutions, most economical of width is probably to use engineered joist hangers and place purlins between trusses.

How to Order Lumber for a New Pole Building

This is Wrong in So Many Ways

There is nothing wrong about trying to get the best deal for one’s investment. How do you think wealthy people got wealthy? Most of them didn’t just fall into money, they worked to get the best deals for their money spent.

However, sometimes, it just doesn’t pay.

Recently, in our Facebook group ‘Pole Barns and Buildings’, a new member made this post:

“Anyone here really good at figuring the lumber materials for a pole barn? I’ve already got my trusses and metal will be erecting myself. 40x70x14 with 40×50 of that enclosed with 2 12×12 roll up doors and a 36inx80in man door. 12×70 side shed on both sides.”

This poster is way over his head and here are my reasons for having this opinion:

  1. Not only does he not have third-party engineer sealed plans to build from (a sin in where I come from), he has no plans at all!
  2. If he had plans, he could simply count materials needed from his plans. It truly is not so difficult.
  3. Or, he could take his plans to his nearby lumberyard and they will do a takeoff for him (probably not being overly accurate) as they attempt to get him to buy their lumber package.
  4. Cart is way ahead of his horse. If I was ‘Joe soon to be new building owner’ and planning to erect my own building, I would at least look to order my materials to follow how I would use them. Hopefully he won’t have to store those materials very long, and if he does he will do them properly so as not to end up with sun tanned warped trusses and/or steel with paint sliding off it or premature rusting due to water sitting in inadequately protected bundles.

Here is how to store trusses on a jobsite: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/jobsite-storage-of-pole-building-trusses/ and steel roofing and siding: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/storage-of-steel-roofing-and-siding-panels/.

Piecemealers, like this one, never come out ahead: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/03/diy-pole-building/.

How to Hang Things on Post Frame Steel Siding

How to Hang Things on Post Frame Steel Siding

Reader LORI in WISCONSIN writes:

“We would like to hang a large Christmas wreath on the street face of our farm’s pole shed, above the sliding door (photo provided)…what do you recommend we use for the hanger? We’re in SW Wisconsin, so not excited about any of the adhesive things due to the cold temps.”

Hanging things on exterior steel sided post frame walls is not overly difficult and is similar to hanging items on drywall, wood or plaster. Major difference is galvanized bolts will replace nails. Nails won’t work very well on metal as the hole will eventually expand and do damage to your building. Nuts, bolts and washers (all galvanized) form a much more secure bond.

Measure and mark spot(s) on the wall for item attachments. Length and diameter of bolt depends upon items you are hanging. A 1/4-inch bolt is sturdy enough to support most items. Bolt placement also depends upon the item type. If you are hanging a picture, bolts need to be set in such a way so picture hangs evenly and at an appropriate height. Avoid areas with wires, pipes and underlying wood framing.

Select a metal drill bit slightly larger than bolt thread diameter, to drill holes in steel siding. Place drill on marked spot, turn on and hold it level as you drill. Repeat process until all holes are drilled.

Place a galvanized nut on the bolt and thread up to where an adequate distance remains to hang item between bolt head and nut, when installed. Place a large diameter galvanized flat washer on the bolt shaft. Place caulking around pre-drilled hole and insert bolt/nut/washer assembly from exterior to minimize water infiltration.

Electrical Installation, A Frequent “Plans” Question, and Vapor Barriers

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about running electrical through posts, a question often received about plans, and vapor barriers.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m looking for the lvl beam, floor / roof joist and wall purlin penetration layout for plumbing and electrical install.

I will not need many horizontal penetrations. A few for electrical install and the hot and cold water lines

I will need to have vertical penetrations in the wall purlins for the waste and vent lines.

Max hole size

Spacing between holes

Hole location in joist / lvl beams. Upper middle lower?

Thanks, GREG in LEAVENWORTH

DEAR GREG: Here is some information from Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual:

Q: Can electrical be drilled through framing or columns?

A: Very little drilling, if any, will be needed for holes in order to run electrical wires. Wall framing (girts) extend or are placed so as to leave a 1-1/2 inch space between outside of wall columns and siding.

  Think of a hole being drilled through as being an “open knot”. Lumber grading rules refer to these as being “Unsound or Loose Knots and Holes” due to any cause. Most structural framing – like wall girts and roof purlins or posts and timbers are graded as Number 2.

  For practical purposes, a hole up to just less than ¼ of board face being drilled through will be within grade in #2 lumber. Example: 3-1/2” face of a 2×4 a hole up to 7/8” may be drilled through, as often as every two feet. Allowable hole sizes are reduced and spacing increased for higher grades of lumber.

Here is APA’s guide to drilling holes in LVLs:
http://murphyplywood.com/pdfs/engineered/APA_LVL_Hole_Drilling.pdf

 

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Where do I get plans to take to the state to get a permit? DAVID in EDINBURGH

DEAR DAVID: With your investment in a new Hansen Pole Building, we will provide two sets of third-party structural engineer sealed plans and pertaining calculations for your to submit for your Building permit.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 40×40 pole barn that is open on one gable end and used for vehicle and trailer parking. I am re-siding and re-roofing with metal over purlins. Do I need a vapor barrier such as roofing felt under the metal? KEVIN

DEAR KEVIN: You should have something to prevent condensation. My first choice for ease of installation would be to order roof steel with dripstop or condenstop attached by roll former. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/07/condenstop/

If this is not an option, use a reflective radiant barrier with an adhesive pull strip attached for ease in sealing seams.

 

 

Exhaust Fan to Reduce Pole Barn Condensation Issues

Post frame (pole barn) building condensation problems are a re-occurring theme. With proper design and planning, condensation should not occur, however more often than not this is a penny wise, pound foolish event – caused by post frame building providers (either builders or vendors) not advising new building owners of possible challenges.

Reader JEFF in MICHIGAN writes:

“Hi Mr. Guru. I have a 1 year old, 2400 sq.ft. pole barn at my northern MI home. The barn is a wood frame, well insulated, drywalled, and Hardi board exterior barn with asphalt shingles. I’m not sure of a vapor barrier under the concrete floor, it was poured before I saw it.

I have 2ea. 56k BTU “standing pilot”, ventless heaters (no electricity required) to keep the inside temp above freezing (45-50*) in the winter for boat storage and occasional projects. I went powerless because this is more of a summer home at this point and I’m not up there much in the winter. If there’s a power outage, my barn will stay warm. 

That being said, I have a condensation problem. I’m thinking a louvered, 24″ exhaust fan running through a humidistat switch and an intake grill on opposite ends of the barn should cure the issue. I’m looking for verification that this will fix my problem before I buy the fan and cut holes in the walls or if maybe you have another, simple solution.

Thanks for your help.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

For those unfamiliar with “standing pilot”:

A standing pilot is a standard ignition device for most natural gas burning heating systems, and has been for many years. It’s a continuously burning flame at heater bottom, responsible for starting burners actually generating heat for a post frame building. Though it’s a widely used technology, there are a few things giving it a less-than-stellar reputation.

Standing pilot lights are actually fairly simple in design. A gas line terminates in a small burner, where the flame is created. A bit of composite metal wire, called a “thermocouple,” connects the burner to a gas line valve. When the pilot light is lit, thermocouple registers heat and generates an electric current. This current travels down thermocouple to the gas valve and opens it. This is what keeps the pilot light burning. When the pilot light goes out, thermocouple’s electric current stops and gas valve closes. This is a safety measure to prevent gas from flooding your home.

Most common problem for standing pilot lights is the light going out. This tends to happen because the flame is unprotected from air currents or sudden draft. Though there is an ignition system on most heaters to relight the pilot light, other issues can occur.

Thermocouple for pilot light often wears out over time, eventually losing the ability to create an electrical current. This can occur from wear and tear, corrosion, becoming detached from volt meter, or simply becoming bent way from pilot flame. Regardless of how thermocouple stops working, the pilot light is unable to stay lit. If your pilot light seems to light without issues, but almost immediately goes out, it’s because thermocouple is no longer keeping gas valve to flame open.

Jeff’s starting point should be to eliminate, or at least minimize where moisture is coming from. Place a wrench on your floor overnight, if a dark impression remains on floor (sort of like chalk body outlines at murder scenes) when removed you know you have no vapor barrier underneath your slab. Seal your floor.

Next culprit is your heaters. You’ll want to read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/how-to-reduce-condensation-in-post-frame-buildings/.

Whether your proposed exhaust fan will be adequate or not will be dependent upon its CFM (cubic feet per minute) capabilities. You will probably want to plan for around 10 air exchanges per hour. If you have a 14 foot high ceiling, then 40 x 60 x 14 = 33,600 cubic feet X 10 times / 60 minutes per hour = 5600 cfm.

I hope this helps, and good luck!

Protecting Post Frame Building Siding

Roll formed steel is my siding of choice for post frame (pole barn) buildings. It is going to most cost effective, most durable and easiest to install. There are some who decide (or are forced to decide due to local restrictions) to opt for wood sidings.

Reader TOM in SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO is one of these and he writes:
“We are building a 36×48 pole barn. Bottom half is 2×6 T&G pine and upper is cedar board and batting. What should we treat the wood with to protect it and let it age naturally?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Even if your new post frame building siding is made of redwood, cedar, or some other durable species, it’s at risk immediately. There are several culprits. Moisture swells wood while sun’s burning rays dry and shrink it, causing cracks and checks while also encouraging warping. Ultraviolet rays also discolor wood and accelerate wear by breaking down the wood fibers. Add in mold growth in shady spots, and discoloration from weather and most wood siding starts to look old within a few years.

Avoiding damage is simple enough. Treat surfaces with a water-repellent finish. Even the cleanest wood sidings are at elemental mercy without a right finish.

Choosing from among several hundred sealers out there is less simple. You’ll also have to decide whether to do it yourself or hire a pro. Here’s how to take the guesswork out of protecting siding you just installed.

Most post frame building owners do work themselves because they can save money. Materials will run between 20 and 30 cents per square foot.

If you don’t have time to do it yourself, you can hire a contractor. And frankly most pros don’t have much experience. This makes checking references and visiting past jobs especially crucial. And because most pros have their favorite products, you’ll probably have little say about ones used on your siding. Expect to pay between 60 cents and $1 per square foot for materials and labor.

Wood siding finishes fall into two categories: sealers and stains. Both are formulated to seal out elements. As their name implies, clear sealers are non-pigmented finishes. Stains are available with a little pigmentation (referred to on label as “tone”), semitransparent, and in solid colors. Unlike paints, which form a surface film, clear and pigmented finishes penetrate wood.

“The ideal finish does three things,” says Charles Jourdain, vice president of technical services at California Redwood Association, a lumber-industry trade group. “It repels water, preserves the wood with a mildewcide, and screens out UV rays.” Some products waterproof only. For maximum protection, the label should list all three features.

Finishes are either oil- or water-based. What you choose depends on your priorities. According to Mark Knaebe, a chemist with U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory who evaluates deck finishes, oil-based finishes provide more and longer-lasting protection. “Oil-based finishes penetrate deeper into the wood than water-based finishes,” Knaebe says. Familiar names here include Cabot’s, DAP, Flood, Olympic, Thompson’s, and Wolman.

Water-based products are easier to clean up than oil-based products. They’re also more forgiving in damp conditions. While wood surfaces must be bone-dry before accepting an oil-based sealer, damp wood can absorb a water-based product. Water-based finishes also last longer than they did just a few years ago. Companies like Wolman and American Building Restoration Products (X-100 Natural Seal) make a water-based version of their product.

Clear finishes are popular because they allow wood’s natural grain to show through. And because they’re transparent, you can’t leave any lap marks during application, a common problem with pigmented finishes. But, they aren’t as good at blocking UV rays.

Best UV protection comes from a combination of chemical inhibitors and color pigments. Though inhibitors in some clear finishes slow UV penetration, they tend to break down relatively quickly. Result is most must be reapplied yearly.

Lightly pigmented and semitransparent finishes add color while allowing some grain to show through; they also form an effective UV barrier. More pigment a finish has, the better it is at blocking UV rays. This is why a sem-itransparent finish will last up to three years or more before another application is needed.

Solid-color finishes offer most UV protection.
For do-it-yourselfers, there are two drawbacks to pigmented finishes. They leave lap marks or areas where the finish is uneven if not applied carefully.

Figure on spending $15 to $25 per gallon for a good clear or pigmented finish. Finishes costing less probably won’t provide all protection your siding needs.

Waiting nine months to a year before applying finish to new wood siding used to be standard procedure. Leaving wood unprotected lowers interior moisture content and allows pores to open and accept more sealer or stain. Unfortunately, it also contributes to weathering. Instead, apply finish on new siding within a few weeks. Then apply a second coat following year. “That second application leaves more finish in the wood. Doing it right also lets you wait two or three years before putting on another coat,” says USDA’s Knaebe.

One exception to finishing right away is new lumber with a waxy buildup. This mill glaze won’t allow finish to penetrate and any finish applied to it will peel off in a few months. You’ll know it’s there if water from a hose beads on wood surface. Mill glaze can also appear as a burnished area. In either case, wait two or three weeks so surface can weather slightly. If water still beads up, sand lightly. Apply finish when temperature is above 50°F and weather will be dry for a few days.

Solutions to Porch Overhang Clearance Issues

Recently KIM in STRATFORD posted this question to a Facebook Barndominium discussion group I am a member of:

“I am trying to finalize my plans today. Is it possible to have 8′ side walls and still have a 6′ overhang open porch on the eave side of the house? I have a 5/12 pitch on the house portion and actually wanted two separate roof lines, one for the house and a separate one for the porch overhang. House is on a slab so no built up foundation walls. I’m not sure if this porch will be too low with the porch roof UNDER the house roof and with a slight slope for water drainage…. Any experts out here?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

For starters, most steel roofing suppliers will not warrant steel placed on slopes of less than  3/12. Continuing out from your main wall six feet at a 3/12 slope will place underside of your overhang at roughly six feet and six inches. Not only could this become a head ringer (at least for my son who is 6’6” tall in his bare feet), but it is going to block clear view out windows in this area. It is also just plane going to feel low.

I did some researching, however I’ve been unable to find a Building Code requirement for clearance below an overhang, however I would have to believe seven foot to be a bare practical minimum. 

You could:

(a) Build over a crawl space, instead of a slab – raising elevation of home and affording a more comfortable surface to live on (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/03/slab-on-grade-or-crawl-space/) ;

(b) Increase house wall height – you could maintain an 8′ finished ceiling and have raised heel roof trusses to allow for full depth attic insulation from wall-to-wall (very good idea) https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/raised-heel-trusses/ ;

(c) Use roof trusses wide enough to span from opposite wall to outside edge of porch, with a pitch change at junction between porch and home.

Dial 1(866)200-9657 and ask to speak to a Building Designer. Your call is free and we have great solutions for you.

Post Frame Indoor Swimming Pool Considerations

In my past life I lived with my family in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Hot summer days filled with sunshine were about as rare as access to nearby lakes – close to zero. Having grown up spending summers at my maternal grandparents’ lake cabin, swimming has always been part of my life. A frequently told fable was my younger brother and I could swim before we could walk!

Given relatively mild winter weather, I opted to have an in-ground outdoor swimming pool added to our backyard. Many an hour was spent in this pool, prior to selling and moving back to my native Spokane area.

Reader CLINT in COLUMBUS writes:
“Saw a post about pole barn over an in ground pool.
Curious about moisture management? My pool builder says a lot of cost but won’t expand on it.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:
Indoor pools demand special monitoring for constant challenge of humidity control. Service pros shouldn’t be expected to maintain dehumidifiers, which are HVAC/R machines requiring EPA-certified technicians. Indoor pools can malfunction quickly, so a typical six-month or annual dehumidifier check-up by an HVAC/R service contractor isn’t enough to detect potentially damaging problems before they blossom.

An indoor pool is a unique synergy of four factors, degradation of any could result in building deterioration, air quality health problems and uncomfortable environmental conditions for users.

1. Building envelope: Indoor pools can experience issues related to construction techniques or building materials. For example, missing or breached vapor barriers can allow damaging condensation to accumulate inside walls. For post frame pool covers, I would recommend use of all pressure preservative treated lumber. Walls must have a totally sealed interior vapor barrier. Depending upon climate, adding a layer of two inch closed cell rigid insulation board to inside of framing reduces thermal transmission between interior and exterior and can be air sealed.

2. Ventilation: Supply air ducts and vents must fully cover exterior windows with conditioned air to avoid condensation. System must move air down to breathing zone for good air quality.

3. Dehumidification: Most indoor pool spaces have a dehumidifier to maintain 50- to 60 percent relative humidity and cool or heat air to a set point temperature. Without it, the space probably depends on outdoor air and exhaust.

4. Water chemistry: Imbalanced chemistry results in buildup of respiratory-affecting chloramines and potentially causing surfaces to corrode.

Most modern dehumidifiers are complete HVAC machines heating or cooling space and use compressor heat recovery to heat pool water.

So space and water temperatures, and relative humidity are key checkpoints. These parameters are displayed on a microprocessor’s LED keypad readout and in many cases can be accessed remotely. A good rule of thumb is to keep a two-degree difference between space (higher) and water (lower) temperatures. A common indoor pool set point is 84°F space, 82°F water temperature and a 60 percent relative humidity. Lowering space temperature by even two degrees increases humidity load by 35 percent, which could surpass a dehumidifier’s capacity.

Many dehumidifier LED keypads have red warning lights to indicate an operation stoppage or problems, which only an HVAC/R technician can repair. This readout menu can be scrolled to find a cause.

No water should leak from inlets or outlets of dehumidifiers with a pool water heating feature. On the other hand, hundreds of pool water heating models have been errantly left unconnected to the pool’s circulation systems. Owners should know water heating connection to a dehumidifier could save hundreds of dollars on utility bills annually.

An overflowing condensate drain pan (or watermark evidence) could point to a potentially damaging drain line blockage.

Condensation on exterior walls and ceilings should not occur. Window and skylight condensation indicates the glass is not covered with warm dehumidified supply air and its temperature has dropped below the dew point.

Premature corrosion on door hardware or room surfaces could indicate a problem.
Indoor pools must operate with a negative building pressure: Approximately 10 percent more air volume should be exhausted than introduced. A malfunctioning exhaust fan or ventilation design can result in positive pressure and push pool air and odors into connected living quarters. Positive pressurization also can push moisture into poorly sealed voids inside walls and above ceilings where it can produce mold and deteriorate the building. Indoor pool building pressure can be easily checked by slightly opening a door and seeing if air is being pulled in (negative) or pushed out (positive).

Dehumidifier supply air blowers generally run 24/7 to offset pool evaporation, so monthly or bi-monthly air-filter replacements may be needed. If the blower isn’t running, there’s something amiss.

Dehumidifier compressors run at least 10 minutes at a time. Hearing compressor short-cycle off and on several times within a minute or two warrants an HVAC/R service contractor’s attention. Very noisy ductwork, such as drum head effects and extreme vibrations, could point to a poor ventilation design. Unusual sounds, such as fan belts squealing or worn out motor or blower bearings, also require an HVAC/R contractor.

A final note: Suggesting owners call their dehumidifier maker rather than an HVAC/R contractor usually won’t help because they rarely perform repairs. However, a factory tech’s review of data can help HVAC/R service pros troubleshoot issues.

Sliding Door Size, Floor Heat & Post Rot, and Trimming an Addition

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses Sliding Door Size, Floor Heat & Post Rot, and Trimming an Addition.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a shed in Holman Wisconsin with 12 ft high by 12 ft wide doors on it. The header is 13-6 can 13 ft high by 12 wide sliding door b installed? JEFF in HOLMAN

14-0620 Monitor BarnDEAR JEFF: Assuming standard post frame building construction where top of concrete slab is 3-1/2″ above bottom of pressure preservative treated splash plank. From bottom of splash plank to bottom of sliding door header would need to be 13′ 4-3/4″ to allow for a 13 foot tall sliding door.

 

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: In floor heat and poll life. Would higher temps from in floor heat reduce the life span of treatment and also improve the environment for decay organisms? VINCENT in CHAFFEE

DEAR VINCENT: As pressure treatment chemicals bond to wood at a cellular level, unless your floor heat was hot enough to cause combustion, it is highly unlikely lifespan would be reduced.

Growth of wood-rotting fungi is affected by temperature similar to growth of ordinary green plants. It is faster in warm weather than in cold. There are variations in response to temperature, and for each species there is an optimum at which growth is most rapid. Forest Products Laboratories tests and others on a number of species of fungi common in Canada indicate temperature conditions for optimum growth range from 65 to 95°F. All fungi show little or no growth at freezing temperatures or slightly above, but most wood rotting fungi are not killed by temperatures well below freezing point. They can withstand winter’s cold in a dormant state and can recommence active growth when temperatures increase again if other conditions are right.

Growth becomes less rapid as temperatures are increased above 95°F and ceases for most fungi at temperatures slightly in excess of 100°F. Prolonged exposure to temperatures slightly above maximum for growth, or even short exposure to temperatures much above maximum, can kill fungus completely. Actual death point is influenced by temperature, length of time and moisture content.

In theory, this means your heated floor could actually be responsible for killing decay organisms.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey I found you thru Hansen Buildings and had a question you might be able to answer just built a 24 x 16 pole barn and on the left and right added sheds but only half the building length what do I do with my gable trim that ends in the eave on the roof side of it just don’t know how to end it? JEREMY in SILETZ

DEAR JEREMY: Run gable (rake) trim up to main building roof steel edge, with a factory (uncut by you) end towards main roof. Use Emseal® (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/emseal-self-expanding-sealant-tape-closures/) between top edge of trim and underlying roofing to create a tight water seal.

 

 

Stitch Screws!

Seeing as it’s Friday, I’ll give you a “shorty” today.  At the beginning of this year my bride and I visited a horse barn facility in Florida we sold fall of 2010.  This was a huge building and although our programs calculate just over a 5% overage cushion for screws, we really went heavy on this one.  Let’s just say this client was “not so patient” and of course building in the fall of 2010, he was in an all fired hurry. We just didn’t want him calling with workers standing on the job to say he needed a pail of screws “over-nighted”.

And as best laid plans – this is exactly what he did.  He claimed his builder “didn’t have enough roof screws”.  The first thing I do is to go back through calculations and then shipping, to be sure he got sent the right number.  Yep, they jived.  I wondered what he did with all the roof screws, but went ahead and shipped him more anyway.  It wasn’t until my wife and I visited his facility and took a closer look, we figured out where the shortage went.  What we found also explained why he claimed his ridge cap “wasn’t wide enough”, so he had to add extra framing to his roof.  His builder had errantly tried to screw the ridge cap to the ridge purlins, with the regular roofing screws! On top of that, the spacing of the purlins was wide enough, so he had to add a 2×4 on the “uphill” side of every ridge purlin, in order to have the wrong screws go into where they did not belong to begin with! Confused? Obviously they were.

On our building plans is a screw layout describing exactly what type of screws are used to do what – and where.  Our Construction Guide also gives very specific instructions as to how and where to use the stitch screws. Stitch screws are used to attach the ridge cap to the steel roofing.  Evidently the builder had used the roof sheeting screws to put the ridge cap onto the building – screwing into the ridge purlins (well, almost into them).  Now this explained his “issues”!  You may ask, “What’s wrong with trying to do it this way?”  Nothing structurally, but trying to depend on accuracy (or dumb luck) in trying to hit the ridge purlins while holding the ridge cap in place is a feat I would not want to attempt.

Another reason for using stitch screws is aesthetics.  You better hope those ridge purlins are exactly perfectly straight and hitting them with screws lined up equidistant from the edge on the ridge cap so you have straight screw lines.  My head hurts just thinking about trying to make this work and look decent!  OK, so I am really fussy, but there is nothing worse to me than having a beautiful building with screw lines looking as if someone stopped off for a six pack just prior to starting work for the day! This builder could have easily called, but instead he used more material and made a whole lot of work out of something designed to be not only very effective and attractive, but also….EASY.

OK, what do stitch screws do?  Simply, they are #12 diameter, ¾” to 1-1/4” in length with ¼” hex head painted screw (powder coated if they come from our Hansen Buildings kits) used to stitch “metal to metal”.  This means corner and rake trims and the ridge cap where they overlap wall steel.  They have an EPDM washer for a water tight seal.  Yes, they are meant for attaching steel to steel, and no, you don’t need “something wood underneath” to screw them into.

In a nutshell, this is all you need to know about stitch screws: use them to attach metal to metal, no wood underneath necessary.

Avoiding Mechanic’s Liens

Avoiding Mechanic’s Liens From Post Frame Subcontractors and Suppliers

When I owned my first post frame building kit package supply company – M & W Building Supply, I made an error early on and extended credit to post frame building contractors. It didn’t take me long of getting burned to realize it was essential for me to send ‘Intent to Lien’ notices to property owners where these builders were making improvements. It was sad when I had to take one of these new building owners to court after they had paid their contractor in full – and he absconded with their money without paying folks like me. These poor folks ended up paying for their building twice, thanks to an unscrupulous builder.

From a Sioux Falls Argus Leader article August 16, 2019 by Danielle Ferguson:

“A Sioux Falls handyman has been criminally charged after multiple subcontractors say they weren’t paid for services they provided him. 

Daniel John Hagen was indicted by a Minnehaha County grand jury this week on three charges of misappropriation of funds by a contractor and grand theft. 

A Hartford couple contracted Hagen’s business, Dan the Handyman, over the summer months of 2018 to complete a pole barn at a price of about $25,300, according to an affidavit in support of an arrest warrant. The couple had given him three separate checks over three months, according to the affidavit. 

The couple found out that Hagen hadn’t been paying the subcontractors he hired to do the job, according to the affidavit. The subcontractors had put mechanical liens on the couple’s home. They reported it to law enforcement in November 2018. 

