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Closing Top of Corner Trims Revisited

Recently I had posted an article on closing tops of corner trims (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/10/closing-top-of-corner-trims/).

Reader MATT in CINCINNATI has opted to go with a light gauge steel framed building, rather than a post frame building, however he had questioned my original article:

“Thanks for all of your informative posts, they have been quite useful in my journey toward my dream barn/house. I am finalizing design of a beautiful K Building. Hard to argue with a full perimeter footer and steel truss frames. My barn will have a porch similar to the attached picture. I am hoping you might revisit your post on “Closing Top of Corner Trims”. I agree in regards to the picture in your original post that spray foam would work when tucked up under the soffit with minimal weather exposure. However, in the attached image, with the top edge of the lower corner trim exposed directly to the weather, it seems much more important to get it sealed. Perhaps slitting into the endwall siding and extending the J trim from the porch past the corner trim would provide a better solution? Either way it seems copious amounts of caulk are in order.”

In an ideal world you could use a combination of #2 (the Emseal expanding closure) and #3 folding down the top of the corner trim. The Emseal by itself will provide a watertight seal. I always try to avoid cutting into the siding as much as possible.

I do have a concern about your K Building’s 2×6 #1 Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) roof purlins, spanning 15 feet.

20 psf * 24″ on center * 15′ span ^2 / 8 * 7.5625 (section modulus of a 2×6) * 1.15 (Cr for repetitive members) * 1.15 (Duration of Load) * 1350 (Fb for 2×6 #1 SYP) = 1

20 psf is the minimum design live/snow roof load by Code, however there is no allowance for dead loads (weight of roofing, weight of the purlin itself, etc.). I would recommend using 2×8 purlins.

Airtight Post Frame Homes and Barndominiums

Back in my 1990’s post frame building contractor days, we constructed a shop for a client near Moscow, Idaho. We probably didn’t ask enough questions up front and our client didn’t provide enough information to adequately prevent what was initially quite a challenge.

After we had completed construction of this building’s shell, our client poured a concrete slab-on-grade. He placed fiberglass insulation in exterior walls, with a well-sealed vapor barrier. Walls and ceiling were sheetrock and insulation was blown into the attic. Heat was provided by a propane heater.

After the building was occupied, our client called us to advise every one of his windows was leaking!

Turns out these “leaks” were a symptom of a larger problem. Our client had sealed his building so tightly, in order to close an exterior door, a window needed to be open. There was no under slab vapor barrier, nor was a sealant applied. His propane heater was not ventilated to an outside source, adding moisture to interior air (and drawing moisture through his slab). With nowhere to exit, moisture was condensing on the insides of his building’s cooler windows! 

Owning and operating an airtight post frame home, shouse (shop/house) or barndominium will increase its energy performance and lower its carbon footprint. However, there are certain things one should keep in mind before building a new airtight post frame building.

A post frame building’s envelope consists of its roof, foundation and exterior walls, doors and windows, and this is what keeps indoor and outdoor air from mixing. When a post frame building envelope is not tight, it can lead to air leakage and drafts, decreasing a building’s overall energy efficiency and increasing utility bills. With a sealed building envelope and upgraded mechanical ventilation systems, energy costs can be controlled and a comfortable indoor environment can be created.

Airtight post frame buildings are passive buildings meeting Passivhaus standards for air leakage. This is a residential construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. This standard recommends (not requires), a maximum design heating load of 10 watts per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14.

Unlike most United States standards for energy-efficient homes, this standard governs not just heating and cooling energy, but overall building energy use, including baseload electricity and  domestic hot water.

These buildings have air leakage rates of less than .60 AC/H @ 50 Pascals (2012 IECC Code allows an air infiltration rate up to 3 AC/H @ 50 pascals). Use no more than 1.39kWh per square foot in cooling energy. Use no more than 4,755Btus per square foot in heating energy, and maintain a maximum entire building energy usage ratio of no more than 11.1kWh per square foot.

Airtight post frame buildings are extremely energy-efficient because mixing of indoor and outdoor air is extremely limited, reducing energy bills associated with heating and cooling. Besides a dramatic reduction in energy bills, expect improvements in building comfort, and whole house and heat recovery ventilation system energy efficiency. Moisture infiltration systems will be reduced.

When post frame buildings are constructed with airtightness and energy-efficiency in mind, it can lead to unintentional problems, like excessive moisture and CO2 levels. Thankfully, most of these problems can be corrected with proper installation of a mechanical ventilation system – condensation on exterior walls and windows, excessive indoor humidity, poor indoor air quality, mold and mildew.

Since airtight post frame buildings do not allow for a transfer of indoor and outdoor air, they need one or more mechanical ventilation systems to help ensure a building receives enough fresh air and indoor air, along with excessive moisture and particulate matter, is properly vented outside. This can be accomplished with fans, air ducts and ventilation control systems with sensors monitoring indoor CO2 levels.

Trained professionals can look at a proposed post frame building’s critical systems, including HVAC, lighting and plumbing, and help determine best upgrades to reduce consumption. These may include custom mechanical ventilation systems and sensors to help control indoor air quality and achieve optimum ventilation.

Faced or Unfaced, Correct Screw Pattern, and Connecting Two Units

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about use of faced or unfaced insulation, the correct screw pattern, and viability of connecting two buildings together.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Should I use faced or unfaced insulation in my pole barn attic w/ ridge vent? DAINE in PALMER

DEAR DAINE: In order for your ridge vent to be effective, it does need to have an intake – ideally from vented soffits. Make sure there is at least an inch of clear space above any attic insulation, to allow unobstructed airflow from eave to ridge. You should be using blown in attic insulation. Your need for a vapor barrier below your blown in attic insulation depends upon your number of heating degree days (please see link in this article: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/10/ceiling-vapor-barriers-in-post-frame-construction/).

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am building a house on 24″ truss centers and want to know if this is the correct way to install the medal rood? 7/16 OSB synthetic felt and 1X4 purlins to mail the medal to will this sweat or have problems and is this the correct way to go? KENNY in OSAGE CITY

DEAR KENNY: I would recommend you use 2×4 purlins placed wide face towards your OSB sheathing. You want to make certain you have securely fastened purlins with nails long enough to penetrate through OSB and 1-1/2 inches into each truss top chord.

Reasoning for 2×4 is you should be using 1-1/2 inch long screws, placed in flats of roofing and you want entirety of your screw shanks to be firmly into solid wood (OSB will not hold your screws). Here is your correct pattern for screw placement:

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If I buy two units, can I connect them in anyway or turn two units into 1 long unit? NATHAN in SAN LUIS

DEAR NATHAN: Yes to both – however please let us and our third-party engineer design all of your project together. When buildings become lengthy in relationship to width structural design challenges can occur in relationship to an ability to adequately transfer wind loads from roofs to endwalls. By doing an entire structural design, we can insure your finished product will remain standing and useful for a lifetime.

 

 

A Contractor for Your Barndominium Part III

A Contractor for Your Barndominium (Part III)

Miscellaneous Topics:

Do Not Change Your Plan

Once your plans have been permitted, do not make changes. This allows openings for expensive “Change Orders,” and will have an allowable timeline effect. In cases, this will require you to resubmit to your local jurisdiction and could involve months of waiting.

Deal only with a licensed building contractor.

Many states, as well as smaller jurisdictions require contractors for construction services to be registered or licensed. License number should be displayed on all business cards, proposals and any other contractor materials.

Verify the license.

Do not just assume registration is valid. I once hired a contractor who provided a copy of his license to me. Only later (when there was a problem) did I find out it had expired and had been altered. Call issuing agency to confirm it is valid.

Require insurance.

Require both a certificate of insurance showing liability insurance coverage AND proof of workers compensation insurance for all workers. Some contractors are registered with an industrial insurance account, however they report their workers as having zero hours, and pay no premiums. These workers are NOT covered.

If someone is hurt, and uninsured, you can very well be held liable.

Know who you are dealing with.

Doing business with a Contractor who has a good reputation for doing jobs right, in an ethical manner and at a reasonable cost is an ideal situation. Ask for references and then verify them.

What I Would Pay Extra For:

Fully engineered structural plans specific to my building at my site (I would not build without them)..

Steel roofing and/or siding (other than bare Galvalume or White) with Kynar paint, fastened with 1-1/2” powder coated diaphragm screws.

Greater than Building Code minimum wind and/or snow loads.

5/8” Type X drywall. Added investment is minimal, it is more resistant to dents and affords greater fire resistance.

Inspections and Codes

Building Codes are a bare minimum standard. Their main focus is on Life/Safety/Hygiene issues and limited structural capacity. Code is not quality. I know of no tradesperson who would build anything for themselves merely “to code.” Building standards are written to protect occupants for a limited time during catastrophic events. It is assumed all structures will be partially, if not completely damaged.

Inspectors and inspections vary per individual. How much do they know? How much time do they have to spend on this site? Codes they are familiar with are bare minimum standards and they cannot go beyond them. Politics sometimes plays a role and back-up from their Building Official varies. Most jurisdictions do not do roofing inspections. This generally is a directive from higher ups and deals with Safety. Most contractors do not follow State Safety Requirements for their workers and it puts workers and Inspectors in potentially dangerous situations.

Do Not Pay for Anything not On-Site or Completed

Re-read this over and over. 

Make payments for materials jointly to General Contractor AND supplier (avoids liens).

Require written lien releases from all parties who have provided materials or labor through your General Contractor.

When your General Contractor says he or she is completed, again have your architect walk through with you. Make a written “punch list” of all deficiencies discovered and provide to General. Only once all of these items have been corrected and an Occupancy Permit has been provided from your Building Department, should you make final payment.

Do Not pay ahead on a promise!

After reading all of this you may be wondering what you are paying a General Contractor to do, as your frequent involvement is needed in order to achieve your ideal dream outcome. If this happens to be your case, it may behoove you to pocket these funds and do it yourself!

A Contractor for Your Barndominium Part II

A Contractor for Your Barndominium (Part II)

Liquidated Damages

For most people, you are financing your barndominium and have logistical issues prior to being able to occupy. Negotiate a hard date for project completion, using a start date based upon Building Permit approval. After this completion date, you will assess builder a monetary penalty for given time periods (daily, weekly or monthly). For some, loans need to be extended (fees), living arrangements changed (fees) and storage incurred. These fees should escalate over time. Don’t forget to add in extra for your time. Contract should spell out any mutually acceptable construction delays including “Acts of God.” Under no condition should you occupy any portion of your barndominium, prior to final completion.

Bonding

For as little as a few hundred dollars, a legitimate contractor can acquire a performance bond (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/contractor-bonding/) ensuring the contractor will complete the job according to your contract. If they fail to perform, this performance bond guarantees no money will be lost in bringing in another contractor to complete unfinished  work.

During Construction

Visit Your Site

Tend to your site often. Show up at least twice a week (if not daily). During your visit, take pictures, lots of pictures. Purchase a camera with a Date and Time Stamp. Identify areas, in picture, with some type of signage, “Master Bedroom from Door Entrance” would be an example. By your project end you should have hundreds of pictures of every phase. Get a thumb drive if needed. Be able to read your “Approved Drawings” as well as all Installation Instructions.

Site Conditions

I cannot stress this enough, it has been my experience the single biggest project quality indicator is organization. A good job site should seem organized. If your project site is disorganized, trashy, and cluttered, so is your project. This should be your indicator to take more pictures and notify the General Contractor this is unsatisfactory. Every sub-contractor should have a clause in their contract they should clean up their mess. It also means your General either doesn’t care, or is not holding their Subs accountable. If you do not want to be responsible for clean-up and hauling off trash, make certain to include that in the contract.

Under no Circumstances Provide Assistance.

An impulse to “help” or “get a job done” is natural. Remember once you touch something, or provide support in any way, you have some liability. Every trade should have all needed tools, power, and equipment for the job they are doing. They are supposedly Professionals.

Keep Meticulous Records

Keep every bill, every material delivery, and every correspondence. Always communicate in writing with the Contractor. If you have a phone call, back it up with at least an email summarizing your conversation and get a response. Never delete an email. You might want to set up a new account just for your project. Never, ever, take “their word” for anything. ANYTHING.

Hire an Architect to view your project at Framing. 

Have a Registered Architect do a “Site Visit” once framing is complete and before drywall. Not only will he/she look at structural components, but this is when to catch issues potentially causing future challenges. They should give you a written report regarding any deficiencies in quality per specifications in your contract, engineered building plans and assembly instructions. This is money well spent and will potentially save you thousands over your building’s life. Give this report to your Contractor and get a date by when these items will be corrected–in writing!

