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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.

Barndominium: Building Kit or Building Shell?

Barndominium: Building Kit or Building Shell?

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

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

Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Shouse in Andover?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Temporary Client Insanity – Truss Problems?

Temporary Client Insanity – Truss Problems? 

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

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

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

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

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

Our Technical Support response:

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

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

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

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

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

Another crisis averted.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Thanking you in advance. JUDYANN in HEMET

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

 

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

As the Architect Turns

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

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

Moving forward from our last article:

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

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

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

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

Dan writes:

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

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

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

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Oops from a Competitor’s Architect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

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

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

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

Thanks again for your time.”

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

New Pole Buildings Cost Money

New Buildings Cost Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

Job Site Storage of Polycarbonate Panels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Use Categories, Water Leaks, and Matching a House

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

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

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

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

DEAR CAROL: Get rid of the water.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Storage of Steel Roofing and Siding Panels

Storage of Steel Roofing and Siding at the Job site 

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

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

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

Two Rules to Live By:

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

2)  Keep panels dry.

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

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

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

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

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

Steel Roofing with Condenstop or Dripstop And Jobsite Storage  

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

Proper Storage of Trusses at the Job Site

Proper storage of trusses at the job site.

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

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

Trusses store best when standing upright.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Storing Lumber for a New Pole Building

Storing Lumber for Your New Post Frame Building

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

Dry lumber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Material Storage for Barndominiums

General Material Storage

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

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

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

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

General Material Storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Thanks JEREMY in PENNSYLVANIA

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

Don’t Make Mistakes on Horse Stall Doors

Don’t Make Mistakes on Horse Stall Doors

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pole Building - Horse Stalls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blaine, Wash./Pacific Highway, BC

Sweetgrass, MT./Coutts, AB

Pembina, ND./Emerson, MB

International Falls, MN / Ft Frances, ON

Detroit, MI/Windsor, ON

Port Huron, MI/Sarnia, ON

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

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

Alexandria Bay, NY/Lansdowne, ON

Champlain, N.Y./Lacolle, QC

Derbyline, VT/Stanstead, QC

Calais, ME/St. Stephen, NB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1- 800-329-0973.

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

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

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

Post Frame Construction On Clay Soils

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

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

Reader JEFF in GAMBIER writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monitor Barn Truss Challenge

When All Else Fails a Monitor Barn Truss Challenge.

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

There exists a solution to every post frame challenge.

A Post Frame Addition, California Muster, and Ventilation

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Thanks, DAN in LOS ANGELES

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Feedback Needed From RDP’s and Building Officials

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

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

I have developed a professional respect for a builder based in Northern Idaho. Recently I visited his website and saw some photographs leading me to ask about how he solves “barn style” wall girt design issues. He was right on top of it – his photos were of older buildings and he switched to all bookshelf style wall girts years ago, I applaud him for doing so!

Lots of architects, engineers and building officials read my articles, thank you! Your wisdom is appreciated. Attached is an example set of wall girt calculations. If there is an error in any direction, or something missed, your feedback would be more than appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Code is 2015 IBC (International Building Code)

Building Summary

Building Footprint Width 40′
Building Footprint Length 60′
Building Footprint Height 17′
Square Footage (area contained by embedded poles) 2400 ft2
Total Roof Area 2745 ft2
Total Wall Area 3191 ft2
Building Eave Height 17′
Roof Style GABLE
Slope 4/12
Roof Height 20.33′
Building Conditioned Yes

Wind Summary

Vult 110 mph
Vasd 85 mph
Risk Category I
Wind Exposure B
Applicable Internal Pressure Coefficient 0.18
Components and Cladding Design Wind Pressure
Zone 1 -19.78
Zone 2 -32.985
Zone 3 -49.217
Zone 4 -23.522
Zone 5 -27.936
Zone 1 Positive 11.826
Zone 2 Positive 11.826
Zone 3 Positive 11.826
Zone 4 Positive 21.188
Zone 5 Positive 21.188
Duration of Load for Wind 1.6
Structure type Enclosed

wall girt size: 2″X6″
spacing between girts = 22.5″

girt span = 139.875″
supported by 2×4 blocking every 139.875″


Fb: allowable girt pressure
Fb‘ = Fb * CD * CM * Ct * CL * CF * Cfu * Ci * Cr NDS 4.3
CD: load duration factor
CD = 1.6 NDS 4.3
CM: wet service factor
CM = 1 because girts are protected from moisture by building envelope
Ct: temperature factor
Ct = 1 NDS 4.3
Cfu: flat use factor
Cfu = 1 NDS 4.3
Ci: incising factor
Ci = 1 NDS 4.3
Emin: reference adjusted modulus of elasticity
Emin = 470000 psi NDS Supplement
Cr: repetitive member factor
Cr = 1.15 NDS 4.3
lu: laterally unsupported span length
lu = 139.875″
le: effective length
le = 1.63 * lu NDS table 3.3.3
le = 244.496″
CF: size factor
CF = 1.3 NDS 4.3
CL: beam stability factor
CL = 1 NDS 3.3.3
Fb‘ = 850 psi * 1.6 * 1 * 1 * 1 * 1.3 * 1 * 1 * 1.15
Fb‘ = 2033.2 psi

fb: girt test pressure
fb = 6 * 0.6wall_wind_force / 144 * girtSpacing * span2 / 8 / (b * d2) NDS 3.3
fb = 6 * 17.389 psf / 144 in.2/ft.2 * 24″ * 139.875″2 / 8 / (1.5″ * 5.5″2)
fb = 937.255 psi
937.255 ≤ 2033.2 stressed to 46% 6″X2″ #2 OK in bending


Fv‘: allowable shear pressure
Fv = 135 NDS Supplement Table 4-A
Fv‘ = Fv * CD * CM * Ct * Ci NDS 4.3
Fv‘ = 135 psi * 1.6 * 1 * 1 * 1
Fv‘ = 216 psi NDS Supplement

fv: shear girt pressure
fv = 3 * (0.6wall_wind_force / 144 * girtSpacing * span / 2) / (2 * b * d) NDS 3.4
fv = 3 * (17.389 psf / 144 in.2/ft.2 * 24″ * 139.875″ / 2) / (2 * 1.5″ * 5.5″)
fv = 36.854 psi

36.854 ≤ 216 stressed to 17% 6″X2″ #2 OK in shear

Deflection

Δallow: allowable deflection
l = 139.875″
Δallow = 139.875″ / 90
Δallow = 1.5542″
Δmax: maximum deflection
Δmax = 5 * 0.6W * spacing * span4 / 384 / E / I from http://www.awc.org/pdf/DA6-BeamFormulas.pdf p.4
E: Modulus of Elasticity
E = 1300000 psi NDS Supplement
I: moment of inertia
I = b * d3 / 12
I = 1.5″ * 5.5″3 / 12
I = 20.796875 in.4
Δmax = 5 * 12.173 psf / 144 psi/psf * 24″ * 139.875″4 / 384 / 1300000 psi / 20.796875 in.4 components and cladding reduced by .7 per footnote f of IBC table 1604.3
Δmax = 0.37401″ ≤ 1.5542″

Be Safe When Fiberglass Insulating Your New Pole Barn

Recently I read a thread in a discussion group where a person posting was not going to use closed cell spray foam insulation in their pole barn due to safety precautions needed when installing. This got me wondering just how safe or unsafe installing fiberglass insulation is, so I started doing research.
Fiberglass insulation, also sometimes known as glass wool, is made of tiny fibers of spun glass. As with any type of glass, threads making up fiberglass can break, leaving sharp edges. Contact with fiberglass fibers can cause miniscule cuts as well torturous itching. Best way to avoids cuts and itches is to wear proper protective gear when working with such insulation.

Wear a hat or hood when working with fiberglass to keep those itchy little fibers from getting into your hair. This is especially important if you are insulating very tall walls or ceilings. Any kind of hat will do as long as it sits firmly on your head and does not impair your vision in any way.

Goggles and a dust mask are crucial safety equipment because those tiny glass fibers can irritate your eyes and lungs. Choose large safety goggles fitting securely all around your eyes, including sides. You do not need a heavy-duty filtration mask when working with fiberglass. A simple dust mask available at any hardware or home improvement store should provide an adequate barrier to keep fiberglass particles from being inhaled.

Wear a disposable coverall to help protect your clothing because once glass fibers become embedded in fabric, it’s almost impossible to get them back out. Wear long sleeves and long pants underneath your coverall for extra protection. It is not necessary to tape coverall wrists and ankles.

Wear gloves when handling fiberglass. Open-weave knit gloves will not provide enough protections from tiny glass fibers, so wear gardening gloves or lightweight work gloves to protect your hands. Whether or not you wear gloves when working with fiberglass, wash your hands thoroughly even if you are only taking a short break. This will help you keep from inadvertently spreading fiberglass fibers to your face, hair or anything else you may touch.

Back in my Lucas Plywood & Lumber days, I shared an office with Al Mercer, who ran their insulation installation department. One trick I learned from one of his old time installers – apply baby powder or cornstarch before placing fiberglass insulation, on any skin apt to be exposed. These will fill skin pores and prevent itching.

More Post Frame Ultimateness!

I am not even certain “ultimateness” is a word, if not, it should be!

In yesterday’s article I left you with a cliff hanger. Today I will talk you down. We disclosed one solve yesterday, today’s is even bigger.

“Can my building’s trusses support a ceiling?”

This lament gets answered over-and-over in my every Monday, “Ask the Pole Barn Guru” column. Traditionally pole barns were farm buildings. Rarely did anyone ever finish an interior, or live in one. Due to this, pole barn trusses are most often designed to support minimal weight from bottom chords. Sometimes this design loading is as little as ½ psf (pounds per square foot), but more often one psf.

Now one psf happens to be wonderful for things like minimal wiring and lighting. What happens when one wants to install a ceiling? Whoops.

Part of “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” includes us doing our best to assist clients in avoiding scenarios they will regret forever. An inability to support an initially unplanned-for ceiling would be way high on this list.

Most commonly ceilings are 5/8-inch thick gypsum wallboard (sheetrock). This is my ceiling material of choice, both for low investment outlay, as well as Type X providing some degree of fire resistance. Drywall is not light, roughly 2.3 psf. It also has to be supported by something other than widely spaced trusses. Ceiling joists (most often 2×6 every two feet) will add nearly a pound per square foot. Blown in insulation is relatively lightweight, even R-60 will add only 1.13 psf.

Hansen Pole Buildings has taken it upon ourselves to use a minimum of FIVE (5) psf for roof truss bottom chord design load on all spans up to and including 40 feet. This decision results in a capacity of 500 to 1000% more than most other post frame building kit providers, as well as post frame contractors!

Want to enjoy “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” yourself? Dial 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today!

P.S. This has nothing to do with post frame buildings. For those who are counting (I know of at least one), this is blog article #1666 (oh, no three sixes)! Our youngest daughter happened to have attended a Jesuit high school, and she was so pleased when she got her first cell phone while there and her number’s last four digits were……6666! So Allison, this blog is dedicated to you!

The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience

Hansen Pole Buildings is on a mission to provide “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™”. (Read about “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/06/ultimate-post-frame-experience/) In doing so, we often make what I will refer to as ‘tweaks’ to make not only our clients’ experiences better, but also their new post frame buildings better.

About Hansen BuildingsWe look for trends in questions asked by owners of existing pole barns – usually not even those we provided! There are a couple of these our team has decided to address and we have so far done a very poor job of letting our clients know we have done so.

Lesser of these items are folks who decide, for whatever reason, they would like to add either plywood or OSB between their new post frame building’s roof purlins and roof steel (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/osb-steel-roofing-pole-buildings/).

Near universally pole barn builders and kit suppliers (as well as most truss manufacturers) have designed trusses with barely enough load capacity to meet minimums. In most instances, actual weight of materials (dead load) of roof truss top chords is around 2.5 psf (pounds per square foot). This is enough to account for truss weight, roof purlins, some sort of reflective radiant barrier or other minimal condensation control, as well as light gauge steel roofing. We have been using 3.3 psf just to give a little extra cushion (roughly 1/3rd more capacity).

½-inch plywood and 7/16-inch OSB both weigh 46 to 48 pounds per four foot by eight foot sheet or 1.5 psf. In order to account for possibilities of someone wanting to add one of these sheathings during building assembly, Hansen Pole Buildings has opted to increase our design top chord dead load to five psf for clearspan trusses up to and including 40 feet. This is DOUBLE minimum requirements.

Tomorrow, I will share with you a solution to an all too frequent challenge.

Stay tuned……

Installation, Plans, and Quotes

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about the installation of a building, plans provide to erect the structure, and a quote for a potential client.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you offer installation? Not sure I would have help to put it up. 

Thanks JESSICA

DEAR JESSICA: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Post Frame building. Our complete post frame building kit packages are designed for an average person who can and will read English to successfully assemble their own beautiful building. We have had clients do nearly every construction process step without any other person to assist them. If you do end up needing an extra pair of hands or more (even complete assembly), capable help is most usually no further away than a free Craigslist ad under “gigs”.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning, I hope to be helping a ‘friend of a friend’, get plans ready for a Cracker Barn type home they would like to build. They have never built a home, or even thought about it, but they want to ‘do it their self’ which is not a good plan for a first timer. I have a few of her emails where I see she has reached out to Hansen several times, so I wanted to start here. 

My question is:  Do you have anyone in the Nashville TN area who could oversee her project? I have noticed that some ‘pole barn’ companies do, and some do not.  She would definitely need a ‘do’.

Thank you~ GINGER in NASHVILLE

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR GINGER: Actually “do it their self” is a perfectly acceptable plan for a first timer – at least as we provide post frame building kit packages. Our plans (view sample plans here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/sample-building-plans/) are detailed down to showing each and every board and connection, our nearly 500 page Construction Manual walks every DIY person through assembly process step by step and includes actual photos. Feeling stuck, unsure or have any other assembly challenge? Hansen Pole Buildings provides free Technical Support to work with clients to guide them around pitfalls.

I have personally been involved with nearly 20,000 successful post frame building projects. One thing in common with each one – there has never been a need for an onsite project overseer. If your friend of a friend can and will read English, they can build for themselves are far nicer finished building than they will get from any building contractor.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good afternoon! My husband and I own land in Defiance County, Ohio and have discussed building a residential pole barn. I’ve reviewed your website and am interested in getting more information about your residential pole barns. Could you point me in the right direction as to where to start? Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! AMY in DEFIANCE

DEAR AMY: Please dial 1(866)200-9657 and discuss your wants and needs with a Hansen Pole Buildings Designer.

 

 

Stilt Post Frame on Permafrost

I have written previously about post frame design involving concrete slabs on grade in areas of permafrost: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/post-frame-permafrost/. Today we will venture into a land where “stilts” are a design solution.

Permafrost is loosely defined as soil and/or rock remaining frozen for more than two years. Big trees do not guarantee an absence of permafrost; it might just mean permanently frozen ground or ice is down far enough so soils in those spots can support a larger root system. Only way to be certain of what ground contains is to have a soils test drilling done.

With permafrost, a safe bet is to it avoid it altogether and move to another piece of land. This is easier said than done, particularly because of a scarcity of affordable buildable land. If you decide to build on permafrost, be as strategic as possible. Smaller and simpler structures will tend to fare better than larger, more complicated ones.

Minimal site disturbance is an accepted practice. Trees and ground cover are your best friend. They protect and insulate ground from summer’s heat. A great example is green moss you find on many shaded low-level areas. Moss has a high insulating value, and in many cases if you dig down a couple of feet, ground might still be frozen in middle of summer.

Strategies for construction on permafrost include:

  • As a general rule, organic layer of ground cover provides insulation and should not be removed, as this will increase risks of thawing any frozen ground underneath.
  • Elevate and properly insulate bottom of your post frame building to prevent floor system heat losses from reaching ground underneath, leading to thawing.
  • Use a thick gravel pad significantly wider than post frame building itself (also insulated if possible) to stabilize the ground and spread building loads.
  • Embed columns to a depth able to both support the structure and resist frost jacking from seasonal ground movement.
  • Cut trees sparingly to maximize site shading (while permitting for a fire break).
  • Build a wrap-around porch, which will help shade the ground around and underneath your post frame building.
  • Incorporate large roof overhangs to shed water away from building and provide shade.
  • Install gutters and manage site drainage well away from building.
  • Retain a geotechnical engineer familiar with local soil’s conditions to assist in designing a foundation system adequate to safely support your post frame building on soils specific to your site.
  • Septic systems also must be engineered to function on permafrost, and remember conventional systems might risk thawing the ground.    

More information on permafrost is available at these websites:

If you have a question, contact the Cold Climate Housing Research Center at info@cchrc.org or 1(907)457-3454.

Solving a Massive Pole Building Grade Change

Solving Massive Post Frame Building Grade Change

Most everything about post frame building construction is predicated upon “your clear, level site”. But, what happens when (like most of our planet) there is not a flat level place to start with – instead there exists massive amounts of grade change?

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Doug ran into one of these situations recently and shot up a distress flare looking for some advice:

“Anybody have an opinion on what be the most cost effective or least painful
course of action for this soon to be-I hope-client?”

Here is information from Doug’s client:

“Attached are pictures of the dig to the right of my driveway cutting into
the hillside. On the left side in front of the Bobcat appears to be close to
finished grade. The cut at that point is nearly 7 feet tall. The soil type
is decomposed granite. With a few spots of stubborn rock.

My options at this point are to build a engineered retaining wall to hold
back the soil before building a pole barn on the flat spot, with drainage
coming from around the back to the front. The other option is to just do a
spread footing with a foundation wall. and then a curb wall of a 2 x 6 on
top of that.

The most creative thought would be to do both in the same wall. The wall
would be supported in and by itself, and the building would stand next to the
wall, supported on posts with loads at the post, and not on top of the wall.
Is that even possible?
Thanks
Bobby”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Well, luckily or unluckily, I have a similar situation on one of my own personal post frame buildings at Newman Lake, Washington. Here was what we came up with as a best solution: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/. In this scenario, our post frame wall columns are mounted to ICFs on “cut” sides and traditionally embedded on flat or low sides.

Post frame construction is moving pedal to floor into residential markets where these types of scenarios are going to appear more and more.

I can see these types of scenarios being eventually added as options to Hansen Pole Buildings’ “Instant Pricing™” system where we could not only design and price but also provide blocks, connectors and needed rebar.

Just more moves in providing “The Ultimate Post-Frame Building Experience™”

Considering constructing on a less than ideal site? Call 1(866)200-9657 and discuss your situation with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today.

Local Building Supply is Wrong Choice

With an advent of internet providers such as Amazon (www.amazon.com ) there has been more pressure to “buy local”. Sometimes buying local can be a blessing, but when it comes to a new post-frame (pole barn) building – even an attempt to buy local can prove to be an experience (and not a pleasant one).

Reader MAGNUS in HUDSON writes:

“I’m looking for a quote on a 36’x60’ pole barn. I’m pretty motivated to get this going – I’d like to start raising walls in mid-June. I’ve been trying to work with my local building supply (small town, stay local if possible) but they’re just letting me down on timing, and at this point I’m looking for solid alternatives. I’m pretty impressed with all the info on your site (in fact, I spent a bunch of time there over the past few months getting educated, and almost went with you without even checking with the locals.)