Law enforcement spoke with Hagen in January. When he took the job in Hartford, he owed money on other jobs, according to the affidavit, and had been using that money to pay for other jobs’ earlier fees. 

Hagen is involved in other civil suits and owes over $50,000 for other jobs done or jobs he was paid for and never completed in 2018, according to the affidavit.”

There are ways to prevent this from happening to you! 

Purchase a post frame building kit package direct from a supplier and pay them for it (only after you have thoroughly vetted the supplier: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/01/pole-building-suppliers/).

If a contractor is supplying any materials, make payments jointly to contractor and suppliers for amount of invoices.

Prior to making final payment require the contractor to provide lien releases from every supplier and laborer who either provided materials or labor for your building.

Require performance and payment bonds from the contractor, they are not expensive and they provide peace of mind https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/contractor-bonding/.

What Home Builders Use for Insulation

With barndominiums, shouses (shop/houses) and post frame home building on a brisk upswing, a considering factor is how to insulate new homes. Becoming as close to (or reaching) net zero (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/01/net-zero-post-frame-homes/) as possible should be a goal of any efficient post frame home design.

Rather than me just blathering about what my opinions are, I felt of interest to share what American home builders are actually using for insulation. Keep in mind these results are from traditional stick frame construction – where a plethora of redundant wall framing members often make insulating and avoiding thermal bridges much more of a challenge than with post frame construction.

For your reading pleasure:

Originally published by the following sourceABTG Staff — August 7, 2019 

The 2019 Annual Builder Practices Survey, which had more than 1,600 homebuilder participants this year, provides some powerful insight into the thermal products market in the U.S.

According to the survey, adoption of more stringent energy codes, homebuyer demographics driving the demand for lower energy bills, labor, and building material costs are prompting homebuilders to seek higher performing insulation that is also budget-friendly. Not surprisingly, these two factors seem to be tugging the market in different directions.

The performance vs. value tradeoff in the decision to specify insulation materials continued to be a key question for most homebuilders. According to the survey, some builders would use full-cavity foam insulation, if the cost was lower. The real challenge is that some homebuilders still believe fiberglass is the best bang-for-the-buck, and if they’re looking for higher energy performance they will actually invest in things like energy efficient windows and HVAC systems over upgrading the insulation.

A builder’s insulation preference is also heavily influenced by geographic area, price-point of their homes, and how many units they build annually. For example, fiberglass batt has its deepest market penetration in Pacific states and lowest in West South Central states. Smaller builders (10 or fewer starts-per-year) are three times as likely to use spray foam than larger builders (more than 50 starts-per-year).

Source: 2019 Annual Builder Practices Survey, Home Innovation Research Labs

Difference in insulation usage was less variable when it came to home size as per building size. Yet, spray foam was about twice as likely to be used in luxury homes than starter homes, as an example. Conversely, fiberglass batts was more likely to be put in starter homes than luxury homes.

Never Miss a Purlin Again

There is nothing much more frustrating than a leaking brand new steel roof. In my humble opinion, most (if not all) steel roof leaks caused by errant screws could be avoided by simply following instructions and pre-drilling roof panels.

Loyal reader MONTE in FRANKTOWN writes:

“I’m asking for your opinion on the need for a commercially available product/tool that would allow anyone to know with certainty where a purlin is located under a metal panel during installation. I needed such a tool and could not find one so had to create it. It actually speeds up installation while allowing the installer to avoid missing or broken purlins, large knot holes, and know where to screw on even the most warped purlin. This is not a sales pitch but an honest request for your opinion as here in Colorado it seems everyone misses at least 1% of all screws and simply silicones the misses. After successful huge arena installations I’m considering patents and expensive injection molding, assembly, etc., and would greatly appreciate your input beforehand. Also, thank you for all the help I’ve received from all the posts I’ve read in the past.”

Well Monte, thank you for your kind words, my hope is that you have found my posts to be entertaining, educational or both!

I would think your proposed tool would be most beneficial to builders who do not take time (although it is faster in the long run) to pre-drill steel roof panels on post frame buildings they are constructing. These are the same people who love to try to caulk misses, even though this is a strictly prohibited repair. Your challenge is – our market is highly fragmented. Those few large post frame builders take time to adequately train their installers in methods to avoid missed screws (like pre-drilling) and have serious Quality Control programs in effect. Most every burg in our country has a pole barn builder who puts up a handful of buildings a year – and most of these do not invest enough in themselves or their businesses to justify a new tool, even when it will probably save them money and heartache over time. I truly do not know if your investment will ever be recouped.

This past Winter, I attended NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) 2019 Frame Building Expo. While there, I found County Line Concepts (www.CountyLineConcepts.com) who has designed a better “mouse trap” for punching holes in steel panels.

Please check out this live Expo video featuring Gordon: https://www.facebook.com/polebarnguru/videos/2110669922360329/.

Mono-Truss Pitch, Moisture Issues, and Steel Replacement Panels

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about roof pitch on a mono-truss, issues with moisture in Florida, and a reader in need of steel replacement panels.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Designing 40 foot MONO trusses for a 200 foot long building and want to know what the pitch should be in North East Kansas. ROBERT in LINWOOD

DEAR ROBERT: My answer is going to depend upon what your proposed roofing material is. If you are using colored steel roofing then minimum roof slope to keep paint warranty intact would be 3/12, this also allows trusses to be built with need for a cap. If you are considering a shingled roof, then minimum slope should be 4/12 – and you are going to have a two part truss as trusses will be around 14 feet tall.

Whatever your building happens to be, it will probably prove more affordable to use gabled trusses with a centered peak. Wind load design considers full truss height in structural calculations and this extra height from monoslope trusses could very well have implications upon other members (especially columns).

In any case, run this by your engineer who is providing sealed plans for your building.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing pole barn with moisture issues. Most questions I see deal with heating issues. My situation is different. I live in the very humid central Florida region. The barn has no insulation, the roof had been covered with deep leaves for a long time. The roof clogged with organic material. The outside had had leaves and such built up enough around the perimeter enough to start rusting the lower in many areas.
I have cleaned around the building and want to repair the lower portions of the steel. I am trying to figure out my best plan to moisture proof and insulate the building from the Florida sun. The moisture is the biggest issue the place is like a sauna at times. JAMES in APOPKA

DEAR JAMES: It may behoove you to entirely replace your existing roofing and siding. As you mention you already have rust on sidewalls panels and organic materials on your roof for a long time has probably ruined any paint finish. Once this is done, use a good sealant on any concrete floors. Spray foam interior of all roof and wall panels with no less than two inches of closed cell foam. Your local installers may recommend a greater thickness. Grade around exterior of building to provide at least a 5% slope, from building walls out. Put gutters on eaves with downspouts ending five or more feet away from building. It may be necessary to have a dehumidifier inside your building, once it is all sealed up.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I need to repair some damaged panels on an existing barn. Do you sell individual panels? JULIE in LA CANADA

 

DEAR JULIE: While we can provide just a few panels, for small quantities you are best to go to the Pro Desk at your local The Home Depot, as they do not get charged inbound freight from steel roll formers. You might pay a little more for panels, however freight savings will more than offset it.

 

 

 

 

 

How Much Room Will Stairs Take?

 I am an advocate of avoiding stairs in post frame buildings. They both take up space and reduce accessibility to upper level(s) of your building. It is less expensive to construct a post frame building on one level, rather than multi-levels. 

 

I happen to live in a barndominium (actually more technically speaking a shouse – or shop/house combination) and we have stairs. Lots of stairs, due to our living area being located on our second floor. Our second floor also happens to be 20 feet above grade! We also have two elevators. First of these was a pneumatic “tube” elevator because my lovely bride let me know there is no way she was going to tote groceries up those stairs! Our second elevator is a full sized one, necessitated after my wife’s tragic motorcycle accident four years ago, leaving her a paraplegic.

Back to our case at hand – how much area will stairs take?

For residential (R-3) use maximum rise of stairs is 7-3/4” and minimum run is 10”. 

For sake of this example, we will assume lower floor is going to be a concrete slab on grade. Begin with vertical distance from grade (bottom of pressure preservative treated splash plank) to top of flooring of second floor.  Deduct four inches for concrete floor thickness.

Arbitrarily picking 9 feet for top of second floor, we have 9 feet X 12 = 108 inches. Deducting for slab = 104 inches.

104 inches / 7-3/4 inches of maximum rise = 13.42. Rounding up we get 14 total risers, with our second floor itself becoming number 14.

13 treads remain, at a minimum of 10 inches = 130 inches or 10’6” of horizontal floor space. But wait, there is more!!

A minimum of three feet of space (for a three foot width stairs) must be provided at both top and bottom of stairs, so allow for these areas as well.

For Building Code requirements for stairs, please see: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/09/stairs-2/

North to Alaska

While Alaska is America’s last great frontier, it doesn’t mean when we go North, we throw proper structural design out of a window.

Reader CRAIG in WILLOW has more challenges going on than he has dreamed. He writes:

“Hello,

I’m building a 42Wx50D pole barn. I have 6×6 columns spaced 10’ apart on more than adequate footings. Slab on grade 5-6inches thick (poor final grading ) with 6” mesh and pens tubing. Willow has a snow load of 90:10:10. With a 4:12 pitch, truss companies up here are recommending a set of two two-ply trusses for a total of 24 trusses. 2’ overhang.
My problem is figuring out how to support the load between the trusses. They won’t give me a recommendation. I was planning on using 2×6 between top chords spaced every 2’. These would be oriented vertically and installed with joist hangers. I don’t think they’d be strong enough. The top chords on the trusses are called out at 2×6 so it’d be difficult to hang a larger member on them.

If I can’t make this plan work should I frame in between the columns and build a stick frame wall to set normal trusses on every 2 feet? What about laying some size beam across the tops of the columns and then setting trusses at 2’ centers? I’m dead in the water and want if anything to have overbuilt. Can you help? Thanks.”

Here is my response:

You have a plethora of challenges going on. This is why I always, always, always (did I mention always?) tell clients to ONLY build post frame (pole barn) buildings from engineer sealed plans produced specifically for their building at their site. It is not too late to get one involved and it will be money well spent.

Challenge #1 It is highly doubtful 6×6 columns you have placed along your building sidewall are going to be adequate to carry combined wind and snow loads. An engineer can design a repair – probably involving adding 2x lumber to one or both columns sides.

Challenge #2 Your wall girts placed on column faces “barn style” will not meet Code requirements – they will probably fail in bending and absolutely will not be adequate for deflection. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/girts/
Again – an engineer can design a repair and there are several choices. You could remove them and turn them flat like book shelves between columns – you would need to add material for blocking at girt ends. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/09/making-framing-work-with-bookshelf-girts/ Or, more girts could be added to your wall. Or, a strongback (2×4 or 2×6) could be added to your barnstyle girts to form an “L” or a “T”. My personal preference would be a bookshelf design, as it creates an insulation cavity.

Now – on to your trusses and roof purlins.

Your snow load is actually 90 psf (pounds per square foot). 10 and 10 are dead loads – you may not need ones these large. If you are using light gauge steel roofing over purlins top chord dead load can be as low as 3.3. Steel over sheathing 5. Shingled roof 7. If using steel roofing, make sure it is capable of supporting this snow load over a two foot span. If using sheathing, 7/16″ OSB or 15/32″ CDX plywood will not span two feet with a 90 psf snow load. Second 10 is bottom chord dead load. It is adequate to support the weight of ceiling joists, two layers of 5/8″ Type X drywall and blown in insulation. For a single layer of sheetrock and minimal lighting five psf is probably adequate. No ceiling – 1 psf. Important – make sure truss people are using 1.00 for DOL (Duration of Load) for snow. With your snow load, chances are snow is going to sit upon your building’s roof for a significant time period. Again, an engineer can determine what loading is adequate for your situation.

Trusses – how about placing three of them every ten feet? They can be notched into your columns from one side so you have full bearing – when two trusses are placed each side of a column, they are not acting together to load share.

Your roof purlin dimension can be larger than truss top chords – just utilize larger purlin hangers and balance of purlin can hang below top chord of truss. An engineer can confirm adequacy of hanger nails to support imposed snow and wind loads. Given your load conditions, your engineer should be looking to use something like 2×8 #2 purlins every 12 inches or 2×10 #2 purlins every 19.2 inches. You would not want to go to 2×10 unless truss top chords are at least 2×8.

You could stick frame between columns to support trusses every two feet. Any stud walls over 10′ tall do need to be designed by a Registered Design Professional (architect or engineer) as they would be outside of Building Code parameters. Your slab edges would also need to be thickened in order to support added weight. A beam could be placed from column to column to support trusses, you are probably looking at something around a 3-1/2″ x 14″ 2800f LVL.

If you are considering insulating an attic space, be sure to order raised heel trusses. They are usually no more expensive and they afford full insulation depth from wall-to-wall. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/raised-heel-trusses/

With all of this said – go hire yourself a competent Registered Professional Engineer today to resolve your challenges. Otherwise you are placing yourself and your building contents at peril.

Fire Rated Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation has become increasing popular for achieving high R value building shells. One downside of spray foams has been they are not being fire resistant.

I was pretty excited to read this on a post frame building contractor’s website:

“Installing foam insulation can either be sprayed or foamed-in-place. Foam has the ability to create an air barrier for the smallest of air leakages. Spray foam doesn’t retain water, providing excellent protection from the growth of mold and mildew. While foam insulation is generally more costly than other insulation options, it does have higher R-values and is fire rated.” 

As this particular contractor is a friend of mine, I dropped him back this question, “Spray foam insulation is fire rated?”

To this he replied, “Yes, some are, Tiger makes one.”

News to me, so I fired up my laptop and headed to Google, looking for more information.

Tiger Foam™ insulation (https://tigerfoam.com/sprayfoaminsulation/), according to their website, “is a proven leader in providing spray foam kits, supplies and accessories to homeowners and contractors alike.”

Again, according to their website, “We offer retails sales for small projects and wholesale, bulk pricing for bigger jobs. Our expert customer service team is always available to answer questions and help plan projects. Whether you’re trying to save money on your monthly energy bills or working to satisfy your customers. Tiger Foam can help. Most of all, our products provide high performance and great value. Become a customer today and get you the tools you need to start saving energy dollars!”

Well, sure enough, Tiger Foam™ offers a ‘Fast Rise’ kit providing a Class 1 Fire Rating. This fire rating means this building material is highly resistant to fire and does not spread flames quickly. Building materials with a Class 1 fire rating are often man-made or nonorganic substances. Other Class 1 building materials include brick, tile and cement.

I have never personally installed Tiger Foam™, however I have paid to have closed cell spray foam insulation installed by a professional installer. If you are considering using a closed cell spray foam for your new project, discuss fire rating with your installer of choice.

Does an IRC Design Work for Most Residences?

In my humble opinion (and in one word) – no.

I have opined in past articles as to what Code is applicable to post frame (pole) building construction: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/10/what-building-code-applies-to-post-frame-construction/.

Recently Louisiana engineer Steve M. Sylvest (www.sylvestengineering.com ) sent an email to Structural Building Components Association addressing challenges with non-engineered structures, particularly residences. Again, I stand on my soap box – if an engineer was not responsible for structural design of your building…..who was?

Here is a major excerpt from Mr. Sylvest’s email:

I read your article The Structural Design Process of a Building with interest since it relates to some observations I have made for some time. There is a wide disparity in design and execution of the structural portion of structures, particularly residential, in this region. Some are reasonable, but many are not. Yet they get built and permitted and pass inspection.

In the immediate area, many residential projects largely do not qualify to be designed per the IRC prescriptive standards (are at least some key portions do not since exceeding the limits). Many must be mimicking construction details they have seen and deem to be adequate. Some are obviously far from good mechanics (e.g. hinged tall walls, lack of adequate shear or braced wall lines, connections not consistent with load path, etc.). The permitting and inspection process does not seem to be at a level to distinguish when structural elements are outside of typical IRC provisions.

A majority of the residential projects are designed by Building Designers, though a smaller number by Architects. Few have structural engineers involved. The range of structural information on the design documents (of the ones I have seen) range from zero to more often just a collection of standard details based on IRC conventional framing, with little or no specifics. A small minority actually provided a viable level of specific information to tell the contractor what to do. Most leave it to the framer to do what he deems is reasonable. The inspectors must have a few hot-button feature to look for, but otherwise must not be too aware.

steel pole buildingVery few residential (1 and 2-family) structures in this region use CM components (e.g. roof or floor trusses or wall panels). Many use Engineered Wood Products (EWP). These are typically designed (for gravity loading) and supplied through a distributor. The process is similar to a performance specification leading to deferred submittal, but most often without any design engineer input at the design stage nor any review of the submittals. For gravity loading, this process usually works well. A couple of things are usually missing. One is any consideration to lateral loading paths in the building and the other is a design professional in responsible charge to confirm the members, load paths, and connections all are consistent with the rest of the structure. So, the final result is a structure with a few well-engineered EWP products (for gravity loading), and some portions of the structure (almost) in line with IRC, but the remaining is just whatever the particular framer deemed adequate (similar to what he is used to seeing).

Several things work against making meaningful changes. Most builders, even high-end ones and builders desiring quality results, do not realize there is a gap (or wide range of results getting delivered). Likewise, the buyer is unaware. Permitting and inspection is not attuned enough to discriminate. Nobody is interested in adding more cost. The already –completed projects are still standing (and working for the most part, as far as they know).”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru adds:

If you are considering investing in a new building, especially for use as a home, barndominium or shouse(shop + house) – insist upon a Registered Professional Engineer having sealed plans and calculations specific to your building project on your site. This is not an expense, it is an investment!

Multi-Story Pole Barns, Rubber Coatings on Posts, and Heavy Snow Loads

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about multi-story pole barns, rubber coatings on  posts, and building for heavy snow loads.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am looking into a multi-story pole barn with the top story being a home. I would need outside assess to the top story also. Do you build the pole barn or just send the materials. DEBBY in OJAI


DEAR DEBBY: We provide multi-story post frame (pole barn) building homes on a regular basis. Having outside access to your second floor is highly doable. We are not contractors in any state, we provide complete custom designs, third-party engineer sealed, all materials delivered to your site as well as complete construction assembly instructions for an average individual to successfully erect their on beautiful home.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is there an issue with rubber coating a post with liquid rubber for first 6 feet of the pole (or coating the whole post even) and pouring concrete and slab together around the posts in pier-slab foundation style? ROB in JACKSON

DEAR ROB: As long as your proposed product is nonflammable and has no toxic off gassing then it should not prove to be an issue other than time and expense to protect a product having an ability already to outlast any of us. You should read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/. It would also behoove you to have your building’s engineer of record sign off on using your product of choice.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are in an area of 120 – 150 snow load in the mountains of MT and want to error on the 150 load side when building our shed. The shed plan is 30×70 (2 RV doors) on the 30 side) with a 15×70 enclosed lean to (car garage door on the 15 side) that will have a car garage, workshop and storage room. Can we do a pole building with this size of shed and snow load or do we have to go stick built? KIM in BIGFORK

DEAR KIM: Post frame construction lends itself to high snow load requirements much better than stick built. We just finished designs for a building is Truckee California where snow load is 390 psf.

 

 

What an Engineer of Record Does for a Post Frame Building Part II

Continued from yesterday’s blog, an article by Jesse Lohse in SBC Magazine:

 

System Design

  • Understand Load Path
    • Gravity
    • Lateral
    • Uplift
    • MEP conflicts
  • Initial Designs
    • Roof System
    • Walls
    • Floor System(s)
    • Foundation
  • Broad Analysis for construction documents

System Design

Once an initial conceptual design is complete, an engineer will turn their attention to system design in a top down manner. An understanding of the structure’s load path is imperative with specific considerations given to gravity loads, lateral loads, and uplift on the various elements within the structure. Once the engineer has a general idea of the structure’s load path, they will begin initial designs of various structural systems. Working from the top down, engineers will produce initial designs first for the roof system. Then the walls including the gravity and lateral force resisting systems and any required beams and columns will be designed followed by the floor systems and repeated as many times as necessary, dependent on the number of levels and different unit types in the structure. Once the roof, walls and floor system has been designed attention will turn to the foundation and footings, leveraging information from the soil report derived in conceptual design. This broad analysis information is compiled into initial structural construction plans.

Element Engineering

  • Accurate dimensions
  • Specific member analysis
  • Coordinate geometry defined in CAD
  • Analysis model created (SAP 2000, STAAD, RAM, etc)
    • Dead loads
    • Live loads
    • Wind loads
    • Seismic loads
  • Internal forces
    • Axial forces
    • Bending moments
    • Shear force
    • Drag force
    • Combined forces
  • Initial Member Sizing

Element Engineering

The element engineering phase begins with the engineer ensuring accurate dimensions for the various portions of the construction project through geometry coordination as defined in 2D or 3D CAD software. Trusting the dimensions are accurate, the engineer will begin specific member analysis for the defined spans, such as calculating roof loads that are transferred to exterior and interior bearing walls. The lateral force resisting systems generally require the most engineering time combine with window and door perforations that require headers and beams. This analysis combines gravity, wind uplift and lateral loads paths. This load path analysis will also be applied to the floor system and foundations, giving the engineer a general idea of the variety of loads within the structural elements and where additional attention will be required in subsequent design phases. To aid in this analysis, engineers will use specific software applications geared towards structural design such as SAP 2000, STAAD and/or RAM. This analysis software will allow the engineer to apply a variety of loads including dead, live, wind and seismic. As a function of this analysis, the engineer will be able to determine axial forces, bending moments, shear force, drag force and the combined forces. Once the forces have been determined, the initial member sizing can commence, allowing the engineer to establish a ‘rough draft’ to further refine in downstream design steps.

Iterative Design

  • Design to code
  • Redesign Analysis model
    • Incorporate more accurate load paths
  • Fine Tune Final Designs

Drafting

  • Create structural plans
  • Fully detailed

Iterative Design and Drafting

Engineer sealed pole barnEngineers use an iterative process to fine tune the various elements into final structural element designs. Think of this as repetitive in nature working toward the ultimate goal of an efficient design that meets the variety of requirements the structure’s configuration places on the path that the applied load will need to take to get to the ground. The engineer starts with a broad understanding of the loads on individual elements and narrows the focus until each element and ultimately the entire structure is designed to safely transfer all loads, meet code requirements and provide an acceptable solution that can be signed and sealed. Through this process the load paths are accurate, specific and reliable. With the accurate load paths, drafting can be completed with fully detailed structural plans available for construction. 

Construction Administration

  • Review submittals
  • Obtain approvals
  • Prepare schedules
  • Monitor construction
  • Perform site inspections

Construction Administration

Further in the construction process, the engineer is often called upon to review RFI and deferred submittals, obtain code approvals or prepare construction schedules. Certain products, such as roof trusses, are considered a deferred submittal. This means the engineer allows the designs to be created by others and sealed by a specialty or delegated engineer.  Those sealed designs are reviewed by the EOR and either approved for manufacture or returned for revisions. Beyond review of conformance to the structural design, engineers will also monitor construction progress on behalf of the client and will often perform site inspections to make sure the construction process is progressing and installation of products is without errors. 

 

Mike the Pole Barn Guru comments:

Whew! That’s a lot the Engineer of Record does in the design of a post frame building. This whole process takes time and sometimes even I sometimes get impatient while waiting for building plans to be produced and signed by the Engineer. But I know given adequate time the plans will be accurate and result in a beautiful post frame building.

Ever Wonder What a Post Frame Engineer Does? Part I

I have been pooh-poohed on occasion for my insistence every post frame building (or barndominium) should have an engineer involved. Very few potential building owners understand what it is an engineer does or how they are adding value to a particular project. 

To follow, in its entirety, is an article by Jess Lohse, originally published in SBC Magazine, June 10, 2019. Once read, you should (like me) go away wondering how it is engineers work as reasonably as they do.

Structural engineers, often referred to as an Engineer of Record (EOR), are positioned early in the construction design process ensure the structural viability of buildings designed by Architects or Building Designers. Certain buildings are exempted from the legal requirements for the use of an Architect or Engineer. Generally these buildings are designated as 1 and 2 family residential structures designed within the prescriptive code. Buildings designed under the IBC, exceeding certain provisions of the IRC or exceeding legal exemption requirements will employ the use of an EOR. Structural engineers are typically brought into a project by the architect/building designer and work on behalf of the project owner and remain engaged throughout the construction of a structure to review and accept deferred submittals and RFIs (request for information) for conformance with the structural plans and specifications, monitor construction and perform special inspections as defined on the permit or as contracted to undertake. Once engaged on a project an EOR will typically work through the following processes:

  1. Conceptual Design
  2. System Design
  3. Element Engineering
  4. Iterative Design & Drafting
  5. Construction Administration

Conceptual Design

  • Review Arch drawings
    • Unit types
    • Bearing walls stack?
  • Location requirements
    • Soil report
    • Exposure Category
    • Wind Load
    • Seismic Load
  • Initial design of building elements
    • Roof, wall & floor layout per Arch drawings
    • Footings & Slabs
    • Bearing walls, Beams & Columns
    • Review MEP conflicts

Conceptual Design

An initial step a structural engineer will take is to review the drawings produced by the architect/building designer. The engineer will look at the various types of units on a larger multifamily project or the variety of room uses in a larger single family home or commercial structure to have an idea of the various uses of a structure. Consideration will be given to potential bearing walls, obviously inclusive of the exterior walls, but potentially to utilize interior walls should the need arise to distribute loads through the interior of the structure.  If the structure has multiple levels, the engineer will note if interior walls fall on top of each other, commonly referred to as ‘stacking’, to efficiently transfer loads between levels.  This information will be referred back to the architect to make any necessary adjustments.

The EOR will determine site specific requirements for the structure that are dependent on its location. This will include a soil report to determine potential footings, which exposure category to design to, applicable wind loads as well as seismic considerations. Once the environmental factors have been determined, the engineer will perform an initial design of building elements such as roof, wall and floor layouts per the architectural drawings, footings and/or slabs, bearing walls including beams and columns, and identify potential mechanical, electrical, and plumbing conflicts. 