Drywall

Drywall has two functions. Main function is fire resistance (not fireproof). A secondary function is architectural, as it is your interior finish base. In limited cases, it also provides shear capacity. In general drywall should be screwed at 7″ at the edges (minimum) and 12″ in the center. It should be 1/2″ (I prefer 5/8”) thick in most of your barndominium. With commercial bookshelf girts, drywall should be installed vertically (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/11-reasons-post-frame-commercial-girted-walls-are-best-for-drywall/ ). Do not allow “mud” patches as they will eventually crack and fail.

Finish Work

This is more for aesthetics and functionality in your project. In construction, this is entirely up to you to get what you want and have paid for. Ensure instructions from suppliers are followed. Read them. Visit site daily at this phase. Take pictures!

A Contractor for Your New Barndominium

A Contractor for Your Barndominium (Part I)

I have done my best to be a member of any barndominium, shouse (shop/house) or post frame house discussion group on Facebook with any sort of activity. If I had a quarter for every post from people looking for a building contractor, I could head to a casino and play quarter slots for days!

In my humble opinion, looking for a general contractor before one owns land and has settled on a custom designed floor plan to best fit their property, their wants and needs, is entirely foolhardy.

My previous writings have espoused how to thoroughly vet a contractor. I am going to wax poetic here and give a few pointers few of you will follow (although all of you should).

Your work starts before you sign a contract.

  • ASSUME YOUR PROJECT WILL END IN COURT
  • ASSUME YOUR CONTRACTOR IS UNTRUTHFUL
  • ASSUME YOUR PROJECT WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE
  • ASSUME YOUR PROJECT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN EXPECTED

Failure to accept these four statements will set you up for grave disappointment.

Don’t let price or warranty be your only guide.

Many building owners subscribe to a concept of obtaining three bids and if they all appear to be roughly equal, taking the lowest bidder. This is simply not always a good practice, especially if there is a large disparity between prices. Be extremely cautious of prices substantially lower than others. It can mean a mistake has been made, or something is being left out. Compare all specified items carefully for discrepancies. Do not assume everyone has included all items (this happens frequently). Low bid Contractor may be planning on shortcuts in quality, making you ultimate loser.

Be wary of unusually long warranties as an enticement. It is reasonable to expect a year or two of warranty for labor.

Read contract thoroughly, including all terms and conditions.

Keep in mind a good contract is written to provide clear communication between the two parties.  It also protects both parties, and should never be “one sided”.  From my years as a general contractor, a well thought and spelled out contract (in writing) made for smoothest projects. 

Before agreeing to any work (as well as making any payment), require a written proposal describing in plain language what work will be done. Do not sign a contract you do not fully understand. If anything makes little or no sense, ask for a written explanation. Still feel dazed and confused, or not getting what you feel are straight answers? Pay a one-time fee so a lawyer can walk you through what, exactly it says and alert you to vague language. Terms such as “Industry Standard” have no real definition.

A total price should be as inclusive as possible. Any unforeseeable work or unit prices should be clearly addressed (like what happens if holes are difficult to dig). Maintain all paperwork, plans and permits when job is done, for future reference.

Familiarize yourself with contract terms.

Contractor’s proposals and contracts should contain specific terms and conditions. As with any contract, such terms spell out obligations of both parties, and should be read carefully. Be wary of extremely short or vaguely worded contracts. A well written contract should address all possibilities and may very well take more than one page. Payment terms may vary, however most will require payment in full upon completion of all work. Do not pay for all work until the Contractor has finished the job.

A statement regarding compliance with applicable Building Codes should be included. If contractor is doing building permit acquisition, it should be stated in writing and a copy of the permit should be provided prior to work starting.

Standards for workmanship should be clearly specified. For post-frame buildings this would be Construction Tolerance Standards for Post-Frame Buildings (ASAE Paper 984002) and Metal Panel and Trim Installation Tolerances (ASAE Paper 054117). Depending upon the scope of work, other standards may apply such as ACI (American Concrete Institute) 318, ACI Concrete Manual and APA guidelines (American Plywood Association).

Ideal Post Frame for Growing Cannabis

Today’s guest blogger is Alan Wood.  Alan Wood is the founder of Weekend Gardener. He has a strong passion for plants and gardens. Alan spent his life long to research and test new techniques in this field. With the aid of his son and three other associates who aren’t just fond of but are titled experts in different fields, he always tries his best to give you the latest updates and new knowledge regarding gardening.

For a hobbyist, amateurs and commercial growers of marijuana who reside in places where seasons show dramatic shifts in temperature, humidity, and climate, growing their crops inside a post frame building or a greenhouse may be the only way they can truly ensure their crop’s health. In fact, in many extreme cases, planting inside these structures maybe the only way a grower can truly cultivate these plants.

A post-frame building is ideal for extending cannabis growing season and also for protecting seedlings from various environmental conditions. As a grower, do you know what is an ideal post frame building for growing marijuana?

With complete honesty, there is no one specific all-cure design for a post frame building. Especially for cannabis, building an ideal post-frame building depends on many factors. So instead of teaching you what an ideal post frame building is for growing cannabis, we will try to guide to help you decide, strategize and build an ideal post frame building for growing your cannabis.

GUIDE #1: SELECT A POST FRAME BUILDING BASED UPON CLIMATE

When planning growing structures for your crops, make sure to build a type of post-frame  building most suitable to ambient temperature and humidity in your area. Understand there are two types of post frame buildings – hot and cold. Cold frames are structures usually built to protect crops from strong winds and rain. For countries in the tropics where climate can be either very dry or very wet, cold frames are ideal. However, if you live in a colder environment where frost can potentially kill your crops, a heated post frame building, known as Hot Frame, is most suited.

GUIDE #2: DETERMINE SIZE REQUIREMENTS. 

Growing a tall variety of cannabis in a small post-frame building will limit plant growth and can easily take up too much space. It is very important to plant shorter strains of cannabis ones not growing above your waist. One great type of an Indica variety is Royal Cookies (80% Indica) strain. This cannabis is well known for being short. Its structure does not spread out. Another strain perfect to grow in a post-frame building is Tutankhamon. It is a Sativa-dominant strain and is quite compact and small. You will notice how short it is after just 15 days of growth.

GUIDE #3 CONSIDER YOUR SPACE. 

Create a plan for your post frame building on paper. Layout how many plants your post frame building’s floor area and its estimated height will fit. 

Cold frames are usually built to be smaller than hot frames. They are also normally set directly on the ground. Hot frames will have a heat source installed to warm the whole structure. Thus, hot frames will need a higher ceiling. As we mentioned, there is no one specific ideal type of post frame building. Do not believe anyone who says otherwise. Who best can tell you what you need but yourself? 

Follow these guides above to help assess and build your ideal post frame building for cultivating cannabis.

Tear Down and Move, Stitching Roof Steel, Foundation Size

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about the chance Hansen Buildings will “tear down pole barns and move them for people, too?…”, stitching the overlap on steel roofing, and what happens to foundations when adding a second floor to a “Barndo.” 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you tear down pole barns and move them for people, too? It’s a 30’ x 40’ metal pole barn, which we want to reassemble at our new home. Can you help? DARYL

DEAR DARYL: As we are not contractors in any state, no we do not tear down and/or move pole barns or any other type of construction.

Do this because you have some sort of emotional attachment to your pole barn, not because it makes economic or practical sense.

A Registered Professional Engineer should first be engaged to advise what upgrades will need to be made so building meets current Building Codes. Most pole barns have concreted in columns, so same engineer can design a foundation system for your new location. Among choices would be concrete piers with brackets (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/).

It will cost as much to disassemble as to reassemble, plus costs of moving and replacement of damaged materials.

Some house movers are capable of moving post frame buildings, it may be less expensive than tearing down and rebuilding.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Steel roofing. I’m looking at the drill pattern I am wondering why the overlap steel does not have the screw closer to the overlap rib. Are any stitch screws used at the overlap rib joint? No stitch screws came with kit. KURT in SAINT HELENS

screwsDEAR KURT: Steel roofing and siding panels are designed so overlapping ribs have a slight over bend to them. If you place two panels on a flat concrete slab, properly overlapped, you can see how overlapping rib appears to “ride up” slightly on side away from panel edge. When screw is placed alongside overlapping rib, it causes panel to lay flat and give a smooth overlap. This allows for panels to be installed without stitch screws in overlap, in most instances.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi I’m interested in a “Barndo” style home. I would like to ask you a question. If I would like a second story, does the foundation need to be beefed up; for lack of better term? TROY in DALLAS

DEAR TROY: Footing diameters will need to be increased proportionately to adequately distribute second floor weight (dead load), plus its “live” load (occupants, furnishings, etc.). It isn’t life’s end by any means, We live in a shouse (shop/house) two stories throughout plus a partial third floor in a portion. All needed footings will be spelled out in the third-party engineered structural plans we (www.HansenPoleBuildings.com) provide with your building.

 

Winch Boxes – Episode V

Winch Boxes – Episode V

Hey if George Lucas can have his second Star Wars movie be Episode V, why not me?

Back on task, with winch boxes. Most of you have Googled them overnight. I can hear you nodding your heads.

Thought you could Google anything and get an answer, didn’t you? Me too, but what you are looking for is a well-kept secret.

Every set (either two to lift a pair of trusses, or four to lift two pairs along with all purlins and bracing between) of winch boxes I have ever seen were fabricated by whoever was using them.

The most common version is a welded up steel box with 5-5/8” inside dimensions and no bottom. This open bottom will later allow a “box” to be slid over a 6×6 column top. Attached to this box top (welded or bolted), is a reduced drive hand crank winch designed for a boat trailer.

Most of these crank units seem to come from Harbor Freight – and a caution is to use ones with steel gears, as opposed to nylon gears. I’m told nylon gears just do not have the needed durability.

In most cases, steel cable is used for lifting, although straps could be an alternative. 

Regardless, winches and cables or straps need to be adequately rated for weight being picked up.

Have a column size other than 6×6? If 4×6, add a block of 2×6 to appropriate column side. 

Larger than 6×6, chainsaw a notch into the column top to fit the box.

Another variant of winch boxes (requires use of cables only and twice as long), places a pulley wheel on the column top, and the winch is attached to a flat steel plate affixed to the column outside. This method does afford the ability to do lifting from the ground, instead of having to crank off from ladders.

I’ve successfully lifted two sets of 80 foot span roof trusses, along with all roof purlins and truss bracing, using winch boxes.

Those who have built and used them, rave about time (and small financial investment) spent fabricating truss winch boxes as being well worth it.  And these days, so easy to resell on eBay.

I’ve suggested to several people for them to manufacture lots of these, and rent them out. Even though there is a market – no one has taken me up on it as of yet.

Courtesy of Alex, please enjoy these photos.

 

 

 

Winch Boxes- A Post Frame Miracle

Winch Boxes – a Post Frame Miracle

Back in my M & W Building Supply days we had provided a pole barn kit package to a client in Woodburn, Oregon. One of Jim Betonte’s Farmland Structures post frame building crews was doing erection in our client’s back yard. Our office received a hostile phone call from this client about lunch time. He had come home to get a bite to eat and found his new building’s roof all framed up. 

And on the ground.

And he was less than happy…..okay he was pissed off.

He was furious because he did not want heavy equipment, like a crane, run across his yard to lift his roof up. Luckily we were able to talk him down and assured him when he came home from work his roof would be up in place and there would be no tire tracks.

True to our word, when he came home, his roof was up, there were no tire tracks and he wanted to know how we did it.

Jim’s crew refused to tell him!

Our office wouldn’t either!

We were having way too much fun at our client’s expense. He was pretty sure we had used a helicopter, he even asked his neighbors if they had heard anything unusual.

Nope.

In much of our country, post frame buildings are constructed with a truss or trusses aligned directly with building’s sidewall columns. Purlins (generally and hopefully) on edge span distances between trusses. 

I will share with you this miracle (in pictures) eventually. But first, a few words about my friend who has provided these photos.

Alex Welstad was working in Florida and Texas, doing disaster recovery following hurricanes Irma and Harvey. He returned to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2017. His Florida building partners had a prior history of erecting pole buildings for years, so it was a natural niche for them. Their first year about 20 buildings were constructed and earlier this year (after another 20 or so buildings) Alex’s building partner decided it was time to move on – leaving Alex as the main man. In my short time of knowing Alex, I have learned to quickly appreciate his thirst for knowledge and willingness to work both hard and smart to have happy clients. You can learn more about Alex and his business here: http://www.builtmammothstrong.com.