I’ve got cash in hand for this, so at this point it’s just trying to get plans in hand so I can get my permit and get some ground prep started. I’m leaving the country for about 2 weeks from the end of May to mid-June. My goal has been to get the earthwork done (some grading and fill + gravel pad) before I leave so I can begin erecting as soon as I get back. That’s feeling pretty tight now, though I thought I had plenty of time a month ago when I started with the locals.

I know I’ve forgotten a few important details as I put this drawing and notes together tonight. I’m available by phone most of the day Monday and Tuesday for any clarification questions. I’ll try to get the few items from your checklist that I don’t know filled in on Monday.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Your local building supply probably is staffed by very nice people. They probably know most people in town by first name. They are not post-frame (pole barn) experts. In fact, if they are above novice level you would be doing well!

There is a chance there is someone on their staff who can actually sort of do a material’s list for a pole barn. Keep in mind, there is not a “plan” they are working from, so no one is checking for adequacy of structural design. This list of pieces may, or may not, even be enough pieces to sort of put a building together. My experience is a list such as this will be inaccurate for quantities, will leave things out, add in a few unnecessary pieces and result in waste, confusion and a less than satisfactory end resultant.

Some local building supplies have gone as far as investing in computer software, supposedly capable of putting together a list of materials. I have yet to see one of these programs able to do an accurate list on anything beyond a basic box – and they cannot supply engineering. Again, it is nothing better than a guess list!

Even if your local building supply somehow had a relationship with an engineer, who could provide sealed plans for your new post frame building – they are not specialists. At Hansen Pole Buildings we have buying power to get post frame building specific products in massive quantities at wholesale prices. Some of these are items we have manufactured specifically for us, when we found commercially available products were lacking in quality or features.

Let’s say your local building supply was somehow able to provide engineer sealed plans specific to your building, do an accurate material takeoff, get product to your building site – they are not going to have detailed assembly instructions to guide you through to completion. Chances are no one there has ever constructed an engineered post frame building, so when you or your builder get stuck, or make an error, it is up to you to solve it!

If you, or anyone, believes there is another post frame building kit supplier offering a better value to their clients, let us know what they are doing Hansen Pole Buildings isn’t. Frankly, we do not believe it to be possible.

Ready for “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience”™? Dial 1 (866) 200-9657 and speak to a Building Designer today!

Post Frame Building Siding Choices

Your Planning Department May Dictate Your Post-Frame Siding Choices

Although most of us general population members are unawares, your local Planning Department has a great deal of power over what you can or cannot do with your own property. This goes right down to decisions on siding choices for your new post-frame building! (Read more on dealing with Planning Departments here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/planning-department-3/).

Here is a case where a city had enacted a restrictive ordinance and how an architect went about getting further clarification.

Monday evening, May 13, 2019, the Warsaw (Indiana) Planning Commission spent almost an hour discussing what kind of architectural steel panels fit within the city’s ordinances. 

Senior Planner Justin Taylor presented a discussion on architectural panels and what city ordinances say about them under “development plan design standards.”

He said a question before the plan commission was in regard to architectural panels.

“Typically, pole barn siding isn’t permitted per this ordinance in these zoning ordinances (C-2,3,4,5), but a request has been made if they can use a certain type of siding. So at this time, our planning department doesn’t feel comfortable making a decision so it brought it before the board for its review, and that’s where we’re at.” Taylor said.

He said the Commission can approve or disapprove type of panel being requested to be used. If the Commission approved panels in this specific instance, Taylor said this decision could be applied to future city buildings. He said it wouldn’t necessarily change city’s ordinance language, but it would give city’s planning department more guidance in what is acceptable in the city.

Jim Malcolm, a Claypool architect, represents JLane in this matter. 

“What brought this whole thing about was when I asked (City Planner) Jeremy (Skinner), (the ordinance) says metal architectural panel is useable. When we go look at the various suppliers, everybody has an architectural panel … we’re asking for that (specific) one, but also in the long term consideration of some of the architectural panels that are out there,” Malcolm said. 

Dan Robinson, of Robinson Construction, who is trying to price costs for JLane’s building, said they’re trying to get clarity and what kind of paneling is and isn’t allowed by the city.

Malcolm, Robinson and the Commission then discussed different types of architectural panels, different qualities and what makes some paneling better than others.

In the end, the Commission acknowledged city’s planning department needed to revisit and reconsider the city’s ordinance regarding architectural panels.

It also approved a motion from James Emans, city engineer and Commission member, specifically regarding the JLane paneling.

His motion was “that the presented concealed-fastener insulated panel with an approximate 7.2 profile … steel fabric complies with the intent of the ordinance and is allowed.”

Thanks to Times Union staff writer David Sloane for information appearing within this article.

Building of the Barn, Head Room for OHD, and Solar Panel Support

Today’s Guru answers questions about building of the barn, minimum headroom for an overhead garage door, and support for solar panels.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello! We found your website for pole barns. We’re still thinking about which option we’d like to go with, but we’re wondering if you also have a team that will do the actual building of the pole barn. If so, how much does that cost? If not, do you ever recommend a certain group to build the pole barn?
COURTNEY in CHICAGO

DEAR COURTNEY: Thank you very much for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Buildings’ complete kit package. We are not erection contractors in any state, our buildings are designed for an average person who can and will read instructions to successfully construction their own custom designed post frame building.
In most areas, fair market value for assembly is about 50% of what materials costs are.
Due to liability issues, we never “recommend” any builders. We can give you guidance or offer assistance in finding a builder, should this not be a project you feel comfortable undertaking.
When searching for a builder, follow this: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/contractor-6/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Minimum headroom required for 14 foot tall OHD. MARK in LaOTTO

DEAR MARK: A 14 foot tall overhead sectional door requires a minimum of 15-3/4” headroom. Add four more inches for an opener. https://amarr.com/commercial/service_and_support/track_details

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Are these (post frame buildings) strong enough to support solar panels? BRIEN

DEAR BRIEN: Provided you give us the weight per square foot of the panels in advance – most certainly! We can have your new post frame building engineered to support any amount of snow load, as well as any weight of solar panels, or other materials or systems you might want to either place upon, in, or hang from the roof system, and of course the building frame which supports it.

 

 

Self-Designed Pole Buildings

Spring, When a Young Man’s Heart Turns to Self-Designing Pole Buildings

For some obscure reason a plethora of otherwise intelligent people have an idea. This idea being they can structurally design a building to be adequate to resist applied climactic loads, without any actually engineering background. Given an under designed building can lead to failure, injury and even death of occupants and/or bystanders, one might think it would be best left to professionals.

Reader NORM in SILVERTON writes:

“I’m considering building an open pavilion style pole building, with outside (the posts) dimensions of 20’ x 16’ x no more than 9’ to 10’ high posts, secured to cement pad with Simpson CC66 caps.  There would be 3 posts on both the left and right sides, that would be 8’ from middle, of middle post, to outside edge of front and back post.  The alignment of 3 posts on each side, would be 20’ apart with 6/12 gable roof, supported with roof trusses (50 PSI Snow Load).  On each side, the roof overhang would be 3’, which I don’t think matters when considering my question.  The posts are more than sufficient size and strength for the gabled metal roof …..  I’ve been told.  

Question: What “wind gust” strength would I need to be concerned about from side to side, for the “sway” factor ?  Would that “wind strength” be less if directly behind this “pavilion”, was a slightly larger and taller building, AND directly behind that building, was standing forest with trees that were 60’ to 100’ tall ?  We obviously are NOT in tornado country like the Midwest and South.

Thank You.”

About Hansen BuildingsThank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. We should be able to take care of all of your needs with a third-party engineer sealed set of blueprints specifically for your building. Face it – this eliminates any guesswork, as anything you do without a Registered Design Professional involved is nothing but a W.A.G. (Wild Ass Guess), probably an errant one. Given height of your roof (it takes full brunt of wind coming from a side) it is unlikely a 6×6 column will work in bending (it is plenty strong enough to support downward forces from building weight and roof snow load acting alone).

Even without being an engineer I can tell you a proposed Simpson CB66 is totally inadequate. Frankly your ideal design solution is to embed your six columns into the ground and concrete them in to avoid uplift and overturning challenges. If you feel you must have columns above ground, then we can design using a proper wet set anchor capable of carrying imposed loads.

If your building is wind unprotected on even one side or end chances are it is Exposure C for wind design. You do not get credit for a building being protected on one side (or even two or three) by a larger taller building or a forest – only if it were to be entirely surrounded. (read more here about Wind Exposure: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/wind-exposure-confusion/).

A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you to further discuss your proposed project, or dial 1 (866) 200-9657 and talk with one now!

Is an Exterior Sliding Barn Style Door Our Solution?

Today the Pole barn Guru answers a question about use of a sliding “barn style door” as an exterior door.

As long time readers of this column know, every once in a while I get thrown a question having little to do with post frame construction. However I get a euphus pitch thrown at me on occasion so I will take a swing even at them! (editor’s note: euphus pitch is a very slow pitch with alot of arc to it. Mike is a notorious baseball fan!)

Today reader JEFF in NORTH LAKE TAHOE writes wanting my opinion as to whether an exterior sliding barn door is a solution for their situation:

“Hello Mike,

I have attached two photos of my sons home in North Lake Tahoe for your review that show a problem whose solution I am hoping you can provide guidance for.

We are seeking to turn the attached entry covered patio into an enclosed and climate controlled mud room. 

We  plan to construct a platform at deck level where the top stairs are now, and extend the stairs further out from the house, and our issue is conflicting door swings if we add a hinged exterior door at the top of the stairs.   We would like to have an exterior sliding barn style door that is weatherproof and has latching and locking hardware at the top of the stairs.

My question to you is, is this doable, and how would you do it?

We are skilled carpenters, and don’t require a pre hung factory unit, just seeking some guidance on how best to accomplish this.

As we are not currently a pole barn prospect, we are happy to provide compensation for your guidance.

Many thanks.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Your generous offer is appreciated, however I believe in paying it forward. If my advice proves helpful to you or others, I would hope you would do something to help someone at a future time.

You have several options – none of them being a sliding barn style door. Even best sliding barn doors are not going to seal airtight, be able to be sufficiently insulated or latch and lock affordably. Air seal is truly nothing but a problem with barn style doors, as they have to have an air gap to safely slide past any adjacent siding. Easiest and least expensive solution is to use an all steel insulated entry door in a steel jamb with an out swing. Problem solved. Again – absolutely nothing about a sliding barn style door is going to give you a result you will be pleased with.

If you feel a sliding barn style door is essential to your look, in order to have adequate height you would need to tear out existing covered patio floor and replace it with a floor at a much lower height. This may defeat your purpose, as it would then require several steps to be added inside your new mud room.

I hope this helps…please let me know what you come up with and send finished photos. I do love good answers that are functional, pleasing to the eye and budget.

I am Designing a Pole Barn

I Am Designing a Pole Barn….

These words strike fear in my heart.

Reader ELISEO in FLOWERY BRANCH writes:

“ I’m designing a Pole Barn to be 30’W x 40’L x 12’H. I’m asking for 6 trusses to be placed 8’ on center with a 4:12 pitch. I’m gonna tie them together with 2×4 on edge 24” OC. My question to you is since I’ve been reading through some books and I haven’t had a definite answer. I’ve gotten companies quote a minimum of 11 Trusses and one company actually quoted me 6 trusses like I had originally planned. Do you believe that down here in GA 8’ OC trusses will be up to Code? They will be held on 6x6x12 PT also 8’ OC.”

Elisio’s first challenge is he is attempting to structurally design his own post frame building. Maybe you have seen car commercials on tv, where a vehicle is driven at high speeds on winding roads? Ever notice a disclaimer of, “Driver is a trained professional on a closed course”? It is because you and a vehicle MIGHT be able to perform together just like on tv, however chances are fair you will possibly be injured or even die should you attempt.

This very same adage holds true with those punting at their own building design….engage a trained professional. Or even better, a complete post frame building package structurally designed by a trained professional. And when I talk about “trained professional” in this context, I mean plans sealed by a Registered Design Professional (RDP – architect or engineer) specifically for your building on your property.

Now Elisio’s asking for six trusses to be placed eight foot on center is only partially correct – it would give him a conservative design for his end trusses as they only support four feet from endwall to next truss (plus any end overhang). He might end up having spent more money than necessary. His idea of using 2×4 on edge for roof purlins may or may not work, depending upon grade and species of material. Beyond what type of 2×4 is proposed, will be its ability to withstand wind loads, as wind loads will dictate in Georgia. This, and how to properly connect purlins to trusses, is just a portion of what a RDP will be examining and verifying for adequacy.

Will trusses spaced every eight feet be up to Code in Georgia (or anywhere else)? Read here to find out: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/06/pole-barn-truss-spacing/.

Please do not put yourself or your loved ones at risk, call 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings Designer who can assist you in having a properly designed post frame (pole barn) building!

Can a Building Official Deny Approval of a Professional Engineer’s Work?

Does a Building Official have the capacity to deny the work of a Professional Engineer?

Excerpted from SBC Magazine April 2, 2019

The short answer is no, not according to the law. Why? Simply put, building officials are not granted legal authority over professional engineers. Rather, they only have authority with respect to enforcing specific provisions of the building code adopted into law in their jurisdiction. An analogy would be that a police officer does not have legal authority over a properly licensed attorney or district attorney.

The board of professional engineers is the only regulatory authority having jurisdiction over engineering. So what does this mean in practical terms? A properly licensed professional engineer is allowed to practice engineering, without discrimination, restraint or limitation. By engineering law, this needs to be in their area of expertise. The same process and concepts are true for licensed professional architects.

If any building official believes an engineer is violating engineering law, they need to follow the proper state law complaint process through the licensing board that governs engineering.

Consequently, the building officials the Structural Building Components Association (SBCA) has discussed approval of professional engineering work with, provide the following approval counsel:

  1. They first verify that the professional engineer is licensed to practice in a given jurisdiction by going to the state board’s website to see if the engineer in question has a valid and current license. An example validation site can be found here.
  2. If the professional engineer is licensed in the state and has signed and sealed their engineering work, they are defined by law to be an approved source, which is a term specifically defined in the building code as “an independent person, firm or corporation, approved by the building official, who is competent and experienced in the application of engineering principles to materials, methods or systems analyses.”
  3. They approve the professional engineering work by filing for the record a signed and sealed engineering analysis, research report, design drawing or construction document.

The only caveat to this is if, during the review of the documents provided by the engineer, a code compliance error is made. That error then needs to be brought to the attention of the engineer, along with the code section violated, so that the engineer can correct the error. 

Pole Barn Guru’s summary – if you are an unregistered individual (not a RDP – Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) and submit a set of plans to a Building Official, they can do virtually anything they want to your plans. Involving a RDP in your process will only make your life easier, insures structural adequacy and (in many cases) saves both time and money.

Pre-Drilling, Housewrap, and Concrete Footings

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about pre-drilling steel panels, the proper use of house-wrap and weather resistant barriers, as well as concern for the effectiveness or fresh concretes ability to withstand compression.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What size hole should I predrill in panels for the #12 diaphragm screws? Thanks! JOSEPH in KIOWA

DEAR JOSEPH: From Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual, Chapter 2:

 

“For pre-boring nail holes, 7/64” and 1/8” bits are required. Same size bit can be used for pre-drilling steel roofing and siding.”

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Having read all of the info relating to insulating and am still confused. Main question is my entire 40×48 was wrapped in Tyvek including the roof. Now am trying to figure out if and how I can install a vapor barrier for the roof? Am planning to put in a ceiling with blown insulation above it and would like some options for the vapor barrier. Not sure if the roof Tyvek is a help or a hindrance. KEVIN in MALAD CITY

DEAR KEVIN: I’d like to find builders who are using Weather Resistant Barriers (WRB) under roof steel on post frame buildings, thinking they are installing a vapor barrier, and slap them silly. They have totally wasted their client’s hard earned money and, as in your case, have created a hindrance. Your only real solution is to remove Tyvek from under roof steel and replace it with an actual vapor barrier (one with a thermal break). You might see if a local spray foam installer would be willing to flash spray two inches of closed cell foam on underside of your building’s WRB.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My contractor poured concrete in each hole for a 30’ x 32’ pole shed and about 4 hours later started setting poles and put the entire frame up yet that same day. Can the concrete actually cure that fast or should I be concerned? PAUL in MITCHELL

DEAR PAUL: I am guessing you are talking about concrete poured for a footing pad under the columns.

Concrete gains its strength with time after casting. The rate of gain of concrete compression strength in higher during the first 28 days of casting and then it slows down. The compression strength gained by concrete after 24 hours is only 16%!

For practical purposes, a four hour old concrete footing is virtually worthless. Yes, you should be concerned.

 

How to Re-level a Garage

Auntie Em, Auntie Em My Garage Has Lifted 

Well, it wasn’t from a twister and this article has nothing actually to do with Auntie Em or actress Clara Blandick who played Auntie Em in 1939’s film classic The Wizard of Oz. For trivia buffs, Blandick also played a part in 1937’s original A Star Is Born.

Reader GEORGE in LAGRANGE might be wishing a twister had hit his garage, so insurance would pay for a replacement. George writes:

“Due to the freezing and thawing cycle my pole garage has lifted about 7 inches since it was built 12 years ago. You can now see the outside grass from inside the garage. And it has not lifted evenly so the garage is unlevel.”

George’s post frame garage has some challenges, none of them ones with an easy fix. How did his garage get this way? There are three possible major contributors to this garage’s current situation. These would include:

Inadequate site preparation

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

For more details on proper site preparation please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/

Column Depth

Bottom of column encasement needs to be below frost line. This is a no-brainer.

Water

Read more about what causes frost heaving here: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/pole-building-structure-what-causes-frost-heaves/.

There is going to be no easy or inexpensive fix to George’s situation. An investment into a geotechnical engineer who could provide a thorough site evaluation along with solutions might be money well spent.


Building could be brought back to level by excavating at each raised column to well below frost depth. Cut off columns at base of splash plank (while supporting building from falling), then remove embedded portion of column. Place an appropriately sized sonotube in excavation with top of tube at grade. Pour premix concrete into tube and place a wet set Sturdi Wall bracket – expertly placed to receive upper portion of column. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/11/sonotube/

If all of this sounds daunting (it would be to me), a consideration could be demolition and start over from scratch.

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Portions of this article (in italics) are from “County explores options for new Highway building” April 29, 2019 by Nathan Bowe at www.dl-online.com

A city plow truck goes by the main shop building at the Becker County Highway Department complex in Detroit Lakes. www.dl-online.com File photo

Dear Architect friends ~ I didn’t learn much in architecture school, however one nugget was, “It is all about presentation”. Before you need to give a presentation including a possible post frame building, please discuss it with me, or at least read a few of my pertaining articles. I want you to come across as being as knowledgeable as possible.