Come back tomorrow for a continuation of what an EOR, Engineer of Record, adds to the design and scope of a post frame building.

Installing Treated Wood Columns in a High Water Table

In my past life as a post frame building contractor one of our biggest challenges was we could not use our x-ray vision to determine what below ground surface conditions existed.

Reader ALAN in DANDRIDGE writes: “Mike I think we might have a high water table, if we have water in the bottom what is the best way to install poles and will your posts hold up if we do?”

Back when I was a contractor we would run into this situation occasionally. Our solution then was to stand columns in holes, brace them and then backfill with pre-mix concrete with very little water in it. Concrete weight would displace water in the holes. It did take a significant amount of concrete, however it was only about $30 a yard then.

How I would do it now – I would use sonotubes equal to or larger in diameter than what was specified by an engineer. Cut tubes to depth of hole length, then cover one end of tube with six ml black visqueen (read about visqueen history here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/moisture-barrier/ ) sealed tightly around sides of tube. Place the tube in the hole with covered end down (this will take some work, as the tube will want to float like a boat). Once sonotube has been placed, backfill around outside with compactable material – compacting no more than every six inches. Then stand column in tube, brace it and backfill with pre-mix concrete as engineer specified.

All wood-rotting fungi require some air for growth, and many species die quickly if they are deprived of it. Air-moisture balance in wood cells, therefore, is a most important factor controlling wood’s susceptibility to decay. Fungi need oxygen for sugar oxidation, which they use for growth and energy supply. This breakdown of carbohydrates in the respiration process produces water and carbon dioxide.

If there is no interchange of air, fungus will die from suffocation by carbon dioxide. For example, when cell spaces are completely filled with water, as they are when wood is submerged in water, air supply is cut off and growth is stopped. Burial in the ground below the water table will similarly cut off air supply.

Nine Considerations for Your Post Frame Horse Stall Barn

Loyal, long time readers have gotten to know a little bit about our eldest daughter and professional horse trainer – Bailey. Her horse showing season reaches an apex with the historic Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (www.twhnc.com/content/celebration-information/ ) held annually in Shelbyville, TN over 11 days each year, ending on Saturday night before Labor Day.

In Bailey’s honor today’s topic will be factors for consideration regarding horse stalls.

Stall Size

Your horse needs adequate stall space to stand, lie down, and walk around in a circle. Standard horse stalls are 12 feet square. For extended reading on horse stalls: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/horse-stalls/

Aisle Width

In order to determine your proper aisle width, think about how you’ll be using it. Adjust width to accommodate for equipment and vehicles. At a bare minimum aisles should be at least 12 feet wide to accommodate vehicles, equipment, and (of course) horses. Read why my daughter thinks you need a 16 foot wide aisleway here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/horse-aisleway/

Materials

There are many options for horse stall construction materials, however for practicality, investment and ease of construction kiln dried tongue and groove lumber cannot be beat. Tops of wood walls are best covered with an aluminum channel cap to prevent cribbing.

Structural Integrity

Your horse stalls should not compromise post frame building shell structural integrity. Connecting stall corner columns to roof trusses can cause serious challenges: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/08/attaching-horse-stall-posts-to-trusses/.

Styles

There are endless styles of horse stalls. European stall fronts traditionally feature a poorly located swinging door centered in stall front. Lower than the balance of the stall front, this allows horses to poke their heads out into aisleways and nip at passing horses, riders and innocent bystanders. Any style of stall can be customized with yoke openings, feed openings, blankets, bars, etc

Horse Stalls

Stall Doors

You have two choices – sliding or swinging. Sliding doors save space and allow you to easily enter the stall without your horse getting out. Ins and outs (pun intended) about stall doors is covered at this link: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/dont-make-mistakes-on-horse-stall-doors/.

Air Flow

Healthy horses need adequate airflow. Pole and raftered stall barns help to aid with proper air circulation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/stall-barn/.

And a well ventilated barn makes for both happy horses and happy horse owners (not to mention smaller vet bills). Here is how to achieve proper ventilation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/11/horse-barn-ventilation/

Dividers

Dividers between stalls can be solid or vented. As some horses are anti-social and behave best when they have their own space solid seems to be the best overall choice.

Wash Stalls

Having a wash stall improves abilities for effective horse grooming. Usually wash stalls are the same size as occupied stalls, adding to ease of barn layout. Well drained non-slip flooring with a hair trapping drain is essential. Good lighting and easily-accessible storage are also important.

Getting Started

Dial 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today. Our time and consultation are free!

Vapor Barrier, Replacement Skylights, and Frost Heave

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about vapor barrier, a solution for skylights, and how to reduce frost heave.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Vapor barrier under roof metal or under trusses with insulation on top?
I find never-ending opinions about where to place vapor barrier in a post frame building.
If the space is to be insulated would it not be better to put nothing directly under the roof metal and put a vapor barrier on the ceiling with insulation above that?
Everyone says to put on single or double bubble before putting down roof metal but if I do that how do I insulate the ceiling because then I will have a vapor barrier above the insulation. DAVID in KIRKWOOD

DEAR DAVID: Vapor barrier under roof steel if you are creating a dead attic space. It is essential to prevent warm moist air from within your attic from reaching underside of roof steel. My preference would be to use roof steel with Dripstop (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/integral-condensation-control/) or Condenstop (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/07/condenstop/) applied.

Do not place a vapor barrier between ceiling sheetrock and attic insulation. Do properly ventilate your dead attic space as Code requires (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/adequate-eave-ridge-ventilation/).

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a pole shed 1972? with skylights that need replacing where do I find . DAVE in COLFAX

DEAR DAVE: One of my previous questioners had a similar issue, you might want to read here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/08/sky-lights-leaking/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What do you recommend for creating a frost wall around a post frame (posts in the ground) structure. The posts are dug down below frost level, so the footings are protected. But if the interior floor is a slab poured on grade, what is the best way to protect this slab from frost heave?
slab edge insulationThank you, CHRIS in NEW HOLLAND

DEAR CHRIS: Good to hear from you! (side note – Chris is a personal friend of mine) There is a relatively simple solution for this – do the post frame version of a shallow frost protected foundation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/post-frame-frost-walls/.

 

See Your New Barndominium Here

In our last episode, we were escaping odors produced by mushroom people – now let us move forward to getting a clearer vision and a view from your new post frame barndominium’s windows!

Once you have narrowed your choices down to a handful, ideally you can watch each site over a year’s time – as well as gathering more information about your area. Watch for ponding after rains, or Spring runoffs, you don’t want to wake up and find yourself in a slough. In snow country – what sort of drifting occurs?

Spend a few dollars and buy a beer or two for a local geotechnical engineer. You want to build upon stable soils – not prone to undue shifting and settling. One of our sons has a home high above the Missouri River East of Pierre, SD. Years of nearby river flow created a huge sand hill, upon where his now neighborhood is located. His home, and those of his neighbors, is constantly moving!

Make sure your potential site will not be in a habitat protected area. Don’t invest in land and find out some rare insect only lives or nests on what you thought was going to be your forever dream home site. Wetlands can prove problematic – get to know any possible restrictions.

Are wildfires a possibility? Is area a known fire hazard? Is your fire department supported solely by volunteers (if so, be prepared for higher insurance costs)? My Auntie Norma lost everything as 2018’s Camp Fire destroyed Paradise, California and surrounding areas. It can happen.

Avoid a site within a flood zone, unless you are prepared to invest extra to build above flood levels. Same goes for hurricane prone areas.

If not on a regularly maintained county road, who does maintain it? What might it cost you for your share to upkeep a private road? If access is across property of others, check for written easements. Investigate any easements across what could be your future property.

Order a preliminary title report, this will disclose easements and restrictive covenants or conditions. You might want to order a land survey as well, especially if property boundaries are loosely defined. Don’t count on fence lines to be accurate.

Water is important, and not all water is potable. Sometimes water rights don’t “run with the land,” this would mean you couldn’t dig a well.

If planning on a well, find out the depth of water table and determine difficulty of digging. 

It can be costly to bring electricity, telephone, or cable service to a property if they’re not already established nearby. Will you need to install a propane tank? What will it cost to install a septic system?

If you’re not planning to finance a land purchase through a conventional lender—requiring a lender appraisal—obtain your own appraisal to determine an appropriate price before making an offer. Comparable sales are sometimes difficult to find when you’re buying rural land.

It’s common to pay cash for land because getting a loan for this type of purchase can be tricky. Raw land can’t be leveraged by a bank.

If you do get a loan—and there are a few lenders out there who specialize in and will touch this type of transaction—don’t expect to be approved for more than maybe 50 percent of the purchase price. You might have more success if your land has utility access and is reasonably accessible by roadway.

Once you do acquire a place to build – then and only then is it time to move to your next step – designing your own ideal dream custom barndominium!

A Place for a Post Frame Barndominium

You and your loved ones have decided to take a plunge – building your own barndominium, shouse, or post frame home. 

But where?

Other than formulating a rough budget for building (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/how-much-will-my-barndominium-cost/) your journey is realistically at a standstill until you have acquired a place to build.

It is easy to idealize what it’s like to live on acreage away from city hustle and bustle, and there are indeed some advantages. Rural land costs are lower and generally further away from a city one gets, acreage becomes cheaper. Many people buy land because they want to build a custom home to their own specifications. They also want cleaner air and more space.

However, consider potential challenges fully before deciding to dump urban living and become Oliver Wendell Douglas (for those of you too young to remember Google “Green Acres”).

Now my lovely bride and I happen to have our own rural shouse. We live in a county of 10,278 souls scattered across 1136 square miles. Deduct our nearby metropolis of Sisseton and we average less than seven people per square mile!

Gambrel roof pole barnFinding skilled craftsman who are willing to travel to our location ranged from difficult to impossible. Few were interested in a jaunt of 60 miles from Watertown or 100 miles from Fargo. Those who would travel charged extra to compensate for driving time and distance. Transporting building materials and paying for delivery costs more than building near a major city.

Although modern conveniences are usually available, they aren’t always reliable. We are now installing a backup propane generator for those times when we can go days without electrical power. Cell service here can be problematic, “Can you hear me now?”. 

While we do have two grocery stores in Sisseton eight miles away, and serious shopping involves planning and a 100 mile drive. We’re in snow country and a blizzard means we could be stuck at home for days.

Take time to become familiar with any area being considered for your new home site. Get to know your potential community and hear stories from locals before diving in deep with a realtor.

Use some caution as all of your future neighbors might not be overjoyed to hear you’re going to buy up land behind their homes and erect your own palace there, obstructing their pristine views. You might meet up with some resistance—even organized resistance involving municipal and county authorities.

Consider rural resale values can be less in rural areas, due to a smaller pool of potential buyers. If demand is low and supply is high, prices will be more negotiable. 

Check with local authorities, including city, county, and state, to determine zoning ordinances. Find out any possible restrictions before committing to a land investment. Some areas prohibit construction on anything other than large parcels of five, 10 and even 20 acres.

Realize you might be subjected to sounds and lovely odors produced by nearby farms. In my past life I once rented a home, not realizing it was occasionally downwind of a mushroom growing plant. Mushrooms grow real well given dark and manure!

Stay tuned for our next exciting episode – where stench goes away and you move one step closer to making your dreams a reality!

Post Frame Home Construction Financing

Most people building their own post frame post frame home (barndominium or shouse included) need some amount of post frame home construction financing.  (shouse=shop+house)

Some important things to keep in mind with construction loans:

Obtaining one takes more time and financial investment than a conventional loan (loan on or against an existing building).

Lenders require more documentation – building plans, budgets, time lines, etc.

“Single Close” loans finance land and post frame home and serve as long-term financing.

“Two Step” loans finance land purchase and construction. New post frame home owners must refinance with a conventional loan upon completion.

Plan on needing at least a 20% down payment. In some cases, if property is free and clear, some or all of land value can be applied toward down payment.

Your lender’s equity will be based upon whatever is least – cost or finished appraised value. Be wary – some items or inclusions have a greater cost than their finished appraised value.

Typical payments are interest upon portion of funds used during construction.

Borrower/builder will take draws as needed to cover materials and labor completed. In an event a general contractor is hired, do not give him or her direct access to funds without you having to approve.

Borrower and builder must be fully approved by lender. This is one of the few cases where I recommend using a general contractor – but only if your lender will not allow you to self-build. 

Do NOT apply for your loan telling the potential lender it is a barndominium, pole barn/building or post frame home, etc. Your post frame home should be listed as a “wood framed with a concrete foundation”. Period.

Post Frame Home

While it sounds ideal to build a post frame home for your specific wants and needs, processes of applying for and closing a construction loan will require a much greater commitment of time and financial resources compared to financing an existing home with a traditional Conventional Mortgage. This is because those banks funding construction loans are investing a considerable sum into an intangible asset, one not yet existing. As such, their requirements for documentation and a greater down payment from buyer are greater than if they were financing an already existing home.

There are effectively two types of construction loans, and while they may go by different names by banks offering them. 

A single close construction loan is a single loan financing property acquisition and post frame home construction, it serves as long term financing as well. Since this bank is taking a leap of faith the home will be built “as advertised” with plans and specifications they’ve been provided, they’re still taking a risk in home buyer and builder. If something goes wrong during construction, they could end up being lien holder on a partially constructed post frame home. Since banks are NOT in the business of building homes, they will mitigate this risk charging higher interest rates on construction loans. Greatest risk to a bank closing a construction loan is having either builder or buyer default during construction and higher rates allow them to spread this risk.

A Two Step loan differs as home buyer will close on one loan solely used to finance land purchase and dwelling construction. Once completed, post frame homeowner refinances construction loan with a permanent conventional loan of their choosing.

Both single close and two step loan have their distinct pros and cons and each individual home buyer/builder needs to evaluate those to determine which is best. While a single close loan only requires a borrower to sign one set of loan documents and they have one loan covering both construction and long term home financing, rates at closing are anywhere from .25 to .5% higher than a traditional conventional loan may be. Again, this is due to construction lender’s added risk. Two step loans offer client an ability to choose (after completion) a permanent loan of their liking. Typically this will be at a lower rate than a conventional loan, but two loan closings result in two sets of closing costs, two signings, etc.

Variables a post frame homeowner should consider include length of time they plan to keep the home, current interest rate environment (are rates rising or falling?) and their own risk tolerance knowing rates can and probably will either go up or down while the home is being built.

Why Post Frame Wall Girts Overhang Posts

Client and reader SCOTT in BOULDER posed this question recently:

“Is there a specific reason why the girts have an over hang to the outside an 1 ½ (inches). Can they be set inside flush with the posts?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

There actually are a plethora of reasons why your (and all Hansen Pole Buildings) have wall girts set so girt outside face is 1-1/2 inches beyond the columns and building line.

From a standpoint of installing roofing and siding alone – your particular building happens to be 36 feet by 36 feet. 12 sheets of installed wall or roof steel  cover roughly 36’2″. If your finished dimensions were 36′ you would end up having to rip at least six panels of steel full length.

In order to adequately transfer wind shear loads from roof to ground, an effective connection is essential between the 2×8 pressure preservative treated splash plank and columns. Most efficient structural solution is with nails through splash plank into column faces – putting splash plank on outside of columns. Holding wall girts out 1-1/2″ places their face in the same plane with outside of splash plank. If splash plank were to be placed between columns, it would likely entail having to rotate it flat on top of your concrete slab on grade and utilize anchor bolts for an adequate load transfer. This would eliminate using splash plank as a concrete form for your building’s concrete floor. It would also create a “joint” or “seam” between the concrete floor and underside of what would now be a bottom plate, entailing having to design and install some sort of permanent sealant to prevent water intrusion.

Other structural members essential to wind shear transfer include eave struts, wainscot girts and your overhead door header – again all members where resistance to loads is best achieved by attachment directly to column faces, rather than creating some far more difficult connections.

A side benefit is wiring can be done in external walls by running around columns in this 1-1/2″ space – reducing or eliminating needs to drill holes for electrical.

Considering a post frame (pole barn) building where all exterior framing is flush to the outside of columns? Make sure it has been designed and plans sealed by a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) to insure all connections are adequate and a proper load path has been followed from roof to ground.

Foundations, Insulating a Sliding Barn Door, and Buying a Barn Door

This week Mike the Pole barn Guru answers questions about foundations, effectiveness of insulating a sliding barn door, and where to buy a sliding barn door.

Concrete slab in a pole barnDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hansen Team, in beginning my post frame home over a full foundation, I am reading your excellent load bearing considerations for the posts through the foundation into the footing. Realizing the foundation is a critical and unique structural system in my design, can you recommend a PE for South Carolina who has experience in designing for pole barn foundations? FRANK in TAYLORS

DEAR FRANK: Our third party engineers have designed thousands of post frame (pole barn) foundations and can incorporate your needs into our design. As you will be living in this, may I suggest you consider using prefabricated wood floor trusses, rather than joists? They will give a flat finished basement ceiling and afford space for both duct work and plumbing.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is there such a thing as an insulated sliding barn door? (exterior) . CHARLOTTE in HOPLAND

Figure 27-5

DEAR CHARLOTTE: Yes there is such a thing however it is going to be minimally effective. Steel framed sliding doors are either 1-1/2 (typically) or 3-1/2 inches in thickness. Closed cell spray foam insulation would provide greatest insulating value at approximately R-7 per inch of thickness. Now your problem – in order to slide past adjacent siding, a space must be provided between door and siding. Heat and cold will pass through this air gap.

 

Horse ShelterDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I need two metal sliding barn doors. Each door 6’ x 8.5‘. DAVID in RUTHERFORDTON

DEAR DAVID: Thank you very much for your inquiry. Due to challenges of shipping without damage, Hansen Pole Buildings only provides doors along with an investment in a complete post frame building kit package. We would recommend you check at the ProDesk of your local The Home Depot®.

 

 

 

Borrowing for a D-I-Y Barndominium

Hansen Pole Buildings GuesthouseBarndominiums, shouses and post frame homes all fit into a similar category to me. This category heading would be titled, “Living in a Post Frame Building”, although other construction types may be used, post frame is going to give most bang for your investment.

What if you want to D-I-Y construct your own post frame barndominium, but need to borrow in order to build?

Only once have I ever gotten a construction loan for myself and then I happened to be an experienced General Contractor with a successful track record. It was also through a bank we did most of our commercial banking with and we had far more money in our account then what our construction loan was for.

Most new D-I-Y barndominium folks are not experienced General Contractors. Things could be somewhat more challenging if you fall into this category. Even with a high credit score and significant down payment, most lenders doing construction to permanent loans require a full plan, timelines, etc., and only pay out when certain milestones are met.

I am all for people doing it themselves. I see far too many horror stories from people who have hired contractors. Thankfully lots of happy stories from clients who did it themselves. If you are going to be your own General Contractor here are some things to keep in mind:

If hiring a sub-contractor to do any work get it not only in writing, but also with a contract covering all possible bases. Great contracts make great friends. Do not expect any contractor to perform more than exactly what is spelled out in writing.

Have good insurance. We live in a litigious society and there are too many people who avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. Don’t have your dream home train derailed due to an uninsured or under-insured construction project.

Pay people. Whether out of pocket or from construction loans – pay vendors and subcontractors promptly, provided they perform as anticipated. Take advantage of prompt or early pay discounts from vendors with a track record of reliability.

More Thoughts on Polyurethane Foam

More Thoughts on High Density Polyurethane Foam for Column Backfill

Reader STEPHEN contributes a question regarding high density polyurethane foam for column backfill:

“Hello, I have this question I would like to pass along to the “pole barn Guru” to be answered, I doubt I will get the answer I need in the time frame, but I think its going to come up more often, so  I am guessing now is a good time to ask.

With the idea of burying a 6x6x14 into concrete, the risk of Rot is very high. At a cost of about 50$ per post,  you want to protect your investment,  so many people are using a 6x6x10 and using the Study-wall brackets, but that drives up the cost to about 80$

So my question is, has anyone looked into using the new polyurethane instead of concrete?

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Secure-Set-1-Gal-Concrete-Alternative-High-Density-Polyurethane-Post-Setting-Foam-White-5-Post-Kit-SS-4-10/206497548

Stephen ~

Hopefully this response will prove to be timely in regards to your project.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Let us begin with a discussing to overcome a fear of a “risk of rot is very high”. Actual field studies have proven an ability of properly pressure treated lumber to withstand decaying forces for greater than human lifespans: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/. Trick, of course, is finding properly pressure preservative treated timbers. Five years ago I penned this article for a post frame industry magazine: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/. Little has changed since then – lumber dealers and big box stores continue to sell pressure treated timbers without advising consumers as to what those timbers can actually be used for.

Now let’s discuss using high density polyurethane foam for setting columns, rather than concrete. At this year’s National Frame Building Association Expo there were several vendors promoting using their high density foam for setting posts – all of them having experience only from setting of utility poles. Utility poles carry a minimal downward load, so their holes are barely larger than column diameters, making calling for a pre-mix concrete truck impractical. Lateral loads on utility poles are also minimal as compared to columns in a post frame building, so a little high density foam easily provides a solution (and sets up quickly – allowing crews to move expediently from pole to pole).

Here is some more reading on this subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/02/high-density-foam/.

Besides not being Code conforming, there is an issue of cost. Your suggested product provided at The Home Depot will provide a volume equal to five 80 pound bags of concrete (or 1/10th of a yard) for $37.63 or $376.30 per yard. With pre-mix concrete prices being roughly $100 a yard, concrete being Code conforming and not contributing to decay any more than would high density foam, it seems to me to be a no brainer.

Considering the Differences Between Closed and Open Cell Spray foam

Originally published by: Fine Homebuilding — May 21, 2016 by Mr. Rob Yagid, a former editor at Fine Homebuilding. Excerpted from Mr. Rob Yagid’s article with contributions from ABTG Staff.

The following article was produced and published by the source linked to above, who is solely responsible for its content. The Pole Barn Guru™ is publishing this story to raise awareness of information publicly available online and does not verify the accuracy of the author’s claims. As a consequence, The Pole Barn Guru™ cannot vouch for the validity of any facts, claims or opinions made in the article.

In an article by Rob Yagid for Fine Homebuilding, which was sponsored by Versi-Foam Systems, the question addressed is what is open cell versus closed cell foam? Rob delves into the debate about the properties of open-cell versus closed cell with the following points:

Much of the information you’ll find about spray foam is dedicated to its R-value and its permeability.

These traits have an overarching impact on the performance of open-cell and closed-cell foams. In most closed-cell foams, an HFC blowing agent is captured in the foam’s cell structure. This gas has a better thermal performance than the air-filled open-cell foam and gives it a higher overall R-value.However, while HFC-blown closed-cell foam might initially have an R-value as high as R-8 per in., as the blowing agent evaporates through the cell walls and is replaced by air, its R-value diminishes.

Closed-cell foam’s “aged” R-value is roughly R-6 per inch. Some manufacturers produce water-blown closed-cell foams. These foams have the same performance properties as HFC-blown foam, but slightly lower R-values at around R-5.5 per in.

Closed-cell foam’s greater density, 2 lb. per cu. ft. compared with open cell’s 1⁄2 lb. per cu. ft., also increases its R-value and offers it the rigidity that open cell foam lacks.

Structural testing, by a variety of spray foam manufacturers has confirmed that closed-cell foam increases the lateral shear and wind pressure strength of conventionally framed walls. Closed cell foam also has a low vapor permeability rating (roughly 0.5 perms at a thickness of 3 in.) and is considered a class-II vapor retarder, meaning that it’s semi impermeable.

Open-cell foam has a greater expansion rate than closed-cell foam. It expands 100 times its initial volume (closed-cell foam expands only 30 times its initial volume), so less of the foam is needed to insulate a house.

Although both foams will dry if they ever get wet, open-cell foam is vapor permeable and dries much faster than closed-cell foam.

Open cell’s one major weakness is its lower R-value, roughly R-3.5 per in. This means that when used in a 2×4 exterior wall, it will create an assembly that’s approximately only R-12, which won’t meet code in most parts of the country.

Spray polyurethane-foam manufacturers can rely upon several facts when it comes to marketing their products. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 30% of a home’s heating and cooling costs are attributed to air leakage. Spray polyurethane foam is an effective air barrier and significantly reduces energy loss. Combined with a higher thermal resistance (R-value) than most other forms of insulation, it’s no wonder spray foam is often relied on to help make houses ultra-efficient. The key to proper use is knowing your climate, construction practice, wall and roof assembly types and building code requirements with a particular focus on continuous insulation. For more resources on the value of spray foam, visit continuousinsulation.org.

Will I Have Moisture Issues?

Condensation and moisture issues in any building can be problematic. No one purposely designs a building with an idea to have dripping from under roof condensation, or mold and mildew from trapped moisture.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ client and loyal reader KURT in SAINT HELENS writes:

“Hello,
Question about roof insulation. Plan on insulating 2″ double-laminated with WMP-VR on one side and FSK-HD Foil facing on the other. Layers for the roof will consist of metal roofing, 30# roofing felt, 1/2 plywood and the insulation. Will I have moisture issues with this configuration?
Thanks for your input.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Thank you for your question Kurt, obviously you have given a great deal of thought to condensation and moisture issues in your new post frame building.

Your layer of plywood and felt will provide a thermal break preventing any warm moist air inside of your building from contacting with a cooler steel roof. 

For those interested, here is some light reading about WMP-VR https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/10/metal-building-insulation-2/, a faced metal building “insulation”.

FSK facing, or foil-scrim-kraft is a flame retardant vapor-barrier. It is one of the most commonly used facings in today’s insulation industry. During manufacturing processes of an FSK facing, a layer of lightweight aluminum foil is layered against a tri-directional, reinforcing fiberglass scrim (yarn) and then paired with a final layer of natural brown kraft paper. This is all laminated together using a flame-retardant adhesive.