Stay tuned to this station for our next exciting installment (and those promised photos).

Checks and Splits in Post Frame Timbers

Checks and Splits in Post Frame Timbers

Checks and splits in post frame timbers (wall columns) are often misunderstood when assessing a structure’s condition. There are two means where checks and splits can form in wood elements: during seasoning, or drying, and during manufacture.
Development of checks and splits after installation occurs after wall columns have dried in place. Usually these were installed green, especially after a recent pressure preservative treatment. Due to their size, it’s not practical for timbers to be kiln dried. Some are air dried for a period of time prior to installation, but mostly they are installed green, and therefore, are allowed to dry in place.
During the seasoning process, stresses develop in wood as a result of differential shrinkage often leading to checking, splitting and even warping. Wood fiber separation results in checking and splitting. Due to innate wood characteristics, it shrinks and swells differently. Generally wood shrinks (or swells) approximately twice as much tangentially to annual rings as compared to radially. Additionally, during initial drying process timber outside inevitably dries quicker than interior, causing differential stresses to develop.

Combined effects of these drying stresses in a post often, and sometimes inevitably, result in formation of a check or a split. Since wood’s weakest strength property is tension perpendicular to grain (similar to how wood is split with an ax), drying stresses can result in a check or split forming in a radial direction across annual rings. However, while these seasoning characteristics may initially appear as problematic, they likely are not. It is important to remember as wood dries, it becomes stronger. Furthermore, the development of these seasoning characteristics is, quite often, normal. Most importantly, both are accounted for in derivation of design values for timbers and are also accounted for in applicable grade rules.

A check is separation in wood fibers across annual rings of a piece of wood and a split is a separation of wood fibers across annual rings but through a piece of wood. A third type of fiber separation, known as a shake, occurs along annual rings and is generally a naturally occurring phenomenon in standing trees, not a result of seasoning. There are several types of checks and splits defined and handled in grading rules for timbers.
In evaluation of post frame timber columns normal checks and splits can often be interpreted as problematic by some design professionals with respect to allowable design values. However, in most cases they are not. There are instances, however, where a check or split may reveal an important issue or a problem. For example, a relatively large split across a severe slope of grain.

Still concerned? In many locations glu-laminated post frame building columns are available, usually at a slight premium. Individual members of glulams have been dried prior to fabrication and pose little chance of checks or splits.

Placing Purlins Overhanging Lowered End Truss

Properly Placing Post Frame Building Purlins Overhanging Lowered End Truss

Even professional post frame building erectors have challenges with concepts like properly placing purlins when they overhang a lowered end truss. 

What could be so difficult, one might ask, you just space them the same as all other purlins, right?

Well, sort of.

End trusses, in this scenario, are placed lower on columns than interior trusses. At interior trusses, purlin tops are even with top of truss. At ends purlin bottoms are across top of truss. In order to compensate for this differing geometry, thickness of roof purlin adjusted for roof slope needs to be taken into account.

Reader (and builder) ALEX from COEUR d’ALENE writes:

“Hey Mike,

 Long time lurker, first time question.

I have a building that I need to build overhangs on. I always have a hard time finding the starting number for that first block. (We run the purlins over the top of the gable truss.  We build on ground and use crank boxes just for some insight)

I find if it’s not perfect it’ll grow and by the time we get to the top it’s not square anymore or straight  

If you have any insight that would be great!”

Please note: photo is of Alex’s building, this is not a Hansen Pole Building.

This is copied from the Hansen Pole Buildings Construction Manual:

After laying out fully recessed purlin locations on interior trusses place one of interior trusses flat on a level surface. 

Lay an endwall truss on top of interior truss, holding end truss top chord vertical lowering distance (indicated in table below) lower than interior truss top

 IMPORTANT:  Align two truss ends.

Working from lines drawn on interior trusses for purlin locations, mark on endwall truss top where pencil lines on interior truss are at the intersection of these two trusses. See Figure 52-3

These will be rake purlin locations as they cross end the truss.  

Figure 52-3 Marking Rake Purlin Locations

As an alternative to this marking, a similar procedure to Chapter 9 (Hansen Pole Buildings Construction Manual) can be followed, with this immediately following exception.

Using Table 52-2 ADD length shown (Example: 4/12 slope and 2×6 rake purlins = 1-13/16”) to FIRST RAKE PURLIN SPACING ONLY, and draw marks on truss top accordingly.

Balance of rake purlins will be on standard purlin spacing from the first pair of marks.

 Table 52-2

ADD TO FIRST RAKE PURLIN SPACING
    Purlins (inches)
Roof Slope   2×6   2×8   2×10
2/12   7/8   1-3/16   1-1/2
3/12   1-3/16   1-13/16   2-5/16
4/12   1-13/16   2-7/16   3-1/16
5/12   2-5/16   3   3-7/8
6/12   2-3/4   3-5/8   4-5/8
7/12   3-1/4   4-1/4   5-3/8
8/12   3-11/16   4-13/16   6-3/16

 Needing more tips and tricks for successful post frame building erection? Just ask, or better yet – make your next post frame building a Hansen Pole Building!

Ag Exemptions, Truss Spacing, and Concrete Vapor Barriers

This week the Pole Barn Guru discusses ag exemptions for building permits, the effect of spacing trusses at 12′ or more, and concrete vapor barriers.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do I have to have a permit to build one poll barn on Ag land? DANIEL in PIERSON

Building PermitDEAR DANIEL: Many jurisdictions nationwide exempt true agricultural buildings, on agriculturally zoned land from building permits. A practice I disagree with entirely – as it places these buildings at risk of failure due to under design of critical structural components.

Please read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/exempt-agricultural-buildings/

To find out if you would need a permit, or not, is going to take a phone call from you to your local Building Department and asking them.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Guess this is where to ask questions? We are planning a pole building 40X72 and would like to space the Trusses at 12ft or more? I see you say no problem but what would it take for this? Is it heavier trusses or heavier purlins? Just not sure the requirements for more spacing. Thanks! BRIAN in WARRENSBURG

DEAR BRIAN: You have come to the right place. Changes in truss and column spacing impact more than just having “heavier” trusses. Your entire building structure should be reviewed and sealed by a Registered Professional Engineer to properly incorporate all applicable loads for your site. Just a few possibly affected areas are column footings, column depth and diameter, amount of concrete around base of columns, uplift prevention, wall girts, roof purlins, truss bracing….just to begin with.

Each set of building dimensions and loading condition can have their own best design solution from both economic and functionality aspects. Hansen Pole Buildings’ Instant Pricing system™ allows for nearly instantaneous pricing of various truss spacings – down to fractions of inches!

Please read more about post frame (pole) building truss spacing here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/06/pole-barn-truss-spacing/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Does the vapor barrier under the concrete slab of a pole barn need to cover the poles and splash boards at the perimeter of the concrete? Or do I just lay the vapor barrier on the ground and not up the sides? I am using 10 mil Stego. Thanks for any help! JARROD

DEAR JARROD: You should extend vapor barrier up columns and to top of splash planks.

Information on Stego™ vapor barriers can be found here: https://www.stegoindustries.com/stego-wrap-vapor-barriers

 

 

What DP Ratings Mean for Post Frame Windows and Doors

Let’s start with a definition of Design Pressure. According to AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association), WDMA (Window and Door Manufacturers Association), and NAFS (North American Fenestration Standard), Design Pressure (DP) is a rating identifying loads induced by wind and/or static snow a product is rated to withstand in its end-use application. So basically, DP is a performance specification for how strong a window is, expressed in how many pounds per square foot (psf) of pressure a window can withstand. This specification can fluctuate based on several factors, such as geographic location, building height, window location on a building, etc. All of these factors are used to calculate what Design Pressure (DP) needs to be for a specific window or door.

During testing, a window or door is attached to a wooden frame and clamped to a specially designed wall. Air pressure is gradually reduced on window inside, increasing outside pressure until window fails (breaks beyond repair). Test pressure must reach 1.5 times the design pressure for 10 seconds without window suffering permanent damage. In other words, a window with a DP of 30 would have to withstand 45 psf. The instant window fails, psf is recorded and is used for calculation. Laboratories will then issue labels indicating DP for this specific window or door – labels used by Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and other organizations.

Design Pressure you need for windows in your barndominium, shouse (shop/house) or post frame home will vary. For example, in Florida, DP required for a window can range anywhere from DP 35 (if you are in state’s center) to DP 60 (if you are located along the coast). Your local building department can assist you in determining what DP rating is needed, based on location and building design. Most municipalities have maps or easy-to-read charts clearly explaining proper Design Pressure requirements needing to be met in order to effectively protect your home. You can then verify windows you are considering meet required DP ratings by checking window stickers and matching it to engineering window drawings.

Pondering a Cabin Dilemma

Pondering a Cabin Dilemma

With barndominiums, shouses (shed/houses) and post frame homes becoming increasingly popular, there are many who gaze fondly at existing pole barns and consider converting some or all of these spaces into living areas.

Reader MATT writes:

“Hi, I’ve been following your links and comments on different pages and trust your opinion on a dilemma I’ve been pondering. I have some recreational/hunting ground in IL and it has a 40×60 loafing shed open to the south. It’s a Bonanza building from maybe the 80’s. Great for equipment and parking a camper in but it’s dark and dreary in the camper and my wife doesn’t like it, lol. My dilemma, convert one 15’ bay into a nice one or two room living area with windows in front and on one side wall for weekend use or…..build a small cabin in the barn lot and forget about using the shed. I’m not sure if there is any value in building inside of the old shed since I have plenty of land to spot a cabin. It’s off grid so utilities are not a factor. One plus is the shed doesn’t look like anything from the road and in effect offers camouflage from break-ins. A basic thumbs up or down will be appreciated! Thanks and keep posting the helpful info on pole barns.”

Thank you for placing your faith in me. I do make a concerted effort to give best possible answers – even when it is not what people want to hear. Whether it makes money for Hansen Pole Buildings or not, our desire is to see people get into buildings they love and feel they have gotten a great value.

My friend, I am sure you have heard this adage before, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It sounds like your ground may become less recreated unless some upgrading is done.

In order to convert some or all of your existing building you would need to have it reviewed for structural adequacy by a Registered Professional Engineer, ideally one with a fair amount of post frame (pole barn) building design experience. There are very few of these engineers around and you want to do it right. Ideally an engineer who is a NFBA member (www.NFBA.org National Frame Building Association). It is  just not worth risking life or limb, damage to one’s valuables, or having other unexpected issues. Chances are good your footings are inadequate, columns may require adding members, wall girts are certainly over stressed, if you intend to support an attic off trusses, they will require an engineered repair. This is just a partial list. 

You can probably build a nice post frame cabin for less than using your existing building. Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Rick Car is currently erecting his own hunting cabin in Wisconsin. You can find his story in my blog articles over recent months. Go to www.HansenPoleBuildings.com click on SEARCH in upper right corner of page. Type in a search term and relevant articles will be brought up. To find Rick’s story, type in his name.

Show me Your Barndominium Plans Please

Like a bunch of little kids exploring differences in body parts – “You show me yours, I will show you mine.” Barndominium, shouse (shop/house), post frame home want to be owners are not far removed from here when it comes to floor plans. In numerous Facebook groups I see this request over and over!

Each family truthfully has their own wants and needs – ones where chances of anyone else’s plans being ideal for them being close to those of winning a major lottery.

Gambrel roof pole barnFor those who have been following along, I have covered preliminary steps leading to actually designing a functional and affordable floor plan.

Step number one, determining if a new barndominium is even a financial reality: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/how-much-will-my-barndominium-cost/

Once fiscal reality has sunk in – your new barndo will need to be located somewhere: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/08/a-place-for-a-post-frame-barndominium/

And unless you and your significant others have been squirreling away stacks of Franklins or are independently wealthy, financing must be secured: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/borrowing-for-a-d-i-y-barndominium/

With all of these steps squared away, it is time to start considering a floor plan. Popular home spaces and sizes need to be determined: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/room-in-a-barndominium/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/the-first-tool-to-construct-your-own-barndominium/.

I read about people in barndominium planning stages looking for free or low cost design software, attempting to put room sizes and orientations together in a fashion making any sort of sense. This becomes daunting and can be an all-consuming struggle, regardless of how many pads of grid paper you own.

Most people are not far removed from reader MARK in WAYNESTOWN who writes:

“Looking for a 3 bed- bath 1/2- open kitchen living room vaulted ceiling concept and maybe with 1 or 2 bedroom loft up top — and 2 car garage in back what size of pole barn should we look for?”