“Hoping to save money on a new Becker County Highway Department facility, made of precast concrete and estimated to cost about $8 million, commissioners are exploring other types of buildings.

They are considering options including precast concrete, steel, and pole barn, and will tour facilities in the area made of those materials.

The firm working on the project, Oertel Architects of St. Paul, said in a report that any type of material could essentially be made to work, but a pole barn-type building would have to include steel in places to support a 5-ton crane in the maintenance area, for example.”

Post frame (pole barn) buildings can easily be designed to support a 5-ton crane: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/overhead-crane/

“A less-expensive pole barn building also comes with a much shorter projected lifespan, and generally brings more problems with leaks and maintenance, unless a better grade of roof is used.”

Post frame buildings are permanent structures easily capable of generations of useful lifespan. Properly installed steel roofing will last decades without leaks or needs for maintenance.

“A pole barn is considered an agricultural type building in the industry, and is also referred to as timber frame. This is essentially like building a structure like an old-fashioned barn, with large timber columns and frames. It is typically made without a perimeter foundation. The wood frame structure is typically covered with a metal skin and the low-gable roof type is typically of metal. Its lifespan is projected at 15-30 years, depending on maintenance and other factors.”

Post frame and timber frame buildings are totally different animals. Post frame buildings have been used commercially longer than I have been in this industry (nearly 40 years). Very few buildings provided by Hansen Pole Buildings would be termed as being purely agricultural – nearly all are residential or commercial.  Isolated columns embedded below frost depth preclude needs for expensive and inefficient continuous concrete foundations. (Check out foundation costs here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/). Most typically post frame buildings have 4/12 roof slopes (rather than “low” as in all steel buildings).

Amazingly, it appears my now 15 year-old million-dollar post frame home is due to expire any time now (like Windows 7)! In reality a properly engineer designed and constructed post frame building will outlive any of us who are reading this article.

“One way to meet the highway department needs and still meet code using pole barn construction would be to build three or four separate buildings, or build one building at different heights for vehicle maintenance, vehicle washing/storage, and office space, Oertel reported.”

Post frame buildings can be easily designed with a multitude of different wall/ceiling heights.

“Pole barns tend to be less energy efficient over time.”

As post frame buildings use exact same insulations as other similar construction types, if this is true it would be applicable across all construction spectrums. Post frame lends itself well to creation of deep insulation cavities and is far easier to insulate than all steel or precast concrete.

“Structural steel works better in a public works facility, with more salt and moisture in the air than usual, since these are made of heavy steel, just like a steel bridge. It is the less substantive metal materials that are a concern. A pole barn uses thin steel gusset plates and there is not much material to last over time if corrosion is present. Metal panels commonly used in pole barn buildings are also easily marred or dented by heavy duty operations.”

In highly corrosive atmospheres, steel can be isolated from corrosion (as in galvanized steel “gusset plates” used to connect roof truss members). Any type of siding – or even precast concrete or masonry, can be damaged by careless operations. Use of strategically placed bollards (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/lifesaving-bollard/) can eliminate possibilities of significant damages.

“However it’s constructed, the new public works building will need the same mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, floor loading, earthwork and mechanical systems, Oertel said. Costs can vary, but all of that might add up to perhaps 60 percent of construction costs, with the actual building structural shell 20 to 25 percent of the total project cost. So cost savings from a cheaper type of building might not be all that commissioners might hope for, compared to the long-term drawbacks.

“More could be said about the differences between pole barn construction and a more heavy duty construction using precast concrete,” the report sums up. “It mostly comes down to a lower front-end cost with a pole barn, at the sacrifice of longevity…””

Post frame construction is going to provide a greater value, without being “cheap”. Post frame buildings will have a usable lifespan as great as any other permanent building.

And – have you ever tried to remodel a precast concrete building?

Sturdi-Wall Plus Concrete Brackets

Sturdi-Wall Plus Concrete Brackets

Long time readers will recall a previous article regarding Sturdi-Wall Plus concrete brackets:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/

Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets are a heavy-duty engineered anchoring system for attaching wood columns to concrete foundations and are generally used in post-frame buildings but have other applications as well. These brackets are made with ¼ “steel plate A706 rebar in either # 4 or # 5 size, depending on model.  Each bracket is precisely welded to meet engineering specifications and given a professional look with a baked polyester powder coat finish. Some brackets are available in a Hot Dipped Galvanized model for use in more corrosive environments.

Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets are used in a wet set concrete application and provide highest strength bracket to foundation connection when concrete is fully cured. SWP brackets require less concrete coverage than Sturdi-Wall brackets, allowing them to work well in pier foundations, post repair, and renovations. #4 rebar is used in all Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets, except SWP 8 Series where #5 rebar is used. Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets are available in Standard, OT and GL models.

Standard Models – Accommodate dimensional lumber and laminated columns, typically nailed together with no additional machining.

OT Models – Accommodate some planed laminated wood columns usually mechanically fastened and glued together.

GL Models – Accommodate most planed and glue laminated wood columns (glulams).

In March I attended NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) 2019 Expo where I met with PermaColumn’s team and recorded this live video for you:

Ready for your new post-frame building, but don’t want to place columns into ground? Sturdi-Column Plus brackets may be just your solution. Call and discuss with your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today at 1 (866) 200-9657.

Fluropon Roofing Coating

Fluropon® Roofing Coating 

I have extolled virtues of Kynar® (PVDF) paint for post frame buildings previously: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/kynar/. Fluropon® is a trade name for Valspar’s PVDF factory applied steel roofing coating (paint) system. Sherwin-Williams acquired Valspar  in 2017.

At NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) 2019 Expo I cornered Sherwin-William’s representative for further information on Fluropon®. Please enjoy this video:

Looking for a best solution to keep your new post-frame building looking new for years? Look to PVDF.

Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can assist you in making good decisions for paint finish on your new building. Call today 1 (866) 200-9657.

Alternative Siding, Building on Slab, and Ceiling Liner Loading

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about alternative siding and roofing, whether one can build on an existing slab, and if a ceiling liner can hold insulation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you build me a steel wall inside and vinyl siding on the outside with asphalt shingles? PAUL in BLUE GRASS

DEAR PAUL: A beauty of post-frame construction is we can design for virtually any combination of roofing and siding materials you may desire. While I am not a huge fan of steel liner panels, yes – your building can have them along with your vinyl siding. Steel liner panels end up posing challenges with trying to attach things to them, like work benches, cabinets, shelves, etc. Gypsum wallboard (sheet rock) is generally far more affordable as well as easier to make attachments to. And, if 5/8” Type X is used, affords some fire protection.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can Hansen build the barn on top of an existing slab? CLYDE in BELLVILLE

DEAR CLYDE: Yes, we can design a complete post frame building kit package to be attached to your existing concrete slab. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/dry-set-column-anchors/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My trusses are 8 feet on center will the metal ceiling liner span that 8 feet without sagging if I blow in fiberglass insulation? RODNEY in LAKE ELMO

DEAR RODNEY: No, steel liner panels will sag across an eight foot span. If your building’s roof trusses are not designed to support weight of a ceiling load, then they will sag as well – and, in combination with a snow load, may fail.

 

 

 

PEX-AL-PEX Tubing for Post Frame Concrete Slabs

PEX-AL-PEX Tubing For Post Frame Concrete Slabs

Long time readers will recall my prior article on PEX tubing for post frame concrete slabs: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/08/pex-tubing/.

I caught up with my friend Les Graham of Radiant Outfitters at the recent NFBA (National Frame Building Association) Expo in Louisville, who I volunteered to do a nice video in regards to better floor tubing and better floor heat.



Besides providing your complete post frame building kit package, Hansen Pole Buildings can also provide a complete kit package for your radiant floor with everything you will need to get your system into a concrete slab on grade (including layout drawings and instructions).  Talk to your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at (866)200-9657.

When a Contractor Ignores Building Plans

I realize this may come as a surprise, but there are more than a few times I have discovered building contractors have made errors in building assembly due to failure to examine the provided building plans.

Shocking.

Our client STEVE in HINES writes:

“Good morning, my building is framed, sided and roofed. However, yesterday we discovered that the sidewalls girts should have been 2x 8’s but 2×6’s were used instead (same as the endwalls). I know this is my problem to fix, but before I tell the contractor, I’d like to know if you have ever heard of this happening and if so, what they had to do to fix the problem. As it stands, it definitely does not meet wind code anymore. I’m not asking for a fix, but only some direction as where to start pursuing one. Could very well become a messy job!

Thanks.”

Well, to begin with, I was a post frame building contractor in a past life. At times we had as many as 35 crews erecting buildings in six states. Most of these crews were very, very good. Some of them were not quite as good. Overall this mix did give me an interesting perspective – if something could be done wrong, one of my crews figured out how to do it. Along with this, chances are I have had to come up with a fix for these unexpected challenges.

In Steve’s case, actual reasoning for 2×8 sidewall girts was so his building could have a flush interior surface to drywall – known as commercial girts. (Learn about commercial wall girts here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/)

Our curiosity question was – what did the builder do with the 2×8 material supplied for girts? It turns out client had a pile of 2×8 left over when the pole building was completed. They ran short of 2×6, so building owner just assumed someone had stolen them and more were purchased!

Anyhow – there are several possible fixes. 2x4x12′ could be ripped and nailed along length of  2×6 installed where 2×8 should have been, or 2×4 could be placed vertically (3-1/2″ face against girt inside face) every two feet’ to provide a surface to attach drywall. Whichever choice is decided upon, a revision should be done to plans and sealed by Engineer of Record to verify adequacy.

R Panel Gable Vents

R Panel Gable Vents

“R” steel roofing and siding panels are typically used on all steel buildings where larger spans occur between wall girts and roof purlins. With a three foot width net coverage, these panels have a 1-1/4 inch tall high rib every 12 inches with two low stiffener ribs between. R panels do not have a full underlapping (or purlin bearing) underlap. This lack of a purlin bearing underlap makes this product both less expensive (as it can be roll formed out of a narrower steel coil) and more difficult to install. Without careful placement at laps, panels tend to “walk” with one or both panel ends covering more or less than the necessary three feet.

Very few all steel buildings make provisions for ventilation. Rarely do they include sidewall eave overhangs, leaving no place for an eave air intake through a vented soffit.

So, how to vent?

Reader STEVE in PHOENIX writes: “Mike,
Hello. I’ve been researching venting options for an existing clearspan type red steel metal building and was directed to your snap in style gable vents for ribbed metal panels.  My building is covered with R panel metal siding…..the high ribs are 12″ on center (pic attached). I’ve been working with Justine on selection and pricing of your gable vents.  Will your vent panels work with this siding and if not, do you have a venting solution for this building? Thanks.”

My reply:

R panels typically have 1-1/4″ high ribs. I do not believe the snap ring vents will work with ribs higher than 3/4″ (Justine can confirm). If not, then you could use a standard gable vent with a J Channel surround. Just like snap ring applications, cut the hole in siding for the vent (make it 1/4″ taller and wider than the vent you will push through the hole). Cut J Channels to fit the vent, with interlocking and overlapping corners (just like a non-integrated J Channel window). Insert individual pieces of J Channel into the hole, joining corners as you go. Slide vent into J Channel “picture frame” using lots of caulking between vent and J Channel and at each of the J Channel corners.


Snap ring vinyl gable vents (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/07/vinyl-gable-vents-for-pole-barns/) make installation a breeze and can quickly be installed in post frame buildings with steel siding with ribs no higher than ¾” . When designing your new post frame building discuss ventilation with your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at (866)200-9657.

IBC Requirements for Building Wrap

IBC Requirements for Building Wrap

When using a building wrap as a weather-resistant barrier (WRB), it must meet 2018 International Building Codes (IBC 1402.2) requirements of a WRB for water-resistance and vapor permeability.

A superior building wrap is air- and moisture-resistant, permeable, and has a high UV-resistance and tear strength. It should also be simple and quick to install, to limit damage during application. Using a high-quality building wrap compliant with IBC 1402.2  code creates a structure with a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope. A weather-resistant exterior wall envelope ensures a building is energy-efficient and healthy.

2018 International Building Codes (IBC) mandate buildings meet minimum requirements for exterior walls. IBC Chapter 14  IBC provides these minimum requirements, including wall coverings, exterior doors and windows, exterior wall openings, and architectural trim. Specifically, section 1402.2 states exterior walls must provide a building with a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope. Exterior wall design and construction must include a water-resistant barrier behind exterior veneer preventing accumulation of moisture within wall assemblies. Exterior walls must also include a way for water/condensation entering a wall assembly to drain/evaporate.

IBC specifies a few cases where a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope is not required.

  1. Code does not require a weather resistant wall envelope over concrete or masonry walls designed in accordance with IBC chapters 19 and 21.
  2. Code does not require a weather resistant wall envelope for exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) in compliance with IBC 1407.4.1.
    • IBC 1407.4.1 states for EIFS with drainage, water-resistive barrier must comply with IBC Section 1403.2 or ASTM E2570. IBC 1403.2 states attachment of no fewer than one layer of No. 15 asphalt to studs or sheathing, with flashing, must provide a continuous water-resistive barrier behind exterior wall.
  1. Exterior wall envelopes resisting wind-driven rain, including openings, joints, and intersections with a dissimilar material in accordance with ASTM E331 are not required to have a weather-resistant exterior wall envelope.

BENEFITS OF BUILDING WRAP

Applying a high-quality building wrap, like Barricade® Building Wrap, over sheathing, and behind siding, meets or exceeds IBC 1402.2 requirements for weather-resistant barriers. A properly installed building wrap creates a protective envelope against air infiltration and moisture into wall systems. A buildup of moisture within a building’s walls is problematic because moisture can lead to wood rot (caused by fungi) and expensive repairs. High moisture can also cause mold, unhealthy for structure occupants. Uncontrolled air infiltration lowers effective wall system R-value and lessens energy-efficiency and air quality of a building. To reduce air infiltration and stop accumulation of moisture within wall systems, along with meeting requirements of IBC 1402.2, design of a high-performing exterior wall must include a weather-resistive barrier, like building wrap.

Eave Height, Gambrel Size, and To Tie New to Old Building

Today the Pole Barn Guru discusses eave height, the size of a gambrel building and advice how to tie new building to existing structure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: When you refer to height are you measuring to the peak or sidewall? This pole barn will be used as an indoor (uninsulated) riding arena with some hay storage above. JIM in ADA

DEAR JIM: At least in our case eave height measure refers to sidewalls (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/02/eave-height-2/).

Your expectation of being able to store hay above a riding arena is probably unrealistic, both from a standpoint of logistics and investment. Hay is very heavy and in order to carry this imposed extra weight you will multiply roof truss costs significantly. I would recommend finding a place for hay storage on ground level.

Gambrel roof pole barnDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you do a 48×48 gambrel style pole, 18-20 ft high? PAMELA in CASPER

DEAR PAMELA: Since my very own home is a 48 foot width post-frame gambrel building with 20 foot high sidewalls I would have to say yes. For practical purposes, we can provide virtually any low-rise building (up to three stories and 40 foot high walls). Your only limitations will be imagination, budget and available space.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I want to add to my metal building but the addition would require 2 valleys. How do you tie the new roof to the old on a post frame trussed roof. I have done many on a stick building. I have not been able to find any photos or steel parts for this. KURTIS in ROCKFORD

DEAR KURTIS: Your first stop (or call) should be to RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) who provided your building’s original design. Structural changes to buildings should always be done under careful guidance of a RDP, especially when it comes to more complex roof designs where accumulations of snow could result in potential failure situations.

Most often a design solution involves removal of any overhangs where attachment will occur. A truss is then added to current sidewall face to support new addition roofline, as well as purlins on edge to create a frame over onto existing roof framing (of course roof steel on this portion of existing building needs to be removed prior to framing). Flatwise 2x framing needs to be added between existing roof purlins – we’ve normally found 2×12 centered upon newly created valley line to work well. This provides both a “landing point” for new purlins as well as backing for steel valley flashing.

 

Post Frame Building Frame Flood Vents

Where post frame buildings are constructed in a flood plane, two choices exist to deal with flood conditions. Personally I would opt for bringing in fill to raise building above flood level. For those willing to deal with consequences of flood waters going through their building, an option is to provide flood vents.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), requires at least two flood venting openings for finished or enclosed space (e.g. basements or garages) or for crawl spaces. Vent opening required is a net area of at least one inch per square foot of enclosed space. Flood ventilation openings must be on different sides of the enclosed space.

Each individual enclosed area requires openings on its exterior walls so flood water can enter or exit directly to and from the enclosed space. Bottom of flood vent openings cannot be higher than one foot above grade where vents are installed. Windows, doors, and garage doors are not considered openings for flood venting purposes.

ASCE 24 provides two methods for flood venting, non-engineered openings and engineered openings. The first method is as follows:

Section 2.6.1.1 “Non-Engineered Openings in Enclosures Below the Design Flood Elevation”
Non-engineered openings shall meet the following criteria:
1. There shall be a minimum of two openings on different sides of each enclosed area; if a building has more than one enclosed area below the design flood elevation, each area shall have openings on exterior walls.
2. The total net area of all openings shall be at least 1 square inch for each square foot of enclosed area.
3. The bottom of each opening shall be 1 foot or less above the adjacent ground level.
4. Openings shall be at least 3 inches in diameter.
5. Any louvers, screens or other opening covers shall allow the automatic flow of floodwaters into and out of the enclosed area.
6. Openings installed in doors and windows, that meet requirements 2.1 through 2.5, are acceptable; however, doors and windows without installed openings do not meet the requirements of this standard.

While several companies produce or have produced flood venting products Smart VENT is most-often installed for structural protection in flood-prone areas.

Smart VENT’s Flood Vent Model# 1540-520 (https://smartvent.com/products/view/1540-510) is certified to provide insulated flood protection only. This model is used for a garage or conditioned space, where flood protection is required but ventilation is NOT desired. This flood door is constructed of solid stainless steel wrapped around an insulating foam core.

Smart Vent 1540-510

Smart VENT Flood Vent General Description
Smart VENT doors are latched closed until flood water enters. Smart VENT does not rely on louvers to let flood water in and out. Regardless of louvers’ position, opened or closed, when flood water flows into door, patented internal floats unlatch, releasing door to rotate open to relieve hydrostatic pressure. Louvers and pest screen are rotated out of flood water path. This allows flood water to automatically enter and exit through frame opening, relieving pressure from your post frame building walls.

We recommend our flood zone clients flood-proof their post frame buildings with Smart Vent family of products, they will dramatically reduce the chance of structural damage during a flood with its automatic, bi-directional vent relieving hydrostatic pressure on walls during rising or falling floodwaters.

My Pole Barn Cabin Part III

For daily readers of my blog, you will remember Hansen Buildings’ Senior Building Designer,  Rick Carr was a guest blogger March 21 and 22nd. He led us through his thought process in planning for his new pole barn cabin.

Here is Part III in Rick’s pole barn cabin plans:

I have made some design changes after talking with the Building Inspector and for other reasons.