Once this process is complete, facing is rolled into a giant master roll and delivered to a fiberglass manufacturing facility. This is where manufactured fiberglass insulation is adhered to facing’s kraft paper side. 

FSK facing is most commonly utilized with duct wrap, duct board, and mechanical spin-glas boards on outward-facing, exposed surfaces of HVAC ductwork. This FSK facing not only serves as a vapor-barrier to facilitate condensation control, but it is also a protective barrier for fiberglass insulation itself. Aluminum foil gives FSK its distinctive silver color and can typically be easily recognized on any HVAC system.

This two inch thick metal building “insulation” is going to be an unnecessary expense and will provide little or no actual insulating value. As long as you have adequate ventilation (both intake and exhaust) and your concrete floor has a well- sealed high quality vapor barrier below it, you should not experience moisture issues. Keep in mind – in the months immediately following pouring your concrete slab, expect to have excess moisture within your building. Once your concrete floor has cured, these issues should go away.

Floor Plans, Pressure Treated Posts, and Temperature Control

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses floor plans, pressure treated posts, and temperature control in an insulated pole barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am retiring from the Navy and moving to Knoxville TN. We are looking at land to purchase and home floor plans for our “dream” house. I have read some about pole barns and home use. My real question is can a pole barn be made to look more like a “traditional” farmhouse? These are the types of homes we like. And I have not seen many pole bars that end up looking like this. Is this or close to this possible?

Thanks, JOHN in KNOXVILLE


DEAR JOHN: You are moving to one of my favorite areas – my oldest son and his daughter lived in Maryville for many years and we built a post frame garage with an in-law apartment above it in their back yard.
Post frame (pole barn) buildings can be made to look like any type of layout, even your “traditional” farm house. As you get closer to your move, please call and discuss your project with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1(866)200-9657.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My pressure treated poles have started to rot at ground level after only five years. The barn is built on clay. Posts are six feet in the ground. I am thinking I should get to cutting the posts above the rot, stitching steel angle to the posts and then pouring a pad underneath. I’m concerned that this will mean a really big pad though, which would obviously cancel out the reason for this method of construction. Any tips or can you point me to a past forum thread please?

Many thanks, PAUL in BRIGHTON

DEAR PAUL: Your pressure treated poles are starting to rot at ground level most likely because they came from a provider who did not sell you material with an adequate level of treatment (UC-4B). Most big box stores and lumberyards sadly do not inventory properly pressure preservative treated timbers (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/).

Building upon clay only contributes to your issues, as it should have been removed prior to construction (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/post-frame-construction-on-clay-soils/).

You should engaged services of a Registered Professional Engineer who can adequately design a concrete footing adequate to support your building against wind and snow loads, while being deep enough to prevent frost heave issues. A simple angle iron will not be enough to handle uplift or overturning, however your engineer might utilize a wet set anchor such as these: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/.

This is not a place where you want to seat of your pants engineer a solution – only to end up with yet another failure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I recently put up a pole barn, 15 inches of blown in insulation in the ceiling, walls are 1.5 foam spray, then R13 bat over that. The building is 54 x 36. An insulated overhead door, walk in door, and 4 2 x 3 windows. I recently put the epoxy garage 20 x floor paint (epoxy ) on the floor. when it’s completely closed up , and you go in it, It’s very cool in normal 80 degree temps outside. it stays cool, for awhile, and nothing to shade the building. After awhile it’s not cool, after the buildings been open awhile. My guess is because no humidity is getting in the pole barn, is why it’s so cool, am I correct, and do you see any problems from what I have said? RON in DANVILLE

DEAR RON: Your building is cool when it has been closed up due to temperature of soil being roughly 55 degrees F. where it cannot be affected by direct sunlight or frost. This same temperature is transmitted through your building’s concrete floor. Once you open your building’s doors, outside and inside air temperatures will try to equalize.

 

 

When Attic Insulation is Baffling

Proper insulation provisions seem to be one of the least considered items when it comes to post frame (pole building) planning.

Here is a case in point from reader JOHN in BEND:

“We have just built a 32’ x 48’ pole building with commercial GIRT construction, metal siding, 4/12 pitch metal roof, concrete floor, 12 ft ceilings located in the high desert region of central Oregon.  The building will be used as a training center for a sport shooting club, and only occasionally occupied/heated.

We plan to insulate the walls and (flat) ceiling with R19 fiberglass batts and cover both walls & ceiling with 5/8” drywall.  We have some questions/concerns about adequate venting for the attic area above the ceiling.  We had a vent-a-ridge installed along the entire length of the building (48ft which will provide about 5 sq ft of roof ventilation).  We are now installing 4″ round soffit vents to match the 5 sq ft ridge vent to provide airflow.  We had also planned on installing styrofoam soffit/rafter baffles to ensure the fiberglass batts didn’t block the natural airflow from the soffits.  Then we noticed that the purlins run horizontally very near to the soffits.  The styrofoam baffles appear to be designed for vertical facing rafters that will naturally channel air up towards the vents.  Now we are wondering if styrofoam baffles (and our venting scheme in general) will work properly and whether we need to also install gable end vents.

Thanks for the help. We are a volunteer organization and just don’t have the construction expertise.”

From your photo, it appears the ceiling joist closest to the inside of the wall is a 2×6 with airspace above it. If so, your R-19 batt insulation will still have airflow above it. The baffles you invested in should be returned for credit, as they are not applicable for a post frame installation with widely spaced trusses. 

Now your true challenge, R-19 insulation is woefully inadequate for your location. Your attic should have at least R-49 (https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_insulation_table) which would be about 16″ of blown in insulation.

Normally I would recommend to clients to have raised heel trusses to allow for full insulation thickness. In your case, I would recommend the area in the three to four feet closest to the sidewalls to be insulated with closed cell spray foam on top of the ceiling, to the thickness of the ceiling joists, then blow in fiberglass for the balance of the attic. Do not use faced batt insulation.

Nailing in Screws with Gas Nailer

Thoughts regarding nailing in screws.

It was late 1990. I had inherited my grandparents’ lake cabin in Northeast Washington and decided to remodel it into a year-around residence. As part of this process, installing a new steel roof was of utmost importance. Of course, by the time we got around to reroofing, it was starting to snow. This may not have been such an issue, other than we were faced with working on a 7/12 roof slope. 

Some of my lowly paid, marginally skilled help did assist in moving this project along quickly – they opted to drive roof screws in with hammers, rather than using screw guns. Initially this might have been brilliant, however over time (a short time I might add) these nailed in screws decided to work themselves out of underlying framing. 

Why might this have happened? When screws are driven in, their threads destroy surrounding wood fibers, leaving little or nothing for threads to grip to prevent withdrawal. 

Being a leading construction industry blog, we have a significant readership. This leads to be contacted by manufacturers hoping to promote their products.

Recently I was approached by www.nailscrews.com with this proposal for their Duck Butt® (DB) gas nailer. This nailer is to be used to nail screws through steel roofing and siding! Here was their approach:

“We stopped the DB launch for two reasons: 

1: When we tested the new cordless Hitachi battery framing nailer, we knew it would revolutionize the gas/cordless tool market.

2: The 5th generation R&D DB gas nailer was developed in China. Thank God we waited.

We have been waiting & working with the Hitachi/Metobo HTP, but we need someone in the industry who knows what they are talking about to advise their new marketing people to get them to understand:

The market needs the DB style fasteners with cordless tools that can be installed faster to increase the productivity and save the labor costs.

Please review and if you agree, would you have the time to get involved with us and them as an adviser?”

MIke the Pole Barn Guru says:

Well, I have to admit, it would be fast.

Here is some information from manufacturer’s website (in italics):

“Polyurethane Sealant hidden under the head is impervious to heat and cold cycles and UV rays.”

Their optimal driving range, however, has this polyurethane sealant slightly exposed below the screw head. Inorganic materials are less responsive to UV rays than organic chemicals. Over a long-term, polyurethane, an organic material, will revert back to its natural state in response to UV exposure. This affects both lifespan and versatility of polyurethane.

“In Diaphragm testing conducted at the UFBI Engineering Lab, DB Fasteners shot through 29 ga. metal never failed due to the metal tearing, but the wood failed under the max load.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru adds:

Having participated in diaphragm testing myself, fastener “failure” was not the weakest link, nor was metal tearing – failures were due to buckling of steel panels between supports. If their testing had wood failures, my guess is there was a poorly designed wood system beneath the steel.

Nowhere did I find test results for this nailed in screw against withdrawal. After review I felt there was only one adequate response:

“In my humble opinion – steel should never be fastened by nailing via any method. Maybe
you can find someone who believes otherwise and will promote your product, this is not the place.”

Somehow they did not like my response:

“We are a Screw that installs with a nailer.  

Per our Government! 

Patented!

Code approved into wood 

For use in steel and woods”

Mike says: Can and should

One Pour Pole Barn Post Installation

Reader AARON from CARTHAGE writes:

“Curious to see your thoughts on the Pro-footer one pour bracket. Would attaching these brackets to the post compromise the pressure treating leading to a chance of rot? I’ve seen their footer cages and their uplift brackets but these seem to be a better choice provided they don’t compromise the pressure treating.”

In previous articles I have written about both footer cages: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/one-pour-reinforcement-cage/ and uplift brackets:  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/04/truss-plates-for-column-uplift/ as well as https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/12/uplift-plate/.

Uplift plates have now become a standard feature for Hansen Pole Buildings third-party engineered post frame building kit packages.

From manufacturer of ONE POUR Foundation Brackets:

“Many Builders currently drop pre-formed concrete pads (pill blocks/cookies) in the post hole to provide the foundation for the post. Pre-formed concrete pads are in many cases inadequate for Post Frame Buildings greater than 32’ in width; unless soil compaction tests indicate otherwise. Wet poured foundations for Post Frame Buildings are another alternative and usually require a two day two-step process.

The first step on day one requires pouring the concrete footers. After the concrete hardens typically on the second day posts are fitted with rebar (uplift restraint) and positioned in place. The concrete truck arrives at the job site the second time to pour the collar ties. Builders know how costly delays can be due to things like rain and having to remove water and mud from post holes.

ONE POUR Foundation brackets are the quicker, better and stronger solution for a pole barn foundation or post frame foundation. ONE POUR Foundation Brackets are available as…..a field applied (nail on) bracket. Both brackets are manufactured with a G90 galvanized coating. Hot-dip galvanizing is available as an option.”

“ONE POUR Foundation Brackets only require a one day process and a single visit by the concrete truck, saving builders invaluable time. Drilling holes in posts for rebar is a time consuming practice of the past. Both Brackets provide far greater engineering uplift values then current building practices.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru adds:

I certainly agree with concrete cookies being unable to adequately support most post frame building columns: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/hurl-yourconcrete-cookies/.

Consideration for Future Building Length Additions

Adding on to post frame building length sounds like it should be such a simple process – unscrew sheets of steel and just build away, right?

Nope.

Long time reader ROB in ANNAPOLIS writes:

“I feel like you have answered this somewhere in the past, but when I search past “Ask the Guru” I get an employee login prompt.

Due to budget and general indecisiveness, I am considering building a structure shorter than I think I will need long term. If I am sticking to the same width and truss style, how hard is it to extend a building down the road? Essentially I am planning a workshop that I would like to have an office, bathroom, covered parking area. Those are all wants and not needs. If it is not a terrible design decision to add another couple sections to the end later on, I can get the important part, shop space, done sooner.”

My first recommendation would be to construct the ultimate sized shell and only finish off interior of what you immediately need and will fit within your budget. Done in pieces doubles the number of deliveries made to your site and trucks do not run for free. 

Built in segments – even though steel roofing and siding will come from the same manufacturer, there will be some degree of fade. People will be able to tell it was not all constructed at the same time. However, over time the newer steel will fade also and the difference may be imperceptible. Pick lighter colors so the degree of fade is not as noticeable.

If you do build in segments, it should be structurally designed to take into account eventual length. Roof and endwall shear are impacted by building length and it is far easier to account for possible added necessity of materials at the time of initial construction, rather than having to do a retro fit. Beyond a certain length braced endwall panels, by use of OSB sheathing, may be needed, This is a function also of wind loads, as well as building height and width.

Finally, if you are considering adding on to an existing building – place a double truss on the end to be added onto and have no endwall overhang on this end.

How Tall? Monitor Style Barns, and Planning a Building

Today’s PBG discusses “how tall a pole barn” can be, opening on a monitor style building, and planning a buildings for and shop and car storage.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How tall can pole barn be in Cape May County? BUD in CAPE MAY

DEAR BUD: This will depend upon how your property is zoned, as well as use of your proposed building. A call to the Cape May County Planning Department, with your Parcel Number or address, at 1(609)465-1080 should get you a correct answer.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: For one of your monitor style barns, project #06-0608, you do not list the eave lights at the top of the building in your materials list. Are these picture windows or awning style, or is this an open space? How important is it to use these windows for ventilation in a monitor styled shop. By the way, where are you located? FRED in WASHOUGAL

DEAR FRED: For this particular project our client provided his own fixed windows. For most installations, it is not needed to have ventilation at this location. Should your intended use be residential, you will probably want one or more of them to be able to be opened.

We have a sales only office in Fargo, North Dakota. We have sales, ordering, warehousing and shipping at our headquarters along the South Dakota side of Lake Traverse. We also have remote Building Designers across the country – including several in your home state of Washington.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Sir, I am in the planning stages of building a pole building to store some old cars and use as a workshop. The building will have storage trusses for a floored attic and eventually I plan on heating garage area with a forced air wall mount propane heater. I will have house wrap applied to the walls between the wall grits/ posts and the metal siding. So my question pertains to radiant barrier (double bubble) being applied to the roof. Is it better to apply the radiant barrier on top of roof trusses but below purlins or above the roof purlins against the metal roof. Additionally should I be concerned with enhanced condensation with purlin wood rot and metal deterioration if the radiant barrier is installed underneath the purlins? JIM in JARRETTSVILLE

DEAR JIM: Since you are in planning stages, I will throw lots of free advice at you.

If you have available space, it is less expensive and more practical for access to have a larger footprint, than it is to have storage trusses with a bonus room. Negotiating stairs ends up being problematic.

Propane heat adds a great deal of moisture to your inside air and could add to condensation issues.

Remember Reflective Radiant Barriers are not insulation (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/04/reflective-insulation-wars/). Properly sealed they can prove to be an effective condensation control. Double bubble will be no more effective than single bubble, but will be significantly more expensive. Your most effective condensation control with a reflective radiant barrier will be to install it directly between purlins and roof steel. Personally, I would use Dripstop or Condenstop (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/07/condenstop/) rather than reflective radiant barrier.

 

Hiring an Engineer is Terrible Advice?

Registered Design Professionals and Building Officials please weigh in on this one. Is hiring an engineer terrible advice?

In a Facebook ‘Barndominium Living’ discussion group this was posted:
“Curious as to how many of you consulted an engineer before building (for concrete and steel framing) or simply went with your welder’s design?”

First response, from a fellow group member, was:
“Most metal building manufacturers have engineers on staff as part of the design process.”

Original poster replied:
“Yes, when getting quotes directly from them we understood it would have an engineered stamp. We have chosen not to do bolt up, so the welders we have talked to would just order the metal and do their own design.”

Here is where I stepped in:
“Regardless of what type of building system you decide upon, please please please have plans sealed by a Registered Design Professional (architect or engineer).”
Now this next poster may be suffering from Dunning-Kruger Effect (poor grammar in his post left for lack of clarity) (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/01/dunning-kruger-effect/):
“That’s some terrible advice you have given here. Plenty of builders that do a great job without the extra cost of a architect or engineer.”

My retort went something like this:
And why would it be terrible to insure every component and connection meets structural requirements? A building is only as strong as its weakest link and unless this “great job” builder is capable of running all structural calculations for a particular building, there exists a possibility of an under design.

There are also insurance companies giving discounts for having an engineered building.
I am not a RDP and I make no money promoting use of them. I do care deeply about properly structural designed buildings – any failure, especially of a barndominium to be used as a home, makes all of us – even those who do it right look bad.
Hopefully this article will generate some thoughtful responses.

Steel Roofing Fade and Chalk

Steel Roofing Fade and Chalk

14 years ago Hansen Pole Buildings provided a post frame building kit package to a client in South Carolina. Included with this investment was steel roofing and siding to be provided by Fabral with 20 year warranty paint. Colors were Evergreen roofing and trim and Tan siding.

We actually provided Fabral’s MP (also known as Multipurpose) panels with a 25-year limited paint warranty and a 10-year warranty against fade and chalk. Our client actually got a greater paint warranty than what he had bargained for.

Fast forwarding to current times and our client emails, “What type of warranty comes with the Tin on the roof and sides. I bought a building several years ago with a Green roof, and now the roof is turning white and chalky.”

Our client provided the photo above (please try to ignore random screw pattern and totally missing screws) as proof of his roof’s current condition).

Strangely paint quality is one thing rarely mentioned by potential clients when considering a new steel covered building – when it should be a most important one. Paint on steel roofing and siding is not just for decoration. In addition to providing color, paint finish also protects panels from corrosion, temperature, moisture and other detrimental environmental elements. Fading is the most common source of color change over time and happens when environmental elements deteriorate paint’s pigments (granular particles giving paint its color). This deterioration also reduces paint’s effectiveness in protecting steel panels.

I have opined about paint fade in an earlier article:  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/04/paint-fade/.

But what about chalking?

Also referred to as “powdering”, chalking happens when resin (binder) of a paint system is compromised. Resin is the substance holding paint pigment together. It also ensures color is evenly distributed and provides glossiness, durability and flexibility. In addition, resin has a very important job – adhering pigment to the steel surface it is applied to and protecting the finish against damage.

When paint finish surface resin deteriorates, most often as a result of exposure to ultraviolet  (UV) rays, embedded pigment particles lose their adhesion to paint film (resulting in color fading) and resin particles take on a white (chalky) appearance, easily wiped off (this chalk can be removed: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/08/removing-chalky-residue-steel-panels/). In addition, chalking can erode the film resulting in a loss of substrate protection and run down onto the underlying structure, further degrading the structure appearance.

Climates exposed to more intense UV rays for longer periods of time will experience chalking sooner as environment plays a big role in how painted steel will perform. While a client may not be able to control how much UV or moisture exposure their roof gets, they can choose a paint system not over-thinned or over-spread and using high quality components.

Shopping for a new painted steel covered building? Please avoid being disappointed years from now, like our client from South Carolina. If who you are talking to about a new building investment does not mention steel paint warranties – ask them. Know what it is they are proposing.

Also consider choosing a paint color which will least show fading and chalking, such as white or tan.

In markets where it is available I always recommend going with best possible paint system available – PVDF. Read more about PVDF’s benefits here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/kynar/.

Barndominium Costs Part II

Continuing my discussion of Barndominium costs from yesterday’s blog…
For sake of discussion, we will use 2400 sft (40×60) of finished living space (includes any bonus rooms) plus 1600 sft of garage/shop. To have a GC (General Contractor) turn-key this for you expect an average of:

2400 X $122.46 = $293,904
1600 X $61.56 = $ 98,496
$293,904 + $98,496 = $392,400 / .6977 = $562,419

This is having your barndominium built (turn key), not for owner-builders.
If your barndominium will be very simple, rectangle, standard sizes, with little to no upgrades on finish materials (counter tops, flooring, cabinets, showers, lighting, trim, etc) then your costs could be less per sft.

 

On spectrum’s other end would be for very intricate, high end, everything upgraded barndominiums. Including things like custom cabinets, real hardwood flooring, high end appliances, custom fireplace, built in entertainment options, oversized windows and doors, vaulted ceilings throughout, steep roof, extra bathrooms/kitchens, etc.

But what you really want to know is what it will cost for you to build it, right?
We will assume you are willing to do some legwork, so if you don’t do any physical work yourself and just act as general contractor (making phone calls, hiring people, ordering materials, dealing with problems, etc) you can build this average barndominium for $170,000 less than it would cost to hire a general contractor.

I can make a LOT of phone calls for this. In fact, I could easily take well over a year off work and still come out ahead!

Beyond making phone calls, hiring people, ordering materials, and dealing with problems, you can lower your price by doing some work yourself.
It’s all about what YOU are willing to do as an owner-builder.

Our prices above are for “stick frame” construction. By using post frame construction with embedded columns, rather than pouring a footing and foundation, a savings of $11,400 can be found: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/.
This reduces your $392,400 investment by about 3% to $381,000
NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) allocated percentages in their Construction Cost Breakdown. These included:

Site work 5.6% (of this 1.6% was for architecture and engineering)
Foundations 11.6% (this includes excavation and backfill)
Framing 18%
Exterior Finishes 15% (siding, roofing, windows, doors)
Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC rough ins 13.1%
Interior Finishes 29.6% (insulation, drywall, interior trims and doors, painting, lighting, cabinets, counter tops, appliances, flooring, plumbing fixtures, fireplaces)
Final Steps 6.8% (Landscaping, decks, driveways, clean up)

Of framing and exterior finishes (roughly 1/3rd of costs), if you invest in an engineered post frame building kit package and do your own labor (labor being roughly 1/3rd of this portion), save $43,164 (I can take a lot of time off work for this).

Hansen Pole Buildings GuesthouseAnd my engineered post frame building kit package includes engineering, saving $6278.
Obviously even more savings can be achieved for those capable of doing electrical and plumbing, however assuming nothing other than what has been listed, your $562,419 barndominium has been built and is ready to move in for $331,558!! This resulted in over a 41% savings and kept over $230,000 in YOUR pocket!!

Of course your investment and savings could be more or less depending upon your tastes and location, however this should give you a feel for where you will be headed. It would be prudent to budget another 1% for every month you delay your start, as well.

How Much Will My Barndominium Cost?

How Much Will My Post Frame Barndominium Cost?

This may be the most asked question in Barndominium discussion groups I am a member of. Or at least a close second to wanting to see floor plans. And why not? If one does not have a semblance of financial realty, they could end up finding themselves severely disappointed.

This is a really important questions because if you don’t know what your barndominium or shouse (shop/house) will cost, how can you plan on paying for it?

Hansen Buildings TaglineIt is also a really hard question to answer. You can probably guess standard cabinets and custom cabinets come with a very big price difference. This is merely one example of a myriad of differences between every single barndominium.

Sitting down and figuring out what each individual thing in your barndominium will cost, is a very difficult (if not impossible) thing to do.

There is no way for me or anyone to tell you exactly what your barndominium will cost. I can help you best I know how, but you also need to do your own homework in your own area.

Your own style and preferences will play a big role in your barndominium cost. Please use these figures as a guideline only, and know this is not an exact science. This is simply meant to help you figure out a good idea of how much money you will need.

Our International Code Council friends publish a table of average costs for new construction and update it every six months. https://www.iccsafe.org/wp-content/uploads/BVD-BSJ-FEB19-converted.pdf

Post frame construction is Type VB and homes are Residential R-3. As of February 2019, this places an average constructed cost at $122.46 per sft (square foot). An attached garage or shop would be S-2 storage, low hazard at $61.56 per sft. A detached shop or garage could be U utility, at $48.73 per sft. Unfinished basements would be $22.45 per sft.

NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) 2015 data supported these figures with an average total construction cost of $103.29 per sft. This is before General Contractor’s (GC) overhead, profit, financing, marketing and sales costs and does not include the price of land. Outside of land values, a General Contractor’s share added another 30.23% to total construction costs.

Do you need a General Contractor? Read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/general-contractor/

Tune in for our next action packed article, where an example barndominium will be broken apart for costs!

Price for Trusses, Interior Stud Walls, and Sill Plates

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about the price for trusses, anchoring a stud wall, and the location of a sill plate.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Price for 80 foot trusses. CHUCK in ELYRIA
DEAR CHUCK: Price for trusses is going to vary depending upon numerous factors including, but not limited to, roof slope, spacing, heel height, roofing material, roof sheathing, ceiling load, snow load, design wind speed and exposure, is building fully or partially enclosed. Trusses 60 feet and greater in span also require a Registered Professional Engineer to design and inspect both temporary and permanent truss bracing.
(Read more on wide span trusses here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/12/wide-span-trusses/)

Interior Clearspan Arena

Once you have all your specifics together, you might visit your local The Home Depot® and talk with a Pro Associate at their Pro Desk, who can get you pricing delivered to your site.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Building in phases, particularly the inside stud wall work. Should we decide to alter wall locations, or remodel in the future how to I avoid anchoring a new stud wall location into a pex line used for radiant heating? Can the pex be placed deep enough to not place an anchor thru it yet at a depth to provide effective heat?

Thanks . PAUL in LEXINGTON

DEAR PAUL: You might try using a polyurethane adhesive such as Loctite PL Premium .

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I put a sill plate down even with the concrete, but the picture is showing a 1-1/2 inch space. How can I fix this so my pole barn goes up correctly? DAWN in GREENVILLE

DEAR DAWN: Usually I can guess at what a question’s intent is, however in your case I cannot, no email address was provided and you do not appear to be a client of ours. Can you please share your picture with me?

 

 

Barndominium is Popping Up Everywhere

Back in 1981 Barbara Mandrell recorded and released a hit song written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”. Well Barbara certainly has it over me in the looks department and I doubt I will ever have a Top Ten hit with, “I Had a Barndominium When Barndominiums Weren’t Cool”.

Read more about barndominium here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/02/barndominium/.

My first personal barndominium, built in 1994, was actually more of a shouse – a 40 feet wide by 36 feet deep, but not rectangular, post frame building! Seriously, it was built as a parallelogram 14 degrees out of square to follow property lines of a very narrow lot. Shop portion is on the ground floor – a garage level with three overhead steel sectional doors 9’ wide x 8’ tall, 10’ wide x 11’ tall and 8’ wide x 7’ tall. I would never recommend the latter of these for an automobile, but it works superbly for motorcycles and our log splitter.