Here is where it is well worth investing in services of a design professional. Someone who can take all of your ideas, those wants and needs and actually craft a floor plan best melding them with the realities of construction. 

Hansen Pole Buildings has just this service available and it can be done absolutely for free! Read all the details here and we look forward to continuing to walk with you in your journey to a beautiful new home: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

Typical Wall Bracing Details for Pole Barns

There are many ways to permanently brace walls of pole barn (post frame) buildings. Most of these methods are utilized in buildings not designed by a Registered Professional Engineer (RDP). A RDP who has a great deal of experience with post frame building intricacies would first be looking at a structural design to utilize steel siding and roofing’s shear strength.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ independent third-party engineers use values obtained from actual full scale testing of steel panels done under supervision and auspices of engineer Merl Townsend: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/this-is-a-test-steel-strength/. These test results, and those of other tests, are published in the NFBA (National Frame Building Association) Post-Frame Building Design Manual https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/.

Recently reader JOSE from GONZALEZ asked:
“What are the typical wall bracing details for pole barns? Best locations?”

In utilizing steel skin strength, in many cases, needs for other wall bracing is eliminated. This makes for no extra expenses and ease of assembly. When wall bracing is needed, it is usually added closest to corners, where shear load forces are greatest.

For cases where strength of steel skin is not adequate to support loads, the International Building Code (IBC) provides for wall panels to be braced by adding either Oriented Strand Board (OSB) or plywood. This most often occurs when a wall (or walls) have large amounts of openings (doors and windows) or in cases where buildings are tall and narrow, or very long (usually width of three to four times building length). An engineer can determine the applicability of this as a design solution. Installation of added sheathing is generally fairly simple and requires (in most cases) minimal extra framing materials.

X bracing is often found in non-engineered buildings and can be either of dimensional lumber or steel strapping. Actual effectiveness of either of these is limited by an ability to add enough fasteners to resist loading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/diagonal-bracing/.

Rural Renovators recently constructed a very tall post frame building where they utilized a triple set of 2×6 X bracing at building corners: https://www.facebook.com/ruralrenovators/videos/2089528207814164/

In any case, my recommendation for proper post frame building correct structural design is to only use plans designed by a RDP (engineer).

Sliding Doors, Building Height Increase, and Wind Ratings

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about why Hansen does not sell sliding doors without the rest of the building, creating more space in an existing building, and wind rating comparison of post frame, stick built, and steel frame buildings.

Figure 27-3

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello.  I saw a video of a heavy duty hardware for sliding doors on YouTube which I’m curious if you sell. I’m building a boat house in a restricted covenanted subdivision in south Mississippi using standard home construction.  I’m trying to find hardware to accommodate two 7 wide x 14 tall Hardie sheeted doors. Do you have hardware?  If so, how much and what is the availability? ROD in MISSISSIPPI

DEAR ROD: Thank you very much for your inquiry. Due to challenges of shipping sliding door components without damage, Hansen Pole Buildings only supplies doors with an investment into a complete post frame building kit package. You might try reaching out to I-Beam Sliding Doors at (800)776-3645 and be sure to tell them I sent you.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m writing to you from one of your old states, Idaho. I just bought a 10 acre farm which has a pole barn; dirt floor, no power, etc. I would like it to be taller so I could pull my camper into it but it only has a standard 8’ tall door. I have been thinking that rather then trying to raise the roof, perhaps I could or should dig down a couple of feet and pour a concrete pony wall all around it and then pour my concrete floor. So I guess my question to you Mr. Pole Barn Guru is, which is going to be the better or more economical way to go? Raise the roof or dig the foundation down deeper? Thank you for your time! TRAVIS in NAMPA

DEAR TRAVIS: How about choice C?

Attempting to increase your building’s height is going to require services or a Registered Professional Engineer to ascertain what modifications would need to be done in order to ‘raise the roof’. Besides his or her services, you will have materials and lots and lots of labor and equipment rentals.

Concrete pony walls are not an inexpensive proposition, plus you are disrupting existing column embedment – again an engineer should be involved. If you go this route, you will also have to deal with a downward sloping approach into your door.

Choice C – erect a new third-party engineered post frame building kit to fit your camper. When all is said and done, this will probably be your least expensive as well as best structural option.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the wind rating on pole barn compared to steel or frame buildings? RONNIE in REEDVILLE

DEAR RONNIE: Any type of building system can be engineered (emphasis on “engineered” as being actually designed by a Registered Professional Engineer) to resist a given wind speed and wind exposure. What makes a huge difference is what sort of financial investment comes along with increasing a system’s ability to support increased loads. Post frame (pole barn) construction boasts of some efficiencies in regards to increased wind design other systems lack. By having columns embedded in ground and running continuously vertically, without joints or hinges (such as stick frame) weak transition points between foundations and walls, as well as wall/floor/walls are eliminated. Post frame buildings have fewer connections, in general, and connections are weak points of any structural system.

As you shop for a new post frame building, investigate added investment in increasing design wind speeds by 10, 20 or even more mph (miles per hour) beyond Building Code ‘minimal’ requirements. You might be surprised at how little of a difference actually exists!

 

Flexible Solar Panels for Post Frame Buildings

My first article regarding thin-film solar panels was penned seven years ago: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/solar-panels-2/

Reade SHEREE in MAKANDA writes:

“I have an existing metal sided and roofed pole barn that is >30 years old but still in good shape. I have been entertaining the idea of trying to incorporate solar panels onto the roof, but worry about the load on an older clear span design. Then I read about the integrated thin solar sheets and wonder if this can be incorporated as a retrofit on an existing building. Can you give me an idea if this is even a possibility?”

Possible and practical do not always provide similar answers. I am one of those who tends to leap onto new technology fairly quickly and I have yet to be able to run numbers to confirm solar energy return in savings is worth my investment.

Solar panel technology is rapidly advancing every year, and new developments like flexible solar panels are constantly being released and improved upon. 

A standard monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panel is made up of silicon wafers. They are typically up to 200 micrometers thick, slightly thicker than a human hair. In order to make a “flexible” solar panel, those silicon wafers must be sliced down to just a few micrometers wide. Using these ultra-thin silicon wafers gives solar panels many unique properties, including flexibility for some models.

Flexible solar panels made of ultra-thin silicon cells have been around for a while. More recently, research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has given way to advances in organic solar cells. Instead of using silicon as a basis for solar cells, researchers have found a way to use organic materials with electrodes of graphene. Until now, a limiting factor on panel flexibility has been typical electrode brittleness, but due to graphene’s transparent and flexible nature, this method may lead to thinner, more flexible, and more stable solar panels in the future than what we can currently make.

Current flexible solar panels available to post frame building owners fall under the category of “thin film panels.” A thin film solar panel is made with layers over 300 times smaller than standard silicon solar panels, giving them a much thinner profile and can even make some thin film panels flexible. Thin film panels are lightweight and durable, and can be an intriguing option depending on a solar project’s needs. 

There are very few (if any) solar installers who offer flexible panels as part of a rooftop or ground-mounted system. 

Biggest advantage of flexible panels is their ability to fit many types of solar projects. If your roof can’t bear heavier loads of traditional solar panels due to structural concerns, lightweight flexible panels like thin-film may be a great solution, not compromising your post frame building’s structural integrity. Because flexible panels can be shaped to fit surfaces they are installed on, they can be easily installed on less conventional structures like your pole barn.

Financially, flexible panels will likely reduce installation costs of your solar array. Flexible/thin film panels require less labor to install, and they are much more portable and easy to handle than typical panels, as they can be bulky and heavy and require heavy-duty roof mounting systems.

Most common obstacle for thin film or flexible solar panels is their lower efficiency than classic panels. Today, efficiency ratings for average monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels hover between 16 and 20 percent. Thin film solar panels typically offer an efficiency of between seven and 13 percent. This lowered efficiency means you will need more solar panels to produce the same energy amounts. Flexible solar panels aren’t a good fit for many rooftop solar projects, because there may not be enough roof space to produce your desired amount of energy.

Overhead Door Header Problems

Overhead Door Header Problems (and More)


Reader MITCH in NASHVILLE writes:

“I recently purchased a property that the previous owner had just built a 30×50 pole barn on. It has foil faced double bubble on the roof and walls. I need to heat and possibly cool the space. What are the options for insulating the ceiling? The ridge is vented. There is no soffit and thus no vent there. The trusses are 5ft apart. Your all-seeing wisdom is appreciated.”

There are times I wish I was not what Mitch feels is “all-seeing”, because I find lots of problems in photos building owners are unaware of. 

Back in my post frame building contractor days I would go visit some of our newly constructed buildings, as time and logistics allowed. I generally had very, very good crews and we had an extremely high satisfaction rate from our clients. I would find things wrong (in my eyes anyhow) and send crews out to make repairs. More than once I would field phone calls from clients asking what was going on. They were perfectly happy with their buildings. I would explain to them they might be satisfied, but I was not!

Mitch’s photo shows a frequent challenge posed with post frame buildings where headers (in this case more appropriately known as truss carriers), support trusses between columns. I am not a gambler, but would place money on this not having been an engineered building. Just guessing, this builder used the same size truss carrier for all locations. Usually these truss carriers would be sized to support a single truss centered between two columns. Here, due to door location and width, this carrier supports two trusses, or double what it should have been carrying. 

Look back at this photo – there is a noticeable sag across overhead door top! This same sag will be evident along sidewall eave line outside.

Before any thoughts of insulating are considered, a competent professional engineer should be engaged to design an appropriate repair for this header. Engineer should be advised this header will also need to be capable of handling the weight of a ceiling without undue deflection occurring.

Moving forward, contact the roof truss manufacturer to get a truss repair to upgrade trusses to support at least a five psf (pounds per square foot) bottom chord dead load, with 10 psf being even better. Each truss should be stamped with information of who fabricated them.

Once header and truss repairs have been completed, use white duct tape to seal all gaps present in your roof’s radiant reflective barrier. Without these being sealed, there is a potential for warm moist air to get between barrier and roof steel and condensing.

Place ceiling joists on hangers between roof truss bottom chords every two feet. Your previously engaged engineer can verify if 2×4 Standard ceiling joists will be adequate.

Install vents in each gable end. Placed in the top half of each gable, a net free venting area of 360 square inches or more will be required for each endwall.

Hang 5/8” Type X gypsum wallboard on bottom of ceiling joists, leaving an attic access somewhere towards building center. Have a spray foam insulation installer apply closed cell foam along a two foot strip closest to each sidewall. Blow in fiberglass, cellulose or rock wool insulation across remainder of ceiling surface.

Overhead Door Install Without Concrete Floor

Overhead Door Install Without a Concrete Floor
Reader WILLIE in SHELBYVILLE writes:

“ I am building a pole barn and I am not going to pour concrete on the floor just a rock base and I am going to install an overhead door. My question is what do I need to stop the door from coming out of the track at the bottom when closed?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:
While you may not intend to ever pour a concrete floor in your building, there is a better than good chance at some point in time this will change. Maybe for you, perhaps for a future owner. For this reason, overhead doors should always be placed to allow for a nominal four inch thick concrete floor – with bottom of door up 3-1/2 inches from the bottom of pressure preservative treated splash plank.

If this is not done, and a concrete slab on grade is to be added later, your overhead door will need to be taken out. Overhead door and top jambs will need to be raised by 3-1/2 inches – entailing cutting this off bottom of all steel siding panels above door opening. Side jambs will need to be lengthened at top, probably causing more steel jamb trim to have to be obtained.

This results in an issue with sealing overhead door bottom, to prevent your neighbor’s cat from living inside of your building. I have had clients solve this gap challenge in many ways, all resulting in a bump or hump across door opening. Most usually it is done by creating a gravel berm.

I also deferred to Hansen Pole Buildings’ overhead door expert, Rick Ochs. In his past life, Rick operated an overhead door sales and installation company.
Rick’s answer:

If I understand correctly:
There is a threshold at door opening. His rock base is lower than that imaginary line from jamb to jamb. He doesn’t want the rollers to fall out of the bottom of the track when the door goes down.

When my crews would install overhead doors without any flooring or concrete in place, they would mount a 2x to the inside face of the overhead door posts with the top edge at threshold height. The outer corners of the overhead door would then rest on that until concrete was poured. Some customers would temporarily build up the threshold with aggregate, but this rock gets pushed around and has to be built up continually.


Where the red is butted to the inside face of posts:

Planning for a South Carolina Post Frame Home

Planning for a South Carolina Post Frame Home

A barndominium, shouse (shop/house) and post frame home wave is sweeping across America. There are numerous articles available on Hansen Pole Buildings’ website – just click on SEARCH (upper right of any page) and type in BARNDOMINIUM and hit ENTER and relevant articles will appear for your reading pleasure.

