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Ganged Wood Trusses & Closed Cell Spray Foam Post Frame Condensation Control

Ganged Wood Trusses and Closed Cell Spray Foam Post Frame Condensation Control

Ganged wood trusses are most usually two individually fabricated metal connector plated roof trusses, fastened together with either nails or even better Simpson Drive Screws (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/simpson-drive-screws/), so they work together as a conjoined pair.

True doubled trusses (not two single trusses spaced apart by blocking) afford many structural advantages (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/09/true-double-trusses/). However if closed cell spray foam is being used to control condensation underneath steel roofing, a little extra prevention is worth a pound (or two) of cure.

Most often conditioned post frame buildings are designed around having a flat (or slightly sloped using scissor trusses) ceiling. Warm moist air from this conditioned space rises into building’s attic and hopefully has a place to go. Most generally best design solution involves venting this dead attic space. Appropriate amounts of air intake provided by eave soffit vents and air exhaust utilizing a vented ridge will eliminate most moisture.

As those of us who did not nap during science classes are aware – warm air rises. Some of this warm air will get trapped below roof purlins or other attic framing members and not exhaust as imagined.

There are many methods of controlling or eliminating this warm and moist air from coming into contact with cooler roof steel. Least expensive (although potentially labor intensive if windy) would be a reflective radiant barrier (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/effective-reflective-insulation/). One step up in investment, but very easily installed, would be an Integral Condensation Control (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/integral-condensation-control/).

Some folks opt to sheath over trusses and roof purlins with OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or plywood, with 30# asphalt impregnated paper (roofing felt) placed between sheathing and roof steel. This can tend to run up one’s investment, as not only will more material and labor be directly involved, but trusses also must be appropriately designed for added weight carrying ability.

Enter closed cell spray foam. Long time readers have grown tired of me solving condensation challenges by people who did participate in one of these solutions and are now faced with a drip-drip-drip. Two inches of closed cell spray foam applied beneath a steel roof between purlins and trusses will create an almost entirely effective thermal break and take care of nearly all condensation issues.

Except…..
Metal connector plates trusses have pressed steel plates on each side. These plates project slightly from lumber faces and when two trusses are joined together, some gaps will occur between them. Gaps wide enough to allow for a significant flow of warm moist air to reach your roof steel, condense and start wreaking havoc.

There is, however, a simple fix, easily done during building framing. Before conjoining two or more trusses, place enough urethane or acoustic caulking between top cords to provide a complete air seal when in service!

Builder or DIY? In ground or Brackets? and Remodel or Rebuild?

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses finding a builder or DIY, posts in the ground or use wet set brackets, and whether or not to remodel or to rebuild a new structure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Thank you for this great website.
I have learned so much reviewing the blog articles.
I will definitely buy one of your kits (I have submitted an initial request today)
My only concern is finding a qualified builder to put it up.
Thank you again for sharing all your knowledge
Looking forward to working with you all :). TODD in MONERA

DEAR TODD: Thank you for your very kind words.

Keep in mind, all of our buildings are designed for the average person who can and will read English to successfully erect their own beautiful building. Most of our clients do build their own and frankly do beautiful work – better than what they can pay for in most instances. Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can assist you in finding one or more possible builders, should you not have the time or inclination to assemble yourself. You will want to properly vet them out and follow this guide: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/vetting-building-contractor/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Posts in the ground versus above grade or on the slab – After inquiring about mortgages for a “Pole Barn” house I was informed that if I put the posts in the ground the interest rate would be higher (approx 2%) versus having the posts on top of the slab or above grade by using something like the Perma Columns with Sturdi-Wall Brackets or using the Sturdi-Wall Brackets (wet set or placed after the concrete is poured). My question is — If I pour a 24″ column say 4 foot deep(of course engineer designed) and Wet Set the Sturdi-Wall brackets into the concrete column – How do I install 2″ styrofoam insulation vertically 2 foot down the side of the slab? STEVE in WHEATFIELD

DEAR STEVE: It is unfortunate lenders just do not understand longevity of properly pressure preservative treated wood. Moving forward, most economical solution for above ground is poured piers with wet set brackets. This is a regularly used option we offer. You can install insulation boards on exterior of splash plank, from below base trim down. Your foam insulation does not have to be in direct contact with your slab on grade – you just need to create an adequate thermal break.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Just bought a property with an old pole barn and I want a workshop and storage and assume restoring the barn is my best bet, partially because I am not sure of what I would be getting into if I built a new barn dealing with the local planning people who seem not to be able to give straight answers. The existing building seems to have good structure and the poles seem to be similar to telephone poles. The siding is old metal that was nailed on. There are sliding doors that are in bad shape, one half gone, and they seem stuck. I would like to make a second floor inside the barn and assume I could do something like an interior deck. Also want to concrete the floor. Any suggestions? DOUG in LOUISVILLE

DEAR DOUG: Before making a decision, I would ask to meet face-to-face with your Planning Department Director and get some clear answers (and in writing). My guess is worst case will be you can replace your old pole barn with a comparably sized new post frame building.