Gambrel roof pole barnThis building is entirely clearspan – no interior columns to have to work around. Second floor has a 10 foot wide step-down by four feet. This area has its own vaulted ceiling at a 7/12 slope and is used for exercise equipment. With a series of nine windows overlooking a beautiful lake, it takes one’s mind off the agonies of treadmilling and lifting weights.

Upper level is only 30 foot by 36 foot, however it has a vaulted ceiling with a 4/12 interior slope. Another set of nine windows for lake view and a cantilevered deck facing eastward – perfect for a BBQ, with access from a sliding glass patio door.

A June 11, 2019 article by Becky Bracken and provided by www.realtor.com tells a story of bardominiums for sale from coast-to-coast: https://m.chron.com/realestate/article/Barndominiums-Blooming-The-Popular-Style-Is-13967497.php.

Ready to make your custom home dreams into an affordable reality? Then a post frame barndominium or shouse might be exactly what you need. Call 1(866)200-9657 to discuss your wants and needs with a Hansen Buildings’ Designer today.

How to Assemble a Cupola Kit

Cupolas are often an afterthought when it comes to a new post frame (pole barn) building or barndominium. In a previous article, I discussed how to determine proper size, spacing and quantity of cupolas (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/09/cupola/).

Cupolas as a kit can be easily assembled – without a requirement for specialized skills. My lovely bride put one together once for a demonstration building.

We happen to have a cupola on our barndominium home. It has a wooden base inside with eight light bulbs in it, two of each color red, yellow, blue and plain white. On clear nights our cupola lights can be seen from miles around. My wife has fun changing the color of the light bulbs, depending on the season.

For your viewing pleasure, we had a representative from our current cupola provider assemble one in Hansen Pole Buildings’ warehouse. See how he did and give him a shout out:

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual also gives step-by-step written assembly instructions along with detail drawings of assembly.

Ready to plan your new post frame building with a cupola (or maybe two)? Call 1(866)200-9657 today to speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer!

Gambrel Barndominium Done Differently

What I Would Have Done Differently With Our Gambrel Barndominium

Pole Barn Guru BlogWhen we built our gambrel roof style barndominium 15 years ago we were in a position financially where we could have done most anything we wanted to. Our property was over two acres in size, so available space was not a determining factor. After having lived in it every day for going on four years, I have realized there are some things I would have done differently. For sake of brevity, I will only discuss main clearspan portions of our barndominium (it has 18 foot width sidesheds).

Footprint

Our center portion is 48 feet in clearspan width and 60 feet deep. Whilst this sounds really big, I wish we would have gone 60 feet wide and 72 feet deep. There is just never enough room and a portion of our half-court basketball court has been taken up with a workout area. Start parking a few vehicles inside and even smaller grandkids are looking for space to dribble and shoot the basketball.

Downstairs Height

16 foot high ceilings might seem like a lot. Doing it again I would go to 20. Makes playing basketball easier for those three point shots. At 20 foot, ceiling would not have been perfect for volleyball, but it would have made a serviceable practice are (given a larger footprint): https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/09/pole-barn-11/.

Floor Trusses

Yes we could have spanned 60 feet, we just would have had trusses about five feet in thickness. I would have specified a lesser deflection than our current L/360 however (read about floor deflection here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/12/wood-floors-deflection-and-vibration/). I also would have installed a diagonal (top chord to bottom chord) bracing system every 12 feet along building width, tying three trusses together across four feet. This would have further reduced deflection by spreading loads across a wider portion of the floor system.

Knee Walls

Our gambrel trusses are set directly at floor level. In order to have some semblance of sidewalls, we placed a knee wall in four feet from each side, reducing our usable width to 40 feet. While this made our space more functional, ever try to hang pictures on a four foot tall wall? Doing it again, I would opt to raise trusses up either four or eight feet above the floor level. Latter of these would have given wall to wall usable space as well as a more standard wall height.

Upstairs Ceiling Height

We have a 16 foot high ceiling now. While this works, it does make for a short ceiling in my wife Judy’s craft/sewing loft above a portion of our master bedroom. With a 60 foot span, we could easily have had 10 foot ceilings both above and below the loft. Of course Judy would have had to have found a 20 foot tall Christmas tree! (and she would!)

Whatever size barndominium you decide to construct – it will not be large enough. At a minimum I would encourage going no less than 10% greater in space than you think you need. Ready to get serious about planning your new barndominium? Call 1(866)200-9657 to get started now!

Maximizing Post Frame Gambrel Space

Maximizing Post Frame Gambrel Usable Space With Trusses

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Rachel and I recently had some discussions in regards to maximizing post frame gambrel truss useable space.  Most often gambrel roofs are supported by one piece clearspan gambrel trusses. Largest downside to this type of truss system is lack of bonus room width. Usually you can expect a room from 1/3 to ½ building width with smaller span trusses (generally 24-30 foot spans). Sort of like this:

My bride and I happen to live in a gambrel style barndominium (for more reading on barndominiums https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/04/the-rise-of-the-barndominium/). It is actually probably more appropriately a shouse (shop/house). We wanted just a lot more living space than what could be afforded by a bonus room in a gambrel truss.

This is what we did…..

Center width of our home is 48 feet. We clearspanned this using 48 foot long prefabricated wood floor trusses, placed 24 inches on center. These parallel chord trusses are close to four feet in depth. With our 16 foot high finished ceiling downstairs (it is a half-court basketball court), this made our second floor level 20 feet above grade. Ends of these trusses are supported by LVL (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/lvl/) beams notched into four ply 2×8 glu-laminated columns every 12 feet.

This got us across from column to column to support a floor, now we needed a roof system! We utilized trusses much like these, only much bigger:

Our trusses were so much larger, they had to be fabricated in two halves, split right down the center and field spliced to create a whole unit. We utilized the “Golden Ratio” (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/06/gambrel/) to create slopes and pitch break points. Our steep slope is 24/12 and our upper slope is 6/12/ On the inside, our slope is 12/12 and our flat ceiling ends up at 16 feet above floor!

We also ended up with a very, very tall building. Roof peak happens to be 44 feet above grade! Living at 20 feet above ground does afford some spectacular views – we look due south down Lake Traverse and can see the tops of tall structures in Browns Valley, our closest town six miles away.

In my next article, I will clue you in on things I would have done differently, so stay tuned!

Brackets to Sonotubes, Housewrap, and Help with a Remodel

This week Mike the Pole Barn Guru gives some advice regarding the use of brackets with sonotubes, installation of housewrap, and the possibility of replacing a gable style roof with a gambrel.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Guru, I am looking at building a pole barn home. I like the idea of doing wetset brackets in concrete sonotubes, then after building is erected pouring the slab inside. My question is how will the grade board and slab be connected to the existing concrete and pole with wet set bracket. Thank you . STEVEN in COVINGTON

DEAR STEVEN: Your building’s grade board (aka splash plank or skirt board) will be oriented so upper 3-3/4 inches will be above top of slab. In this area, 10d common galvanized nails can be used. Below top of slab, fasten with two 3/16” x 3” Powers (www.powers.com) PC3DA-HDG galvanized steel split drive anchors (or equivalent).

Your building’s concrete slab can be connected to concrete in sonotubes by use of two five-foot lengths of ½” rebar bent to 90 degrees at center. Place one leg into tube leaving other leg out into future slab area at approximately 60 degrees from plane of splash plank (this will require cutting a short slot into top of sonotube.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Greetings, I’m at the point in construction where I need to read up on how to install house wrap prior to wall steel. I don’t have the Wall Steel chapter (Chapter 21) in my manual and I can’t find any mention of house wrap anywhere else. I’m assuming that I can’t put wall steel over cap staples unless they are under a rib. CARL in SPRUCE

Reflective InsulationDEAR CARL: Installation of housewrap will be a chapter in an upcoming version of our Construction Manual. Although it might be possible to install steel siding over cap staples, we are unaware of anyone who has tried it. To the best of our knowledge everyone has used just enough staples to hold housewrap in place and installed siding immediately. By running housewrap vertically you can place wrap right ahead of installing steel. Make sure to seal all seams with three inch wide tape.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 24×47 detached garage and I wanted to remove the wood rafters and replace them with metal joist in a gambrel design with metal roof. Is that something your company would do? HARRY in SACRAMENTO

DEAR HARRY: We are not contractors, so could not assist with any form of construction. As post frame building kit suppliers, we do not use metal joists of any kind.

You might be able to find a contractor who would undertake this project, however my educated guess is it would be less expensive to demolish your existing garage and begin from scratch, than to do a remodel of this scope.

 

.

Tornadoes Reek Havoc

Tornadoes Reek Havoc, Don’t Let Them Wreck You
Excerpts in italics below are from an article first appearing in SBC Magazine June 3, 2019:
“In the past few weeks, weather systems throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio have had a significant impact on the built environment. As is well known, tornadoes cause severe stress on buildings where the high localized wind loading conditions find the weak point of the structure quickly. This usually is at the location of a wood nail, wood connector or anchor bolt connection, or in our testing experience, a knot or slope of grain deviation in a lumber tension member. An interesting point is that most studs in wall systems are meant to see compression forces not tension, where studs in tension may also be a structural weak point.

As the pictures herein attest, finding the key building material weak point that caused the structural performance to be a debris field is challenging, if not impossible, to do.

Tornado damage in Jefferson City, Mo. as seen on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Photo by David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Questions that need to be sincerely addressed follow, which include but are certainly not limited to:
What were the as-built conditions?
Was the building built to code?
Which aspects of the structure were built to code?
Which aspects of the structure were not built to code?
What is the cause/effect analysis for each code compliant and each non-code compliant condition?

It is obvious that proper construction implementation is key to satisfactory building material performance. Paying close attention to all connecting systems that make up the load path is essential.

The most important outcomes of poor building performance in a high wind or seismic event are that no one gets hurt; the construction industry continues to learn and evolve; and design and installation best practices improve.

The entire construction industry can greatly benefit by staying focused on providing framer-friendly details that are easy to understand and implement. It’s critical that we come together with the goal of fostering innovation, using accepted engineering practice, creating installation best practices, working closely with professional framers and assisting building departments to focus inspections on key load path elements. We all are educators. By working together, we will significantly improve the built environment.”

 

Mike the Pole Barn Guru adds:
Readers will note, these failures are in stick frame construction. Certainly there were also pole barns failing in tornado areas as well, however it is my opinion post frame buildings, engineered to withstand appropriate wind speeds, and assembled according to engineering documents would survive these storms – preventing both loss of property and life.

Code requirements are merely minimum design standards and often do not address severity of real life events. My recommendation is when in doubt, design to higher loads than minimum, in most cases these higher design loads involve a nominal investment and your family and expensive possessions deserve this type of protection.

Talk with your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today at 1(866)200-9657 to find out what a lifetime of protection will involve.

Barndominium: Building Kit or Building Shell?

Barndominium: Building Kit or Building Shell?

This was a recent post from a Barndominium discussion group I am a member of:

“Kit vs shell; I’m defining a kits as coming with everything like insulation and metal studs (the next step would be mechanical trades) whereas shell would be dried in with nothing. Kit companies would accept owner floorplans or have some stock floor plans and provide CAD to guide builders. Shells would perhaps provide instructions or rely on the knowledge of builders. Kits would have customer service and a modern web site; respond to emails and be familiar with barndominiums. Shells would be a business that sells barns and commercial buildings, expecting owners to know what they want. Kit metal and studs would be pre-cut in the factory. All window openings would be accounted for. Shells would be metal has to be cut on site. Shell would be all decisions are made before building begins via email; drawings back and forth. Shell would be last minutes decisions during building. Are these definitions even close to being accurate? If not what are the industry definitions? By my definition, I’m looking for a kit, not a shell. If kit is not the right word, what is the correct term? What are the top ten companies that provide what I call a kit? In this Barndo group, there are clearly differences in skill and knowledge levels. Recently on this site, a vendor posted a shell drawing and price. Some people posted questions that indicated they wanted to shop for what I call a kit; there was some misunderstanding, I think. It would be helpful to me, and perhaps others if these concepts were defined, I think. Please point out the fallacies in my thinking, if any, before I move from drawing floor plans into shopping for kits/shells.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s response:

About Hansen BuildingsWe provide custom designed engineered post frame building kit packages. As we are wood framing, we provide no metal studs. We can supply Weather Resistant Barriers and Reflective Radiant Barriers as well as batt insulation. We typically provide only structural portions of buildings – exterior shell, any raised floors (for crawl spaces, second or third floors or lofts) but can provide interior wall framing, if desired. We can work from any client supplied floor plans, elevation drawings or sketches. We do not have ‘stock’ plans, as every client’s needs are different. We expect our clients to layout their own interior rooms, to best fit with those needs and lifestyle.

We provide complete 24″ x 36″ blueprints for permit and construction sealed by third-party engineers, with full calculations. All openings, including windows are located on plans. There should be no “last minute” decisions made whilst building.

Our comprehensive (nearly 500 page) construction manual is designed for an average literate person to successfully assemble their own beautiful building, without requiring a contractor. We provide unlimited free technical support. Clients have an online portal to track progress and deliveries, etc.

Steel roofed and sided buildings come with cut to length steel panels, however some cutting will be needed in the event of oddly located openings or width and lengths of buildings other than a multiple of three feet.

At the risk of sounding redundant (I’m a proud owner of a “shouse”) go back to yesterday’s blog to see a picture of my and my wife’s shouse or barndominium.

If a post frame building is on your radar, then we are going to be #1, call us today 1(866)200-9657.

A Shouse in Andover?

Shouse (from www.urbandictionary.com):  “A portmanteau of “shed” and “house”; A structure that outwardly resembles a shed (typically having a roll-formed steel-sheet exterior) that is primarily used as a dwelling / house. Though not required to fulfill the definition, a shouse generally has garage(s) incorporated into the structure.”

I did not even realize I was shousing before it became cool! My first personal shouse experience was at our home at Newman Lake, Washington over 25 years ago. We needed a garage to winter our boat in. One thing lead to another (including an expensive lawsuit with our neighbors – we won) and before we knew it, we were putting up a three story garage. Well, more technically a three story post frame building with a garage/shop on lowest floor and two more habitable floors above! Oh, and a rooftop deck!

Some jurisdictions are having challenges grappling with getting their heads wrapped around shouses and barndominiums. Here is a case in point:

From a June 4, 2019 a Quad-City (Davenport, Iowa) Times article by Lisa Hammer

“Someone has approached Mielke (Village President Mike Mielke) and asked about building a combination shop/house in a pole building, called a “shouse,” in village limits. Mielke did not give him a definitive answer. Village attorney Mike Halpin will look into it and bring back suggestions. It was noted Andover already has one such structure. “We have one, but it just kind of happened,” Mielke said. The existing “shouse” is located between Cedar and Elm on 7th Street and originally had a farmhouse on the property that was eventually taken down. Village Clerk Bev Josephson noted there can’t be only a pole building on a property without a house, so people would have to build both at the same time.”

Gambrel roof pole barnAs long as your proposed shouse or barndominium meets planning and zoning requirements – adequate setbacks, allowable footprint, within any height restrictions and doesn’t use unapproved siding and roofing materials you should be good to go. Post frame (pole) buildings are Code conforming – so an attempt to prohibit one strictly due to its structural system is a battle I will take up for you at no charge.

I will add that in fact my bride and I live in a 48×60 shouse with a full garage on the lower level, the “house” portion on the second level (complete with an elevator), a 18’ width boat shed/shop on the west side and my 18’ width office on the east side. It is a beautiful building, inside and out and we love it! The attached photo is our lovely shouse.

Ready for your new shouse? Give a call to a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1(866)200-9657 today to get started!

Temporary Client Insanity – Truss Problems?

Temporary Client Insanity – Truss Problems? 

Long ago someone told me during the course of any construction project there comes a time when every client goes absolutely bat-pooh crazy. Personally, even knowing what I know, I am guilty of freaking out and having had a case of temporary client insanity during our own remodel and construction projects for our home.

For hyperventilation they have people breath from a brown paper bag, in my case – perhaps a plastic bag over my head and tied tightly about my neck would have been more appropriate.

Below I will share a client’s concerns. He remained much calmer (totally appreciated) during this process than I might have. He wrote to Justine (Hansen Pole Buildings’ Master of All Things Trusses):

“Justine, one more thing, the top chords of the trusses show 2×8 and the trusses were delivered with a 2×6 top chord, so all the bracing (purlins) will be hanging down. This roof is going to be insulated.

Also, the double trusses are not fastened together and I think I should have more than 1 set of scissored trusses.”

Our Technical Support response:

Building plans are drafted prior to receipt of truss drawings, so trusses as drawn on your plans are merely a depiction of what they may look like. Top and bottom chords as well as internal diagonal webs may be entirely different. The roof slopes will be accurate. Your building’s roof purlins certainly may hang below roof truss top chords, as this has no bearing upon your ability to insulate (please refer to Figure 9-5 of your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual). As your roof has a Reflective Radiant Barrier, if you intend to use batt insulation between purlins, make sure to use unfaced insulation without a vapor barrier on underside, otherwise moisture can become trapped between two vapor barriers. This can lead to ineffective damp insulation as well as potential mold and mildew issues.

Per change order #3 your building is to have standard trusses in front 24 feet and a vaulted ceiling in rear 24 feet. With a pair of scissor trusses at 12 feet in front of rear endwall, this allows for the rear 24 feet to be vaulted and front 24 feet to have a level bottom chord.

Truss assembly people are not carpenters – and rarely do truss manufacturing facilities even have nail guns. It also avoids nail wounds from inexperienced or inappropriate use. As an example – back in 1979, I was shopping for a new employer designing and selling trusses. I interviewed with Tilden Truss, near Seattle. They used air guns firing a “T” staple to initially set steel truss plates. Their fabrication shop ceiling was covered with hundreds (if not thousands) of these “T” staples!

You will find it much easier to maneuver single trusses around your building site, than twice as heavy double trusses.

Please feel free to address any building assembly concerns to TechSupport@HansenPoleBuildings.com.

Another crisis averted.

Hansen in Washington, Alternate Siding and Roofing, and Post Frame Homes

This Monday, the Pole Barn Guru responds to questions about Hansen’s service area, alternate siding and roofing, and post frame homes.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you service this area? MARELYN in TENINO, WA

DEAR MARELYN: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Not only do we service Tenino and its surrounds, we provide more post frame building kit packages in Washington than any other state. For those of you outside of Washington, we have delivered our post frame buildings to every state in our country – you are never far away from a Hansen Pole Building!

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you build a pole building that has brick on the outside with a shingled roof? SEAN in GRANITEVILLE

DEAR SEAN: A beauty of post frame (pole) building construction is virtually any variety of materials can be utilized for roofing and siding. This would include have a bricked exterior as well as a shingled roof.

Unless you happen to be in a neighborhood with restrictions against steel roofing, you might want to consider not using shingles and here is why: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/shingle-warranties/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My husband and I are interested in building a Residential Pole Barn home. Can you please send a catalog of Residential Pole Barn Kits that you offer and pricing.

Thanking you in advance. JUDYANN in HEMET

DEAR JUDYANN: Thank you very much for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Because all of our buildings are 100% custom, we can design and provide virtually anything you can imagine as a post frame building. This also means we have no catalog. Find a home design you like and we can fit it into being a post frame building. One of our Building Designers will be reaching out to you to further discuss your needs or you can dial 1(866)200-9657.

 

.

 

An Oops from a Competitor’s Architect Part Two- Lateral Load

As the Architect Turns

In our previous episode, we left Dan tied to railroad tracks in front of a speeding train….

Well close, we left Dan with a post frame building designed by an architect, with some serious structural connection problems.  Now I am a guy who watches Science Channel’s “Engineering Catastrophes”. I would just as soon we do not view Dan’s barndominium as one of them.

Moving forward from our last article:

It will shred LVL and/or column – wood is your weak link

You need to calculate the area being carried by one beam end beam – on an 8′ beam with 18′ joists you would have 8’/2 X 18’/2 = 36 sft (square feet).

Minimum floor live load (other than for bedrooms) is 40 psf (pounds per square foot) live load and you should figure 10 psf dead load for a total of 50 psf.

36 sft X 50 psf = 1800 pounds at each end of 8′ in this example.

Dan writes:

So I have the table you referenced and I get the load calcs but what I am trying to figure out is how you got to the 7 ledgerlocks per post figure. What is the math to get from that table and the 3600 lbs per eight foot section to the amount of ledgerloks?

And since we have gone down this rabbit hole, should I start to get paranoid that one of my 3 truss carriers is affixed with 60d nails and that I need to do a lateral load calc on that in order to make sure it is properly connected?  My guess is that this design was based on shear as well…

Ugh  this is what goes on in the mind of a DIY builder who is a data analyst by day.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Let’s do a run-down of information from ESR-1078 for 5″ Ledgerlock Fasteners (for those playing along at home Google ESR-1078).

Table 1C specifies an overall length of 5″ and 3″ of thread length. Allowable fastener shear is 1235# which by Footnote 4, “Allowable shear strength values apply only to shearing in the unthreaded shank portion of the fastener”. This would be fastener failure itself. This however is not our limiting value.

Table 2 references withdrawal design values – LVL is not likely to be sucked away from column by wind, so not applicable.

Table 3 is head pull-through design values – these values limit numbers derived from Table 2, again not applicable.

Table 4 is for Lateral Design Values in single shear. It lists a 5″ ledgerlock with a minimum of 1-1/2″ side member thickness and 3-1/2″ minimum main member thickness. As your LVL is 1-3/4″ thick, lateral design values will need to be adjusted downward by X 0.929 to account for a lesser length into column. Most glu-laminated post frame building columns are Southern Yellow Pine (SYP).  SYP has a specific gravity of 0.55, so a RDP could possibly calculate out values approximately 10% greater.

In your case, load is perpendicular to side member, parallel to column grain. Using Z perpendicular to grain and Sg of 0.5, adjusted for lesser depth into main member would give a value of 280# X 0.929 or 260.12#. Assuming an RDP could gain 10% for greater Specific Gravity, value per Ledgerlock would still be only 286.13#

With an 1800# load / 286.13# = 6.29 fasteners.

You might want to invest in having a qualified engineer review your plans for adequacy. Yes, there will be a price however you may have recourse against original provider and/or their architect in the event of significant structural deficiencies.

Had our Building Designer not given Dan bad advice, all of this could have easily been avoided. Hansen Pole Buildings, in conjunction with our third-party engineers has developed a sophisticated proprietary software program called Instant Pricing™. Not only will this system provide required investment for a myriad of design parameters in real time, it also does a complete structural analysis of every component and connection – assuring situations such as Dan has, will not arise.

An Oops from a Competitor’s Architect

The Pole Bar Guru reviews an oops from an architect in today’s blog.

Back in 2017 Hansen Pole Buildings was contacted by a gentleman I shall call “Dan” who had an interest in a post-frame home or ‘barndominium’.  For those not familiar with this term: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/02/barndominium/.

I have to admit, Dan spoke with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer who gave him bad advice – he recommended Dan go with a stick framed building! I would typically grill our Building Designer under high intensity lamps as to what was going through his head, however I cannot as for perhaps obvious reasons he has left us to seek other opportunities (I can put things so diplomatically when I try).

Well, our Building Designer caused Dan to seek out a different post frame building kit provider, who had an architect design Dan’s barndominium. Dan related some challenges in his process, however did not sound totally dissatisfied with his end result.

This may sound convoluted – but Dan and I began our discussions in relationship to deflection of wall girts. Dan’s building has “barn style” wall girts and from what information was provided, they appear to not meet Code deflection criteria: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/girts/. Now this isn’t going to make his building fall down, but it does make his exterior walls fairly flexible between columns.

From here we got into floor deflection: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/12/wood-floors-deflection-and-vibration/. Dan’s floor appears to meet deflection criteria, however I may have slightly distressed him when I told him his 18 foot span floor joists could deflect up to 0.6 of an inch at center and still meet Code.

Now is where the fun begins, as Dan wrote (all of his writing will be in italics below):

Thanks for taking time out to chat with me yesterday and addressing my concerns.  Your information about lateral loads got me thinking and looking online for some other products.  When I looked, it occurred to me that maybe I miscommunicated my design.

What I have is an LVL lagged to the posts that acts as a ledger board and not as a band board.  The joists are then sitting on top of the LVL with their own bandboard/blocking at the ends.  I get why you would have a lateral concern in a deck where wind can essentially blow it on a hinge from the house, but I am struggling to understand how there would be lateral loads on these joists as all the force is going down.  I am also wondering how the additional bearing block would do anything for lateral loads as well.

If you could let me know what you think on this and if I relayed my design wrong, or help me understand the lateral load issue that would be a great help.  Here is what I am seeing online for lateral loads.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Think of a lateral load as being parallel to a surface a member is attached to. Your LVL is trying to slide along column’s surface (moving laterally in relationship). Connectors between LVL and column could fail in shear (connector fails) or from downward force of gravity (weight of what is being carried by LVL) this is a connection failure, not one of the connector. Weak link in this system is not the connector itself, it is connector’s ability to carry imposed loads.

“So are you saying that the connector will not fail but rather all the weight will shred the lvl beam off the connections?

Is it possible for you to send me the calculation that you used so that I can better understand it and use it to calculate some of my shorter span needs?

Thanks again for your time.”

Well, Dan’s building appears to have some structural design challenges, none of them caused by him. Tune in to this same channel for our next installment of “As the Architect Turns”.

New Pole Buildings Cost Money

New Buildings Cost Money

As I recently mentioned, I have joined several Barndominium Facebook groups. It has proven to be enlightening and has given me a great deal of information towards authoring a book or books on Post Frame Barndominiums.