Loyal reader LANE in NORTH AUGUSTA writes:

“Hello,

I’m currently planning a post frame home in North Augusta, South Carolina.

I’m planning to build 72x40x16 with a wrap around overhang around one end and part of the front or 84x40x16 with the last 12′ bay open to create the end porch then a lean-to on part of the front. 

I’m curious firstly on the shipping. There are a few local businesses here that sell kits and will erect the building as well if desired. How much will freight affect my final cost if I buy from you vs. sourcing it locally? I haven’t gotten any prices from the local companies yet. I decided to reach out to you guys first because I’ve been reading your blog and it seems like you really have this pole building thing figured out. I’m also really interested in the design and plans that you provide. Do these also include the interior walls, plumbing and electrical, or is it just the shell of the building?

I’ve already drawn up a simple floor plan for the living space that really fits our needs so I’d like to incorporate that.

Thank you for your time. Look forward to hearing back.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru answers:
Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. We have wholesale relationships all across America and will ship bulkiest items, in most cases lumber and trusses, from your locale – freight costs will be no more for you, than they would be to any other location.

We would like to believe we have at least a reasonable idea of what pole (post frame) buildings are all about :-). It is all we do, unlike your local businesses who also do other things – we are specialists.

With your investment into any complete post frame building kit are detailed structural plans showing every member and all connections. For those with living areas, we have available an offer for interior floor plans: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q. For a nominal fee plumbing and electrical can be provided (a hint – your plumber and electrician will normally provide these at no charge as part of their service).

One of our Building Designers will be reaching out to you shortly to further discuss your ideal new building!

Roof Trusses 4′ o.c., Condensation Issues, and a Sliding Door

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about roof trusses at 4′ o.c., ways to solve condensation issues, and sliding door options.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My question is I just purchased some roof trusses that are 32 feet long heel to heel they are constructed with 2 by 4s can I put these on 4 foot centers? Thanks. CRAIG in BELVIDERE

DEAR CRAIG: You can if you want your building to collapse in a moderate snow event. Along with your trusses, you should have received an engineer sealed truss drawing with all specifics as to what can be carried by it and spacing. If you did not, and they are prefabricated metal connector plated wood trusses, there should be a manufacturer’s stamp somewhere on truss bottom chords. You could then contact them and give them truss specifics (and probably a few photos showing lumber grades, web configuration and steel connector plate sizes. From this, they may be able to determine what you have actually spent your hard earned money on.

If you are unable to determine where they came from, another alternative would be to take their information to a Registered Professional Engineer with roof truss experience. For a few hundred dollars, you may be able to get an opinion as to their strength.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I have a 30x46x16 all steel pole barn that I am having condensation problems with. My question is what is the best thing I can install or do to help the problem? I have been told by others to install a ventilation exhaust fan controlled by an thermostat. I do have electricity in barn. I also have a wind turbine I haven’t installed yet too? Should I put both of these items in or one of them? And if so, do you guys install these items? Please help, its rusting all my tools and growing mildew in my RV!! Thanks ALYSSA in LEWIS CENTER

DEAR ALYSSA: You have found a challenge (one of many actually) Quonset steel building providers never seem to mention – condensation (read about other Quonset issues here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/07/quonset-huts/).

The two best things you can do are to seal your concrete floor (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/how-to-properly-apply-post-frame-concrete-sealant/) and have two or more inches of closed cell spray foam insulation applied to the inside of your steel building shell. An exhaust fan might help, provided it can adequately move enough air (need to move between 3000 and 4000 CFM – cubic feet per minute) and it will require an air inlet of similar dimensions. We are not contractors, so we won’t be able to assist you with any installations.

 

Figure 27-5

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi. Not really looking for a whole building. What I am looking for is an exterior sliding door to install onto a shop wall. The Shop is a timber frame unit. The opening is roughly 6 feet wide by 7 – 7.5 feet tall. I have not yet taken exact measurements. I will as soon as I can find a vendor within my price range.

I was very intrigued by your video presentation describing the “nail on” round track system. Also, this shop is in an odd location. It is a basement shop under my house, the house is built on a slope, so the wall I want to put the door onto is at ground level, but the opposite wall is fully underground. Since it is an exterior door to my basement any info on weather sealing for the cold Vt. Winters would be greatly appreciated. ANDREW in WESTMINSTER

DEAR ANDREW: Whilst I can appreciate you thinking a sliding “barn style” door might be a solution, I am doubtful as to it truly being a viable design solution. At best a sliding door will be a challenge to insulate beyond a bare minimal R value. A bigger concern is you are not going to achieve a tight air seal.

A design solution I can recommend (although it may stretch your budget) would be to go with an insulated commercial steel double entry door (six feet wide) in steel jambs. These doors will afford a secure access to your shop, are insulated and can seal air tight.

Although we typically only provide doors with our complete third-party engineered post frame building kit packages, you can message Materials@HansenPoleBuildings.com for a delivered price.

 

Where to Invest in a Pole Barn

Is This Where You Want to Invest Your Hard Earned Dollars?

This excerpt is from an online publication called “Insiders” who promotes to provide advice from local experts. It happens to be from a “Do-It-Best” in Northwest Oregon:

“And if you’re still thinking of installing a pole barn, come in and see us. We have five sets of different engineered plans. Pick a set and we will give you a rough bit (bid), though you can customize it, too and we can help you. If you don’t want to build it yourself, we have a list of guys who can do that for you. We sell pole barns all year long, but before the rains really come down it’s an opportune time to build one. Pricing has remained steady starting at $8,000 for simple designs to $40,000 for barns with all the amenities.”

Those of you who read yesterday’s article should have a feel for what capabilities Hansen Pole Buildings has – if a building fits within Building Code parameters, we would like to believe we can competitively design and provide it. Offering a choice of only five sets of different engineered plans sounds archaic to us!

Pick a set and we will give you a rough bit (I know – it should be bid)…

Seriously? 

Rough?

Before you get started on your new post frame building, we want you to know exactly what you will be investing with us!

Now ignorance is bliss and some folks, well they are very, very happy. Legally (not to mention morally) an engineered set of building plans cannot be customized, without a revised set of engineered drawings being produced. An engineer puts his or her career on the line when they seal a set of drawings – it does not come with free rein to make any changes!

My dad was the oldest of eight siblings. He told stories of how excited he and his oldest brothers were when grandma was expecting, as it meant there would soon be a new baby carriage they could pilfer wheels off from to build a new home made conveyance. While I am sure there were limitations to pre-teen vehicular design, somehow they cobbled together something!

I liken this to being not too far removed from what your local lumberyard can provide for a pole barn kit. They are as far removed from what Hansen Pole Buildings can provide, as my dad’s vehicle was from a shiny new Tesla!

Some of you are content with huge risks of non-engineered buildings. Then I strongly suggest you invest in lots of insurance. Me, I will put my faith in sound, state-of-the-art custom engineered designs.

Hansen Buildings Instant Pricing

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Instant Pricing Program™

Back in 1980, when I was first exposed to pole barns, in order to give a potential client a price quote, I had to do a manual breakdown of all of the components necessary to assemble their building. Luckily, most buildings were fairly simple rectangular boxes, but it was still very time consuming.

This graduated to a price grid – where I broke down common sizes of buildings so at least there was a starting point. Of course any changes in material prices resulted in having to recreate it (again manually).

Then along came my then trusty Kaypro computer – those floppy disks allowed for me to build pricing spreadsheets. If prices changed, all I had to do was make needed corrections, hit recalculate and then return the next morning and they would usually be done! Ah, the wonders of technology!

Luckily, things have changed dramatically when it comes to computers.

Reader BLAINE in RED OAK writes:

“Do you sell the software needed to design pole barns and garages or just design buildings for people?”

Thank you very much for your interest. We spent years looking for software to accurately correctly structurally design, price and do takeoffs for post frame buildings. We even went as far as investing in a few of them. Regardless of how well hyped up any of them were or are – not a one of them began to come close to meeting even a single one of these requirements. Even if we were to severely limit what we and our clients wanted to do with buildings to only a single wind and snow load and very few features, there wasn’t anything. With one we purchased, it was supposedly going to be customer tailored to fit our needs. It was so simplistic we were appalled – when we asked about buildings with or without overhangs we were told most people just throw them in for free!! This program wouldn’t include them.

As a result of this we assembled for ourselves an IT staff second-to-none and along with our third-party independent engineer we built what we consider to be by far our industry’s best possible design software – Instant Pricing™. We continue to expand upon it and add new features daily, it is frankly astounding as it will make changes as fast as I can hunt-and-peck.

But what exactly will it do?

Included in our system is Building Code and climactic (snow, wind, earthquake) data for nearly every jurisdiction in America. It can accurately structurally design any width, length or height rectangular building to a fraction of an inch. Odd roof slopes, no problem. Steps in rooflines, various building profiles – not just gabled roofs but also hips, gambrels, monitors, single and dual slopes, roofline extensions, attached sheds and porches.
Those “throw in for free” overhangs can now be open or enclosed, on one or multiple walls, with varying lengths. End overhangs can be flying gables (gradually tapered), widow’s peaks or turkey tails.

Choices are available for a myriad of roofing and siding combinations. Multiple floors, lofts or mezzanines can be included. This list goes on-and-on!

But it is far more than just an amazing pricing tool. It also generates quotes and invoices and is integrated with our client database. Material takeoffs are generated as well as purchase orders for materials!

Because it is so sophisticated and we make constant upgrades we feel it is not practical to release for public consumption at this time.

For those clients who are searching for an exactly right post frame building, we’d like to believe Hansen Pole Buildings is a right fit. Please give us a call today 1 (866) 200-9657, you will be pleased you did!

Partially Enclosed Buildings

Partially Enclosed Buildings (and Why It Matters)

I have previously written how a fully enclosed building could be less of an investment than a three sided building – even though a fourth wall has been added: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/03/three-sided-building/

For those of you who neglected to click and read my previous article, consider your building as a balloon, rather than a building. Until tied (enclosing your balloon), your balloon is partially enclosed. More air can enter through its neck and if over-loaded “BOOM”!

From a structural aspect on buildings, force multipliers are applied to adjust wind forces upwards in order to combat “BOOM”. But what actually constitutes a partially enclosed building?

A building is considered “Partially Enclosed” if it complies with both of these following conditions (ASCE 7-10, Section 26.2, “BUILDING, PARTIALLY ENCLOSED”):

  1. the total area of openings in a wall that receives positive external pressure exceeds the sum of the areas of openings in the balance of the building envelope (walls and roof) by more than 10%, AND
  2. the total area of openings in a wall that receives positive external pressure exceeds 4 square feet or 1% of the area of that wall, whichever is smaller, and the percentage of openings in the balance of the building envelope does not exceed 20%

IF EITHER IS NOT TRUE, ENCLOSURE BY DEFINITION IS NOT PARTIALLY ENCLOSED.
 
On occasion, building officials will assume a building originally designed as enclosed to be partially enclosed if storm shutters are not provided, a conservative worst-case approach, but is defendable by fact there is no written code provision for this and the structure won’t meet the above definition. Also, everything needs to be designed for partially enclosed, roof, connections, walls, foundation, beams, columns, etc. A building won’t stand if only one part of it is designed as partially enclosed and not the rest.

It is possible to have a building appearing to be fully enclosed, when in reality it is not. 

How could this occur?

Failure to use wind-rated doors and windows!!

Sliding “barn” doors are not wind rated. Neither are most entry (person) doors.

Most sectional overhead garage doors are not wind rated. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/wind-load-rated-garage-doors/

This becomes especially critical in cases of barndominiums, shouses (shop/house) and post frame homes. Many of these have a wall with one or more garage doors. If these doors are not wind rated doors, in an extreme weather condition they could be literally sucked right out of your home, leaving it prone to forces it was not structurally designed for!

Lives are priceless, please do not try to save a few bucks upfront by risking you or your loved ones.

Volatile Organic Compound Ratios

Volatile Organic Compound Ratios
Today’s guest blogger is Cheryl Barneski. Cheryl’s background is as an Owner Operator Long Haul Division of the Class 8 Industry. CDL END X or HazMat and Tanks. She is a Certified Hole Watch, Lock Out, Tag Out Safety Watch in Chemical Plants and is also Certified Entry Level I.S.O Meter Safety Watch.