After talking to the Building inspector to confirm the Design Criteria for my location and consulting with Eric, co-owner of Hansen Buildings, several changes to the design criteria needed to be made.  First I needed to increase the wind speed to 116; the wind exposure to “C”; the frost depth to 48”; change the Thermal Factor to 1 and check the box for a Conditioned Building.  An additional entry door will also be needed for egress of a residential building.

Next, I looked at the sizing of the columns and the bookshelf style wall girts.  “IP”, Hansen Buildings proprietary Instant Pricing program, indicated that the columns will be 3 ply 2×8 glu-laminated columns and that 2×10’s would be used for the sidewalls and 2×8’s for the endwalls.  This is both good and bad.  The good is that the 2×10’s will provide a 9.5” cavity to allow for great insulation and the bad is that the increased wall thickness encroaches on the inside space.  The additional door also takes up some wall space.  I have heard Mike, Judy and Eric say many times that when you get a building, you are buying the four corners and then you should place them as far apart as your space and budget will allow.  For these reasons, I added two feet to both the width and the length to 30×42 feet.

The 42 foot length also makes sense with the internal floor plan that I have planned.  I plan to have one bay on the end of the building be a 12 foot bay and that the bedrooms will be in that bay.  I intend to run a ceiling joist between the trusses in the first 12 foot bay creating an antic space over that bay, which will need ridge vent and blown in insulation over the ceiling.  At forty feet and one 12 foot bay, the result would have been two 10 foot bays and one 8 foot bay.  Adding the two feet to the length makes for one 12 foot bay and three 10 foot bays. Same number of posts and trusses.  I want the remaining three bays to be a vaulted ceiling so the trusses over these three bays need to be designed for the drywall ceiling to be run on the underside of the roof purlins.  The trusses will be exposed to the inside main room.  I intend to have closed cell spray foam insulation sprayed on the underside of the roof steel.  IP indicates that the roof purlins will be 2×10’s and 2×8’s, which will allow for great insulation r values.

I intend to extend the interior wall between the main room and the bedrooms up the side of the truss to separate the unheated attic space from the vaulted ceiling area.  This internal wall will need to be insulated as if it were an outside wall.  The interior wall on the other end of the building will also extend up the inside of the endwall truss.  These higher walls will make for great places for the three 10 – 12 point deer mounts that are currently hanging in my garage.

Thanks, Mike for your sound advice as I worked through the planning of my pole barn cabin. I can’t wait for Spring so I can get started!

Monitor Barn-Heights of Wings and Raised Center

Monitor barns have a tall center portion (usually clearspanned with trusses) and lower single slope (knowns as sheds or wings) roofs on each side. Barns may actually be a misnomer, as many monitor style post frame buildings are used for things like homes and event centers.

Reader DANIELLE in SUMMERSVILLE writes:

“Is there a minimum distance between patch breaks? I would like the upper level of the main pole barn to have exterior riser walls of 4 feet high with scissor truss (for attic feel). The side shed sections are 10 feet wide and would have 4/12 pitch. This would put the lower pitch break extremely close to the upper. Can’t go with lower roof pitch for shed because of winter snow. I could go with 5 foot riser walls but was hoping to minimize drywall waste and keep exterior loft walls short. Picture attached is just for concept but gives good idea of style we want to build. Please advise.”

If you were considering a monitor style roofline without any overhangs (not a good idea in my humble opinion) then height difference between wing upper side and eave of raised center could be as little as a few inches.

Once overhangs are added to raised center portion, then everything changes. It is far less an issue of structural soundness, than one of practicality to assemble.

You might have noticed I wove in “structural soundness”. In snow country monitor style rooflines need to be analyzed by a RDP (Registered Design Professional) in order to account for weights of snow sliding off upper roof and impacting the wing roof. Drifting loads also play into RDP’s structural design.

If you do happen to be in snow land and decide to proceed without involvement of a RDP, then it is possible you are a fool and deserve what you get when your building’s roof collapses around you.

Assembly practicality comes into play with aforementioned overhangs. There needs to be enough room to operate a screw gun. With an open (no soffits) overhang it might be able to be accomplished within a foot. With enclosed overhangs there should be at least a foot between bottom of soffit and top of wing roof.

Keeping those “riser” walls short can prove to be literally a pain in your head. Our home has a four foot height wall. This has resulted in numerous cases of noggin’ smacking. For usefulness I would recommend this wall be no less than six feet in height.

Ready to plan your new monitor style post-frame building? Call (866)200-9657 to speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer.

Screw Holes: Predrill or Punch?

I happen to be very, very picky about how a finished post frame (pole barn) building looks. One thing I really notice is if screw lines are straight or not. I have seen some buildings where screw locations appear to have been predrilled using a scatter gun – up and down and everywhere except straight.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual does provide instructions on how to pre-drill screw holes to achieve straight lines. There are other acceptable methods however.

Loyal and long-time reader VINCE in CHAFFEE writes:

“Is using an awl or punch an acceptable alternative to pre-drilling screw holes?”

And he attached this video:

https://youtu.be/DWltNxO-TT4

There are some things missing from this video.

Due to slight length variations, panels should be pushed so downward ends are all flush. Any variability will be covered by trims at top edge.

Steel panels should be held in place to prevent panel slippage. I used to use pairs of vice grips, with felt pads glued on to prevent scarring of painted surfaces.

Punching always seemed to work best when there was something solid beneath punching locations. I normally used a clean scrap piece of 2×4.

Bottom and top of steel panels need to be “double screwed” – a screw needs to be placed on each side of every high rib. Not only is this per manufacturer’s installation instructions, it also is necessary to adequately transfer shear loads, in most instances.

Recently I attended NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) 2019 Frame Building Expo. While there, I found County Line Concepts (www.CountyLineConcepts.com) 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/

Now a Ridge Runner 3:10™ may be too great of an investment for an average DIYer, however it is certainly something worth investigating for contractors.

Building Over a Basement, an OHD Modification, and Interior Photos?

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about building over a basement, an OHD modification, and interior photos of one of our buildings?

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR POLE BARN GURU: If I order a pole barn knowing that it will be built over a basement will the plans show how to install the floor or do I have to figure that out myself? I would really like the answer quickly if possible. Thank you. MARYJANE in MANZANOLA

 

DEAR MARYJANE: Our third-party engineer sealed plans include connections of all members we supply in your complete post frame building kit package. This would include how floor would be attached to your basement walls.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 18’s by 10’ tall sectional door and need to add a section to be at least 11’-6” tall for a new camper to fit. Trying to find a garage door contractor that can do the modification on the door. I will raise the header and cut the barn metal to fit new section myself. Just wondering if you have a recommendation on a contractor or an opinion. Thanks. RALPH in RAY TOWNSHIP

DEAR RALPH: Before doing a structural remodel of your building, it would be prudent to discuss it with your RDP (Registered Design Professional – engineer or architect) who produced your building’s original design. Making structural changes without their approval could result in voiding any warranty and, at worst, a collapse – just isn’t worth it.

Each sectional door manufacturer has a slightly different panel design. You will need to ascertain whom manufactured your door, then contact them and ask for a referral to dealers closest to you.

As for contractor recommendations, I just will not make them, as if there is a challenge in dealing with them for any reason, chances are I will get blamed – even if I were to tell you to vet them thoroughly.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How much is the pole barn shown on the front of this website. Do you, have any interior pictures? https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/uploads/img_0_5c9bda48b8f54.png

RHONDA in WAVERLY

DEAR WANDA: Thank you very much for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. As pictured, this building is $39,999. As we furnish only complete post frame building kit packages, rarely do we have interior photos, however you can configure interior walls wherever you desire, to best meet your particular needs.

 

Converting a Pole Barn into a Home

I happen to live in a post-frame home. It was designed to be lived in from day one, so we did not face obstacles in having to convert a pole barn.

Reader DAN in SIDNEY writes:

“I have an existing pole barn that has no current foundation. It looks like 6×6 pt poles right into the ground. I am trying to convert the pole barn into a home and my first task on my list was a foundation. I was told required by code I need a frost protected shallow foundation. My question is what is the best way to add these footers with my poles already in the ground? Do I just pour around it or extend my pour outside the poles a few inches? Thank you for your time.”

Well DAN I will gladly assist with answers to your challenge, however first I might end up bursting your bubble.

Your building itself could very well pose some other challenges. Most often these come from walls not stiff enough (from a deflection standpoint) to prevent cracking of any gypsum wallboard surfaces. This is an area to be looked into by a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) you are going to hire (please nod your head yes).

 

Chances are excellent roof trusses in your building are not designed to support a ceiling load. If you do not have original sealed truss drawings for your building, you will need to contact whomever fabricated them. Every truss should have an ink stamp stating who manufactured them somewhere along their bottom chord.

Gambrel roof pole barnIn many cases it may be possible for an engineered truss repair to be made, to upgrade load carrying capacity of truss bottom chords to a minimum of five psf. I’m sorry to say, this is not free. Truss company’s engineer will need to put his or her license on the line in designing a “fix” for trusses designed for a load other than is now intended.  It’s not same as designing original trusses.  If you think about it, redesigning and augmenting something you have built, is always more time consuming (and brain challenging!) than first time around. His time and expertise are not without a charge.  It’s not usually “much”, like a couple hundred dollars.  Then there is cost of materials to do repairs. This will be final out-of-pocket expense if you are doing truss repairs yourself.  If not, a contractor’s charge must be added.  All totaled, it could run you anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand or more.

Siding should probably be removed and reinstalled with a Weather Resistant Barrier underneath, or plan upon using a two inch or thicker flash coat of closed cell spray foam insulation against siding insides.  If a dead attic space has been created, attic area needs to be adequately ventilated to prevent condensation. You can find out more about adequate attic ventilation here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/ventilation-blows/.

Once you have decided to survive all of the above, let’s deal with your FPSF (Frost Protected Shallow Foundation). This article: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/minimizing-excavation-in-post-frame-buildings/ addresses an FPSF scenario for new post-frame construction. In your case you can follow along doing essentially the same thing, although your columns are already in ground.

Ultimately your conversions costs may exceed starting from scratch and erecting a new post frame building designed to be your home from start. If this is your case, please call and discuss with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at (866)200-9657.

2019 NFBA Frame Building Expo Recap

NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) Frame Building Expo is an annual event for post-frame industry builders and suppliers. It provides educational sessions, a trade show and an ability to interact with fellow members of our community. Below is an article I have submitted to F+W Media (www.fwmedia.com) publishers of Rural Builder and Frame Building News magazines for inclusion in an upcoming publication. For non-industry members (or those of you who missed this year’s Expo) I will share below:

Some things have changed and others have remained pretty much without change since my very first NFBA Annual Conference in Hershey, PA in 1987. Some once familiar faces are no longer with us and others have changed employers.

At this year’s 2019 Frame Building Expo, builder attendees were predominately from within a 500 mile radius of our host venue – Louisville, KY. While some might say post frame industry’s heart lies here, I can attest to there being thousands upon thousands of post-frame builders from outside this area who were not Expo participants, for whatever reason.

A solution to this may be to reach out to these builders as well as engineers, architects and vendors who have not attended an Expo for say five years. I am talking serious discounts – just enough to cover hard costs of them attending.

Stepping now onto my soap box. Let’s start showing our world what post frame can actually do. In my humble opinion, we should have a booth at this year’s National International Builders’ Show. If they have breakouts sessions, let’s offer to do one on post-frame homes. I’d donate my time to man the booth (provided I can get some time to interact with other vendors) and/or be a presenter, just cover my expenses – cheaper than an employee or contractor. And I actually have some sort of idea as to what I am talking about…..building our industry. Every convert to post-frame buildings brings us a step closer to mainstream. Off my soap box, thank you for your patience.

I will imagine attendance will be reported as greatest ever, however my informal visual tells me otherwise as breakout sessions I attended had a plethora of empty seats and there was plenty of walking room between trade show booths. Rarely did I have a significant wait to talk with a vendor and (kudos to them) they universally were willing to give everyone I saw their undivided and individual attention. Never once did I feel slighted.

What Was Best

I have to admit I was highly flattered when a gentleman Building Designer from an Eastern state asked if he could have his photo taken with “The Pole Barn Guru”. Instead we spent probably an hour talking post-frame buildings one-on-one in a hall. My Monday through Friday daily blog appears to have become widely read within our industry as I received numerous positive comments. I really appreciate your affirmations and am open to topics any of you would like discussed.

Courteous and knowledgeable vendors – they rocked it!

Breakout sessions by Kirk Grundahl, “Risk Management & Permanent Bracing of Long Span Trusses” and Aaron Halberg’s, “Vertical Loads on Post-Frame Buildings” were both well-presented and contained good solid information for post-frame builders.

On the trade show floor I was impressed by offerings from some more recent vendors. These would include County Line Concepts (www.countylineconcepts.com) with their RidgeRunner 3:10®. RidgeRunner 3:10® has a 36-inch long HDPE high-density plastic base with four custom-designed hardened spring-loaded steel punches. It allows six metal panels to be accurately punched at one time and has adjustable arms for instant spacing of rows of holes. Their Ridgeline9™ easily marks angles on steel panels for accurate cutting on gable endwalls.

Greiner Building Solutions, Inc. (www.greinerbuildingsolutions.com) has developed contractor friendly systems for column bracing, column marking and builder safety.

Permanent Post Systems (www.permanentpostsystems.com) is promoting their unique patented field height adjustable column base keeping building columns above ground as well as at a fixed height.

Numerous unscheduled discussions amongst show participants in regards to post-frame building collapses due to Upper Midwest snows as well as talk on how our post-frame industry is heading more and more into residential home markets.

What Was a Challenge

Breakout Sessions beginning at 7:30 am Wednesday and 7:00 am Thursday.  Just maybe a little too much content has been squeezed into too little time?

Breakout Sessions put on by those outside post-frame industry. They just are not as relevant as industry specific presentations.

Proliferation of trade show floor vendors who provide steel coil or roll forming equipment. While I am certain your investment into booth space is appreciated, I am unsure if beyond a small minority of Expo attendees are your client base.

Very few vendors who actually follow up on Expo made contacts.

What Was Missing….

A Commercial Post-Frame Building Design class. Professors Dr. Frank Woeste, P.E. and Dr. Don Bender, P.E. who in the 1990’s taught these on Monday and Tuesday pre-Expo.  Personally I found these classes to be a great resource and inspiration, however there has not been a class since International Building Code adoptions.

Round Tables. As a NFBA Board member from 1990-1993, I assisted in being a moderator at one of approximately 20 tables of 12. Each round table had a moderator and its own subject. Every 20 minutes there was a “musical chairs”, allowing participants to be able to attend as many as six different discussions over two hours. This was always a show highlight giving participants an opportunity to learn from their peers and brainstorm ideas.

Some sort of instruction on building and maintaining websites, blogging, social media, PPC and PPV ads. This might need to be done Tuesday in an all-day program. There could be a nominal charge to cover hard costs and be a “lunch on your own”.

A NFBA division for those who supply post frame building kit packages, as well as Building of the Year Awards to their clients who self-build.

Long time NFBA supporter and usual vendor National Hardware® (www.natman.com) provider of sliding door components.

Potential vendors who I feel should be participants:

The Home Depot® and Lowe’s®

Builders First Source, ABC Supply Company, Allied Building Products, 84 Lumber, U.S. LBM and BMC Stock Holdings.

Sectional garage door manufacturers such as Amarr, Clopay, Overhead and Wayne Dalton.

Alside, Anderson Windows and Jeld-Wen.

Bridger Steel and Union Corrugating.

Simpson Strong-Tie and USP Structural Connectors.

My Grade for 2019’s Expo?

I’d give this year’s Expo a C for being average, not exceptional.  Looking forward to meeting you at next year’s 2020 NFBA Expo in Des Moines, Iowa!

Steel Roofing and Siding with a Crinkle Finish

When I first wrote about crinkle finish steel roofing and siding, just over two years ago, I suspected there would be at least one in ten clients who would actually order it right away. This is a fairly given percentage of folks who always go with latest and greatest trends – they embrace cutting edge technologies. Strangely enough, I am still waiting upon even one client to place an order for it!

Maybe you will be first?

Since pre-painted steel roofing and siding first became available finishes have always been smooth and high gloss, generally losing its luster just like my ’66 Chevelle SS did.

Well, no more. Valspar Corporation has a new addition to its WeatherXL product line: WeatherXL Crinkle Finish. Crinkle Finish delivers the same durability as WeatherXL, but offers unique performance you can see and feel. This textured appearance on WeatherXL Crinkle Finish redirects light for enhanced visual depth, promising a step-change enhancement over flat-panels’ appearance.

Not to be outdone, AkzoNobel has introduced CERAM-A-STAR® 1050 Frost as a direct alternative.

 

WeatherXL Crinkle Finish has been responsively designed to create a shifting and shimmering effect mirroring an eye’s natural horizontal motion with its texture. Ranging from standard colors such as charcoal and rural red, to premium colors like silver sage and gallery blue, WeatherXL Crinkle Finish boasts an array of color options to fit any project. This coating also features strong color retention meeting current solar reflective (SR) standards for Energy Star™ ratings.

https://www.valsparcoilextrusion.com/en/news/crinkle-finish/

“WeatherXL Crinkle Finish is truly a product that you have to see and feel to understand its texture,” says Jeff Alexander, VP of Sales for Valspar. “We’re excited to bring this unique coil coating option to our customers and watch them transform buildings throughout North America.”

Formulated with an enhanced WeatherXL silicone polyester resin system to deliver maximum hardness, WeatherXL Crinkle Finish delivers superior quality for unrivaled performance against chalking, fading and scratching – making it ideal for commercial and residential, agricultural and industrial buildings, metal roofing and wall panels.

CERAM-A-STAR Frost, utilizing Cool Chemistry® pigmentation, can help reduce energy consumption by lowering cooling loads. All colors meet North America’s Cool Roofing requirements. AkzoNobel offers this soft touch and look finish in most popular and appealing colors. This two-coat system, using High-Performance Primer, provides exceptional durability and offers superior resistance to moisture and UV exposure, with excellent flexibility and abrasion resistance. This unique and highly durable topcoat provides best color stability and L

Want a look on your new post frame building unrivaled by your neighbors? Crinkle Finish or Frost may be just your ticket!

When Size (or Lack Thereof) Matters- 4×6 Columns

Prior to Hansen Pole Buildings’ client’s plans being sealed by our third-party engineers, their preliminary plans are uploaded for client review through a login. While review goal is to make certain everyone is working from a same left and ensure doors and windows are properly located, it does trigger some interesting discussions at times.

Here is a recent email received from one of our clients in Ohio:

“Just had the chance to look through the plans. Was surprised to see 4x6s on the corners of the main building. What is the rationale for that? If it’s simply cost savings, can I pay extra to have 6x6s in those 4 places?”

Here is my Pole Barn Guru response:

Prior to verifying the larger dimension (albeit weaker) member might work, this may prove valuable reading:

From the Hansen Pole Buildings Construction Manual:

Why might corner columns be smaller sized? Each building column carries a load equal to ½ distance to next column on each side!  This means corner columns are carrying about ½ other column’s loads. Further, on an enclosed building, corner columns are braced in two directions by girts and wall steel (or other sidings).