In asking for input on chapters for my endeavor, I had one person respond with:

“Maybe you could have a chapter on how building a new building cost money. And that you shouldn’t expect other people have spent money to just give you their plans and all their knowledge that they spent their own hard-earned money on to get.”

Yes, building a new building of any sort is going to be an investment (not a cost or expense) of both time and money. Done correctly, it absolutely should be.

I have my opinions of plans sharing – everyone’s circumstances, wants and needs are individual. Copying or borrowing someone else’s plans with an idea they will be ideal for you is totally misguided. If their plans are sealed by a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) as they SHOULD BE, it is unlawful (other than with RDP’s written permission) to either share them or to use them anywhere other than upon the originally intended site (not to mention it could come with serious, if not fatal, design deficiencies due to variances in load conditions).

I have been freely sharing my four decades of construction and post frame knowledge through writing blogs and my “Ask The Pole Barn Guru™” column since 2011. I do significant research and reading, besides reaching into a wealth of good to use and bad to avoid learned from personally participating in around 20,000 post frame building projects. Whether you are considering a new building, already have one and it has challenges, are a contractor, design professional or Building Official – I will gladly assist.

Why?

Because I care deeply about our industry – post frame building. Every properly done post frame building adds to the credibility of post frame as becoming a method of choice for homes and barndominiums. Whenever there is a failure or someone is dissatisfied with their end result I am saddened, as these circumstances are easily avoidable.

Job Site Storage of Polycarbonate Panels

Polycarbonate panels to be used for eave and/or gable end triangle “lighting” or ridge caps should not be used within living areas of post frame homes and barndominiums. They do often afford a cost effective method of getting natural lighting into accessory areas such as unheated shops and garages, barns and equipment storage buildings.

Recommended storage procedure for Polycarbonate panels (eave or ridge lights):

Store panels horizontally, on flat sturdy pallets, equal or longer than longest panels. Stack short panels on top.

Store polycarbonate panels in a cool and shaded place, avoiding direct sunlight, ideally indoors in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Avoid covering panel stack with dark or heat-absorbing materials or objects, to prevent solar heat buildup. When stored on skids, stack panels no more than 250 pieces on a skid. Avoid double stacked skids, or stacking anything atop panels. Prevent moisture from collecting on or between panels.

When necessary to store panels outdoors, cover stack with a white opaque polyethylene sheet, corrugated cardboard or other materials not absorbing or conducting heat. Verify entire stack is covered.

Polycarbonate panels are tough, requiring no special care. We recommend some cautionary steps: avoid stepping on or driving over the panels while on the ground, or folding during handling and installation. Avoid dragging panels on the ground, scraping against structural elements or any other sharp or rough objects, to keep from getting scratched.

Polycarbonate panels are resistant to a variety of chemicals and exhibit limited resistance to a second chemical group. A third chemical group may attack and damage panels. Damage degree and severity depend upon chemical type and exposure duration. Polycarbonate panels will melt down at approximately 400 degrees F.

In today’s as well as most recent four previous articles I have covered how to protect your valuable investment’s materials prior to assembly. All of this information and more is a portion of Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual – nearly 500 step-by-step pages to guide do-it-yourselfers and construction professionals to successfully completion of every post frame project.

Ready to stop pondering and start your journey to a happy new post frame building? Call Hansen Pole Buildings today 1(866)200-9657 to speak to a Building Designer.

Use Categories, Water Leaks, and Matching a House

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions regarding Use Categories, water leaks, and matching a house due to HOA rules.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi! I am trying to turn my existing barn into a wedding venue. Why am I being classified as A-2 instead of A-3? Our special use permit says we cannot exceed 300 guests and we have less than 12,000 sq. ft. Additionally, we are not serving food or alcohol- the guests must provide their own- ergo we should not be considered a “banquet hall” under A-2… Correct? ALYSSA in ARLINGTON

DEAR ALYSSA: In an ideal world you would have just asked your Planning Department why. In researching your question, I believe your Planning Department is correct – even though YOU are not serving food or alcohol, guests may bring their own. This makes it an “eating establishment”.
A-3 is a group for worship, recreation and amusement uses. It is also a catch-all for other uses not specifically called out. These uses include galleries, religious worship spaces, courtrooms, sports spaces without seating, lecture halls, libraries, museums, pool halls, bowling alleys, transportation waiting areas and funeral parlors.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: After years our barn is leaking at the bottom during very heavy rains. We have gutters on the sides but it appears to be coming in thru the wood at the bottom below the metal siding. Maybe from hydrostatic pressure any suggestions? CAROL in CLARKSVILLE

DEAR CAROL: Get rid of the water.

pole barn classroomsI realize this sounds simplistic, but it is what needs to be done. Building Codes require sites to slope away from buildings by at least 5%. This would be six inches of drop in 10 feet. If you do not have this type of slope away from pressure preservative treated splash plank at building base, you need to start digging.

Gutter downspouts should not just put water out on top of your ground. This water should be directed into downspout drain lines – moving away from your barn.

Once you have done both of these steps, your “leaking” issues should go away.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I live in a neighborhood with an HOA. I can build any kind of building I want, but it must match my house, i.e. Brick or Vinyl Siding (house has both) and a shingled roof. Can a pole building be built with these features instead of metal and will it be just as good? DAVID in GREENSBORO

DEAR DAVID: A beauty of post-frame (pole) building design and construction is you can side and roof them with any materials you can imagine! Not only will it be every bit as good, it will also be more affordable.

You can read about a HOA horror story here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/05/not-mess-hoas/

 

 

Storage of Steel Roofing and Siding Panels

Storage of Steel Roofing and Siding at the Job site 

All steel roofing and siding panel bundles are inspected and approved by manufacturer’s quality control inspectors before shipment. Inspect panels for any moisture content or shipping damage upon delivery and advise the materials carrier immediately.

Bare (non-painted) Galvalume sheet, like galvanized, is subject to wet storage staining and turns gray to black if moisture is trapped between coil laps, cut length sheets, or roll formed parts during shipping and storage. Steel mills treat Galvalume sheet to retard wet storage staining; however, take precautions to keep Galvalume sheeting dry at work site.

Jobsite storage of steel building panels (provided by Building Products Technical Committee of National Coil Coaters Association):

Two Rules to Live By:

1)  Keep job site storage time to a minimum with proper scheduling

2)  Keep panels dry.

“Moisture trapped within panel bundles can cause the finish to soften and become more susceptible to erection handling damage. Panels stored wet for extended periods in humid conditions will oxidize (rust). Such damage is avoidable with proper planning and practice.

Panel bundles should be stored under a roof  or at least, out of direct sunlight. Bundles should be slanted at an angle [from end to end] sufficient to facilitate drainage and high enough off the ground for good air movement all around. Do not use tight-fitting plastic-type tarpaulins as panel bundle covers. While they may provide protection from heavy downpours, they can also retard necessary ventilation and trap heat and moisture causing the so-called “greenhouse effect” that accelerates corrosion. Long panels must have additional support to prevent sagging and potential water accumulation in the sag.

If panel bundles arrive wet or become wet at the job site, break them open and allow them to dry completely.”

When moisture is found, besides breaking apart bundles, drain each panel and wipe dry. After dried, carefully re-stack panels and loosely recover allowing for ample air circulation.

Extended panel storage in a bundle is not recommended. Prevent bundled sheets from being in contact with accumulating water. Under no circumstance store sheets near or in contact with salt water, corrosive chemicals, ash, or fumes generated or released inside a building or nearby plants, foundries, plating works, kilns, fertilizer, and wet or green lumber.

Steel Roofing with Condenstop or Dripstop And Jobsite Storage  

Warning: Storing panel bundles prior to installation could allow moisture to become trapped between panels and may cause damage to panels. This moisture can originate from a variety of sources such as rain, high humidity or condensation. Panels should be stored in a dry location and installed as quickly as possible when arriving at the job site to prevent damage. If this is impossible, proper consideration should be given to separate panels to allow for air circulation prior to installation. Allowing moisture to become trapped within panel bundles can void all panel warranties.

Proper Storage of Trusses at the Job Site

Proper storage of trusses at the job site.

Long time readers (or those with time on their hands to have read my previous nearly 1700 articles) will recall in a past life I worked in or owned prefabricated light gauge steel connector plated wood truss manufacturing facilities. In my first long-term position as Sales Manager at Coeur d’Alene Truss (now Coeur d’Alene Builders Supply http://www.cdabuilders.com/) we fabricated huge sets of “saw horses” so we could store trusses vertically in these bunks.

Sadly I see much mishandling of trusses at manufacturing plants, upon delivery and at jobsites. Below are tips to keep your new post frame building’s trusses bright, fresh and structurally sound.

Trusses store best when standing upright.  

Shore and brace standing trusses well to keep from toppling. Trusses stored other than in a vertical position can and will warp, and become difficult to use.  

Store trusses with “tails” (overhangs) elevated so truss weight rests on the bottom chords, not on the truss tails..

Unload trusses in bundles and store on level ground, but never in direct contact with ground (to avoid collecting moisture from the ground). Allow for good drainage at truss storage location in the event rain occurs before installation. Protect trusses from damage resulting from on-site activities, environmental conditions or weather. Exercise care at all times to avoid damage to trusses due to careless handling during delivery, unloading, storage, and installation.

In warm, rainy weather, moisture regain in unprotected trusses can result in fungal staining. Wetting lumber also results in swelling. Subsequent shrinkage may contribute to structural distortions.

To store trusses for a long time period, cover with a water repellent tarp for protection. Plastic is an acceptable alternative, provided there are side openings to allow air flow.

Handle pole building trusses in such a way as to prevent toppling when banding is removed from bundles. Trusses stored on black top (asphalt) or other impervious surfaces and continuously moved around the construction site are subject to damage when they are slid along the surface with equipment. As a result, galvanized coating on connector plates may be removed, allowing plates to rust and possibly reduce plate thickness.

Storing Lumber for a New Pole Building

Storing Lumber for Your New Post Frame Building

Ideally, use lumber promptly. Otherwise store in a cool, dry location, avoiding direct sunlight and preferably indoors where humidity variations will be minimal.

Dry lumber

Unlike green lumber, keep kiln or air-dried lumber away from moisture, otherwise product may lose value added by careful seasoning. Dry lumber if saturated with water, such as from rain, melting snow or contact with wet ground, can lose dimensional stability, warp and otherwise deteriorate. Lumber exposed to alternate wetting and drying will check, split, warp and discolor.

If stored outdoors, keep dried lumber off the ground and protected by paper, wrapping, tarpaulins, or canvas. Paper wrapping offers short-term protection and, if torn, repair immediately. Dilapidated wrapping holding rainwater may increase moisture regain more than if lumber had no protection.

Why use dry lumber? Lumber grade stamped at a 19% or less moisture content is termed “dry lumber”. Dry lumber is relatively dimensionally stable – meaning shrinkage probability is negligible. University research studies have shown an 8’ long 2×4 will lose approximately 1” in length, when naturally drying. Drying lumber also reduces chances mold or other fungi will attack wood. “Green” (20% or higher moisture content – not color) lumber is prone to warp, cup and split as part of natural drying process. Holding power of nails driven into green wood drying in place drops substantially over time.

Read more about dry vs. green lumber here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/499green-lumber-vs-dry-lumber/

Air flow is the most important factor in outside lumber storage. Allow large air volumes to circulate freely around stacked lumber in order to evaporate moisture from lumber. Provide an open storage area with no trees or buildings blocking air flow. Remove weeds, grasses and other vegetation around lumber as they harbor insects and fungal spores.

Good water drainage in storage area is important. Standing water adds to humidity increasing mold and stain possibilities on lumber.  

When stacking lumber on stickers (also known as dunnage), place stickers in perfect vertical alignment with one another. Otherwise, sagging will occur. Solid stacked lumber is often stored in packaged units bound with tie straps (or banding) for easier handling. Separate stacked units by spacers, usually at least 4”, and aligned with lower stickers to prevent sagging.

Storing lumber under a roof offers better protection by keeping material dry and bright.

Lumber, especially pressure preservative treated, is particularly susceptible to warping and twisting while curing.  These materials are best incorporated into the new building as quickly as possible.  In the event lumber will not be used immediately, keep bound tightly.

Bands placed by lumber company will rarely be adequate to maintain dimensional stability.  Tight chains or cable restraints around lumber at frequent intervals, tightened as material dries, may help. Even these measures may be inadequate to prevent lumber warp, twist and bow.

In any case, prior to installation in the new building, protect pressure treated lumber from direct sunlight and rain.

General Material Storage for Barndominiums

General Material Storage

I have recently signed up to join several barndominium groups on Facebook. If you are unfamiliar with this term, here is a detailed explanation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/04/the-rise-of-the-barndominium/.

Overnight I have had an ‘ah-ha’ moment where a light bulb turned on and I decided to take a plunge. I am going to write at least one book on post frame barndominiums. I posted my mission in these groups – looking for advice on what chapters would prove to be most meaningful. And I have received feedback. Lots and lots of feedback.

One of my fellow group members has suggested a chapter on how to store post frame building materials once received. In looking at how chapters appear to be laying out so far, it appears this subject may not get covered until Volume Two of my series. Of course this gives me an ability to have commercials like – “Call in next 10 minutes and we will throw in Volume Two at no charge – you just pay for shipping and handling!”

This happens to be a subject covered at length in Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual, so rather than having to wait for book publication, here is how to safely store materials.

General Material Storage

Store off ground any materials not being used within construction’s first few days (or more than a week after delivery) and cover with a tarp.

  • Some materials will be delivered in cartons. Avoid storing cartons in stacks.
  • Store cartons protected from falling materials or tools as they could damage enclosed contents.
  • Keep cartons dry. Best place to store cartons is indoors.
  • If cartons are stored outside, cover with a loose-fitting, light colored tarp, arranged to allow ventilation. This is critical, because some materials (especially vinyl) can be damaged if heat builds up around cartons.
  • Take special care storing any screws.
  • Store bolts, nuts and washers in a location where they will stay dry to avoid rust.
  • Windows, entry and overhead doors will frequently be delivered in cartons or crates. Store upright leaning against a solid surface such as a wall or workbench.

Stay tuned in for subsequent articles on how to safely store materials for your new building!

How Far West, A Two-Story Winery, and Truss Bracing

Today’s PGB answers questions about how far west we service, if building a two-story pole barn for a winery is possible, and lateral truss bracing.

Post Frame HomeDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m curious how far west you service? I’m in WA state and am having a hard time finding anyone that makes kits similar to  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/pole-barn-prices/ out here. At this point it’s just research. Thanks JON in WASHINGTON

DEAR JON: In the United States we service as far West as Cape Wrangell, Alaska and Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Hawaii. We have actually provided more post frame building kit packages in your state, than any other!

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey guys, I’m starting a winery in eastern PA and I was wondering if you dealt with two story barns? I want my tasting room above the actual wine making room and I also want a deck off the back of the tasting room that overlooks the winery. I’m solely looking for pricing right now.

Thanks JEREMY in PENNSYLVANIA

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR JEREMY: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. We seemingly are designing and provide multi-story post frame building kit packages nearly every day, so yes – we deal with two story barns. We can also provide structural portions of your deck either post supported, or cantilevered depending upon your needs and budget. Unless you have developed a fairly close approximation of what your building should ultimately be like, and are planning upon beginning construction soon, all pricing is going to give you is a guesstimate. Material prices fluctuate so greatly, you could find yourself 25-30% short on funds with an extensive time delay.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Are the boards (2/4 or possibly even a 1/4) that lay across the bottom of the trusses there for a structure reason are they there to aide in the building phase of the pole building (gable style – no poles in the middle of the building) . KATHI in HARTLEY

 

DEAR KATHI: Those boards you are mentioning are typically part of a permanent lateral bracing system designed by your RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) who is esponsible for doing a structural analysis and providing sealed plans for your building. They are essential for truss stability and improperly (or missing) design and/or installation of these braces can result in significant problems up to and including catastrophic failure.

For further reading on this subject, please see: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/10/bottom-chord-bracing/

 

 

 

Don’t Make Mistakes on Horse Stall Doors

Don’t Make Mistakes on Horse Stall Doors

Horse owners please join in, this one is for you:

Picture, if you will, your dream barn. You know how many stalls, feed rooms, tack rooms, etc., are needed and how much space they will take up. You have the exterior down pat, but you may not have put as much thought into stall doors for your horses.

Building the right stall for your horse is crucial for creating a comfortable environment and working space. Very intricate details matter, from stall door types to their hardware.

Caveat – even though our daughter Bailey (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/09/planning-your-equestrian-facility/ ) is a famous horse trainer, I have never ridden a horse. I have had many, many clients (along with my daughter) who have provided valuable feedback. I am sharing common view points below.

There are two main types of stall doors to choose from when designing your horses’ ideal stalls—sliding and swinging doors. As with any option, each type of door has its pros and cons.

Sliding doors are great investments for your horse stalls for a number of reasons. They are far less expensive. They are less hazardous than swinging doors because they won’t take up aisleway (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/horse-aisleway/ ) room as you open them. I would never recommend a swinging door into an aisleway. A sliding door simply slides on its track so both you and your horse can enter and exit a stall comfortably together without worrying whether the door is latched back properly or blocking space in the aisle.

Pole Building - Horse Stalls

In addition, a sliding door allows you to adjust the stall’s entrance just wide enough for you to enter without risking your horse sneaking past you, anxious to get into trouble. This makes accomplishing basic chores much easier, whether you’re changing your horse’s water or refilling feed.

Swinging stall doors are both more traditional and less practical. Dutch doors have grown in popularity and are more often seen in barn architecture. Why are they still so popular?

For some, it makes an ideal exterior door. Although appearing as one solid piece when closed, Dutch doors are actually split in two sections. The top half can be opened and secured outside with a hook and eye latch, allowing your horse to bask sunshine and enjoy views (think Mister Ed) of fields or outdoor arenas while secure in his stall. Sounds like a good way to torture your horse to me. Dutch doors also make great exterior stall doors because they provide your horses with opportunities to communicate with one another while trapped in their stalls, exercising their natural desires to socialize.

You can read more about exterior stall doors here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/10/exterior-horse-stall-doors/

Regardless of your stall door choice, your doorways should always be approximately four feet in width to provide comfort for you and your equine friends.

Dial (866)200-9657 to speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer in regards to your horse stable wants and needs.

Shipping Post Frame Building Kits to Canada from U.S.A.

Canadians frequently ask about shipping our post frame building kit packages. This should be of assistance:

YRC Freight is the only transportation provider to maintain a dedicated full-time staff at primary border crossings between United States and Canada.

YRC Freight takes complexity out of cross-border shipping. They make sure your post frame building shipment moves through customs just as reliably as it does on road.

YRC Freight has dedicated border-crossing experts and twelve Canada/U.S. Customs gateway locations.

Blaine, Wash./Pacific Highway, BC

Sweetgrass, MT./Coutts, AB

Pembina, ND./Emerson, MB

International Falls, MN / Ft Frances, ON

Detroit, MI/Windsor, ON

Port Huron, MI/Sarnia, ON

Lewiston, NY/Niagara Falls, ON (Lewiston Bridge)

Buffalo, NY/Fort Erie, ON (Peace Bridge)

Alexandria Bay, NY/Lansdowne, ON

Champlain, N.Y./Lacolle, QC

Derbyline, VT/Stanstead, QC

Calais, ME/St. Stephen, NB

Where your shipment crosses the border depends on its origin and destination. YRC’s highway dispatch network uses most-direct routes for your post frame building kit, assuring efficient, on-time delivery.

When shipping from United States to Canada, Canadian importer or purchaser may use a Canadian Customs Broker. If possible, shipper should identify broker or party acting as a broker on bill of lading.

YRC Freight offers broker-inclusive service for U.S.-Canada cross-border business, providing customs broker service along with cross-border transportation.

It is important responsible party (Post frame building purchaser) contact the forwarding agent and/or customs broker(s) to set up an account. Like any business relationship, they will need to agree on services to be provided, charges for these services, set up payment or credit terms, etc.

When a customer fails to complete this important step of international shipping, delays are unavoidable at United States and Canadian borders. When a broker and/or forwarder relationship has been established, all parties involved must be informed as to your chosen forwarding agent and customs broker designated to process your post frame building shipment across the border. This should be done before YRC picks up your post frame building.

Importer of record is normally billed by his/her broker for duties and taxes. Customs broker determines duty (if applicable) along with appropriate taxes and reports those taxes to customs on client’s behalf.

YRC Freight has border coordinators available to answer all your questions and facilitate cross-border moves.

For Northbound (shipping from U.S. to Canada) Border Ambassadors can be reached at:

1- 800-329-0973.

Before shipping a post frame building kit package, Hansen Pole Buildings can provide all available information about the product, its components and manufacturing process to your customs broker.

Process of classifying some products can be time-consuming, depending on complexity and types of materials in your post frame building kit package.

Ready to get started? Dial 1(866)200-9657 to speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today!

Post Frame Construction On Clay Soils

Many years ago, when I first went to work at Lucas Plywood and Lumber in Salem, Oregon I was given a quick tour of some areas where new construction was prevalent. Having moved from sandy/gravel soils of Eastern Washington, I was totally unprepared for bright red clay soils in this Willamette Valley region. When wet walking across these soils would add huge and heavy red clay mud balls to work boots.

Post frame (pole) building construction, or indeed any type of building, can become problematic when dealing with clay soil.

Reader JEFF in GAMBIER writes:

“I have a high water table, a 24 in diameter 5 foot deep augured post hole in clay soil will fill up in 3-4 days with water. Will a CCA treated 0.60 retention 3 ply glu-laminated post survive in these conditions or is this a good place for the concrete “perma-columns”.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says: Let’s take a step back – to site preparation:

At a minimum, site preparation includes:
· Remove all sod and vegetation.
· For ideal site preparation, remove topsoil and stockpile for later use in finish grading. In frost prone areas, remove any clays or silty soil
from within future building “footprint”.
· Replace subsoil removed from around building with granulated fill to help drain subsurface water from building.
· Distribute all fill, large debris free (no pit run), uniformly around site in layers no deeper than six inches.
· Compact each layer to a minimum 90% of a Modified Proctor Density before next layer is added. Usually, adequate compaction takes more than driving over the fill with a dump truck, or
earth moving equipment.

Why would clay be an issue to build upon? Clay expands and contracts depending upon amount of moisture present. When wet – clay expands, when dry it shrinks. These movements will cause buildings to move as well – not a good thing.

You might also add a french drain beyond the building perimeter, in order to direct water away from your site. Make sure to slope the ground away from your new building, no less than a 5% slope. Downspouts should discharge water at least five feet away from building.

Whether your site is adequately prepared or not, properly pressure preservative treated columns should provide more than a lifetime of use. Your real question to be answered is if you want your building to be stable and straight, or if you are willing to accept it moving up and down, in and out (and perhaps randomly) with time.

Monitor Barn Truss Challenge

When All Else Fails a Monitor Barn Truss Challenge.

Monitor style buildings are a popular post frame building design (for background on monitor barns please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/building-styles/monitor-building-designs/). In most cases, design, ordering, delivery and construction of monitor buildings goes off without a hitch. On rare occasions a hitch glitch happens – so when all else fails I get to jump in.

Now I am highly qualified to solve post frame building challenges.

Why?

As a 1990’s era post frame building contractor, my company had as many as 35 building erection crews working at a time across six western states. We paid our crews very well, so we attracted a group of subcontract builders who we felt were a cut above most. Even with this, challenges could and would occur.

Over several years I have had DIY clients call and tell me, “You won’t believe what I have done, it may very well be among the worst mistakes ever”! I would relate my experience as a contractor and then assure them, “If an error could be made, one or more of my crews could figure out how to do it. Tell me your challenge and let’s work together for a solution”.

In these photos, please note on an end of these monopitch trusses it appears the pressed in steel connector plate at truss heel (low end of truss) is beyond the line of columns. At truss high end, seemingly just truss top chord is attached to column…leaving bottom chord hanging out in space!

Our client did not even realize a truss challenge had occurred. They had sent these photos in regards to an entirely different issue and we found it when looking at them.

Putting on my best Sherlock Holmes hat, it was time for some sleuthing. Our request transmitted to the truss manufacturer asked for a 12 inch overhang on these trusses. It turns out our truss people decided to put the overhang on high end of trusses, rather than low end. Sure enough, we missed this when we approved their drawings. Client (and/or his builder) somehow also missed this and installed trusses as shown in photo!

This one actually had a reasonably easy fix. Truss company’s engineer was able to design a repair using a solid block of 2×12 to fill in the space and attach truss and columns.

There exists a solution to every post frame challenge.

A Post Frame Addition, California Muster, and Ventilation

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions regarding a post frame addition, passing the “muster” of California’s building codes, and ventilation of attic space with spray foam.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi. We are wanting to attach a monitor style barn to an existing stick build for additional residential use. Is this tie-in possible? Thank you! TOM in KIRTLAND

DEAR TOM: It is very possible and will quite probably provide some real advantages, besides just affordability. Post frame buildings can be any variety of sidings, so it should be able to be structurally designed to tie pretty much up to any type of exiting building – provided existing building is structurally sound.

In order to do this right you have only a couple of choices – you can spend a lot of money on an architect and/or engineer who physically comes to your site (could be as high as 20% of project’s finished costs). Or you can provide lots of information to us on what we are attaching to, as well as conveying your expectations. We will do anything reasonable to assist you in not making a mistake you will regret always. If I thought anyone else could not just actually do it but also do it better than us, with you being able to construct yourself, I would in all honesty let you know.

Please dial 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer who can assist you to success.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, Do you have any residential structures that have recently passed muster in southern California?

FYI I have a lot in Malibu but little $. I am wondering if I – and usually one helper – could construct a fire resistant home in this picky building code state.