“This short article is tough to write. As a Former Professional, it was my job to understand proper behavior around or near *Rookies* that may or may not understand one word you said. Things like V.O.C. ratios, or Particle Combinations, some just looked at me like I just spoke a few nasty words at them. Others were just so dern glad to see me that I had to learn how to address the chemical issues before they called all their friends to hear a lecture. Many times I would pull in and the Dock Managers would call all their people to watch the difference between professional handling of potential hazards and what they were doing. This used to cause a few uncomfortable feelings around those that have never witnessed a healthy person become so very ill over time. So, this is dedicated to those that dare to be honest and say I do not know what a VOC ratio is or what it has to do with my dream home. What the fuss is a Particle Combo? Why are they considered potentially dangerous to a new build?

A smart General Contractor sets an order to his building schedule and fully expects his subcontractors to stick to it. Simply because he knows what VOC Ratio means as well as damage done to healthy homeowners if too many chemicals are allowed to cross each other’s paths for any length of time. Do not be afraid while interviewing a General Contractor about his or her VOC Policies.

You can bet that the people that use proper safety apparel while applying their crafts are those that are worth their weight in GOLD. Many of the better independent subs have VOC meters right hand and can show you that your home was tested before, during, and after their work. This lets them know what other chemicals their chemicals are coming into contact with. Smart Pros never NEVER guesstimate what they are turning loose in your home.

crash-test-dummy-symbolThe VOC Ratio meaning the Volatile Organic Compound Ratio meaning particles per square inch numbers lets them know just how much of each product used in your new build are still lingering in the air and what they are mingling with. IF you make a pot of freshly brewed coffee and then make bacon, eggs, and fresh biscuits. The scent lingers. In some cases will wake everyone up to a pleasant odor. It is immediately detected by your natural detector, your nose.

The scents that are known as Particle Combos are a little harder to detect. Your nose may pick up the strong odor of Stain, or paint. What it may or may not pick up is what the paint and stain vapors have become when they made contact. Anything on your labels with an ENE suffix has the skill to bond or to hold. Thus your new build has any number of Particle Combos.

Relax, you have come a long way from where you were before you read this short version of VOC and Particle Combos. It is the reason our dear Nation insists on proper licensing of pros! It gives both the Pro and those using their service that your new build is as VOC and Particle Combo free as a smart contractor can make them.

There are a few minor options available on the market to test your new home yourself. In many cases that is a good thing. The problem is so few understand what to do with the numbers they are looking at.

Migraines, Kidney failure, cancer are caused by those that read a label and think that is all there is to that application. I hope I have clarified that it is just not the truth~ You know about CO2, for example, it cannot be seen or smelled. But it can and will kill. Before you move in. For your own peace of mind have your General Contractor hand you the VOC report on your wonderful, precious home. Where you and your family are going to create powerful, loving, memories. not unaware of health issues.”

Barn Conversions, Raising a Building, and Pole Barns on Concrete Slabs

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses a possible conversion of an old pole barn, raising a building, and how site preparation helps with concrete slabs.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Have a 40’ x 100’, 2 sides enclosed, pole barn I would like to convert to a house / garage combo. Columns are 20’ on center in the front and 10’ O/c in side and back. (Pics attached). Is this doable in Ky and roughly cost per sq ft.? We plan on 3 bed, 2 bath, open concept, 40 x 50 living and 40 x 50 garage. Thank you for your input / knowledge. JIM in FRANKLIN

DEAR JIM: Pole barns for agricultural use are rarely designed by a Registered Professional Engineer and in many cases do not require a Building Permit. If it did happen to be both of those things, it was probably designed to a lower set of design standards than a residence would be. Is it doable? Perhaps, however it may cost so much to upgrade your existing building so as to make it financially unrealistic. If you want to pursue this avenue further, it would be best to invest in services of a competent local Registered Professional Engineer who can do a physical examination of your building and make detailed recommendations as to what it would take to make necessary structural upgrades.

Your best solution might be to erect a new building properly engineered to residential requirements.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a newer pole barn, 30 ft wide, standard trusses 10ft. above the floor. What options do I have to raise the clearance to 14ft? Trusses with a kick up, add a knee wall, scissor trusses? Would prefer whole area at 14ft but could consider just the center 12 ft or so to accommodate a travel trailer. RON in MANISTEE

DEAR RON: It could be possible to increase height of some or all of your building however it will take some significant structural engineering (as well as a serious investment of labor and materials) in order to do so – a competent Registered Professional Engineer should be engaged to visit your existing building, do an analysis and provide a design solution. My educated guess is it will prove to be less expensive to erect a new post frame (pole barn) building to fit over your travel trailer, than to make an attempt to remodel what you have.

pole spacing

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Builders in the northwest Ohio area don’t seem interested in building a pole barn house with a concrete slab. They said not a good idea do to cracking but there are all sorts of commercial pole barn facilities built on concrete pads. Couldn’t I just use fiber in the concrete to help with expansion? MATT in ARLINGTON

DEAR MATT: Your top factor for getting a good result from a slab on grade concrete slab in a post frame (pole barn) home is proper site preparation. (Read more beginning here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/) Just adding fibermesh to your concrete mixture is unlikely to be a satisfactory solution unless you have a great site prepped.

For a pole barn house, you might want to consider building over a crawl space – investment is probably fairly similar, however wood is so much more comfortable to live on.

 

 

 

Tipping Up Post Frame Walls

Reader JIMMY in ROCK HILL writes:

“I want to get your opinion on the pole barn building method seen in the linked video. (RR buildings) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVwUl4cm8fQ I am impressed at the built in efficiency of his process. Is there a benefit to his post ground connection, (i am aware that his method will use lots more concrete. and I assume those brackets aren’t cheap)
I know you don’t recommend attaching the girts till after trusses are on…
I’d appreciate your thoughts.”

Rural Renovators has done a fabulous job of producing videos – if nothing else it is helping to make awareness of post frame construction more widespread. There have been over a million views of this particular video alone!

Things to consider with this method of mounting columns, rather than embedding them – cost of sonotubes (an 18″ diameter tube 4′ long will run around $20), a little over twice as much concrete will be needed for holes (roughly $15 on an 18″ diameter hole), brackets (roughly $50 plus shipping) and mounting hardware. This will be offset slightly by columns being four feet shorter in length. Due to soil bearing capacities, there are many instances where larger diameter holes will be needed, but for this discussion’s sake – probably $75 per hole in minimum added investment is not unrealistic.

As to a structural benefit, I personally prefer to avoid creating a hinge point at grade. Embedded columns take away needs for this connection and connections are a wink link in any structural system. Let’s face it, placing a relatively small column in a relatively large hole and shifting it to where you want it is pretty low tech and fairly forgiving.

Rural Renovators accurately sets all column bases to an equal height, allowing for walls to be framed on ground and tipped up. This does require the use of one or more pieces of equipment – ones your average DIYer does not own, so would have to borrow, or in most cases rent. Due to end and sidewalls sharing common corners, it precludes being able to frame up two walls completely on the ground.

In most cases 2x girts placed wide face (barn style) to wind do not meet Building Code requirements, making bookshelf style girts a common structural solution. On buildings without eave overhangs (extended truss tails) trusses can still be raised straight up column sides with barn style girts, however bookshelf girts take this option away. This means lifting equipment would be necessary to get trusses into place successfully.

For Rural Renovators, they have built themselves a niche in their geographic service area by doing things differently than any possible competitors. This is at the very least brilliant marketing – as when everyone constructs things identically, it forces price to become a defining difference!

Steel Ridge Cap to Roofing Overlap

Hopefully no one wants to create a roof with leaks. Reader MIKE in HARBOR CREEK wants to make sure he is doing things correctly. He writes:

“How much overlap do you have to have with roofing and ridge cap? Is 2.5″ enough and then you use metal to metal screw you do not have to penetrate the purlins?
Ty”

I cannot vouch for how other building providers assemble their buildings, so I will go with how we do it.

To calculate a building’s roof steel length we take one-half of the building’s span (or horizontal measure from peak/ridge to the outside of columns) and multiply this times a factor for roof slope. 

For slope factor – multiply slope by itself and add 144. Take the square root (use a calculator) of this number and divide by 12.

Example to calculate slope factor for 3.67/12:  [3.67 X 3.67] + 144 = 157.47. Square root of 157.47 = 12.549. Divided by 12 = 1.0457.

For a 40 foot width gabled building with a 4/12 slope this length would be 21.082 feet (call it 21’1”).

Outside of columns at eave we have a 2x of some sort as an eave strut, with a width of 1-1/2 inches and roof steel must overhang this by 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches. Using 21’1” for our roof steel length, this means the top edge of roof steel will now be four inches from the peak/ridge.

Standard steel ridge caps are generally very close to 14 inches in overall width, giving somewhere around three inches of overlap on each side. Placed in this overlap will be either a form fitted outside closure strip or a vented closure (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/11/ridge-cap-foam-closure-strips/). Either of these products properly installed will prevent weather (rain and/or snow) from being driven beneath the ridge cap into your building. You can read a little more on correct placements of closures here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/11/outside-closure-and-vented-closure-installation/.

By using metal-to-metal stitch screws to attach the ridge cap to high ribs of roof steel, there is no need to have to miraculously hit any ridge purlins with screws. Here is a brief tale involving a builder who went off on his own tangent https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/stitch-screws/.

In summary Mike, provided you have a 2-1/2 inch overlap, have used proper ridge closures and stitch screws your life will be good and you will have a happy end result!

What is Return on Investment of Adding a Barn?

What is Return on Investment of Adding a Barn?

Reader STACY in HOBE SOUND poses an interesting question:

“What is the national average ROI of adding a barn?”

In the 1980’s my family and I lived in what was probably the nicest area of Salem, Oregon. Many of our neighboring homes (and ours) had been featured in home shows.  Our particular home was just over 3000 square feet (sft) spread across four levels.

During my ownership we made many improvements – outside we added an eight foot tall 1×6 tongue and groove cedar fence, a custom in-ground gas heated swimming pool and enlarged existing decks. Inside we added roughly 1000 sft of living space featuring a free standing wood stove on lowest level and a brick fireplace within Master Bedroom, plus a third garage stall.

We paid $130k for it in 1982 and sold it seven years later for $164k. Our ROI (Return On Investment) was poor (as in negative) as we took our neighborhood’s nicest home and built beyond what our market would support. We did get to enjoy our homes features during our time there, however as far as an investment, it was a poor one.

Your (or any) barn could face similar challenges, depending upon your property’s particular circumstances. In most cases, a well-constructed, engineered post frame barn will be worth more at completion, than it cost to construct and will appreciate over the years to follow.

Often, people assume a barn will increase their property value – not necessarily true. Although you may not plan on moving anytime soon, it’s important to consider the resale value of your building and property.

According to Realtor Magazine, a large, attractive garage or storage building adds curb appeal and resale value to your property. In fact, lack of garage or shop space is a deal breaker for some home buyers.

Luckily for you, a post frame building is a flexible and durable construction method. You can combine your shop, garage, recreation area with storage room to appease future buyers.

To satisfy your curiosity, consult with a Realtor prior to making improvements. They should be able to give you an idea of your property’s value both now, and after your new post frame building is completed.

Unknowedgeable Post Frame Building Suppliers

Reader JEREMY in STAFFORD SPRINGS is experiencing challenges with unknowledgeable post frame building suppliers. I will share his own words with you:

“I am currently attempting to price out for a metal building, post frame or conventional stick built. The dimensions we are looking at is a 40×60 with a 12 foot roof. I am having a hard time locating post frame construction components locally, and when I go to the local supply houses it seems that they are no more or even less knowledgeable than I am with this construction technique. So I figured I would start reaching out. I have a few questions. Do you sell components individually, such as wet set post anchors, laminated columns, roof trusses? Do you design plans that will satisfy code requirements? I live in Stafford Springs CT, which is in Tolland County. I have not spoken with the inspectors office at all yet. I would rather do my research first and come to them prepared.”

Well Jeremy, thank you for reaching out to us. Your dilemma is not unlike those faced by potential post frame building owners everywhere. For being as “simple” as they may look, post frame buildings are very complex structures, involving literally hundreds of pages of background calculations – very few providers have capabilities to do this type of analysis. Post frame buildings are ALL we do – unlike lumberyards and big box stores who, in trying to be all things to all people, end up generally being nothing to anyone.

Hansen Buildings Construction ManualIn order to keep our prices as reasonable as possible, we typically provide only complete post frame building packages. This allows for minimization of shipping expenses and potential freight damage, as well as us not having to provide $200 of Technical Support on a product we make only $100 on (we provide unlimited free Technical Support during construction, if our nearly 500 page Construction Manual and your engineered plans leave you with any uncertainties).