Why might a building have 4×6 columns, rather than 6×6? As mentioned in lumber defects section (Page 37), 4×6 lumber and 6×6 lumber are graded under different “allowable defect” categories. 4×6 material is held to much more stringent guidelines. As an example, if allowable defects from a 4×6 #2 grade, were applied to a 6×6, 6×6 would have to be graded as Select Structural. Conversely, if allowable defects from a 6×6 #2 grade were applied to a 4×6, 4×6 would be less than “utility” grade.

These allowable defect characteristics follow through to design values used for structural calculations. Without getting overly technical, 4×6 #2 Fb (fiberstress in bending) value is nearly double 6×6 #2 value.

As well as: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/08/lumber-bending/

In the event you still wish a material change, please contact Materials@HansenPoleBuildings.com.

Post frame efficiency is achieved by every member and connection being checked and verified for ability to carry imposed loads. Software utilized by Hansen Pole Buildings and our third-party engineers verifies complete structural adequacy in all cases.

Living Quarters, Plasti-Sleeves, and Poly-carbonate Roof Panels

The Pole Barn Guru answers questions about living quarters, Plasti-Sleeve sizes, and poly-carbonate roof panels.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello there, 

I have a quick question that I’m hoping someone can answer for me.  For your metal buildings that feature “living quarters” such as (PROJECT# 04-0509), have any of these ever been built on a property in Washington state as the primary residence (not as an accessory building)?

I am searching for a piece of land in Thurston county, and plan to build a home and a ~3,000 square foot shop.  I love the idea of combining the two.  I know that this is common in other parts of the country (with companies like Morton Buildings), I’m just not sure if this is doable in Washington state.

If you have any insight, I’d love to hear it.

Thank you for your time!

ROBERT in OLYMPIA

P.S.  If you have any interior pictures of Project# 04-0509, I would love to see those.

DEAR ROBERT: Thank you for your interest. Post frame (pole) buildings are Code compliant structures and can be erected upon any buildable lot. You will have to meet Washington State Energy requirements Energy Code (as will any new residential construction). Your local Planning Department or a HOA may dictate specific types of roofing and/or siding to meet local covenants. This is not an issue for post frame as we can provide any type of exterior materials.

Because we supply only kit packages, we rarely get finished interior photos of our buildings. We will hope to be seeing ones from you in the not too distant future!

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The pole sleeves are .25″ too small for all of the hem fir PT posts that are used for door openings. What do i do?  SCOTT in EAGLE

DEAR SCOTT:

This is from the manufacturer’s website:

Helpful Hints:

Wood, especially treated, can swell with moisture beyond its normal dimension. If your Plasti-sleeve (more on Plasti-sleeves here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/) is too tight, here are some ways to ease installation without forcing it on.

  1. If your post has sharp corners, plane or shave with a saw to allow sleeve to slide on.
  2. Plane or saw sides of the post the length of the Plasti-sleeve.
  3. Use dish soap or similar slippery lubricant to aid in sliding on.
  4. In case of cold weather installation it may help to warm the sleeves to expand them.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Why do you have the clear (translucent) light panels on the side-wall rather than on the roof?
Thanks, MARK in LAKEVIEW

DEAR MARK: Rather than rehashing a subject I have expounded upon previously, here lies your answer: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/01/skylights/.

Challenges also exist with skylights and fires: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/one-more-reason-to-not-use-skylights-in-steel-roofs/.

 

Towards upper left hand corner of every webpage at www.HansenPoleBuildings.com you will find a magnifying glass adjacent to “Search”. To find information on any post frame building subject CLICK on Search and type your subject into this dropdown box, then ENTER. Magically answers will appear, in order of relevance to your request!

 

Placing Steel Trim Around Post Frame Shed Rafters

Reader HEATH in NACOGDOCHES writes:

“I am going to build a pole barn with shed roofs. I want to know what the best way to trim out under the sheds where the side wall meets the ledger board or bottom of rafters. Building will be sheeted with metal. There will not be any soffit under sheds. Rafters will be exposed. Do you have any pics that I could see of this detail?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

This is just one of a plethora of subjects covered in Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual:

Trim Around Rafters Through Sided Eave Wall

Install a 2x block (cut from scrap) to extend a minimum of 2-1/2” past most extreme edges of rafter combination to outside column face directly below rafters.  See Figure 42-8

 To avoid running out of J Channel, install all longer lengths first, and then use cutoffs for these shorter segments.

Cut to length a J Channel piece to fit between rafter assemblies. 1” face (3/4” for ABC trims, 7/8” for McElroy) will be cut back from “J” bottom at a 45-degree angle. Tack in place this J Channel piece to eave strut snug to roof steel. See Figure 42-6

Figure 42-6  J Channel Cutting for Rafter Tails

Square cut a J Channel piece to Distance “A” plus 2” long (for trims provided by ABC use 1-1/2” to Distance “A”; McElroy 1-3/4”).  

Using snips, cut 1” (for ABC trim 3/4”, McElroy 7/8”) in from each end along J Channel bends.  Holding J Channel like an inverted “J”, bend up two tabs created between cuts. See Figure 42-7

Figure 42-7  Cutting tabs on J Channel

Install this trim piece tight underneath overhanging truss tails, with folded-up tabs on each side.  See Figure 42-8

Figure 42-8 Cutting Trim Pieces for Through Rafters

Next install vertical J Channel pieces along front and rear faces of rafters. These piece lengths will vary depending upon roof slope and rafter size.

Top end (fitting tight against roof steel) will be square cut.  Lower end will again have bends each cut, with snips, up 1”.

Fold area between cuts to form a tab. 1” J Channel face (3/4” face for ABC trims, 7/8” for McElroy) is to be cut at a 45-degree angle.  

Install vertical pieces so area labeled A1 is on top of A2.  Tab B will be inserted into inverted J top below truss tails.  See Figure 42-9

Figure 42-9  Inserting Trim Pieces Below Rafter Tails

Face B1 will be on top of Face B2; C2 will be behind C1 and D2 behind D1.

Carefully determine where rafters will lie along sidewall steel. This can be done by installing full-length panels along wall until a rafter is reached.

Easiest, if grade allows, slide panel to be cut up against trimmed out rafter assembly underside and put light pencil marks on steel to align with front and rear faces of rafter assembly.

J

When done properly, no light will shine into building from this area.  If light does show through, use an appropriate mastic or caulk to seal area thoroughly.

5 Reasons to Use Post Frame Construction in Sustainable Architecture

Green building concepts are not a new trend, and so our planet can breathe a sigh of relief, there is increasing pressure on construction industries to go for green initiatives and use sustainable building materials having greater strength and stability. Post-frame construction is proving to be a huge asset to a building industry demanding delivery of high-quality sustainable architecture with good value.    

So what makes post-frame construction an ideal solution for green building concepts?

Growing Role of Post-Frame Construction in Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture aims to design and construct socially beneficial, eco-friendly structures. Sustainable structures may cost more upfront but they pay off immediately. These buildings have a smaller carbon footprint and their environmental impact is also much less. Post-frame construction provides great benefits when combined with clever designing, well-supervised construction and high-precision execution.

Here are five reasons why post-frame construction is perhaps a best alternative when it comes to sustainable architecture:

 

  • Makes Use of Natural Materials able to be Recycled at End of Life

Traditional construction materials are environmentally harmful but post-frame construction involves use of eco-friendly materials being equally strong, reliable, and durable. Also, post-frame components used in each building are made of wood and steel so they can be easily recycled.  

This ensures responsible management of waste with materials recovery and scrap recycling. Recycling construction waste not only boosts a brand’s public image but the company also receives government incentives for its recycling efforts.   

Requires Less Construction Materials

Post-frame construction requires fewer building materials to achieve required load capacities. This is because post-frame structures are supported by few large-sized columns  spaced far apart instead of installing many smaller supports. Post-frame design requires fewer materials meaning less waste and less environmental impact.

 

  • Reduces Use of Energy  

Post-frames are made from wood and it requires very little energy to convert wood to timber. This is because embodied energy in timber used for construction is low. In fact, it is lowest of most sustainable building materials.

 

  • Ensures Energy-Efficiency with Excellent Insulation

A timber frame provides more insulation space as compared to brick and mortar buildings and ensures superior air infiltration. Its natural thermal insulation properties require less power for heating and cooling, meaning less use of fossil fuels.

 

  • Lasts Longer Even With Little to no Maintenance

Building materials used for construction of post-frame buildings make a structure so strong it can easily last beyond 50 years with little to no maintenance. Traditional architecture puts all weight on walls constructed on flooring supported by a continuous foundation. So, if any component is compromised, the entire architecture is at risk.  

Post-frame construction is very different and so it does not crack or collapse when the structure is stressed. Timber columns flex and roof trusses attached to the post-frame keep it from separating from balance of the structure.

Post-frame construction is low-cost, eco-friendly, sustainable, uses fewer materials, consumes less energy, offers great insulation, is easy to work on, does not limit design concepts and build time is quick. All of these reasons make post-frame construction the best choice for green building concepts.

Also, with buyers becoming increasingly eco-conscious these days, sustainable architecture has become a new industry norm. Post-frames are one of many sustainable building methods. There are several other ways builders can go green and win buyers, post-frame possibly being best.  

Author Bio: Erich Lawson is passionate about environment saving through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on a variety of topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling.

Pole Barn Guru Blog Review

This is the third year the Pole Barn Guru blog has been in competition for the Best Construction Blog. Last year this blog was second in the world, tying for first in quality, however losing the popular vote. Part of this process is a review of each blog by Mark Buckshon of Construction Marketing Ideas (www.ConstructionMarketingIdeas.com).

Below is Mr. Buckshon’s review:

Hansen Buildings’ Pole Barn Guru: Practical information about post frame (pole barn) structures

By Mark Buckshon

 –March 23, 2019

The Pole Barn Guru is currently leading in the 2018 Best Construction Blog’s popular vote and unless there is a surprising surge from supporters of another blog by the popular vote’s conclusion on March 31, this blog will probably earn the popular vote win status.

There are reasons for this support — the blog combines depth and focus as a “go to” resource for post frame (pole barn) buildings; and it doesn’t avoid the challenges with these low-cost structures, often used for outdoor storage and as rural outbuildings.

I’ve been reading some posts, for example, dealing with issues relating to condensation and insulation, some initiated by questions from outsiders — that is folks who have a pole barn structure not provided by Hansen.

Rather than brushing off these external inquiries with a: “Hey, that’s not my problem” attitude, this blog provides some practical answers, even as it indicates the issues probably wouldn’t have been problems if they had been considered in the initial design and purchase.

That educational aspect makes this blog truly worthy.

Consider, for example, this question in a recent blog post:

Hello! 

I have a pre-existing pole building that I am having a ton of trouble with. It is partitioned into two rooms, the back room is heated to around 50F. The attic space/loft space has a lot of condensation and I cannot seem to get this fixed. I have tried a lot of solutions, none of which have worked. I know that you build these types of buildings so I am hoping that you can recommend someone who might be able to come in and look at this issue and help me with a solution that works. I have no idea what to do next and I am a local business owner – my business is at a standstill right now until I can get this issue fixed. If you can recommend any general contractor, or anyone who might have expertise in pole buildings who I can contact I would greatly appreciate it. 

Thank you so much!”

The question is posed after a brief introduction:

Long time readers should be thoroughly drenched with solutions to condensation issues by now. As post frame construction has moved off farms and into suburbia, climate control has brought with it a plethora of condensation challenges.

So, what are the answers?

To control your condensation challenge you need to either remove warm moist air from inside your building, prevent this air from becoming in contact with surfaces at or below dew point, heat and/or ventilate. Here’s a brief summary, followed by solutions specific to your case: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/how-to-reduce-condensation-in-post-frame-buildings/.

If you do not have some sort of thermal break below your pole building’s roof steel – two inches of closed cell spray foam should be applied. This process will be best done by a professional installer. Make certain to not block ventilation intake and exhaust points.

Unless you know for certain a vapor barrier was placed under your building’s concrete slab, seal the floor.  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/how-to-properly-apply-post-frame-concrete-sealant/ 

and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/siloxa-tek-8505-concrete-sealant/.

Vent any dead attic spaces. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/adequate-eave-ridge-ventilation/.

Heating your building to a temperature above dew point will also solve this issue. Avoid heating with propane, as it adds moisture to the air.

Now in my opinion, that sort of detailed, practical advice shows how an effective, consistent and useful blog can provide real value to clients and potential customers alike (and serve a general community purpose, even for people who will never purchase a thing from Hansen.)

This value translates to search engine effectiveness and of course a reputation for knowledge and service. If you are thinking about purchasing a post frame structure, for example, I’m confident after reading through the relevant blog postings you’ll have the confidence to ask the right questions and share the site/usage observations to ensure that the structure serves its purpose and problems such as condensation or poor insulation don’t occur in the first place.

A Problem Good Structural Engineering Could Solve Part III

Part III, the conclusion by Dr. David Bohnhoff, Phd., P.E., Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Perhaps only people that engineer buildings understand and appreciate the true dangers and hence insanity of erecting (and then occupying) a structure of absolutely unknown strength.  To structural engineers involved in agricultural building design, NOT following the structural requirements of the governing commercial building code is crazy given the fact that the code sets MINIMUM criteria.  If you aren’t going to engineer a building in accordance with loads considered the MINIMUM for your project, then pray tell, what loads are you going to use????

The IBC, which was adopted (with modification) as the commercial building code in Wisconsin, is a code that is as applicable to agricultural buildings as it is to other commercial buildings.  The WI administration code exemption that allows for the construction of non-structurally engineered farm buildings is outdated.  In many cases, code exemptions for farm buildings are as old as the code themselves.  The first building codes were largely fire codes (much like today’s codes) that were put in place to protect loss of life and property from large conflagrations (e.g. fires that consumed entire villages in some cases).  Since farm buildings were small and located in rural areas where they were isolated from other buildings, there was little concern regarding loss of life and adjacent property when they did burn (which they often did) and hence they were exempted from building codes.  As codes have changed so have farm building exemptions.  While farm buildings are still largely exempt from fire, ventilation and energy codes, they seldom are exempt from electrical and plumbing codes, and some jurisdictions no longer exempt them from structural codes.  The latter recognizes that large farm buildings need to be structurally engineered.  In some jurisdictions (e.g. Arkansas) farm buildings must be designed and constructed in accordance with the governing commercial code, but there is no enforcement (i.e., there is no required plan submittal and no required on-site inspection).

The confusion surrounding the structural design of farm buildings has made it virtually impossible for insurance companies to offer better rates for buildings that are structurally engineered in accordance with a specific code, then for ones that have not been structurally engineered.  To this end, farmers that purchase properly engineered buildings are not getting the break due them, in fact, the more large, non-engineered buildings erected, the higher their rates become.

Builders who sell and erect non-engineered buildings (typically at the expense of reputable companies) have no incentive to change their practice.  Given that insurance companies continue to insure the buildings they erect, why change?  As soon as one of their buildings fails, he/they are right back in the farmer’s yard telling the farmer not to worry as they will take care of him/her like they always have.  They blame the failure on a rare heavy snowfall (or on the truss manufacturer or some other supplier), and then they put up the exact same non-engineered building.  It’s a double win for these builders (two buildings and two pay days).  So why should they change their practice?  Your answer may be “so they don’t get sued”.  To this I ask, when was the last time a hard-working, independent dairy farmer (not a horse farmer) sued a hard-working local builder?  Given that they could go to the same church, have friends in common, or even be related, you can pretty much guess the answer.

Make absolutely no mistake about it, the rash of agricultural building failures is virtually entirely due to the construction of buildings that are not structurally engineered by builders who in many cases could care less.  They are not among the farmers, the reputable builders, the component supplies (who often get blamed for the failures), or the insurance companies who would all benefit by requiring large farm buildings to be structurally engineered.

David R Bohnhoff, Ph.D., P.E.

Emeritus Professor

Biological Systems Engineering Department

460 Henry Mall, Madison WI 53706″

Thank you, Dr. Bohnhoff!

Issues with Condensation, Ground Water, and Overhead Door Size

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about, condensation, ground Water, and an overhead door size.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning,

My name is Brett and about to complete my Hansen Pole building.

I have having issues with condensation from my metal roof given the recent freezing weather. I do have a vapor barrier, but is not stopping the condensation that is now dripping into insulation and drywall.

Can you help me with this? Need a resolution quick

Thank you

BRETT in ARLINGTON

vented-closure-strip

DEAR BRETT: Your building’s dead attic space lacks adequate ventilation. You need to replace closed cell foam closures currently under ridge cap with Vented ones. Cut out any radiant reflective barrier between ridge purlins. Make sure to have an inch or more of free flowing air above insulation closest to sidewalls, so as not to impede air intake from building’s vented soffits..

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Does it make sense to build a pole barn on standard frost walls where ground water and subsequent frost heaves are a problem? JOHN in LANESBORO

DEAR JOHN: Ground water is going to be an issue no matter what you do. Frost walls are going to be very costly (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/foundations-2/), and you’d have to find a way to keep water out of your excavations long enough to set up forms and pour.

I’d be wanting to build up grade at building site for any type of construction.

For further reading – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/11/sonotube/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I install an 18 ft wide garage door in a 20 ft wide pole barn? WILLIAM in TOWNSEND

DEAR WILLIAM: With proper structural design, probably. There are some downsides of this application, however. You will be extremely limited in your ability to place anything along building sidewalls. Care will need to be given in opening vehicle doors so as not to smash them against each other, or sidewalls.

For an 18 foot wide sectional overhead door, I normally recommend a building width of no less than 24 feet.

 

A Problem Good Structural Engineering Could Solve Part II

Day 2 of a three part series by guest blogger Dr. David Bohnhoff, Phd. P.E., Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

If you understand the information from yesterday’s blog, then you know that when someone tries to sell a farmer a building “designed to withstand a BALANCED snowload of XXX psf” that farmer should slam the door in the salesperson’s face.  Obviously, that salesperson and the company he/she represents are not selling structurally engineered buildings.  More often than not, they are selling a building that includes a truss that has been sized using methodology only appropriate for a small, residential building, and it is quite likely that not a single load calculation has been performed, and thus not a single component or connection has been properly sized/detailed for the loads to which it will likely be subjected.  When you sell a structurally engineered building, you talk about the performance codes and standards that were used in its design.  You talk about the code-specified GROUND snow loads in the area that were used IN PART to determine the complex load combinations required to properly engineer the building.

The fact that some companies are selling large agricultural buildings which are not fully engineered is shear lunacy and highly unethical if not criminal.  When these same builders blame the failure of their buildings on a rare heavy snowfall, instead of their lack of providing a structurally engineered building, they are being deceitful/fraudulent.  They also must take farmers and the rest of the general public as idiots.  How else can you convince someone that a rare heavy snowfall is the culprit when the percentage of agricultural building failures due to a given snowfall is magnitudes greater than it is for other commercial and residential buildings in the same area.  Along these same lines, how misleading is it to state something like “the snow loads exceeded those we used in design” when you never structurally engineered the building in the first place?