Thanks, DAN in LOS ANGELES

DEAR DAN: We’ve been providing post frame building kits in Southern California areas of Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones as well as Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Areas for years. Is does take a certain amount of patience, as plans almost always get kicked back at least once (relax – it is just a part of this process). Using steel roofing and siding, unvented steel soffits and wrapping any wood normally exposed with steel trims expedites approvals. If your property is located in a HOA (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/11/homeowners-association/) be certain to talk with them sooner, rather than later.

As far as you and a helper – as long as you can and will read instructions and look at our third-party engineer’s highly detailed plans you should experience no real challenges. And, if you get stuck, we provide unlimited Technical Support at no extra charge.

A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you for more in depth discussions.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We bought a house kit from you all and have been very pleased. We had the roof deck, exterior walls and exterior walls of the crawl space spray foam insulated. They have essentially sealed the house. Will the lack of attic ventilation be an issue? HOLLY in TAYLORSVILLE

DEAR HOLLY: Thank you for your kind words, we would enjoy seeing any digital photos or video of your building during construction as well as completed.

If you spray foamed roof deck and have a dead attic space due to a flat level ceiling (we provided ceiling loaded trusses as well as ceiling joists) then you could experience condensation issues and potentially mold and/or mildew in attic, especially if attic is not made part of conditioned space (heated and/or cooled) with living area. If flat ceiling has also been insulated look out for trouble (keep a close eye on situation by doing visual attic inspections), as attic space could become quite a bit cooler than area below ceiling. Your spray foam contractor should have been talking with you about this prior to doing his or her application.

 

Feedback Needed From RDP’s and Building Officials

I am asking for feedback from RDP’s and Building Officials because:

There is a method to my madness. Seriously. I want to make sure we are doing things 100% correctly. In my humble opinion there are currently numerous post frame buildings being constructed where wall girts do not meet Code or acceptable engineering practice.

I have developed a professional respect for a builder based in Northern Idaho. Recently I visited his website and saw some photographs leading me to ask about how he solves “barn style” wall girt design issues. He was right on top of it – his photos were of older buildings and he switched to all bookshelf style wall girts years ago, I applaud him for doing so!

Lots of architects, engineers and building officials read my articles, thank you! Your wisdom is appreciated. Attached is an example set of wall girt calculations. If there is an error in any direction, or something missed, your feedback would be more than appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Code is 2015 IBC (International Building Code)

Building Summary

Building Footprint Width 40′
Building Footprint Length 60′
Building Footprint Height 17′
Square Footage (area contained by embedded poles) 2400 ft2
Total Roof Area 2745 ft2
Total Wall Area 3191 ft2
Building Eave Height 17′
Roof Style GABLE
Slope 4/12
Roof Height 20.33′
Building Conditioned Yes

Wind Summary

Vult 110 mph
Vasd 85 mph
Risk Category I
Wind Exposure B
Applicable Internal Pressure Coefficient 0.18
Components and Cladding Design Wind Pressure
Zone 1 -19.78
Zone 2 -32.985
Zone 3 -49.217
Zone 4 -23.522
Zone 5 -27.936
Zone 1 Positive 11.826
Zone 2 Positive 11.826
Zone 3 Positive 11.826
Zone 4 Positive 21.188
Zone 5 Positive 21.188
Duration of Load for Wind 1.6
Structure type Enclosed

wall girt size: 2″X6″
spacing between girts = 22.5″

girt span = 139.875″
supported by 2×4 blocking every 139.875″


Fb: allowable girt pressure
Fb‘ = Fb * CD * CM * Ct * CL * CF * Cfu * Ci * Cr NDS 4.3
CD: load duration factor
CD = 1.6 NDS 4.3
CM: wet service factor
CM = 1 because girts are protected from moisture by building envelope
Ct: temperature factor
Ct = 1 NDS 4.3
Cfu: flat use factor
Cfu = 1 NDS 4.3
Ci: incising factor
Ci = 1 NDS 4.3
Emin: reference adjusted modulus of elasticity
Emin = 470000 psi NDS Supplement
Cr: repetitive member factor
Cr = 1.15 NDS 4.3
lu: laterally unsupported span length
lu = 139.875″
le: effective length
le = 1.63 * lu NDS table 3.3.3
le = 244.496″
CF: size factor
CF = 1.3 NDS 4.3
CL: beam stability factor
CL = 1 NDS 3.3.3
Fb‘ = 850 psi * 1.6 * 1 * 1 * 1 * 1.3 * 1 * 1 * 1.15
Fb‘ = 2033.2 psi

fb: girt test pressure
fb = 6 * 0.6wall_wind_force / 144 * girtSpacing * span2 / 8 / (b * d2) NDS 3.3
fb = 6 * 17.389 psf / 144 in.2/ft.2 * 24″ * 139.875″2 / 8 / (1.5″ * 5.5″2)
fb = 937.255 psi
937.255 ≤ 2033.2 stressed to 46% 6″X2″ #2 OK in bending


Fv‘: allowable shear pressure
Fv = 135 NDS Supplement Table 4-A
Fv‘ = Fv * CD * CM * Ct * Ci NDS 4.3
Fv‘ = 135 psi * 1.6 * 1 * 1 * 1
Fv‘ = 216 psi NDS Supplement

fv: shear girt pressure
fv = 3 * (0.6wall_wind_force / 144 * girtSpacing * span / 2) / (2 * b * d) NDS 3.4
fv = 3 * (17.389 psf / 144 in.2/ft.2 * 24″ * 139.875″ / 2) / (2 * 1.5″ * 5.5″)
fv = 36.854 psi

36.854 ≤ 216 stressed to 17% 6″X2″ #2 OK in shear

Deflection

Δallow: allowable deflection
l = 139.875″
Δallow = 139.875″ / 90
Δallow = 1.5542″
Δmax: maximum deflection
Δmax = 5 * 0.6W * spacing * span4 / 384 / E / I from http://www.awc.org/pdf/DA6-BeamFormulas.pdf p.4
E: Modulus of Elasticity
E = 1300000 psi NDS Supplement
I: moment of inertia
I = b * d3 / 12
I = 1.5″ * 5.5″3 / 12
I = 20.796875 in.4
Δmax = 5 * 12.173 psf / 144 psi/psf * 24″ * 139.875″4 / 384 / 1300000 psi / 20.796875 in.4 components and cladding reduced by .7 per footnote f of IBC table 1604.3
Δmax = 0.37401″ ≤ 1.5542″

Be Safe When Fiberglass Insulating Your New Pole Barn

Recently I read a thread in a discussion group where a person posting was not going to use closed cell spray foam insulation in their pole barn due to safety precautions needed when installing. This got me wondering just how safe or unsafe installing fiberglass insulation is, so I started doing research.
Fiberglass insulation, also sometimes known as glass wool, is made of tiny fibers of spun glass. As with any type of glass, threads making up fiberglass can break, leaving sharp edges. Contact with fiberglass fibers can cause miniscule cuts as well torturous itching. Best way to avoids cuts and itches is to wear proper protective gear when working with such insulation.

Wear a hat or hood when working with fiberglass to keep those itchy little fibers from getting into your hair. This is especially important if you are insulating very tall walls or ceilings. Any kind of hat will do as long as it sits firmly on your head and does not impair your vision in any way.

Goggles and a dust mask are crucial safety equipment because those tiny glass fibers can irritate your eyes and lungs. Choose large safety goggles fitting securely all around your eyes, including sides. You do not need a heavy-duty filtration mask when working with fiberglass. A simple dust mask available at any hardware or home improvement store should provide an adequate barrier to keep fiberglass particles from being inhaled.

Wear a disposable coverall to help protect your clothing because once glass fibers become embedded in fabric, it’s almost impossible to get them back out. Wear long sleeves and long pants underneath your coverall for extra protection. It is not necessary to tape coverall wrists and ankles.

Wear gloves when handling fiberglass. Open-weave knit gloves will not provide enough protections from tiny glass fibers, so wear gardening gloves or lightweight work gloves to protect your hands. Whether or not you wear gloves when working with fiberglass, wash your hands thoroughly even if you are only taking a short break. This will help you keep from inadvertently spreading fiberglass fibers to your face, hair or anything else you may touch.

Back in my Lucas Plywood & Lumber days, I shared an office with Al Mercer, who ran their insulation installation department. One trick I learned from one of his old time installers – apply baby powder or cornstarch before placing fiberglass insulation, on any skin apt to be exposed. These will fill skin pores and prevent itching.

More Post Frame Ultimateness!

I am not even certain “ultimateness” is a word, if not, it should be!

In yesterday’s article I left you with a cliff hanger. Today I will talk you down. We disclosed one solve yesterday, today’s is even bigger.

“Can my building’s trusses support a ceiling?”

This lament gets answered over-and-over in my every Monday, “Ask the Pole Barn Guru” column. Traditionally pole barns were farm buildings. Rarely did anyone ever finish an interior, or live in one. Due to this, pole barn trusses are most often designed to support minimal weight from bottom chords. Sometimes this design loading is as little as ½ psf (pounds per square foot), but more often one psf.

Now one psf happens to be wonderful for things like minimal wiring and lighting. What happens when one wants to install a ceiling? Whoops.

Part of “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” includes us doing our best to assist clients in avoiding scenarios they will regret forever. An inability to support an initially unplanned-for ceiling would be way high on this list.

Most commonly ceilings are 5/8-inch thick gypsum wallboard (sheetrock). This is my ceiling material of choice, both for low investment outlay, as well as Type X providing some degree of fire resistance. Drywall is not light, roughly 2.3 psf. It also has to be supported by something other than widely spaced trusses. Ceiling joists (most often 2×6 every two feet) will add nearly a pound per square foot. Blown in insulation is relatively lightweight, even R-60 will add only 1.13 psf.

Hansen Pole Buildings has taken it upon ourselves to use a minimum of FIVE (5) psf for roof truss bottom chord design load on all spans up to and including 40 feet. This decision results in a capacity of 500 to 1000% more than most other post frame building kit providers, as well as post frame contractors!

Want to enjoy “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” yourself? Dial 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today!

P.S. This has nothing to do with post frame buildings. For those who are counting (I know of at least one), this is blog article #1666 (oh, no three sixes)! Our youngest daughter happened to have attended a Jesuit high school, and she was so pleased when she got her first cell phone while there and her number’s last four digits were……6666! So Allison, this blog is dedicated to you!

The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience

Hansen Pole Buildings is on a mission to provide “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™”. (Read about “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/06/ultimate-post-frame-experience/) In doing so, we often make what I will refer to as ‘tweaks’ to make not only our clients’ experiences better, but also their new post frame buildings better.

About Hansen BuildingsWe look for trends in questions asked by owners of existing pole barns – usually not even those we provided! There are a couple of these our team has decided to address and we have so far done a very poor job of letting our clients know we have done so.

Lesser of these items are folks who decide, for whatever reason, they would like to add either plywood or OSB between their new post frame building’s roof purlins and roof steel (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/osb-steel-roofing-pole-buildings/).

Near universally pole barn builders and kit suppliers (as well as most truss manufacturers) have designed trusses with barely enough load capacity to meet minimums. In most instances, actual weight of materials (dead load) of roof truss top chords is around 2.5 psf (pounds per square foot). This is enough to account for truss weight, roof purlins, some sort of reflective radiant barrier or other minimal condensation control, as well as light gauge steel roofing. We have been using 3.3 psf just to give a little extra cushion (roughly 1/3rd more capacity).

½-inch plywood and 7/16-inch OSB both weigh 46 to 48 pounds per four foot by eight foot sheet or 1.5 psf. In order to account for possibilities of someone wanting to add one of these sheathings during building assembly, Hansen Pole Buildings has opted to increase our design top chord dead load to five psf for clearspan trusses up to and including 40 feet. This is DOUBLE minimum requirements.

Tomorrow, I will share with you a solution to an all too frequent challenge.

Stay tuned……

Installation, Plans, and Quotes

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about the installation of a building, plans provide to erect the structure, and a quote for a potential client.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you offer installation? Not sure I would have help to put it up. 

Thanks JESSICA

DEAR JESSICA: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Post Frame building. Our complete post frame building kit packages are designed for an average person who can and will read English to successfully assemble their own beautiful building. We have had clients do nearly every construction process step without any other person to assist them. If you do end up needing an extra pair of hands or more (even complete assembly), capable help is most usually no further away than a free Craigslist ad under “gigs”.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning, I hope to be helping a ‘friend of a friend’, get plans ready for a Cracker Barn type home they would like to build. They have never built a home, or even thought about it, but they want to ‘do it their self’ which is not a good plan for a first timer. I have a few of her emails where I see she has reached out to Hansen several times, so I wanted to start here. 

My question is:  Do you have anyone in the Nashville TN area who could oversee her project? I have noticed that some ‘pole barn’ companies do, and some do not.  She would definitely need a ‘do’.

Thank you~ GINGER in NASHVILLE

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR GINGER: Actually “do it their self” is a perfectly acceptable plan for a first timer – at least as we provide post frame building kit packages. Our plans (view sample plans here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/sample-building-plans/) are detailed down to showing each and every board and connection, our nearly 500 page Construction Manual walks every DIY person through assembly process step by step and includes actual photos. Feeling stuck, unsure or have any other assembly challenge? Hansen Pole Buildings provides free Technical Support to work with clients to guide them around pitfalls.

I have personally been involved with nearly 20,000 successful post frame building projects. One thing in common with each one – there has never been a need for an onsite project overseer. If your friend of a friend can and will read English, they can build for themselves are far nicer finished building than they will get from any building contractor.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good afternoon! My husband and I own land in Defiance County, Ohio and have discussed building a residential pole barn. I’ve reviewed your website and am interested in getting more information about your residential pole barns. Could you point me in the right direction as to where to start? Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! AMY in DEFIANCE

DEAR AMY: Please dial 1(866)200-9657 and discuss your wants and needs with a Hansen Pole Buildings Designer.

 

 

Stilt Post Frame on Permafrost

I have written previously about post frame design involving concrete slabs on grade in areas of permafrost: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/post-frame-permafrost/. Today we will venture into a land where “stilts” are a design solution.

Permafrost is loosely defined as soil and/or rock remaining frozen for more than two years. Big trees do not guarantee an absence of permafrost; it might just mean permanently frozen ground or ice is down far enough so soils in those spots can support a larger root system. Only way to be certain of what ground contains is to have a soils test drilling done.

With permafrost, a safe bet is to it avoid it altogether and move to another piece of land. This is easier said than done, particularly because of a scarcity of affordable buildable land. If you decide to build on permafrost, be as strategic as possible. Smaller and simpler structures will tend to fare better than larger, more complicated ones.

Minimal site disturbance is an accepted practice. Trees and ground cover are your best friend. They protect and insulate ground from summer’s heat. A great example is green moss you find on many shaded low-level areas. Moss has a high insulating value, and in many cases if you dig down a couple of feet, ground might still be frozen in middle of summer.

Strategies for construction on permafrost include:

  • As a general rule, organic layer of ground cover provides insulation and should not be removed, as this will increase risks of thawing any frozen ground underneath.
  • Elevate and properly insulate bottom of your post frame building to prevent floor system heat losses from reaching ground underneath, leading to thawing.
  • Use a thick gravel pad significantly wider than post frame building itself (also insulated if possible) to stabilize the ground and spread building loads.
  • Embed columns to a depth able to both support the structure and resist frost jacking from seasonal ground movement.
  • Cut trees sparingly to maximize site shading (while permitting for a fire break).
  • Build a wrap-around porch, which will help shade the ground around and underneath your post frame building.
  • Incorporate large roof overhangs to shed water away from building and provide shade.
  • Install gutters and manage site drainage well away from building.
  • Retain a geotechnical engineer familiar with local soil’s conditions to assist in designing a foundation system adequate to safely support your post frame building on soils specific to your site.
  • Septic systems also must be engineered to function on permafrost, and remember conventional systems might risk thawing the ground.    

More information on permafrost is available at these websites:

If you have a question, contact the Cold Climate Housing Research Center at info@cchrc.org or 1(907)457-3454.

Solving a Massive Pole Building Grade Change

Solving Massive Post Frame Building Grade Change

Most everything about post frame building construction is predicated upon “your clear, level site”. But, what happens when (like most of our planet) there is not a flat level place to start with – instead there exists massive amounts of grade change?

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Doug ran into one of these situations recently and shot up a distress flare looking for some advice:

“Anybody have an opinion on what be the most cost effective or least painful
course of action for this soon to be-I hope-client?”

Here is information from Doug’s client:

“Attached are pictures of the dig to the right of my driveway cutting into
the hillside. On the left side in front of the Bobcat appears to be close to
finished grade. The cut at that point is nearly 7 feet tall. The soil type
is decomposed granite. With a few spots of stubborn rock.

My options at this point are to build a engineered retaining wall to hold
back the soil before building a pole barn on the flat spot, with drainage
coming from around the back to the front. The other option is to just do a
spread footing with a foundation wall. and then a curb wall of a 2 x 6 on
top of that.

The most creative thought would be to do both in the same wall. The wall
would be supported in and by itself, and the building would stand next to the
wall, supported on posts with loads at the post, and not on top of the wall.
Is that even possible?
Thanks
Bobby”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Well, luckily or unluckily, I have a similar situation on one of my own personal post frame buildings at Newman Lake, Washington. Here was what we came up with as a best solution: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/. In this scenario, our post frame wall columns are mounted to ICFs on “cut” sides and traditionally embedded on flat or low sides.

Post frame construction is moving pedal to floor into residential markets where these types of scenarios are going to appear more and more.

I can see these types of scenarios being eventually added as options to Hansen Pole Buildings’ “Instant Pricing™” system where we could not only design and price but also provide blocks, connectors and needed rebar.

Just more moves in providing “The Ultimate Post-Frame Building Experience™”

Considering constructing on a less than ideal site? Call 1(866)200-9657 and discuss your situation with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today.

Local Building Supply is Wrong Choice

With an advent of internet providers such as Amazon (www.amazon.com ) there has been more pressure to “buy local”. Sometimes buying local can be a blessing, but when it comes to a new post-frame (pole barn) building – even an attempt to buy local can prove to be an experience (and not a pleasant one).

Reader MAGNUS in HUDSON writes:

“I’m looking for a quote on a 36’x60’ pole barn. I’m pretty motivated to get this going – I’d like to start raising walls in mid-June. I’ve been trying to work with my local building supply (small town, stay local if possible) but they’re just letting me down on timing, and at this point I’m looking for solid alternatives. I’m pretty impressed with all the info on your site (in fact, I spent a bunch of time there over the past few months getting educated, and almost went with you without even checking with the locals.)

I’ve got cash in hand for this, so at this point it’s just trying to get plans in hand so I can get my permit and get some ground prep started. I’m leaving the country for about 2 weeks from the end of May to mid-June. My goal has been to get the earthwork done (some grading and fill + gravel pad) before I leave so I can begin erecting as soon as I get back. That’s feeling pretty tight now, though I thought I had plenty of time a month ago when I started with the locals.

I know I’ve forgotten a few important details as I put this drawing and notes together tonight. I’m available by phone most of the day Monday and Tuesday for any clarification questions. I’ll try to get the few items from your checklist that I don’t know filled in on Monday.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Your local building supply probably is staffed by very nice people. They probably know most people in town by first name. They are not post-frame (pole barn) experts. In fact, if they are above novice level you would be doing well!

There is a chance there is someone on their staff who can actually sort of do a material’s list for a pole barn. Keep in mind, there is not a “plan” they are working from, so no one is checking for adequacy of structural design. This list of pieces may, or may not, even be enough pieces to sort of put a building together. My experience is a list such as this will be inaccurate for quantities, will leave things out, add in a few unnecessary pieces and result in waste, confusion and a less than satisfactory end resultant.

Some local building supplies have gone as far as investing in computer software, supposedly capable of putting together a list of materials. I have yet to see one of these programs able to do an accurate list on anything beyond a basic box – and they cannot supply engineering. Again, it is nothing better than a guess list!

Even if your local building supply somehow had a relationship with an engineer, who could provide sealed plans for your new post frame building – they are not specialists. At Hansen Pole Buildings we have buying power to get post frame building specific products in massive quantities at wholesale prices. Some of these are items we have manufactured specifically for us, when we found commercially available products were lacking in quality or features.

Let’s say your local building supply was somehow able to provide engineer sealed plans specific to your building, do an accurate material takeoff, get product to your building site – they are not going to have detailed assembly instructions to guide you through to completion. Chances are no one there has ever constructed an engineered post frame building, so when you or your builder get stuck, or make an error, it is up to you to solve it!

If you, or anyone, believes there is another post frame building kit supplier offering a better value to their clients, let us know what they are doing Hansen Pole Buildings isn’t. Frankly, we do not believe it to be possible.

Ready for “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience”™? Dial 1 (866) 200-9657 and speak to a Building Designer today!

Post Frame Building Siding Choices

Your Planning Department May Dictate Your Post-Frame Siding Choices

Although most of us general population members are unawares, your local Planning Department has a great deal of power over what you can or cannot do with your own property. This goes right down to decisions on siding choices for your new post-frame building! (Read more on dealing with Planning Departments here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/planning-department-3/).

Here is a case where a city had enacted a restrictive ordinance and how an architect went about getting further clarification.

Monday evening, May 13, 2019, the Warsaw (Indiana) Planning Commission spent almost an hour discussing what kind of architectural steel panels fit within the city’s ordinances. 

Senior Planner Justin Taylor presented a discussion on architectural panels and what city ordinances say about them under “development plan design standards.”

He said a question before the plan commission was in regard to architectural panels.

“Typically, pole barn siding isn’t permitted per this ordinance in these zoning ordinances (C-2,3,4,5), but a request has been made if they can use a certain type of siding. So at this time, our planning department doesn’t feel comfortable making a decision so it brought it before the board for its review, and that’s where we’re at.” Taylor said.

He said the Commission can approve or disapprove type of panel being requested to be used. If the Commission approved panels in this specific instance, Taylor said this decision could be applied to future city buildings. He said it wouldn’t necessarily change city’s ordinance language, but it would give city’s planning department more guidance in what is acceptable in the city.

Jim Malcolm, a Claypool architect, represents JLane in this matter. 

“What brought this whole thing about was when I asked (City Planner) Jeremy (Skinner), (the ordinance) says metal architectural panel is useable. When we go look at the various suppliers, everybody has an architectural panel … we’re asking for that (specific) one, but also in the long term consideration of some of the architectural panels that are out there,” Malcolm said. 

Dan Robinson, of Robinson Construction, who is trying to price costs for JLane’s building, said they’re trying to get clarity and what kind of paneling is and isn’t allowed by the city.

Malcolm, Robinson and the Commission then discussed different types of architectural panels, different qualities and what makes some paneling better than others.

In the end, the Commission acknowledged city’s planning department needed to revisit and reconsider the city’s ordinance regarding architectural panels.

It also approved a motion from James Emans, city engineer and Commission member, specifically regarding the JLane paneling.

His motion was “that the presented concealed-fastener insulated panel with an approximate 7.2 profile … steel fabric complies with the intent of the ordinance and is allowed.”

Thanks to Times Union staff writer David Sloane for information appearing within this article.

Building of the Barn, Head Room for OHD, and Solar Panel Support

Today’s Guru answers questions about building of the barn, minimum headroom for an overhead garage door, and support for solar panels.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello! We found your website for pole barns. We’re still thinking about which option we’d like to go with, but we’re wondering if you also have a team that will do the actual building of the pole barn. If so, how much does that cost? If not, do you ever recommend a certain group to build the pole barn?
COURTNEY in CHICAGO

DEAR COURTNEY: Thank you very much for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Buildings’ complete kit package. We are not erection contractors in any state, our buildings are designed for an average person who can and will read instructions to successfully construction their own custom designed post frame building.
In most areas, fair market value for assembly is about 50% of what materials costs are.
Due to liability issues, we never “recommend” any builders. We can give you guidance or offer assistance in finding a builder, should this not be a project you feel comfortable undertaking.
When searching for a builder, follow this: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/contractor-6/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Minimum headroom required for 14 foot tall OHD. MARK in LaOTTO

DEAR MARK: A 14 foot tall overhead sectional door requires a minimum of 15-3/4” headroom. Add four more inches for an opener. https://amarr.com/commercial/service_and_support/track_details

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Are these (post frame buildings) strong enough to support solar panels? BRIEN

DEAR BRIEN: Provided you give us the weight per square foot of the panels in advance – most certainly! We can have your new post frame building engineered to support any amount of snow load, as well as any weight of solar panels, or other materials or systems you might want to either place upon, in, or hang from the roof system, and of course the building frame which supports it.

 

 

Self-Designed Pole Buildings

Spring, When a Young Man’s Heart Turns to Self-Designing Pole Buildings

For some obscure reason a plethora of otherwise intelligent people have an idea. This idea being they can structurally design a building to be adequate to resist applied climactic loads, without any actually engineering background. Given an under designed building can lead to failure, injury and even death of occupants and/or bystanders, one might think it would be best left to professionals.

Reader NORM in SILVERTON writes:

“I’m considering building an open pavilion style pole building, with outside (the posts) dimensions of 20’ x 16’ x no more than 9’ to 10’ high posts, secured to cement pad with Simpson CC66 caps.  There would be 3 posts on both the left and right sides, that would be 8’ from middle, of middle post, to outside edge of front and back post.  The alignment of 3 posts on each side, would be 20’ apart with 6/12 gable roof, supported with roof trusses (50 PSI Snow Load).  On each side, the roof overhang would be 3’, which I don’t think matters when considering my question.  The posts are more than sufficient size and strength for the gabled metal roof …..  I’ve been told.  

Question: What “wind gust” strength would I need to be concerned about from side to side, for the “sway” factor ?  Would that “wind strength” be less if directly behind this “pavilion”, was a slightly larger and taller building, AND directly behind that building, was standing forest with trees that were 60’ to 100’ tall ?  We obviously are NOT in tornado country like the Midwest and South.

Thank You.”