Every Hansen Pole Building comes with third-party engineer sealed structural plans and supporting calculations based upon climactic data for your area.

In your not too distant future I would encourage you to visit with your local Planning Department (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/planning-department-3/) and Building Department (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/01/building-department-checklist-2019-part-1/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/01/building-department-checklist-2019-part-ii/).

Overhead Garage Doors, Galvanized Nails, and Installing a Ceiling Liner

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about the sale of overhead garage doors, the use of galvanized nails, and if Hansen could install a ceiling liner.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you sell overhead style panel doors for pole barns?  I am located in FL and need a 14’x14’ barn door (possibly up to 6 total) for my large pole barn.   Do you know what wind requirements are typically used?  I realize Florida has a 160Mph wind rating due to hurricanes, but I am not sure if I am required to meet this requirement since this is a 25 year old pole barn  I am trying to renovate (& modernize) the look, but paying $4k per door would break the bank.
Any suggestions you have are greatly appreciated.
Thanks, DONALD in ORLANDO

DEAR DONALD: Hansen Pole Buildings provides overhead sectional steel doors only with an investment into a complete post frame building package, due to possibilities of shipping damage. You should consult with your local Building Department, as you may very well need a Building Permit in order to do work such as this. They can verify what wind speed (as well as wind exposure) will be appropriate for your particular building site. Even if a permit is not required, you should only use doors rated to at least these loads – lesser capacity doors may very well not perform as needed and indeed could result in a collapse.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: After scouring the internet I am still confused about using non-galvanized steel nails in the MCA pt treated posts for nailing the girts. I thank you for your time and expertise. FRED in BYRDSTOWN

DEAR FRED: Regardless of whether lumber is pressure preservative treated or not, I have always used hot dipped galvanized nails – why? Because chances are good it will rain (or snow) during framing and non-galvanized nails will rust and leave discolored streaks on your framing. Considering there is such a small price difference, it is worth it to me.

 

Interior Liner SteelDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello! We live in Prior Lake and have a pole shed that needs a ceiling metal liner Installed. I’m having trouble finding anyone to do just the liner and I can finish the rest. I know you’re a few hours away but curious if you have anyone near the cities that could help. The building is a 32×32 with a 12′ ceiling made by Sherman 5 years ago. It has three overhead garage doors.

Thank you, DEXTER in PRIOR LAKE

DEAR DEXTER: Thank you very much for considering Hansen Pole Buildings, unfortunately we are not building contractors, so this is outside of our scope. You might try running an ad in Craigslist under gigs or, as an alternative, check at your local The Home Depot’s Pro Desk as they often have lists of contractors who might be capable of doing your work.

 

Planning for a Post Frame Home

When it comes to planning for a new post frame home, shouse (shop/house) or barndominium, there are a myriad of questions and concerns to be answered and pondered.

Or, at least I hope you are – rather than just stumbling in blindly!

Reader NICK in NORTH CAROLINA writes:

“Hi, I’m looking into options for building a post frame home in the coming year in NC and wanted to understand more of the details regarding your current building products and suggested techniques.  

Do you provide a means to support the posts on top of the concrete pillars with a bracket vs the post being embedded into the concrete?

Your current package only provides for insulation of the roof, no interior walls, correct?

Can another 2×6 skirt board be added to the inside of the building to isolate the concrete flooring from the post and to provide a cavity for insulation to be installed between the outside/inside girts?

Do you have a listing of contractors that are familiar with your products in given areas that could be used to build the structure?

If using the design service listed for $695, does that include the design for all interior walls/rooms/fixtures as well as electrical/plumbing/mechanical?

Thanks for any information you can provide.”

All good questions. In answer to them:

Yes we can provide plans with a third-party engineered design for bracket set columns, as well as brackets. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/

We typically recommend using either a Reflective Radiant Barrier (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/effective-reflective-insulation/) between roof framing and roof steel, or using roof steel with factory applied Dripstop https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/11/drip-stop/

We can provide batt insulation for walls and/or ceilings, however there are more energy efficient methods of insulating https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/06/pole-barn-insulation-oh-so-confusing/

It (extra 2×6 interior splash plank) could, however there are structural advantages to having columns surrounded (constrained) on exterior splash plank interior. (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/importance-of-constrained-posts/) I’d recommend doing a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation post frame style instead: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/post-frame-frost-walls/

Although our buildings are designed for an average literate English speaking person to successfully construct their own building (most of them do, and do a wonderful job – because they will read and follow instructions), for those who do need an erector, in many areas we can provide contacts for you to vet.

Our floor plan and elevation package offer (http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q)  includes all interior walls, rooms and fixtures. For an added fee you can include electrical/plumbing/mechanical (note: typically all of these last three services can usually be provided at no charge by subcontractors who will be doing these specific trades).

Please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions. An answer to most questions can also be found at www.HansenPoleBuildings.com by clicking on SEARCH in the upper right hand corner of any page. Type in a word or two and hit ENTER and up pop relevant articles.

Pre-construction Termite Treatment

Why would anyone building a pole barn, barndominium, shouse or post frame home need to be concerned about treating for termites? Isn’t pressure preservative treated wood going to solve any potential long range problems from pesky termites?

Regardless of whether you build a post frame (pole) building, stick frame, steel frame or even concrete building – if there is any cellulose (wood) based product in your building – you are vulnerable to termites. I have even heard a story about a man who had bags of Sakcrete™ (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/11/concrete/) stored in his garage and termites ate away the paper bags!

Properly pressure treated wood will be termite resistant until it is cut or bored and those areas are not protected afterwards.

There is an old adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” is absolutely true, especially when it comes to building and preventing termites. While it is nearly impossible to prevent anything from happening one hundred percent, pre-treating area where your building is to be constructed, can drastically increase your chances of remaining free of termites.

Goal of pre-construction termite treatments is to form an in ground chemical barrier keeping subterranean termites from coming up from the soil to feed on wood structures or wood/cellulose inside them. Because the area to be treated is free of obstructions (such as a building), this type of treatment is less labor intensive, and requires less termiticide to be used, making treatment less expensive than treating an existing structure. Another benefit of pre-treating is your exterminator can cover every square inch of ground, creating a more secure barrier.

In order to properly treat for termites during pre-construction, area will need to have termiticides applied several times at different stages. Your exterminator will need to be in close contact with you or your builder in order to accurately arrange treatments. Your building design and type of soil it is being built upon may cause some variation in barrier application.

While methods can vary a bit depending on building codes for your specific area, first step for pre-construction termite treatment is usually to treat before a concrete slab is poured. Once land has been graded area should be treated. This is usually done by treating with a termiticide barrier at a rate of one gallon of chemical solution per every ten square feet.

While termites cannot bore into or eat concrete, slabs can crack with time creating perfect entry points for them. If surrounding soil has not been treated, termites can make their way to slabs, through cracks, and into the main structure.

Final pre-construction treatment comes with last grading, but prior to landscaping. It is recommended that a trench be dug approximately four to six inches deep and at least twelve inches from building out into the yard. Four gallons of termiticide is applied for every ten feet surrounding the building in a continuous spray.

After building is complete, it is still a good idea to keep protective barrier intact. This can be done by taking care not to disturb the soil surrounding the foundation in the twelve inch radius. If you plan to add a deck, porch, or other addition to your building, protective barrier should be extended an additional twelve inches into yard from new structure.

A more extensive pre-construction treatment can also be done in place of or in addition to the above mentioned spray method. This type of treatment is known as “rodding” and is carried out by injecting a permethrin based termiticide gel deep into the ground.

Traditional spray methods only allow termiticide to penetrate about one inch into the ground. Rodding uses a metal pole four to six feet in length, and is filled with termiticide. Pole top has a knob keeping pole pressurized. This pole is repeatedly pushed into and pulled out of ground to remove soil, leaving behind deep holes. This is done until a grid pattern of holes, approximately eighteen inches apart is formed. These holes are then injected with termiticide gel in order to keep termites away from the area.

A proper pre-construction termite treatment can last anywhere from two to five years. Even though these treatments are quite effective, it is still recommended to inspect your building periodically for any damage or signs of termites. Also, try to keep the area surrounding  the building free of residual wood or other cellulose based material, as these attract termites. This will ensure your structure is continually protected and will head off any potential infestations before they begin.

Planning for a New Post Frame Home

When it comes to planning for a new post frame home, shouse or barndominium, there are a myriad of questions and concerns to be answered and pondered.

Or, at least I hope you are – rather than just stumbling in blindly!

Reader NICK in NORTH CAROLINA writes:

“Hi, I’m looking into options for building a post frame home in the coming year in NC and wanted to understand more of the details regarding you current building products and suggested techniques.  

Do you provide a means to support the posts on top of the concrete pillars with a bracket vs the post being embedded into the concrete?

Your current package only provides for insulation of the roof, no interior walls, correct?

Can another 2×6 skirt board be added to the inside of the building to isolate the concrete flooring from the post and to provide a cavity for insulation to be installed between the outside/inside girts?

Do you have a listing of contractors that are familiar with your products in given areas that could be used to build the structure?

If using the design service listed for $695, does that include the design for all interior walls/rooms/fixtures as well as electrical/plumbing/mechanical?

Thanks for any information you can provide.”

All good questions. In answer to them:

Yes we can provide plans with a third-party engineered design for bracket set columns, as well as brackets. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/

We typically recommend using either a Reflective Radiant Barrier (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/effective-reflective-insulation/) between roof framing and roof steel, or using roof steel with factory applied Dripstop https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/11/drip-stop/

We can provide batt insulation for walls and/or ceilings, however there are more energy efficient methods of insulating https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/06/pole-barn-insulation-oh-so-confusing/

It (extra 2×6 interior splash plank) could, however there are structural advantages to having columns surrounded (constrained) on exterior splash plank interior. (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/importance-of-constrained-posts/) I’d recommend doing a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation post frame style instead: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/post-frame-frost-walls/

About Hansen BuildingsAlthough our buildings are designed for an average literate English speaking person to successfully construct their own building (most of them do, and do a wonderful job – because they will read and follow instructions), for those who do need an erector, in many areas we can provide contacts for you to vet.

Our floor plan and elevation package offer (http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q)  includes all interior walls, rooms and fixtures. For an added fee you can include electrical/plumbing/mechanical (note: typically all of these last three services can usually be provided at no charge by subcontractors who will be doing these specific trades).

Please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions. An answer to most questions can also be found at www.HansenPoleBuildings.com by clicking on SEARCH in the upper right hand corner of any page. Type in a word or two and hit ENTER and up pops relevant articles.

Torn Between Two Lovers

In reader JEREMY from GOSHEN’s case, he is torn between two methods of post frame construction, rather than one hit wonder Mary MacGregor’s 1976 tune “Torn Between Two Lovers”. 

JEREMY wrote, “I’m torn between trusses on 4′ centers and what you do the double trusses every 10 or 12”.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:

It can be a tremendous pressure to build ‘just like everyone else does’. Because if everyone else is doing it a certain way, then it must be right. Right?

I can assure you trusses placed every four feet is merely how most builders in your area choose to assemble their buildings. In much of post frame construction’s world, engineers, architects and builders happen to place double trusses every 10 to 14 feet, with 12 feet happening to be most common. From a structural aspect, I prefer this wider spacing and doubled trusses. Every pair of trusses rests securely into a notch cut into columns. This physically makes it impossible for a truss to slide down a pole. Trusses are physically connected to each other face-to-face. This reduces risks of one single truss having a weak point, failing and pulling the rest of the roof down with it. With trusses ganged in this fashion, need for lateral bracing of truss chords and webs is reduced.

All roof purlins are connected to truss sides with engineered steel hangers. Trusses on carriers (headers between columns) often have under designed connections – not enough fasteners from carrier to column and truss to carrier. Nailed connection between purlins flat across truss tops is also problematic and in most instances is inadequate to resist design wind uplift loads. (more about this subject here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/04/nationwide-2/) Most post frame buildings with columns every eight feet also have ‘barn’ style wall girts – placed wide face to wind on column faces. Other than in very low wind applications and sheltered sites are these adequate to meet minimal building code wind loads. To read why girts installed this way fail to meet Building Codes please read https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/girts/.

From an aspect of ease of construction – wider spacing means fewer holes to dig (worst part of any post frame building). It reduces the total number of pieces having to be handled by roughly 40%. It makes it possible to assemble entire bays of roof on the ground and lift or crank into place using winch boxes. Safety and speed are paramount to how I prefer to build, being able to do this much assembly on terra firma meets both of these requirements.