Over the years I have visited and read about an incredible number of agricultural building failures.  I have seen piles of dead animals, and yet the problem with non engineered buildings has only gotten worse.  Why is this you may ask yourself?  Why does it happen in the first place?  Why hasn’t the government done something about it?  Why hasn’t the industry done something about it?  Why don’t the insurance companies care?  Where are the lawyers in all of this?  These are all great questions with reasonable answers.

First, why has the number of agricultural building failures increased, especially at a time when the number of farming operations has decreased?  Simply stated, larger and larger non-engineered buildings are being constructed.  Unfortunately, there is a double whammy that comes into play here.  As previously explained, larger buildings get hit with more complex loads, and if a building is not engineered to handle these loads, the probability of failure increases.  Second, when you double the size of a building, you double the number of components in the building.  In the case of a non-engineered building, you double the number of undersized components and/or connections.  Thus a building that is twice as large has double the probability of a localized failure.  The problem is that this localized failure can bring down a large portion of the structure if you are not careful.  For this reason it is fundamentally important to incorporate mechanisms into large buildings that limit the extent of a progressive collapse (something that is absolutely not done in a non-engineered structure).  

So as absolutely nutty as it is to put up a large building without structurally engineering it, why is it done?  The answer is simple, there is no law requiring structural engineering due to the exemption provided in SPS 361.02(3)(e) AND builders who engage in the practice of selling and erecting non-engineered buildings can undercut the sales of those who don’t.  The problem is, those who erect non-engineered buildings are putting people and animals in danger (extreme danger in many cases), and are sullying the reputation of the entire industry.  Almost without exception, those erecting non-engineered buildings are small, local builders who (1) do not have a national reputation to withhold, and (2) don’t have deep pockets. 

Come back tomorrow for Part III, the conclusion to Dr. Bonhoff’s expose on non-engineered buildings and why they fail under more than “normal” snow loads.

A Problem Good Structural Engineering Could Solve Part I

This is copied, by permission, from a blog post by Aaron Halberg, P.E. Aaron is a member of the NFBA (National Frame Building Association) Technical and Research committee.

(In one of the many discussions following the rash of building collapses experienced throughout the Midwest this winter, I received a copy of the email below from Dr. David Bohnhoff, PhD, P.E., Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I reprint it here with the other names removed and with Dr. Bohnhoff’s permission in hopes that his message will reach a wider audience)

“I’m responding to your email and copying a few others on it as I feel the need to get some talking points out in the general public.

For starters the State of WI Uniform Dwelling Code (SPS Chapters 320-325) has absolutely nothing to do with agricultural buildings.  It is a PRESCRIPTIVE code that is only applicable to small buildings.  This would be buildings, for example, whose clearspans seldom exceed 20 or 30 feet.

Larger buildings are structurally engineered in accordance with the governing commercial building code.  In the State of WI, this is a slightly modified version of the International Building Code (IBC) and is referred to as the WI Commercial Building Code (SPS Chapters 361-366).  From a structural design perspective, the IBC is a PERFORMANCE code and it contains verbiage specific to agricultural buildings.  For what could be argued as antiquated (historic) reasoning (more on this later), the State of WI exempts (via SPS 361.02(3)(e))) farm buildings from all provisions of the WI Commercial Building Code.

For reasons (sometimes sheer ignorance) there are a number of builders who believe you can build large buildings in accordance with a PRESCRIPTIVE code for small buildings.

Prescriptive codes are codes that PRESCRIBE exactly what size/grade/shape components to use at various locations and how to connect them.  Prescriptive codes are very limited in their overall applicability.  Prescriptive codes “get by with” using simple, uniformly-distributed loads (e.g., a balanced snow load) to determine component size.  Structural engineers are seldom required when prescriptive codes are in play (and that’s one of the main reasons they exist).

When buildings get large, structural engineering gets more complex.  Most loads are far from being nice and uniform.  Wind and snow patterns are highly variant and quite complex.  When you add in parapets, cupolas, ridge vents, asymmetric roofs, steep roofs, intersecting roofs and associated valleys, overshot ridges, and sudden changes in roof height, AND you combine these with snow that can be blown in any direction, THEN (simply put) you have pages and pages of calculations you better perform if you want both an efficient and safe building.  Calculation of loads and load combinations is the first step in the structural design of a building, and not only are these loads dependent on the size and shape of the building you are designing, but they are also dependent on adjacent structures and terrain.  In many areas of the county, seismic loads are a big part of the equation, and obviously add significantly to the work involved in structural design.

Once the engineer has his loads, he/she begins the process of sizing components AND CONNECTIONS to resist these loads.  To design an efficient structure (in order to keep cost down), the engineer is constantly figuring out (1) ways in which secondary structural components and cladding can best be used to reduce the size of primarily structural components, and (2) ways that components can be connected to reduce component and connection stresses.  This takes both knowledge and experience.  A couple hallmarks of buildings that lack structural engineering are primary framing components that have little or no resistance to buckling, and mechanical connections that have little or no strength because fasteners have been inappropriately sized, spaced and/or located (with respect wood connections, fasteners often induce high wood stresses because they are too close together, too close to the end of a component, too close to the edge of a member, or otherwise used in a manner that induces high tension stress perpendicular-to-grain).

Come back tomorrow as Dr. Bohnhoff continues his discussion of reasons post frame buildings fail due to higher than “normal” snow loads in Part II of a three part series.

Steps to Minimize Snow Load Failures

The following article will appear in April 2019’s Component Manufacturing Advertiser magazine (www.componentadvertiser.com).

Early every year NFBA (National Frame Building Association) holds its annual Frame Building Expo – where thousands of post-frame builders, design professionals and vendors meet for three days filled with break-out sessions, guest presenters and of course a trade show.

In 2019’s Expo, one breakout session was, “Avoiding Common Building Failures in the Post-Frame Industry” presented by Ryan Michalek, P.E. of Nationwide Insurance.

The “trailer” for this session was, “Would you find it surprising that Nationwide Insurance’s loss experience with post-frame buildings is disproportionately represented by newly constructed facilities? The company’s loss history is full of buildings that are less than 5 years old and that fail when subjected to their first moderate wind or snow loading event or to a modest commodity-loading cycle. This presentation discusses the common oversights in post-frame building design and construction which lead to building loss and offers strategies to eliminate these oversights.”

I quizzed Mr. Michalek myself as to how many of these failures were subjected to a structural plan review by a Building Official. His opinion was few, if any, failed buildings were designed by a registered design professional RDP (registered engineer or architect), as they are nearly exclusively “agricultural” structures, exempted from Building Permit processes in many states.

My personal belief – every building should be designed by a RDP, as well as being subjected to structural review by a Building Official. Knowing Insurance Industry size, I questioned why it was Nationwide® and other insurance companies were not lobbying for stricter rules for these now permit exempt buildings. Mr. Michalek minced no words in stating United States agricultural lobby having far more power than insurance industry lobby.

I am just not grokking thought processes of those who would invest in buildings which will underperform or fail structurally, all for saving a few dollars. Considering many failures come from poultry industry buildings, it seems costs and cleanup of a million dead chickens or turkeys would trump a few dollars saved on construction.

What was surprising to me, was an analysis of actual most prevalent failures – although column size and embedment always seem to be big concerns from informed purchasers, it wasn’t a contributor to three major causes of failures: lateral bracing of trusses; purlin to truss connections and unbalanced and snow drift loads on trusses.

Typically builders, when they do install bracing, will just run it laterally from building end to building end. This results in all trusses bending together, as loads being placed upon bracing are not being transferred to a very stiff surface – like a roof diaphragm. By utilization of properly designed “X” braces, lateral loads can be transferred into roof plane, and keeping trusses where they are happiest – upright.

Many post-frame buildings, especially those designed with widely spaced single trusses rely upon nailed purlin-to-truss connections woefully inadequate to resist uplift forces. This becomes even more crucial in critical areas such as “end zones” and close to eaves or ridge. A solution would be to use appropriate engineered hangers to attach purlins.

A third common area of failure occurs from designs where drifting snow causing unbalanced loads has not been accounted for. Roof truss designers have an ability to turn off a “switch” in their engineering design programs accounting for drift loading. This results in a less expensive, although under designed truss. With no structural design review, no plan’s examiner will catch trusses being inadequately or inappropriately designed.

Not only do trusses need to support unbalanced snow loads, so do roof purlins. It’s not unusual for an engineered building to have purlins either spaced closer together, or of higher grade or larger size in roof drift areas.

Fast forwarding to 2019’s NFBA Expo – where a frequently heard topic of discussion revolved around a plethora of snow related building collapses in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. A great majority of these roof failures came from buildings exempted from Building Codes.

While it is impractical, unaffordable or unfeasible to retrofit existing buildings to meet Code loading requirements, we can make changes to minimize or eliminate future failures due to snow. Every time a post-frame building roof collapses, it reflects poorly upon our industry. When prefabricated wood roof trusses fail, truss manufacturers get blamed.

Together these two industries can lobby for changes ultimately making for better and safer buildings.

In my humble opinion, these would include:

Require all buildings over 200 square feet to be constructed from plans sealed by a RDP, as well as to be subject to a structural plan review and field inspections.

Eliminate “agricultural exemptions” from permits.

Eliminate Risk Category I as an IBC option. Risk Category I reduces design loads for snow and wind. This doubles annual probability of failures as compared to Risk Category II.

Eliminate use of Cs to downward adjust top chord live loads due to roof slope and “slipperiness” of roof surfaces. Too many buildings have snow retention systems added to roofs, after completion. This would be all well and good if RDPs and truss technicians were made aware when computing their designs.

Create minimum design dead loads of five psf (pounds per square foot) for both top and bottom chords of roof trusses. Some post-frame buildings have sheathing installed between purlins and roof steel, overloading top chords. Personally, I receive numerous inquiries every week from building owners who now want to install ceilings in their existing post-frame buildings and find their building’s trusses are not designed to support this weight.

Have Building Departments re-evaluate values used for snow (and wind) loads in their jurisdictions. Allstate® Insurance has a TV commercial featuring actor Dennis Haysbert. Haysbert sits in an open field and questions why there have been 26 “once in 500 years storms” in last decade, when term alone implies they should only happen every 500 years.  An increase of design snow load of only 15% cuts annual probability of a failure in half!

Hopefully we will learn from this past winter’s collapses and become proactive together to make for better and safer buildings!

The Case of the Frost Heave and a Pole Barn Porch

Allow me to preface this post about a frost heaved porch with a reference to Sherlock Holmes.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes and Watson solved fictional criminal dilemmas with deductive reasoning. In my cases, nearly 40 years of experience (plus knowing and relying upon input from many brilliant engineers) allows me to recommend solutions with a fair degree of certainty as to their outcome.

Reader RICHARD in WOOD STOCK brought to me this interesting case:

“My concerns pertain to my 50 foot by 72 foot pole barn which was built in 2008.
The barn has a brick paved porch that wraps around the length of the barn on the south side of the building. The interior of the barn has a cement floor, poured at the time of construction.

The barn has been very stable and sturdy since it was built, that is until this winter.
Shortly after the subzero weather we had in northern Illinois back in January, I was checking the barn for any issues and noticed that the pavers at the end of the porch had heaved up and the soffit of the porch was no longer level. Upon closer inspection I found that the two last support poles for the porch appeared to have heaved up causing the porch to lift and pull away from the barn to the point of wrinkling the steel siding. I have been closely monitoring the situation and have noted that the porch continues ton move up and farther away from the barn. M

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

I’d say Richard is probaby correct as to heaving cause. His building might get some degree of return to normalcy after Spring thaw, however probably not back to straight and level.

Without involving services of a geotechnical engineer, who could actually do an onsite evaluation – about best I can offer will be how I would probably attack this challenge. I’d temporarily support the porch in the heaved column area. Cut both of these columns off at grade. Excavate ground below columns to remove embedded portions. Excavation needs to be deep enough so bottom of hole will be 1.5 times frost line depth below grade (probably around six feet). Place an appropriately sized Bigfoot® (https://bigfootsystems.com) in excavation bottom with a Sonotube® (https://www. sonotube.com) above. Use Sturdi-wall Plus wet set brackets (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/sturdiwall-brackets/) in top of concrete poured in Sonotubes® to attach remaining portion of columns. All of these above suggestions, as well as proper sizing of Bigfoot and diameter of Sonotubes®, should be confirmed by a Registered Design Professional (RDP – architect or engineer), ideally whomever designed your building originally. Moving ground water away from your building will also prove to be an excellent idea to reduce or eliminate future challenges from frost heaves.

 

For extended reading about Bigfoot® Systems and Sonotubes® please see https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/05/bigfoot-systems/  and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/11/sonotube/

How to Wire a Winch, Floor Vapor Barrier, and Floor Sealant

Today the Pole Barn Guru assists reader with wiring a winch, vapor barriers for a floor, and floor sealant.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you know how to wire ATV warn winch to make electric winch boxes? MAX in SPOKANE

DEAR MAX: Thanks to magical miracles of internet and Google here is where you can locate appropriate wiring diagrams: https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?p=wiring+a+warn+winch+to+110+volts+diagram&fr=crmas&imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Ftops-stars.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F09%2Fwarn-winch-wiring-diagram-solenoid-how-to-wire-up-a-warn-m8000-regarding-warn-winch-controller-wiring-diagram.jpg#id=1&iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcssmith.co%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F11%2Fwarn-winch-solenoid-diagram-starter-wiring-for-illustration-enjoyable.jpg&action=click

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Should I put plastic down under the stone floor in a steel building? BOB in WYALUSING

DEAR BOB: It certainly could not hurt and might help to lower humidity within your building, as well as minimize or eliminate condensation challenges. Look for a 15 mil poly. Here is some more information on vapor barriers: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/11/vapor-barriers-slabs-grades/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a garage without moisture barrier beneath. Is it possible to seal this? Thanks for any info you might have. SAM in EUFAULA

DEAR SAM: Chances are good you can use a sealant upon your concrete floor to keep some or all ground moisture from migrating through.

Here is how to properly apply a sealant: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/how-to-properly-apply-post-frame-concrete-sealant/.

And information about one sealant in particular: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/siloxa-tek-8505-concrete-sealant/.

 

 

 

 

 

Slab on Grade or Crawl Space?

Slab on Grade or Crawlspace?

Long-time readers of this column recall seeing a profuse number of articles written in regards to crawl spaces. These articles have been on a gradual increase since this first one six years ago: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/03/crawl-space/.

With residential post frame construction becoming rapidly more popular as more people discover this system’s benefits, this debate of slab on grade versus crawl space will continue.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Senior Designer Wayde recently had a client order a new post frame building kit package with an elevated wood floor (to create a crawl space). After client has placed their building order, Wayde came back to me with this, “Can you tell me the Pros and cons of building this as we designed and sold it vs. lowering it three feet and adding a radiant concrete floor?”

I happen to be a big fan of hydronic radiant floor heat in concrete slabs, we have it in our own building: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/radiant-floor-heating/.

Biggest pro of “as is” – living upon a wood floor will be so much more comfortable than upon concrete. Wayde’s client could still do radiant floor heat, should they opt to not go with a forced air HVAC system.

Slab on grade the client will have to (or should) do a post frame shallow frost protected foundation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/minimizing-excavation-in-post-frame-buildings/. This perimeter rigid board insulation must be covered with rodent proof material.

If I went to slab on grade, I would recommend a minimum R-60 for ceiling, taking a 22 inch deep raised heel truss to allow for adequate depths of blown in insulation. (Read more about raised heel trusses here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/raised-heel-trusses/).

For an 8′ finished ceiling, they would then need an eave height of 10′ 4-5/8″. I like taller rooms, so you might want to experiment with eave heights of 11′ 4-5/8″ and 12’4-5/8″ (latter of these will be easier to drywall and will result in least waste).

Making a choice between living on concrete or wood will be one only able to be made prior to time of construction and should not be taken lightly. All factors should be taken into consideration most importantly being what creates a most comfortable living space.

How Lumber is Pressure Preservative Treated

How Lumber is Pressure Preservative Treated

Most people never have an opportunity to tour a pressure preservative treatment plant in operation. I have had this privilege several times and have always found it to be fascinating.

Rather than reinventing things, our friend Bob Vila (https://www.bobvila.com/) and Georgia-Pacific (https://www.buildgp.com/wood/lumber/) have produced this wonderful video for your enjoyment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOD2ffGE7yw

Note when watching, 20 bore samples are taken from each retort charge. Of these 16 or more must show adequate levels of treatment chemicals in order for any given treating cycle to be considered properly treated. This does leave some small chance for under treatment.

Here is some reading in regards to how long pressure preservative treated wood should last in ground: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/.


Take time to enjoy the videos!

Pole Barn Videos from Peru

I Went to Peru and All I Brought Back For You Is Pole Barn Videos

I’ve been working at reducing my “bucket list” of places to go and things to see and do. My list priorities include places where being physically able proves essential. A visit in Machu Picchu was way towards top of my list, due to extreme altitude and lots of hiking involved. Of course if you are going to make an effort to travel to visit Peru, might as well make it a best adventure. My trip included Lake Titicaca, flying over Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands and downhill sand skiing (more about sand skiing later in this article).

In order to acclimatize to high altitude, I flew from Lima to Cusco (roughly 11,000 feet above sea level) for day two in country. I had a guided tour of this Peruvian Andes’ city, once Incan Empire capital. Near Plaza de Armas  (old city central square) was Mercado Central de San Pedro de Cusco (“San Pedro Market”). Cusco’s main market and part of Cusco’s lifeblood. Founded in 1925, this market was designed by Frenchman Gustav Eiffel (yes, same Eiffel who designed a tower you might have heard about) and occupies about three city blocks. It’s a huge market where locals and visitors alike can find almost anything they’re after.

Approaching this huge steel roofed building, I had no idea of its structural composition. Once inside, I immediately recognized it as a post frame (pole) building! Cusco location has a high probability of earthquakes. So much so as no churches have high steeples or bell towers, for earthquakes knocked early ones all down! Well, this 94 year-old pole barn has survived all manner of tremblors, without being worse for wear.

Towards one end are vendors selling things like souvenirs, clothing, fabrics, cooking utensils, jewelry and more, but food proves to be a main reason to come here. All of Cusco’s flavors, and Peru in general can be found, from exotic fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, cheese, sweets and more. It’s a great place to sample lots of different things, and expose your taste buds to flavors you won’t find elsewhere in this world, or even in Peru.

Further along – a large market section dedicated to food stalls. Looks of raw meat hanging from hooks and carcasses being diced up might shock some from a hygiene point of view but, as long as you eat from stalls where locals are frequenting you’ll be fine. After all, if a place was making locals sick, it wouldn’t be in business. Plenty looks appealing in San Pedro Market, and a lot doesn’t – but might surprise you. Do try sampling a few things outside of your comfort zone – it’s worth it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEJrTqJC_hU

Oh, I promised you sand skiing. Check this out: https://www.facebook.com/mike.momb/videos/10215796184671123/

Participating in Rick’s Post Frame Cabin Planning

Participating in Rick’s Post Frame Cabin Planning

Happy readers have been following Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Rick’s journey towards constructing a new cabin. Rick has graciously asked me to jump in with sage advice (yep, Rick and I are both old guys), as well as answering some questions he has posed.