About Hansen BuildingsThank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. We should be able to take care of all of your needs with a third-party engineer sealed set of blueprints specifically for your building. Face it – this eliminates any guesswork, as anything you do without a Registered Design Professional involved is nothing but a W.A.G. (Wild Ass Guess), probably an errant one. Given height of your roof (it takes full brunt of wind coming from a side) it is unlikely a 6×6 column will work in bending (it is plenty strong enough to support downward forces from building weight and roof snow load acting alone).

Even without being an engineer I can tell you a proposed Simpson CB66 is totally inadequate. Frankly your ideal design solution is to embed your six columns into the ground and concrete them in to avoid uplift and overturning challenges. If you feel you must have columns above ground, then we can design using a proper wet set anchor capable of carrying imposed loads.

If your building is wind unprotected on even one side or end chances are it is Exposure C for wind design. You do not get credit for a building being protected on one side (or even two or three) by a larger taller building or a forest – only if it were to be entirely surrounded. (read more here about Wind Exposure: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/wind-exposure-confusion/).

A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you to further discuss your proposed project, or dial 1 (866) 200-9657 and talk with one now!

Is an Exterior Sliding Barn Style Door Our Solution?

Today the Pole barn Guru answers a question about use of a sliding “barn style door” as an exterior door.

As long time readers of this column know, every once in a while I get thrown a question having little to do with post frame construction. However I get a euphus pitch thrown at me on occasion so I will take a swing even at them! (editor’s note: euphus pitch is a very slow pitch with alot of arc to it. Mike is a notorious baseball fan!)

Today reader JEFF in NORTH LAKE TAHOE writes wanting my opinion as to whether an exterior sliding barn door is a solution for their situation:

“Hello Mike,

I have attached two photos of my sons home in North Lake Tahoe for your review that show a problem whose solution I am hoping you can provide guidance for.

We are seeking to turn the attached entry covered patio into an enclosed and climate controlled mud room. 

We  plan to construct a platform at deck level where the top stairs are now, and extend the stairs further out from the house, and our issue is conflicting door swings if we add a hinged exterior door at the top of the stairs.   We would like to have an exterior sliding barn style door that is weatherproof and has latching and locking hardware at the top of the stairs.

My question to you is, is this doable, and how would you do it?

We are skilled carpenters, and don’t require a pre hung factory unit, just seeking some guidance on how best to accomplish this.

As we are not currently a pole barn prospect, we are happy to provide compensation for your guidance.

Many thanks.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Your generous offer is appreciated, however I believe in paying it forward. If my advice proves helpful to you or others, I would hope you would do something to help someone at a future time.

You have several options – none of them being a sliding barn style door. Even best sliding barn doors are not going to seal airtight, be able to be sufficiently insulated or latch and lock affordably. Air seal is truly nothing but a problem with barn style doors, as they have to have an air gap to safely slide past any adjacent siding. Easiest and least expensive solution is to use an all steel insulated entry door in a steel jamb with an out swing. Problem solved. Again – absolutely nothing about a sliding barn style door is going to give you a result you will be pleased with.

If you feel a sliding barn style door is essential to your look, in order to have adequate height you would need to tear out existing covered patio floor and replace it with a floor at a much lower height. This may defeat your purpose, as it would then require several steps to be added inside your new mud room.

I hope this helps…please let me know what you come up with and send finished photos. I do love good answers that are functional, pleasing to the eye and budget.

I am Designing a Pole Barn

I Am Designing a Pole Barn….

These words strike fear in my heart.

Reader ELISEO in FLOWERY BRANCH writes:

“ I’m designing a Pole Barn to be 30’W x 40’L x 12’H. I’m asking for 6 trusses to be placed 8’ on center with a 4:12 pitch. I’m gonna tie them together with 2×4 on edge 24” OC. My question to you is since I’ve been reading through some books and I haven’t had a definite answer. I’ve gotten companies quote a minimum of 11 Trusses and one company actually quoted me 6 trusses like I had originally planned. Do you believe that down here in GA 8’ OC trusses will be up to Code? They will be held on 6x6x12 PT also 8’ OC.”

Elisio’s first challenge is he is attempting to structurally design his own post frame building. Maybe you have seen car commercials on tv, where a vehicle is driven at high speeds on winding roads? Ever notice a disclaimer of, “Driver is a trained professional on a closed course”? It is because you and a vehicle MIGHT be able to perform together just like on tv, however chances are fair you will possibly be injured or even die should you attempt.

This very same adage holds true with those punting at their own building design….engage a trained professional. Or even better, a complete post frame building package structurally designed by a trained professional. And when I talk about “trained professional” in this context, I mean plans sealed by a Registered Design Professional (RDP – architect or engineer) specifically for your building on your property.

Now Elisio’s asking for six trusses to be placed eight foot on center is only partially correct – it would give him a conservative design for his end trusses as they only support four feet from endwall to next truss (plus any end overhang). He might end up having spent more money than necessary. His idea of using 2×4 on edge for roof purlins may or may not work, depending upon grade and species of material. Beyond what type of 2×4 is proposed, will be its ability to withstand wind loads, as wind loads will dictate in Georgia. This, and how to properly connect purlins to trusses, is just a portion of what a RDP will be examining and verifying for adequacy.

Will trusses spaced every eight feet be up to Code in Georgia (or anywhere else)? Read here to find out: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/06/pole-barn-truss-spacing/.

Please do not put yourself or your loved ones at risk, call 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings Designer who can assist you in having a properly designed post frame (pole barn) building!

Can a Building Official Deny Approval of a Professional Engineer’s Work?

Does a Building Official have the capacity to deny the work of a Professional Engineer?

Excerpted from SBC Magazine April 2, 2019

The short answer is no, not according to the law. Why? Simply put, building officials are not granted legal authority over professional engineers. Rather, they only have authority with respect to enforcing specific provisions of the building code adopted into law in their jurisdiction. An analogy would be that a police officer does not have legal authority over a properly licensed attorney or district attorney.

The board of professional engineers is the only regulatory authority having jurisdiction over engineering. So what does this mean in practical terms? A properly licensed professional engineer is allowed to practice engineering, without discrimination, restraint or limitation. By engineering law, this needs to be in their area of expertise. The same process and concepts are true for licensed professional architects.

If any building official believes an engineer is violating engineering law, they need to follow the proper state law complaint process through the licensing board that governs engineering.

Consequently, the building officials the Structural Building Components Association (SBCA) has discussed approval of professional engineering work with, provide the following approval counsel:

  1. They first verify that the professional engineer is licensed to practice in a given jurisdiction by going to the state board’s website to see if the engineer in question has a valid and current license. An example validation site can be found here.
  2. If the professional engineer is licensed in the state and has signed and sealed their engineering work, they are defined by law to be an approved source, which is a term specifically defined in the building code as “an independent person, firm or corporation, approved by the building official, who is competent and experienced in the application of engineering principles to materials, methods or systems analyses.”
  3. They approve the professional engineering work by filing for the record a signed and sealed engineering analysis, research report, design drawing or construction document.

The only caveat to this is if, during the review of the documents provided by the engineer, a code compliance error is made. That error then needs to be brought to the attention of the engineer, along with the code section violated, so that the engineer can correct the error. 

Pole Barn Guru’s summary – if you are an unregistered individual (not a RDP – Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) and submit a set of plans to a Building Official, they can do virtually anything they want to your plans. Involving a RDP in your process will only make your life easier, insures structural adequacy and (in many cases) saves both time and money.

Pre-Drilling, Housewrap, and Concrete Footings

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about pre-drilling steel panels, the proper use of house-wrap and weather resistant barriers, as well as concern for the effectiveness or fresh concretes ability to withstand compression.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What size hole should I predrill in panels for the #12 diaphragm screws? Thanks! JOSEPH in KIOWA

DEAR JOSEPH: From Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual, Chapter 2:

 

“For pre-boring nail holes, 7/64” and 1/8” bits are required. Same size bit can be used for pre-drilling steel roofing and siding.”

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Having read all of the info relating to insulating and am still confused. Main question is my entire 40×48 was wrapped in Tyvek including the roof. Now am trying to figure out if and how I can install a vapor barrier for the roof? Am planning to put in a ceiling with blown insulation above it and would like some options for the vapor barrier. Not sure if the roof Tyvek is a help or a hindrance. KEVIN in MALAD CITY

DEAR KEVIN: I’d like to find builders who are using Weather Resistant Barriers (WRB) under roof steel on post frame buildings, thinking they are installing a vapor barrier, and slap them silly. They have totally wasted their client’s hard earned money and, as in your case, have created a hindrance. Your only real solution is to remove Tyvek from under roof steel and replace it with an actual vapor barrier (one with a thermal break). You might see if a local spray foam installer would be willing to flash spray two inches of closed cell foam on underside of your building’s WRB.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My contractor poured concrete in each hole for a 30’ x 32’ pole shed and about 4 hours later started setting poles and put the entire frame up yet that same day. Can the concrete actually cure that fast or should I be concerned? PAUL in MITCHELL

DEAR PAUL: I am guessing you are talking about concrete poured for a footing pad under the columns.

Concrete gains its strength with time after casting. The rate of gain of concrete compression strength in higher during the first 28 days of casting and then it slows down. The compression strength gained by concrete after 24 hours is only 16%!

For practical purposes, a four hour old concrete footing is virtually worthless. Yes, you should be concerned.

 

How to Re-level a Garage

Auntie Em, Auntie Em My Garage Has Lifted 

Well, it wasn’t from a twister and this article has nothing actually to do with Auntie Em or actress Clara Blandick who played Auntie Em in 1939’s film classic The Wizard of Oz. For trivia buffs, Blandick also played a part in 1937’s original A Star Is Born.

Reader GEORGE in LAGRANGE might be wishing a twister had hit his garage, so insurance would pay for a replacement. George writes:

“Due to the freezing and thawing cycle my pole garage has lifted about 7 inches since it was built 12 years ago. You can now see the outside grass from inside the garage. And it has not lifted evenly so the garage is unlevel.”

George’s post frame garage has some challenges, none of them ones with an easy fix. How did his garage get this way? There are three possible major contributors to this garage’s current situation. These would include:

Inadequate site preparation

At a minimum, site preparation includes:
· Remove all sod and vegetation.
· For ideal site preparation, remove topsoil and stockpile for later use in finish grading. In frost prone areas, remove any clays or silty soil
from within future building “footprint”.
· Replace subsoil removed from around building with granulated fill to help drain subsurface water from building.
· Distribute all fill, large debris free (no pit run), uniformly around site in layers no deeper than six inches.
· Compact each layer to a minimum 90% of a Modified Proctor Density before next layer is added. Usually, adequate compaction takes more than driving over fill with a dump truck, or
earth moving equipment.

For more details on proper site preparation please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/

Column Depth

Bottom of column encasement needs to be below frost line. This is a no-brainer.

Water

Read more about what causes frost heaving here: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/pole-building-structure-what-causes-frost-heaves/.

There is going to be no easy or inexpensive fix to George’s situation. An investment into a geotechnical engineer who could provide a thorough site evaluation along with solutions might be money well spent.


Building could be brought back to level by excavating at each raised column to well below frost depth. Cut off columns at base of splash plank (while supporting building from falling), then remove embedded portion of column. Place an appropriately sized sonotube in excavation with top of tube at grade. Pour premix concrete into tube and place a wet set Sturdi Wall bracket – expertly placed to receive upper portion of column. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/11/sonotube/

If all of this sounds daunting (it would be to me), a consideration could be demolition and start over from scratch.

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Portions of this article (in italics) are from “County explores options for new Highway building” April 29, 2019 by Nathan Bowe at www.dl-online.com

A city plow truck goes by the main shop building at the Becker County Highway Department complex in Detroit Lakes. www.dl-online.com File photo

Dear Architect friends ~ I didn’t learn much in architecture school, however one nugget was, “It is all about presentation”. Before you need to give a presentation including a possible post frame building, please discuss it with me, or at least read a few of my pertaining articles. I want you to come across as being as knowledgeable as possible.

“Hoping to save money on a new Becker County Highway Department facility, made of precast concrete and estimated to cost about $8 million, commissioners are exploring other types of buildings.

They are considering options including precast concrete, steel, and pole barn, and will tour facilities in the area made of those materials.

The firm working on the project, Oertel Architects of St. Paul, said in a report that any type of material could essentially be made to work, but a pole barn-type building would have to include steel in places to support a 5-ton crane in the maintenance area, for example.”

Post frame (pole barn) buildings can easily be designed to support a 5-ton crane: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/overhead-crane/

“A less-expensive pole barn building also comes with a much shorter projected lifespan, and generally brings more problems with leaks and maintenance, unless a better grade of roof is used.”

Post frame buildings are permanent structures easily capable of generations of useful lifespan. Properly installed steel roofing will last decades without leaks or needs for maintenance.

“A pole barn is considered an agricultural type building in the industry, and is also referred to as timber frame. This is essentially like building a structure like an old-fashioned barn, with large timber columns and frames. It is typically made without a perimeter foundation. The wood frame structure is typically covered with a metal skin and the low-gable roof type is typically of metal. Its lifespan is projected at 15-30 years, depending on maintenance and other factors.”

Post frame and timber frame buildings are totally different animals. Post frame buildings have been used commercially longer than I have been in this industry (nearly 40 years). Very few buildings provided by Hansen Pole Buildings would be termed as being purely agricultural – nearly all are residential or commercial.  Isolated columns embedded below frost depth preclude needs for expensive and inefficient continuous concrete foundations. (Check out foundation costs here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/). Most typically post frame buildings have 4/12 roof slopes (rather than “low” as in all steel buildings).

Amazingly, it appears my now 15 year-old million-dollar post frame home is due to expire any time now (like Windows 7)! In reality a properly engineer designed and constructed post frame building will outlive any of us who are reading this article.

“One way to meet the highway department needs and still meet code using pole barn construction would be to build three or four separate buildings, or build one building at different heights for vehicle maintenance, vehicle washing/storage, and office space, Oertel reported.”

Post frame buildings can be easily designed with a multitude of different wall/ceiling heights.

“Pole barns tend to be less energy efficient over time.”

As post frame buildings use exact same insulations as other similar construction types, if this is true it would be applicable across all construction spectrums. Post frame lends itself well to creation of deep insulation cavities and is far easier to insulate than all steel or precast concrete.

“Structural steel works better in a public works facility, with more salt and moisture in the air than usual, since these are made of heavy steel, just like a steel bridge. It is the less substantive metal materials that are a concern. A pole barn uses thin steel gusset plates and there is not much material to last over time if corrosion is present. Metal panels commonly used in pole barn buildings are also easily marred or dented by heavy duty operations.”

In highly corrosive atmospheres, steel can be isolated from corrosion (as in galvanized steel “gusset plates” used to connect roof truss members). Any type of siding – or even precast concrete or masonry, can be damaged by careless operations. Use of strategically placed bollards (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/lifesaving-bollard/) can eliminate possibilities of significant damages.

“However it’s constructed, the new public works building will need the same mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, floor loading, earthwork and mechanical systems, Oertel said. Costs can vary, but all of that might add up to perhaps 60 percent of construction costs, with the actual building structural shell 20 to 25 percent of the total project cost. So cost savings from a cheaper type of building might not be all that commissioners might hope for, compared to the long-term drawbacks.

“More could be said about the differences between pole barn construction and a more heavy duty construction using precast concrete,” the report sums up. “It mostly comes down to a lower front-end cost with a pole barn, at the sacrifice of longevity…””

Post frame construction is going to provide a greater value, without being “cheap”. Post frame buildings will have a usable lifespan as great as any other permanent building.

And – have you ever tried to remodel a precast concrete building?

Sturdi-Wall Plus Concrete Brackets

Sturdi-Wall Plus Concrete Brackets

Long time readers will recall a previous article regarding Sturdi-Wall Plus concrete brackets:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/

Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets are a heavy-duty engineered anchoring system for attaching wood columns to concrete foundations and are generally used in post-frame buildings but have other applications as well. These brackets are made with ¼ “steel plate A706 rebar in either # 4 or # 5 size, depending on model.  Each bracket is precisely welded to meet engineering specifications and given a professional look with a baked polyester powder coat finish. Some brackets are available in a Hot Dipped Galvanized model for use in more corrosive environments.

Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets are used in a wet set concrete application and provide highest strength bracket to foundation connection when concrete is fully cured. SWP brackets require less concrete coverage than Sturdi-Wall brackets, allowing them to work well in pier foundations, post repair, and renovations. #4 rebar is used in all Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets, except SWP 8 Series where #5 rebar is used. Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets are available in Standard, OT and GL models.

Standard Models – Accommodate dimensional lumber and laminated columns, typically nailed together with no additional machining.

OT Models – Accommodate some planed laminated wood columns usually mechanically fastened and glued together.

GL Models – Accommodate most planed and glue laminated wood columns (glulams).

In March I attended NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) 2019 Expo where I met with PermaColumn’s team and recorded this live video for you:

Ready for your new post-frame building, but don’t want to place columns into ground? Sturdi-Column Plus brackets may be just your solution. Call and discuss with your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today at 1 (866) 200-9657.

Fluropon Roofing Coating

Fluropon® Roofing Coating 

I have extolled virtues of Kynar® (PVDF) paint for post frame buildings previously: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/kynar/. Fluropon® is a trade name for Valspar’s PVDF factory applied steel roofing coating (paint) system. Sherwin-Williams acquired Valspar  in 2017.

At NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) 2019 Expo I cornered Sherwin-William’s representative for further information on Fluropon®. Please enjoy this video:

Looking for a best solution to keep your new post-frame building looking new for years? Look to PVDF.

Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can assist you in making good decisions for paint finish on your new building. Call today 1 (866) 200-9657.

Alternative Siding, Building on Slab, and Ceiling Liner Loading

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about alternative siding and roofing, whether one can build on an existing slab, and if a ceiling liner can hold insulation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you build me a steel wall inside and vinyl siding on the outside with asphalt shingles? PAUL in BLUE GRASS

DEAR PAUL: A beauty of post-frame construction is we can design for virtually any combination of roofing and siding materials you may desire. While I am not a huge fan of steel liner panels, yes – your building can have them along with your vinyl siding. Steel liner panels end up posing challenges with trying to attach things to them, like work benches, cabinets, shelves, etc. Gypsum wallboard (sheet rock) is generally far more affordable as well as easier to make attachments to. And, if 5/8” Type X is used, affords some fire protection.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can Hansen build the barn on top of an existing slab? CLYDE in BELLVILLE

DEAR CLYDE: Yes, we can design a complete post frame building kit package to be attached to your existing concrete slab. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/dry-set-column-anchors/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My trusses are 8 feet on center will the metal ceiling liner span that 8 feet without sagging if I blow in fiberglass insulation? RODNEY in LAKE ELMO

DEAR RODNEY: No, steel liner panels will sag across an eight foot span. If your building’s roof trusses are not designed to support weight of a ceiling load, then they will sag as well – and, in combination with a snow load, may fail.

 

 

 

PEX-AL-PEX Tubing for Post Frame Concrete Slabs

PEX-AL-PEX Tubing For Post Frame Concrete Slabs

Long time readers will recall my prior article on PEX tubing for post frame concrete slabs: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/08/pex-tubing/.

I caught up with my friend Les Graham of Radiant Outfitters at the recent NFBA (National Frame Building Association) Expo in Louisville, who I volunteered to do a nice video in regards to better floor tubing and better floor heat.



Besides providing your complete post frame building kit package, Hansen Pole Buildings can also provide a complete kit package for your radiant floor with everything you will need to get your system into a concrete slab on grade (including layout drawings and instructions).  Talk to your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at (866)200-9657.

When a Contractor Ignores Building Plans

I realize this may come as a surprise, but there are more than a few times I have discovered building contractors have made errors in building assembly due to failure to examine the provided building plans.

Shocking.

Our client STEVE in HINES writes:

“Good morning, my building is framed, sided and roofed. However, yesterday we discovered that the sidewalls girts should have been 2x 8’s but 2×6’s were used instead (same as the endwalls). I know this is my problem to fix, but before I tell the contractor, I’d like to know if you have ever heard of this happening and if so, what they had to do to fix the problem. As it stands, it definitely does not meet wind code anymore. I’m not asking for a fix, but only some direction as where to start pursuing one. Could very well become a messy job!

Thanks.”

Well, to begin with, I was a post frame building contractor in a past life. At times we had as many as 35 crews erecting buildings in six states. Most of these crews were very, very good. Some of them were not quite as good. Overall this mix did give me an interesting perspective – if something could be done wrong, one of my crews figured out how to do it. Along with this, chances are I have had to come up with a fix for these unexpected challenges.

In Steve’s case, actual reasoning for 2×8 sidewall girts was so his building could have a flush interior surface to drywall – known as commercial girts. (Learn about commercial wall girts here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/)

Our curiosity question was – what did the builder do with the 2×8 material supplied for girts? It turns out client had a pile of 2×8 left over when the pole building was completed. They ran short of 2×6, so building owner just assumed someone had stolen them and more were purchased!

Anyhow – there are several possible fixes. 2x4x12′ could be ripped and nailed along length of  2×6 installed where 2×8 should have been, or 2×4 could be placed vertically (3-1/2″ face against girt inside face) every two feet’ to provide a surface to attach drywall. Whichever choice is decided upon, a revision should be done to plans and sealed by Engineer of Record to verify adequacy.

R Panel Gable Vents

R Panel Gable Vents

“R” steel roofing and siding panels are typically used on all steel buildings where larger spans occur between wall girts and roof purlins. With a three foot width net coverage, these panels have a 1-1/4 inch tall high rib every 12 inches with two low stiffener ribs between. R panels do not have a full underlapping (or purlin bearing) underlap. This lack of a purlin bearing underlap makes this product both less expensive (as it can be roll formed out of a narrower steel coil) and more difficult to install. Without careful placement at laps, panels tend to “walk” with one or both panel ends covering more or less than the necessary three feet.

Very few all steel buildings make provisions for ventilation. Rarely do they include sidewall eave overhangs, leaving no place for an eave air intake through a vented soffit.

So, how to vent?

Reader STEVE in PHOENIX writes: “Mike,
Hello. I’ve been researching venting options for an existing clearspan type red steel metal building and was directed to your snap in style gable vents for ribbed metal panels.  My building is covered with R panel metal siding…..the high ribs are 12″ on center (pic attached). I’ve been working with Justine on selection and pricing of your gable vents.  Will your vent panels work with this siding and if not, do you have a venting solution for this building? Thanks.”

My reply:

R panels typically have 1-1/4″ high ribs. I do not believe the snap ring vents will work with ribs higher than 3/4″ (Justine can confirm). If not, then you could use a standard gable vent with a J Channel surround. Just like snap ring applications, cut the hole in siding for the vent (make it 1/4″ taller and wider than the vent you will push through the hole). Cut J Channels to fit the vent, with interlocking and overlapping corners (just like a non-integrated J Channel window). Insert individual pieces of J Channel into the hole, joining corners as you go. Slide vent into J Channel “picture frame” using lots of caulking between vent and J Channel and at each of the J Channel corners.


Snap ring vinyl gable vents (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/07/vinyl-gable-vents-for-pole-barns/) make installation a breeze and can quickly be installed in post frame buildings with steel siding with ribs no higher than ¾” . When designing your new post frame building discuss ventilation with your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at (866)200-9657.

IBC Requirements for Building Wrap

IBC Requirements for Building Wrap

When using a building wrap as a weather-resistant barrier (WRB), it must meet 2018 International Building Codes (IBC 1402.2) requirements of a WRB for water-resistance and vapor permeability.

A superior building wrap is air- and moisture-resistant, permeable, and has a high UV-resistance and tear strength. It should also be simple and quick to install, to limit damage during application. Using a high-quality building wrap compliant with IBC 1402.2  code creates a structure with a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope. A weather-resistant exterior wall envelope ensures a building is energy-efficient and healthy.

2018 International Building Codes (IBC) mandate buildings meet minimum requirements for exterior walls. IBC Chapter 14  IBC provides these minimum requirements, including wall coverings, exterior doors and windows, exterior wall openings, and architectural trim. Specifically, section 1402.2 states exterior walls must provide a building with a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope. Exterior wall design and construction must include a water-resistant barrier behind exterior veneer preventing accumulation of moisture within wall assemblies. Exterior walls must also include a way for water/condensation entering a wall assembly to drain/evaporate.

IBC specifies a few cases where a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope is not required.

  1. Code does not require a weather resistant wall envelope over concrete or masonry walls designed in accordance with IBC chapters 19 and 21.
  2. Code does not require a weather resistant wall envelope for exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) in compliance with IBC 1407.4.1.
    • IBC 1407.4.1 states for EIFS with drainage, water-resistive barrier must comply with IBC Section 1403.2 or ASTM E2570. IBC 1403.2 states attachment of no fewer than one layer of No. 15 asphalt to studs or sheathing, with flashing, must provide a continuous water-resistive barrier behind exterior wall.
  1. Exterior wall envelopes resisting wind-driven rain, including openings, joints, and intersections with a dissimilar material in accordance with ASTM E331 are not required to have a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope.

BENEFITS OF BUILDING WRAP

Applying a high-quality building wrap, like Barricade® Building Wrap, over sheathing, and behind siding, meets or exceeds IBC 1402.2 requirements for weather-resistant barriers. A properly installed building wrap creates a protective envelope against air infiltration and moisture into wall systems. A buildup of moisture within a building’s walls is problematic because moisture can lead to wood rot (caused by fungi) and expensive repairs. High moisture can also cause mold, unhealthy for structure occupants. Uncontrolled air infiltration lowers effective wall system R-value and lessens energy-efficiency and air quality of a building. To reduce air infiltration and stop accumulation of moisture within wall systems, along with meeting requirements of IBC 1402.2, design of a high-performing exterior wall must include a weather-resistive barrier, like building wrap.