Building Near Nashville, Engineered Plans, and Clear Spans

Today the PBG answers questions about building near Nashville, engineered plans for a possible client, and the possible clear span of trusses.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can we have this built near Nashville TN? CRAIG in SAN CLEMENTE

Nashville Tennessee on a map

 

DEAR CRAIG: We can provide a new Hansen Pole Building kit package anywhere in the United States.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, We are interested in one of your barn plans for purchase. We will need engineered plans to submit to our local county development team for gaining approval and permits. Can we get the engineered plans first? TINA in SNOHOMISH

DEAR TINA: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. You will need to complete a building department questionnaire which provides us the necessary load information we need to properly design your structure, with that we guarantee our third-party engineered plans will pass a structural approval. Usually your plans will be sent to you in seven to 10 days after you have electronically approved your documents.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the greatest clear span available? KEITH in NEWARK

DEAR KEITH: In most geographic areas 80 foot, however there are some parts of the country where we can provide as wide as 100 feet.

 

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The First Tool to Construct Your Own Barndominium

Your First Tool to Construct Your Own Barndominium

Whether you are contemplating constructing (or having constructed) a barndominium, shouse (shop/house) or just a post frame home – there is one essential tool you should invest in long before you consider breaking ground. Even if you have hired this world’s greatest General Contractor who will do absolutely everything for you, without your involvement, you still need this tool.

What is it, you ask?

Well, first of all – I will assure you this tool will not break your project’s budget. In fact it is under $30 at your nearby The Home Depot™!

What I am talking about here is a General Tools 50 foot compact laser measure.

This Model #LDM1 compact laser will accurately measure up to 50 foot distances quickly. You can use it to measure full rooms within seconds (handy for discreet measurement taking), all with a push of a single button. Portable and compact, it will easily fit in a pocket!

Just last week you should have read my article on “Room in a Barndominium” (quick, go back and read it again: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/room-in-a-barndominium/). In this article a litany of possible barndominium room choices were listed, along with general floor areas for each of them, based upon overall living space.  From this you have made a list of those rooms you cannot live without as well as ones it would be nice to have, provided they will fit within your available space and budget.

Begin by practicing measuring rooms in your current abode. Note dimensions and if they are too large (it does happen), too small or just right (sounds like a story involving a young blonde girl and three bears, I know). 

Now your real work begins. Saddle up your horse, or favorite other mode of transportation, and start visiting weekend Open Houses. Even better, if you can get into a Home Builders’ Association “Parade of Homes”, as these normally feature new and innovative ideas. You want to visit as many fully furnished homes as is reasonably possible. Why do I say fully furnished? Because empty rooms feel much larger than they actually are. Get out your new tool and start taking measurements.

Once you have accumulated your data, you can start to narrow down how much space will actually be needed to meet with your family’s needs and lifestyle. Keep in mind – all of these measurements are INSIDE dimensions. Eventually you will be adding walls and interior ones will take up at least four and one-half inches.

Starting to get excited?

If not, you should be. You are one step closer to your new dream home!

Yet Another Case for Engineered Buildings

Yet Another Case for Engineered Buildings

(The six photos at https://www.hudsonvalley360.com/article/construction-resumes-following-barn-collapse are essential to this story)

In case you are wondering why I rail so loudly about building permit agricultural exemptions for buildings, these photos (look at bases of columns) should quell any wonderment. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/exempt-agricultural-buildings/

From a September 2, 2019 article by Amanda Purcell at www.thedailymail.net  of Gallatin, NY:

“Construction will resume on a farm on Green Acres Road after the barn collapsed and injured a contractor two weeks ago.

A stop-work order was issued for Red Hook-based Bijou Contracting immediately after a barn collapse injured a contractor at 138 Green Acres Road on Aug. 16, according to documents obtained from the town.

A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries and had to be airlifted to Albany Medical Center after he became trapped under the debris, New York State Police Sgt. Michael Comerford said Aug. 16.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at 9:55 a.m. The contractor, a man, was extricated from the debris by Northern Dutchess Paramedics before firefighters arrived on the scene, Livingston Fire Department Public Information Officer Dana Petty said.

Comerford declined to identify the man or state the extent and nature of his injuries out of concern for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Building Inspector and Zoning Code Enforcement Officer Jake Exline declined to comment on the incident, investigation or what might have caused the collapse, but documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request showed a stop-work order was issued to Bijou Contracting the same day as the collapse.

The underlying 7,200 square-foot barn structure was mostly complete at the time of the collapse, according to photos. Photos obtained via Freedom of Information Law request show debris toppled over two scissor lifts. Photos show cement footings were released from shallow halls as a result of the collapse.

“Any and all work is to be stopped pertaining to the construction of permitted pole barn,” according to the notice signed by the zoning officer Aug. 16. “All debris is to be cleaned up and removed from the property. All construction equipment used during the construction process is to be stood back up, and removed. Once the site is clean, we can have a meeting to discuss going forward.”

The building permit was not revoked by the town, and work is expected to continue after all the materials are cleared from the site. As an agriculture building, the structure’s plans were not subject to review by the Gallatin Town Planning Board.

The building permit for the 48-foot-by-150-foot pole barn on the 89-acre farm was issued July 2 by the town to property owner Alex Fridlyard. The project was estimated to cost $70,000.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then those of this building’s woeful inadequate concrete piers and mounting brackets speak volumes. With an engineered building, those concrete piers would probably have been two foot or more in diameter, four feet deep (to meet frostline requirements in this area) and columns would have been mounted to engineered brackets adequate to resist imparted forces. Hopefully someone learned from this experience. However my fear is history will be sadly repeated.

Don’t let a situation like this become your mistake – for a fully engineered post frame building call us (866)200-9657

A Free Post Frame Building Critique

A Free Post Frame Building Critique

I am going to offer a free critique of this post frame building.

From a design aspect, I wouldn’t consider investing in a residential (or residential accessory) post frame building without overhangs. Not only do they make buildings look far less industrial, they also afford weather protection above doors and push runoff or slide off away from walls. With overhangs building walls stay cleaner and large snow piles sliding off roof are far less likely to dent siding and overhead doors.

Enclosed overhangs, in combination with a vented ridge, provide for adequate air flow from eave to ridge to assist in preventing condensation. 

Note there is a very small space between top of overhead door openings and roofline. This means these particular overhead doors will need to have low headroom tracks in order to open. In many cases this precludes an ability to have a remote garage door opener. Low headroom also tends to not open as smoothly. Certainly it would be impossible to have a ceiling installed at a future date (provided trusses were loaded to be adequate to support extra ceiling load).

For virtually no extra cost, overhead door openings could have been dog-eared – a 45 placed in opening upper corners. This makes building again look more like it fits in one’s backyard, rather than an industrial park.

Look at wall bottoms. There is maybe two inches of pressure preservative treated splash plank showing. Due to this, when entry door landings or aprons in front of overhead doors are poured, to avoid having concrete poured against steel siding, there will be a significant step. There is also no base trim (aka rat guard) at the base of walls to stop critters from venturing in through steel siding high ribs.

It is very easy to see nearly every roof and wall steel panel overlap. When properly applied, these laps should not show. This is a craftmanship (or lack thereof) issue.

Missing from sidewall tops is any sort of trim. Even though steel siding and roofing is manufactured (in most cases) on machines with computer controlled cutoffs, there is some slight variance. This variance is going to show either at the base of walls, or at the top. By having trim at wall tops, any slight differences can be hidden.

Structurally – wall girts flatwise on column outsides on spans such as these fail due to not meeting Building Code deflection limitations. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/girts/

All of these items mentioned above would not be an issue with a new Hansen Pole Building. We seriously lay awake at night thinking of ideas to prevent clients from making crucial mistakes – we want to avoid you owning a building you will hate forever! 

Looking for a building done right? Call 1(866)200-9657 to speak with a Building Designer today – call is free and there is no obligation or charge!

Responsibilities Where the Legal Requirements Mandate

Responsibilities where the Legal Requirements Mandate a Registered Design Professional for Buildings (Section 2.3 of ANSI/TPI 1)

MPC is Metal-Plate-Connected; RDP is Registered Design Professional (architect or engineer).

In preparation for specifying MPC wood trusses, every section of Chapter 2 and ANSI/TPI 1-2007 (NOTE: ANSI/TPI 1-2014 retains same language) standard should be carefully studied by the RDP. In preparing this article, we assumed that the RDP will view a complete copy of Chapter 2 for a full understanding. Specific sections selected for discussion are cited by paragraph and subparagraph numbers.

Under Section 2.3.1 Requirements of the Owner, we note three sections that can help prevent truss erection accidents, and in some cases improve in-service truss performance. Over the past two decades, industry safety documents recommended that for truss spans over 60 feet, the Contractor should “See a registered professional engineer” for temporary bracing information. In many cases, Erection Contractors failed to follow the advice, and some accidents and performance problems stemmed from inadequate temporary and permanent bracing. The new ANSI/TPI 1 standard now requires action by the Owner and RDP as given in the following paragraphs:

2.3.1.6 Long Span Truss Requirements.

2.3.1.6.1 Restraint/Bracing Design.

In all cases where a Truss clear span is 60 feet (18m) or greater, the Owner shall contract with any Registered Design Professional for the design of the Temporary Installation Restraint/Bracing and the Permanent Individual Truss Member Restraint and Diagonal Bracing.

2.3.1.6.2 Special Inspection

In all cases where a Truss clear span is 60 feet (18m) or greater, the Owner shall contract with any Registered Design Professional to provide special inspections to assure that the Temporary Installation Restraint/Bracing and the Permanent Individual Truss Member Restraint and Diagonal Bracing are installed properly.”

The importance of these new paragraphs to truss safety and reliability cannot be overstated. When executed by the Owner and RDP, these provisions for long span trusses should be effective in preventing truss erection accidents and ensuring in-service truss performance. “

Your New Building: Can You Build It Yourself?

Can you really build your own pole building?

In short – of course you can!

For those who will look at the plans and read the directions, you will build a far better building than hiring it done. Why?  ‘Cause you will follow the instructions and take the time and care with your building! As I tell most clients who are doubtful they have what it takes –“Hey – it’s not rocket science!” You just have to be willing to read and follow all the directions.

Those people who say to me, “I can build anything” are the ones who really scare me.  I get far more phone calls from these types saying they are “short” or “long” on pieces…and neither one is the right answer. Just about every single time it’s because they did not read the directions!

 Take this simple test to see if you can build it yourself:

  1. Have you read this far and understand what I’m talking about?

Good!  One down and one to go!

2. Do you know what a hammer is because you’ve seen it in the garage or found

one in the kitchen drawer?

Yes? You SCORE!    You are my type of builder – you can build a nice building.

OK – maybe it’s not quite that simple.  But the attitude of “this is a kit and I will have to do cutting, pounding nails and reading the plans and directions” – goes a long way in my book.

Important factors to consider prior to taking on a build it yourself project are physical ability and …time. We’ve had individuals in their 80’s build their own buildings, but they were in good physical condition.  Nothing like Ma out there on top of the building putting on the roof steel – cuz’ Pa is afraid of heights!

Ok  – I’m tattling on myself here – because when my wife and I recently helped one of our grown sons to build a garage…well….yep – I confess – it was my darling bride up there on the roof in the hot Tennessee sun putting on the roof steel and ridge cap. Made me want to marry her all over again!

Time is….yes…money.  You need to weigh in the average number of hours involved in constructing your own building as compared to paying to have it built. The “break even” cost is about $20 an hour.  If you can make $40 an hour doing what you do for a living, you may want to consider paying to have your building constructed for you.  This assumes you are relatively “construction challenged”  – i.e. – “unskilled labor”.

And then there are those who really relish the whole “weekend warrior” thing and take pride in constructing their own building.  I’ve known guys who round up their buddies for a several weekends and take turns working on each other’s new garages.  The equipment, tools, labor…and the beers they tossed down at the end of the day were shared with camaraderie and pride in their joint accomplishment. One family got their entire host of relatives gathered while “Dad” was on vacation – and built him a new workshop/garage…as a surprise. The look they captured on his face when he returned home and had a new garage for his RV was amazing!

Whether you decide to construct your own building to save money, or just enjoy the challenge and adventure of a build it yourself project, make sure you get easy to read and understand plans and directions. These should be plans most engineers would endorse.  This is not a place to “make it up as you go along”.  And definitely is not where you take direction from an old friend because “he built a garage once and it looked ok”.  Do diligent research, get your tools (and friends or relatives) lined up, and then…have fun!

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.

 

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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.