Rick mentions using a vapor barrier under his thin concrete slab. This should be a minimum 10 mil with 15 mil being even better in resistance to possible tears prior to floor being poured.  (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/11/vapor-barriers-slabs-grades/)

I’d believe Rick’s cabin floor could be insulated with closed cell spray foam two inches thick, providing approximately R-14. Any wiring or plumbing extending through sub-flooring could be routed directly vertical through foam and this should not pose a challenge of access for any future system modifications.

As only incidental heat will be provided into crawl space areas, using rigid foam insulation boards beneath a thin concrete slab might very well prove to be an undue expense.

Rick’s sub-slab insulation boards (if used) and approximately two inches of concrete will not pose any design issues when used with a 2×8 pressure preservative treated splash plank. With top of floor OSB three feet above grade, a clear height in crawl space of two feet will exist under the floor joists. A row of stub columns at building center will carry beams designed to support joists. Given relatively small floor joist and beam spans, there would be 20 inches or more between concrete and the bottom of beams.

A consideration for wall insulation might be to use a flash coating of two inches of closed cell foam against siding, then fill remainder of wall cavity with BIBs. This would eliminate a need for a Weather Resistant Barrier beneath siding and would provide as much as R-35 insulating value. If looking to super insulate and eliminate any thermal bridging, two inches of insulation board could be glued to inside of framing, further increasing R value.

So far, I am liking Rick’s plan of attack and look forward to reading more along his path to his best possible design solution.

Addition to House, Stone Floor Moisture Barrier

Today the Pole Barn Guru discusses a post frame addition to a house, whether or not one should use a plastic barrier under the stone floor in a steel building, and the ability of a truss carrier to handle imposed loads.

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi! We are considering a sizeable addition to our 600 sq ft bungalow style home, somewhere in the neighborhood of 30×40 ft addition. Wondering if it’s possible to do pole barn construction for this addition, and what kind of considerations would need to be made? The current home does have an existing basement with block foundation. I’ve read information regarding attaching a pole barn build to an existing house for use as a garage, but wondering how this scenario changes things? We would work with a licensed designer to draw up plans, and a licensed contractor for the build, but are just in the brainstorming phase at this point. KARI in WILLMAR

DEAR KARI: There are actually no real considerations for post frame not applicable to a stick frame building. You should work with a Hansen Pole Buildings designer for your building shell and we can provide engineer sealed plans for structural portions of the addition. You can work with an independent designer (FYI – there isn’t a category of licensing for designer) or create an interior layout of your own.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Should I put plastic down under the stone floor in a steel building? BOB in WYALUSING

DEAR BOB: It certainly would not harm anything and will help to minimize condensation issues. Look at a 15ml thickness. For more information on vapor barriers see: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/11/vapor-barriers-slabs-grades/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Really wondering if a 2×12 SYP MSR 2400 will hold my 32ft trusses 2ft oc poles 6×6 8 oc. 1 2×12 on outside and 1 on inside. Is the 2×12 SYP MSR 2400 strong enough to hold the weight? CHRISTOPHER in CHESTERFIELD

CHRISTOPHER: In answer to your question – maybe. It will depend upon a myriad of factors including (but not limited to) Ps (roof snow load adjusted for slope), Dead loads from roofing, any roof sheathing, truss weight, any ceiling or insulation.

If you are so inclined, you can try this calculation yourself:

complex formulaLOAD (in psf – pounds per square foot) X (½ building width plus sidewall overhang in feet X 12”) X Distance spanned by beam squared (in feet)

Divide this by 8 X 2400 X 2 (for two members) X 31.6406 (Section Modulus of a 2×12) X 1.15 (Duration of Load for snow).

If your resulting answer is less than 1 then your beams will probably work.

Caveats – LOAD is Ps + all dead loads. For steel roofing over purlins 5 psf would be my recommendation. If a ceiling is to be installed a minimum of 5 psf should be added (10 psf being better).

Some important factors other than just strength include deflection (especially if trusses support a gypsum wallboard ceiling), minimum required bearing area and shear force at edge of bearing.

Frequently overlooked is connection of beams to columns. Notching in would be preferred to each face of columns.

Ultimately, RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) who provided your sealed plans should be making a determination as to adequacy as well as providing appropriate connections.

 

Pole Barn Cabin Part II

Today’s blog is a continuation from yesterday….Rick Carr, Senior Building Designer for Hansen Buildings shares his thoughts on planning his new pole barn cabin.

From JA Hansen, co-owner of Hansen Buildings….Thanks Rick!

Next I dealt with the crawl space:

After deciding that I want to do a crawl space, several design issues arise and decisions on how you will deal with those issues can affect how the building is designed and ordered.  All reading on crawl spaces emphasize making sure that you avoid moisture issues in the crawl space.  Next you need to do something to avoid losing heat to the ground and out the sides of the crawl space, this crawl space being above grade.   How tall do you make the crawl space?  Do you “condition” the crawl space?  How do you insulate it if you do “condition” the space?  Most crawl spaces are underground with a foundation wall, but that is not the case with post frame buildings so there is very little information out there on how to plan the post frame crawl space  and to “do it right”.  I have read the five blogs articles on crawl spaces, but there are still unanswered issues.

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/03/crawl-space/

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/04/foundation-and-crawl-spaces/

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/06/conditioned-post-frame-crawl-space/

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/02/insulating-post-frame-home-crawl-space/

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/12/cost-savings-crawlspace-vs-slab/

I will present what I think that I want to do and I’d like to get Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s ideas on it with a question or two.

I plan to condition the space, so I would put down between 6 and 10 mil plastic, then 2 inches of foam board insulation followed by pouring a concrete floor, just enough to keep critters out.  I plan to use BIBS insulation in the walls, so I would extend that down the exterior crawlspace walls to the concrete.

 

The radiant floor heating people that I am talking to have recommended that I put between R-13 and R-15 insulation on the underside of the sub-floor.  The reasoning is that heat wants to move to cold and that you don’t need the crawl space heated to the same temperature as the living space; so insulating the underside of the floor keeps most of the heat up in the living space.  I need to talk to the insulation contractor about what type of insulation to use here.  Spray foam might be good, but the spray foam would make working on any plumbing or electric that is run below the floor very difficult, partially defeating one of the purposes of having the crawl space.

The plastic with the concrete over the top should control the moisture issues coming up from the ground.  The 2 inches of foam insulation under the concrete should help to prevent losing heat to the ground. The concrete should keep critters out and allow using a “creeper” to move around down there.  I haven’t decided on the height, but I’m thinking that it should be three feet.  When on all fours, I am almost three feet tall.  I am 6’3” and it has to be functional.  I would need assistance to figure out how high to make the top of the floor to yield the three feet considering the concrete and foam.

I have not yet discussed this plan with the building inspector.

So Mike, the questions; do you think that this is a good plan?   Would I be able to put in the 2 inches of foam board and the 2- 2 ½ inches of concrete (normal concrete floor being 3 ½ inches) without doing anything different to the splash boards considering that the splashboards are 2×8’s and that there will not be any door thresholds to be worried about?

Stay tuned for Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s answers in an upcoming blog.

Development of My Post Frame Cabin Plans

Thank you to Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Rick Carr for today’s guest blog.

Development of my Cabin Plans

I have been looking at both open land and existing “cabins” in the Southwestern part of the State of Wisconsin where I do a lot of fly fishing for trout in anticipation of eventually retiring.  I want to be able to go out and stay for four or five days to a week on short notice without having to worry about where to stay while having my own personal items and gear there waiting for me along with the ability to just fire up the grill for dinner rather than going out every night.  Space for friends bearing Bourbon to visit was also a consideration.

Existing Cabins were disappointing to say the least, either upper level sleeping (which doesn’t work for over 65 year old guys) or tiny showers, filthy kitchens. There was always something very wrong; and all this with a limited budget.  It became clear that building would have to be an option unless I was going to settle in some area or another. With my five year plus experience as a Senior Building Designer with Hansen along with two years on a post frame building construction crew in my youth, I knew that if I had to build, it would be a post frame building.

Last spring I found and bought a nine acre parcel with 1,600 feet of the headwaters of a crystal clear spring creek full of brook trout flowing through.  I have three of the four permits that I need to allow me to put in a driveway and culvert across the creek and the wetlands to the high ground building site on the far side.  The front porch/deck will have great views of both sunrises and sunsets looking over the valley.

Some of the deciding factors for post frame were, knowing that a post frame building can be built to be extremely well insulated for climate control, knowing the cost advantages, knowing the longevity, knowing the framing system, and the fact that I can do a lot of the building myself for additional saving. I have also been developing relationships with the local Amish community who I know that I can hire for reliable economic labor.

About Hansen BuildingsI plan to construct the building so that it can be used as a full time residence for resale value, although that is not my intended use.  Relative to a well-sealed and insulated building, I intend to use BIBS insulation in the walls using 2×8’s in a 7 ½ inch cavity and closed cell foam insulation on the underside of the roof purlins designed for drywall to create a vaulted ceiling in part of the cabin.  This combination will make an extremely tight building making it more comfortable and less costly to heat.

The cost advantages of post frame start with not needing a full foundation and the costs of a full foundation.  Then post frame is very efficient in terms of lumber usage. Over the years I have had client after client send finished building pictures with the tiniest of scrap piles in the background.  My experience and familiarity with our construction manual gives me the confidence that I can act as the general contractor and jobsite supervisor while hiring local Amish builders for more cost savings.  I have a lot of DIY experience so a post frame building from Hansen will allow me to finish most of the interior myself for additional savings.

I am not concerned with how long the building will last, rotting of posts, as some people are because I know that the testing of current pressure treating is good for 70 plus years.  At the age of 66, I will be able to use this Cabin for as long as I can manage, ten to fifteen years, and still have many years remaining of useful life for resale value.

My next consideration was a heating and insulating plan.  My experience as a Building Designer tells me that it is very important to have a heating and insulating plan before ordering a building to make sure that the correct options are designed into the building and are on the Engineer Sealed Plans, especially on a post frame building to be used as a residence.  I have a friend that has a similar building/cabin in the fishing area. A year or so ago on an early spring fishing trip, he asked me to stop in and check on his cabin that was last used back in the prior fall. I walked in and there was no dust, after no one being there for months. I was convinced at that point that I wanted radiant floor heating, but being close to a flood plain, (last year there was a 100 year flood in the valley).

I knew that I wanted a crawl space, which would give a few extra feet of protection in the event of a 150 year flood.  The other advantage is that the crawl space would provide access to plumbing in the event of a problem or change versus having the radiant floor heating and the plumbing encased in the concrete floor. The drawback is that a radiant floor in a building with a crawl space adds other design issues.

Come back tomorrow as Rick investigates his pole barn cabin’s crawl space issues, and asks for Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s wise advice.

Shingled Roof Valleys for Post Frame Buildings

Another true confession, while I carried plenty of roof shingle bundles up ladders and onto roofs when I was young and dumb – I have never installed any other than cedar. One of our clients was requesting a “how to”, so downing my best sleuthing clothes, it was learning time for me. This article took a fair amount of research, however was fairly interesting and entertaining.

In my humble opinion, a steel roof is a better design solution due to installation ease and freedom from maintenance.

Closed-cut valleys, also called closed valleys, are installed quickly and have a cleaner, sharper look than woven valleys. From the ground, it looks as though shingles meet in a clean line in valley center. In reality, one shingle layer actually crosses the valley beneath another.

 

 

In summary, during closed-cut valley installation, first install roof plane’s shingles into the valley. It is essential to only use whole (not cut) shingles during this step. As roof shingles are installed upon the second roof plane, allow them to lap over the valley on top of the first shingles. Shingles on second layer are then cut, ideally creating a clean line down the valley center. A chalk line can be used to guide as shingles are cut.

Unlike a woven valley, a closed valley will not have hollows. However, closed valleys still rely on shingles to protect the valley, having drawbacks. Valley shingles may lose their granules, and thus their coloration and protective capability, faster than other roof portions.

Here is a short how to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzWqSQ3G1gs

California valley is one closed-cut valley variation. For this method, last shingles on “cut” side of a cut valley are actually installed sideways, so they run up and down the valley. This saves shingle cutting time and is the fastest way to shingle a roof valley, but it does not provide adequate protection in most climates. Indeed, California valleys are prohibited in some areas. Always be sure to refer to local codes to see if they demand a particular valley installation type.

Is an Ice Barrier Required Under Post Frame Roofing?

Like a good novelist, I am going to torture you by forcing you to read this story prior to revealing a super- secret answer.

One of our clients will be constructing a Hansen Pole Building in Colorado soon. This particular building is very typical post frame construction as it has steel roofing over open purlins. There is not a “roof decking” of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or plywood.

When applying for his permit to build his new building, he was told an “Ice Barrier” would be a requirement.

2015 International Building Code deals with a myriad of roofing products in Chapter 15 (check it out yourself here: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2015/chapter-15-roof-assemblies-and-rooftop-structures). These include Section 1507.2 Asphalt shingles, 1507.3 Clay and concrete tile, 1507.4 Metal roof panels, 1507.5 Metal roof shingles, 1507.6 Mineral-surfaced roll roofing, 1507.7 Slate Shingles, etc.

Most of these roofing choices list a requirement such as:

“1507.2.8.2 Ice barrier.

In areas where there has been a history of ice forming along the eaves causing a backup of water, an ice barrier that consists of at least two layers of underlayment cemented together or of a self-adhering polymer modified bitumen sheet shall be used in lieu of normal underlayment and extend from the lowest edges of all roof surfaces to a point at least 24 inches inside the exterior wall line of the building.”

IBC 1507.4 Metal Roof Panels does NOT include a subsection for Ice barrier.

Tim Carter of www.askthebuilder.com explains what ice and water barrier is in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVzF5wE3ptc.

Now it is possible for any local permit issuing authority to make amendments to their adopted version of codes. However if my Building Department had such an amendment I would be asking to see it first, then ask how they propose to install it over widely spaced purlins?

Hoop Shed Wall, Ventilation, and Pole Barn Footings

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about adding a garage door wall to a hoop shed, ventilation with no sidewall overhangs, and how post frame buildings are “anchored” to the ground.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I would like to close the open 1/2 of the basketball court hoop shed with a pole building face.  I would like a large garage door in the center, fiberglass windows, and a door. Would you consider doing this project? JOHN in GILBERTSVILLE

DEAR JOHN: With no building behind to tie an endwall into, it would be structurally unrealistic and economically unaffordable to build what would essentially be a billboard in front of your hoop building. We would recommend tearing down the hoop building and replace it with a new post frame building which would be structurally sound and a permanent structure.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 56×40 pole barn that I am working on lining and insulating. My question has to do with ventilation. There is no soffit. Does Hansen make an eave vent similar to their vinyl gable vents with the snap rings? They would need to be approx. 6 inches wide by 1 or 2 feet long. I would like to place something like that in between each truss (8ft centers) on the sidewall under the roof overhang. Or should I just do gable vents? We are installing a vented ridge cap. Thank You. DARRIN in ARKANSAW

DEAR DARRIN: Unless your trusses have raised heels deeper than whatever insulation thickness you intend to use plus vent height, adding vents at sidewall tops will not solve your ventilation issue. Ridge vents do not function well with gable vents as intakes, so I will make one of two suggestions –

If insulating at ceiling level, use gable vents only following this:

2015 IBC (International Building Code) ventilation requirements may be accessed here: https://codes.iccsafe.org/public/document/IBC2015/chapter-12-interior-environment please see 1203.2.

In areas closest to sidewalls, use closed cell spray foam insulation until you reach an area where full depth blown in fiberglass insulation can be used (20″ will provide recommended R-60 for your area).

Or – use no vents and closed cell spray foam underside of roofing and triangles of gable ends.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How is the plumbing in pole barn construction affected in an earthquake? I have heard that since the pole barn construction is not anchored down, it shifts during an earthquake causing all kinds of damage to the plumbing? CARLOS in SPRINGDALE

DEAR CARLOS: Pole barn (post frame) buildings are indeed anchored down – or least most should be. In our case engineers we utilize will specify a bottom collar of a minimum 18 inches diameter and 16 inches deep, at base of a 40 inch or deeper hole. Columns will be attached to a slab on grade, or restrained by an elevated wood floor, if over a crawl space. There should be no more damage to plumbing, due to an earthquake, for post frame construction, than there would be for any other form of construction.

 

 

 

Help Me Insulate My Pole Building

This story is sad, to me. As post frame building “experts” we (an industry collective we) owe it to our clients to educate them at design phase to avoid a situation such as reader ERIC in SPOKANE VALLEY has become happily (or maybe less happy) involved in.

Eric writes:

“I want to start insulating my pole building. 30x40x16, roof layers are metal, synthetic underlayment, osb, 2×8 purlins. My question is, can I leave an air gap between roof and insulation, as I plan on using R19 batting and covering with facing. Has an open ridge vent. Thank you.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Placing batts between purlins is probably not a Top Twenty best answer for several reasons:

If you do not completely fill purlin cavities, Code requires airflow from eave to ridge over top of the insulation. You have no way to achieve this without a major remodel. You don’t even want to go there.

Getting a perfectly sealed vapor barrier under purlins would be nearly impossible to achieve.

You would have to seal the ridge vent (it isn’t working anyhow, because your building does not have an air intake from enclosed vented soffits).

While installing a flat ceiling at truss bottom chord height might appear to be a quick solution, it also is fraught with some perils:

Trusses are probably not designed to support a ceiling load. It might be possible to obtain an engineered repair from the company who produced your building’s trusses.

Ventilation system would need to be addressed for newly created dead attic space.

Closed cell spray foam insulation would need to be added in the area closest to eave sidewalls.

Weighing what you have to start with, my recommendation is to spray three inches of closed cell foam insulation below your roof sheathing. This will provide a greater R value than R19 batts and provides a vapor barrier. You will need to seal off the ridge (foam installer may be able to just spray foam underside).

Also, I notice in your photo what appears to be a total absence of truss web and bottom chord bracing. I’d have to have a copy of your building’s sealed plans, a truss drawing and some more photos to truly discern.

How Could This Have Been Avoided?

Whoever provided this post frame building should have been asking some important questions:

Will you, or anyone who might own this building in future years ever want to climate control (heat, cool or both)?

If yes, what method of roof insulation is being considered? I like insulation over a flat level ceiling personally, as I then no longer pay to heat or cool the attic area. In order to do this right, energy heels (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/raised-heel-trusses/) should be utilized. It also means having adequate attic insulation with soffit vents as intakes and ridge vents as exhaust.

It all could have been so much simpler.

 

Roof Collapses Due to Heavy Snow are Largely Avoidable

Roof Collapses Due To Heavy Snow Are Largely Avoidable.

Portions of this article are thanks to a February 25, 2019 article by Bill Steffan at www.woodtv.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Above pic. is the Negaunee Schools bus garage in Marquette Co., Michigan.  The roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow over the weekend.  There were 16 buses inside the garage when the collapse occurred.  The collapsed triggered the sprinkler system and that led to a substantial accumulation of ice.  This was one of several buildings that had a roof collapse due to heavy snow in Marquette Co. 

Another collapse occurred at Shunk Furniture.  The force of the collapse blew out windows in the building.  “The first buildings to be concerned about are the pole buildings, the large-span pole buildings with truss spacings of eight foot or greater,” said Gary Niemela, Owner of Skandia Truss.”Those are usually the ones to be concerned about. Probably want to take the heavy snowload off. If the snowload is three to four feet deep on those, you’re going to want to do something,” said Niemela.”

I am going to address several issues, all of them ones leading to a better investment of a new post frame building owner’s dollars.

What, a Building permit?

In a surprising number of jurisdictions across our country, post frame (pole barn) buildings are exempted from a building permit process for one of several reasons. In some areas, there are just no actual building departments. Next step up is a “Building Permit” is issued for a minimal fee (usually in a clerk’s office) usually to get it added to property tax reevaluations.

In my humble opinion every building should have RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) sealed plans submitted to an authority who can do minimally invasive site inspections via one of a myriad of online live chat options. Permits and payments could be obtained electronically. This type of system could even be contracted out to third-party providers on a percentage type contract with carefully worded expectations so there is not someone having hurt feelings at a later date.

But I Have to Pay for a RDP!

Yes you do and a good one will save you more money than they cost (or give you a greater value) in efficient use of materials and ease of construction. Favorite articles is on this very subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/08/minimum-design-loads-and-risk/.

Do Away With Risk Category I

I can hear people screaming now about how much more they are going to have to pay to get a building designed for a once in 50 year occurrence (Risk Category II) rather than once every 25 years. For practical purposes, you cut in half risks to life and property from a catastrophic failure. In many buildings added investment will be minimal, as compared to gain in reliability.

Insurance Company Discounts

Property insurers should offer some discounts for building from RDP sealed plans, as well as a further discount for buildings designed for above Code minimum climactic loads.

More Condensation Fun

Long time readers should be thoroughly drenched with solutions to condensation issues by now. As post frame construction has moved off farms and into suburbia, climate control has brought with it a plethora of condensation challenges.

Reader KRYSTA in SPOKANE writes:

“Hello! 

I have a pre-existing pole building that I am having a ton of trouble with. It is partitioned into two rooms, the back room is heated to around 50F. The attic space/loft space has a lot of condensation and I cannot seem to get this fixed. I have tried a lot of solutions, none of which have worked. I know that you build these types of buildings so I am hoping that you can recommend someone who might be able to come in and look at this issue and help me with a solution that works. I have no idea what to do next and I am a local business owner – my business is at a standstill right now until I can get this issue fixed. If you can recommend any general contractor, or anyone who might have expertise in pole buildings who I can contact I would greatly appreciate it. 

Thank you so much!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

To control your condensation challenge you need to either remove warm moist air from inside your building, prevent this air from becoming in contact with surfaces at or below dew point, heat and/or ventilate. Here’s a brief summary, followed by solutions specific to your case: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/how-to-reduce-condensation-in-post-frame-buildings/.

If you do not have some sort of thermal break below your pole building’s roof steel – two inches of closed cell spray foam should be applied. This process will be best done by a professional installer. Make certain to not block ventilation intake and exhaust points.

Unless you know for certain a vapor barrier was placed under your building’s concrete slab, seal the floor. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/02/how-to-properly-apply-post-frame-concrete-sealant/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/siloxa-tek-8505-concrete-sealant/.

Vent any dead attic spaces. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/adequate-eave-ridge-ventilation/.

Heating your building to a temperature above dew point will also solve this issue. Avoid heating with propane, as it adds moisture to the air.

Can You Provide Just Trusses for My New Pole Barn?

Back in my owning a roof truss manufacturing plant days, we sold trusses to a building contractor, who was uninsured, and new building owner neglected to insure building. When it collapsed due to builder error (building also was not engineered), our insurance company ended up paying for a replacement building as it was ruled we were 0.5% to blame, just because we provided trusses! 1/200th of fault was ours, yet we got billed!! Think trusses are expensive? Blame it on scenarios like this, causing insurance premiums to skyrocket.

To add insult to injury – builder’s check he wrote to us for these trusses, bounced and we never got paid for them!

Reader CORY in EXPORT writes:

“Hello.

Is it possible to just get the trusses or a design on the truss construction. Placement on posts. Thanks!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Our goal is to provide you with a complete, third-party engineered post frame (pole) building including complete plans, assembly instructions and materials delivered to your site.

We do not provide just trusses, as this lends itself to people believing they have an “engineered building” just because they have trusses built from engineer sealed drawings. In event of a collapse due to the balance of the structure not being designed by a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) fingers start to be pointed towards whoever provided the trusses.

As for a “design on truss construction” you truly do not want to tackle building your own trusses at your site. Even if you were to have a prefabricated roof truss drawing to work from – it is impossible to buy most specified lumber grades from a drawing. You also have no way to acquire steel connector plates for the truss assembly and if you could somehow obtain them, you lack an ability to properly press them in. You might possibly be able to come across a substitution of plywood gussets for steel plates, however these plywood gussets would be significant in size and are usually required to be glued with a resorcinol glue (for further reading upon this subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/10/roof-trusses/).

When it comes to placement (attachment) of trusses to columns, this will be best left to an expert third-party engineer who will seal your building plans. He or she will have the needed education, experience and expertise to properly design all of your building connections to adequately support imposed climactic loads.

If you believe you can somehow save money by piecemealing together your own building, then this will be a must read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/03/diy-pole-building/.

Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be in contact with you soon, to assist in your journey to a new post frame building.

Insulation, Insulation, Insulation

The Pole Barn Guru discusses the always popular ceiling insulation, vapor barriers with insulation, and closed cell spray foam insulation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I read your article on unvented roofs. My building has a vapor barrier installed. I am at the point of insulation and plan on doing closed cell spray foam. What would be better spraying the roof deck or the attic floor/ top side of the ceiling. I was thinking spraying the roof deck and then doing blown in insulation above the ceiling to get my r value. I thought having the entire building done in closed cell would make for the tightest building. BRAD in FLANAGAN

DEAR BRAD: If you have a condensation control barrier (having a thermal break, not just a vapor barrier) of some kind between roof steel and framing, then there would be no need to closed cell spray foam underside of roof deck, unless you are going to use this as your only insulation.  Insulating ceiling line creates a dead attic space above, so it will need to be ventilated (either eave and ridge or gable vents). Closed cell spray foam will give you a very air tight building, applied properly.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Built pole barn installed 1-2 inch thermal sheathing in outside installed 8 inch batt would you install vapor barrier on inside been told I have two vapor barriers answers. JIM in HARTFORD

DEAR JIM: You are going to have insulation sandwiched between two vapor barriers, however air leakage into the cavity is a greater issue than through a vapor barrier. Goal is to keep insulation and wall framing dry. As long as you adequately seal all of the air leakage pathways you would not need an interior vapor barrier. In other words – if you install an electrical outlet or switch box, seal it, seal around any door or window openings.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What do you feel is best insulation system for pole buildings building we got is 162 x 72 wood structure built on foundation wall columns on 6 ft on center girts nailed to outside of columns and also inside corrugated metal we installed 1/2 poly iso insulation and 8 inch batts in wall spray foamed  base to seal air leaks and plugged holes on top with 3 inch iso between columns and foamed around window frames poly iso has foil face and we taped seams wanted to install poly vapor barrier on inside but was told that I would have two vapor barriers which is bad what do you recommend? JIM in HARTFORD

DEAR JIM: My recommendation would be two inches of closed cell spray foam on inside of steel siding. Install another set of girts on inside of columns to support interior wall finish material. Fill wall cavity with BIBs (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/bibs/). Glue two inches of closed cell foam insulation board on inside of girts, sealing around any penetrations. Glue interior finish material to inside of insulation board.

 

 

 

 

Fight Knee Braces

Long time readers (as well as most people with a lick of common sense) know knee braces are not a good thing. Besides taking up valuable interior space, they do more harm than good.

Reader TY from QUINTON has run into a dilemma regarding knee braces. He writes:

“I pulled a permit to self build a 34x48x16 pole barn. I left knee braces off the plans- after reading that knee braces force the posts outward under roof loading. The county added knee braces to my plan. Shall I simply add the knee braces or contest them?
Thanks – love reading your blog.”

Pole Barn Knee Braces

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Thank you for being an avid reader of my blog. It is appreciated. It appears one thing I preach over and over is – never build a building not designed by a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer). Even if you have read every one of my blog articles and have invested in a copy of the NFBA (National Frame Building Association) Post Frame Design Manual (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/) and designed according to it, you are going to miss something. Probably something crucial.

I looked in our database and you do not appear – this means you didn’t ever contact us for a price on your post frame building kit. Our kit would have included engineer sealed plans and full calculations so you wouldn’t be battling with your Building Department right now.

Reality is – knee braces are bad. Very bad. Read why here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/01/post-frame-construction-knee-braces/.

If you insist upon following your current path (do-it-yourself plans), then your Building Official has a right to add anything they want to your plans and you truly have no leg to stand upon. If they are going to force you into knee braces, then you had better be talking long and hard with your roof truss supplier to insure they are on board with these excess loads being forced into their trusses.

Or – you could do it right (and easy) way and dial (866)200-9657 and talk with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer about your building. We can provide correct materials for your new post frame building at lower prices than you will ever be able to purchase them for – plus you will have engineer sealed plans and calculations enabling you to sail through permit processing.

Smartphone App to Test Lumber Strength

I have been a proponent of machine rated lumber since I bought my first truckload to be made into trusses at Coeur d’Alene Truss (http://www.cdabuilders.com/) back in 1978. Years later I spent five terms on the Board of Directors of the Machine Stress Rated Lumber Producers Council (http://www.msrlumber.org/).

I have opined previously on the merits on machine graded lumber: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/12/machine-graded-lumber/.

Mississippi State University™ has taken lumber testing technologies and placed them directly into the hands of the public. Please read on in this MSU article:

The “Smart Thumper” app, available for download in the Apple Store, uses sound waves or vibrations to determine stiffness, a quality that relates to strength, for individual pieces of lumber. (Photo by David Ammon)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Determining the stiffest piece of lumber is now easier with a new smartphone app created by scientists in Mississippi State University’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center. 

Called “Smart Thumper,” the app uses sound waves or vibrations to determine stiffness, a quality that relates to strength, for individual pieces of lumber.  

Developer Dan Seale, professor in MSU’s Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, said it will help carpenters, contractors, architects, engineers, lumber mill personnel and consumers. He pointed out that it can be particularly beneficial for the do-it-yourself market.

The Mississippi State team that has developed an app to determine stiffness of individual pieces of lumber include, from left, Frederico Franca, assistant research professor of sustainable bioproducts; Songyi “May” Han, an MSU sustainable bioproducts doctoral student; and professor Dan Seale. The team’s work is part of the university’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center. (Photo by David Ammon)

“All lumber is not the same, even though it may be graded the same. The grade is based on a range of values and characteristics,” Seale said. “Perhaps a consumer has a pack of lumber which meets the specification for No. 2 grade, but they need a couple of pieces for a header, something that might span the opening for a window or door. This app helps select the stiffest pieces that are least likely to sag over time,” Seale explained.

Frederico Franca, the app’s co-developer and an assistant research professor in sustainable bioproducts, first envisioned the app when he discovered that the equipment designed to test lumber costs around $84,000.

“The goal was to make something cheaper and more readily available to give consumers and stakeholders broader access to nondestructive testing equipment,” Franca said. “Now anyone with a smartphone can download the app to help pick out the stiffest pieces for whatever they are building.”

His love of physics, along with the desire to create something less expensive, fueled his idea for a smartphone app that would render lumber values through the use of sound and vibration. 

“With this app, I can show you which lumber pieces are stiffer and therefore stronger,” Franca explained. “This can’t always be done through visual inspection. You need vibration or you need sound.”

Lumber mills use both visual and mechanical means to grade all types of dimensional lumber. Pieces can be tested for strength and stiffness, and the numbers are crunched through an algorithm to determine grade.

“This app can help further evaluate lumber within established grades, potentially optimizing the longevity and cost efficiency of wood structures by selecting stiffer pieces for situations that demand higher performance,” Franca said.

Also a part of the code development team is Songyi “May” Han, an MSU sustainable bioproducts doctoral student whose 2017 master’s thesis relates to marketing the smartphone app.

The app is available for download in the Apple Store. Visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-thumber/id1436858557?mt=8.

Learn more by visiting http://smartthumper.fwrc.msstate.edu/.

Boots on the Ground With Rick Carr

Boots On The Ground With Rick Carr

Long time Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Rick Carr has a lengthy history in post frame construction – back to his early years where he worked assembling them for a living. Rick is one of those inquisitive sorts, he wants to know not only what a best design solution is, but also why.

 

Well, Rick is putting himself into a client’s shoes, so I will let him best tell his story and I will comment as needed.

Here is how it all began with a recent email from Rick to me:

“Hi Mike,

I don’t know if you are aware that I plan to get a Hansen building for a fishing cabin that I hope to start in July of this year. 

I intend to build a 26 x 40 building using 34 foot trusses so that the trusses cantilever over an 8 foot deck.  I am planning a crawl space so that the deck would be at the same level of the first floor or slightly below.  Additionally, I intend to use radiant floor heating over the subfloor above the crawl space.

I am having challenges working out some of the details and getting conflicting information so I could have a series of questions for you as I learn more.

Today’s question is about building with construction screws versus nails and a nailing gun.  I plan to buy some new tools for the project.  I am looking at 20 V portable drill/driver packages.  They tend to combine drills with impact drivers as a package.

My question is would you build up your walls using construction screws or nails?

And, do you know if the impact drivers that come in these packages are strong enough to drive the Strong-Drive® SDWS Timber screws, ledger locks, to attach the double trusses to the columns?

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/12/connecting-trusses-not-dots/

PS, I could send the questions in a timely fashion if you wanted to do a series…..”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

I would use screws to assemble everything, as they are superior fasteners. When I did my last remodel on our home at Newman Lake, Washington, I used screws for everything. It might have added a few minutes overall to my work, however it was sure handy to be able to back out a few screws when I decided something wasn’t exactly to my liking.

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/strong-drive-screws/

As to being able to drive a Strong-Drive® SDWS Timber Screw, I have successfully put them in using my regular old ¼” drill motor.

Read about Strong-Drive® SDWS Timber screws here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/12/simpson-strong-drive-sdws-timber-screw/.

 

I’d like for you to write about your entire process – what lead you to your decision to use post frame, and considerations in arriving at your design. More you can share, better it will be in helping others through this process.

Stay tuned, folks for more on Rick Carr’s building in future blogs.

I’d Rather Order My New Pole Building Myself

We humans want to do things ourselves. We love GPS because it keeps us from having to ask strangers for help or admitting we are lost.

I admit to, at one time in my life, being an extremist at “doing it myself”.

Then I learned….. by listening to experts I could learn so much faster.

Consider me – I’ve either personally made more mistakes or been a party to helping people fix theirs, than most can even begin to imagine.

Why should you repeat these sins?

Answer: You do not have to. Here is a case in point real life story thanks to reader ARNOLD:

“It would be really neat if when filling out information your page a potential customer could get the information without having to give name, email, and what all else.  Kind of a pain in the rear if you know what I mean.

Thanks”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Thank you very much for your input. Certainly we could have our system set up so you could go online and actually even order a building, without ever having to talk to anyone. Think of it similar to be able to custom produce a massive set of somewhat Lego® like pieces online and have them delivered. We could do it……

And chances are you would end up regretting your decision forever.

Our system would allow you to make changes in climactic design. This could result in you not having a building meeting Building Code loadings. Worst case scenarios being you would either not be allowed to build, or (in jurisdictions with no plan reviews and field inspections) your building could fail and injure or kill someone. Decrease snow and/or wind loads or chose B for wind exposure instead of C could result in both savings as well as collapses. Your building department would also reject your plans…or even worse, your building, once you had constructed it. Planning on “doing it yourself” and not ever contacting your building department? In one word: Don’t!!! I’ve seen far too many customers snagged on their buildings after they were built. Worse case, the building department made them tear it down.

About Hansen BuildingsFace it, we humans are dimensionally challenged. Even though we have an idea a basketball hoop will be at 10 feet, we think our car needs a door this height. We want to make certain you design a building with adequate spaces for your activities. This includes properly sized doors, properly spaced, to actually allow prized possessions in or out without damage to your building or something treasured.

Our having you interact with a real live person has a goal of keeping you (as much as possible) from making crucial design errors causing you to hate your pole building forever. One of those mistakes would be us allowing you, as a serious future building owner, to order a post frame building from someone else. We firmly believe we have the absolute best value in a complete, engineered post frame building kit package – enough so we offer to go comparative shop for any client prepared to invest in a building. Call 866-200-9657 and ask us about this service. It’s free!

The “Best Price,” Increase Height? and the Hansen Buildings Way

Today’s Pole barn Guru answers questions about price and value, increasing ceiling height of a building, and if Hansen “builds” these structures.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the best price I can get for a riding arena 60 by 130 ft? MICHELLE in FREDERICK
DEAR MICHELLE: Free. Just place four immovable items at each corner and ride within their perimeter.
Now I will drop my snark and get serious. Shopping by “best price” becomes an absolute recipe for disappointment and disaster. In my humble opinion, you should be in search of best value for your investment.
Interior Clearspan ArenaAnyone can leave enough benefits (and features) out of a building to get to a best price. With your limited amount of supplied information, someone could easily quote you a galvanized roof only building with eight foot high walls! Certainly far too short to ride in and totally impractical. It would not surprise me to see you get responses for 12 and 14 foot eave buildings, when in reality it takes a 16 foot eave to truly make for a great arena.
You can find out a whole lot more about what makes a great riding arena here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/02/riding-arenas/.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I would like to increase the ceiling height from 9 ft to 13 ft. Is there a way to do this without tearing down and installing new poles? RICHARD in ROCA

DEAR RICHARD: You might be searching for a green handled board stretcher: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/08/snipe-hunting/.

In reality, there exists no easy solution for your challenge. In most instances, you will find a column size and grade working nicely with a nine foot ceiling, fails miserably with a 13 foot ceiling height. This will be due to beam forces (your poles act as beams to span from ground to roof) being distance of span squared. Your proposed taller building columns would need to withstand forces nearly double those of your shorter counterpart. This alone negates probability of splicing into posts to make them taller.

Best solution – saving most time, effort, angst and money, will be to construct a new, taller engineered post frame building meeting with your needs.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, do you build as well or you only provide the kits?
If you do build, can you build in Weschester, NY? Thank you. VERONIKA in YORKTOWN HEIGHTS

Hansen Buildings Construction ManualDEAR VERONIKA: I personally would like to believe I build very well, however I am not for hire.

Hansen Pole Buildings provides only complete post frame building kit packages, including fully engineered plans and complete step-by-step assembly instructions. We provide delivery to any continental United States accessible location.

We are not contractors.