In regards to what you have – rarely will an old pole barn be adequate in design to meet current Building Code standards. If you do decide (or have no other option) to restore the barn, you should invest in a Registered Professional Engineer to do a thorough inspection of what you have and provide any structural modifications needing to be done to insure you are not throwing good money after bad.

Having been involved in several remodels, unless work to be done is minor, you are normally best to dig a big hole and push your old barn into it.

 

 

Flash and Batt Insulating Barndominium Walls

Flash-and-Batt Insulating Barndominium Walls

We’re in a seemingly never ending cycle of racing towards net zero post frame homes, shouses (shop/houses) and barndominiums (read more on net zero post frame here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/01/net-zero-post-frame-homes/). 

One possible design solution involves what is known as “flash-and-batt” where two inches of closed cell spray foam insulation is applied to steel siding interior surface between barn style wall girts, then balance of insulation cavity is fitted with fiberglass batts.

Today’s expert opinion is rendered by Martin Holladay, former editor of the Green Building Advisor web site. You can read more about Martin at www.MartinHolladay.com.

Even though thicker is always better with any type of insulation, applying a thin layer of spray foam is a good way to get air-sealing benefits at considerable cost savings over full-thickness spray foam.

Some spray-foam contractors dismissively call the technique “flash-and-dash”; they point out that fiberglass batts may fail to remain in contact with the spray foam, creating an air space and the potential for convective air currents through the insulation. But I think this is a relatively insignificant problem, particularly if the cavity is fairly airtight. Besides, it’s easy to minimize the chance of a potential air space by simply choosing a thicker batt. In fact, batts that are compressed slightly as they are installed will yield higher R-values than ones that just fill the cavity.

Another concern is that in a heating climate, the flash-and-batt method creates a vapor retarder on the wrong side (the cold-in-winter side) of the fiberglass batt. But whether the spray foam actually becomes a vapor retarder depends on the type of foam used. Open-cell foams — that is, foams with a density of about 1/2 pound per cubic foot — are very vapor-permeable. However, since many low-density-foam manufacturers, including Icynene, recommend against the flash-and-batt method, most proponents use closed-cell foam with a density of about 2 pounds per cubic foot.

One inch of closed-cell foam has a permeance of about 2 perms, while 2 inches has a permeance of about 1.2 perms, so closed-cell foams are effective vapor retarders.

But does installing a vapor retarder on the cold-in-winter side of a wall create a problem? Actually, research has shown that exterior foam can safely be used as part of a cold-climate wall or roof — as long as the foam is thick enough. As a rule of thumb, walls with exterior foam sheathing or flash-and-batt closed-cell foam will avoid condensation problems as long as the foam is at least 1 inch thick in climate zone 5 (Pennsylvania, Iowa, Nevada) or 2 inches thick in climate zone 7 (northern Minnesota).

Since exterior foam reduces a wall’s ability to dry to the exterior, it’s important to choose an interior vapor retarder that allows drying to the interior — such as kraft-paper facing or vapor-retarder paint — instead of sheet poly.

How Not to Sheetrock Your Barndominium

How Not To Sheetrock Your Barndominium

Gypsum wallboard (aka Sheetrock or drywall) is used as wall and ceiling covering of choice for nearly every barndominium, shouse (shop/house) or post frame home. It affords a plethora of advantages over other interior finishes – for many, it is about cost savings. For others it is fire protection or a desire for sound deadening.

For shop areas, I see too many (in my opinion) using steel liner panels as an interior finish – usually in a misguided belief they will be a less expensive solution. Rarely is this true and liner panels are not without their own issues, as I have expounded upon previously: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/08/steel-liner-panels/

Drywall can be installed quickly. My first summer out of high school I worked for B & M Inland Wallboard as a laborer primarily doing taping and texturing.  My boss, Joe Borg, was several things – reasonably priced (material and labor for standard homes ran 50 cents per square foot of sheetrock – hung, taped and textured with 5/8” on ceilings and firewalls, ½” elsewhere), quick (his hanging crews would do 2000 square feet of rock per man, per day for a nickel a square foot) and a fanatic about quality.

Sheetrock back then (40 plus years ago) was even more of a bargain than today, roughly 1/3rd cost. Even then, I saw some jobs not far removed from what is pictured above! When I was Sales Manager for Coeur d’Alene Truss, we did a truss job for a contractor, Joe Michielli, directly across the street from a rival truss company’s sales person. Following up, to see how everything went, Joe was busily and proudly hanging drywall. Little pieces of drywall – as Joe was bound and determined to not have any scraps larger than a foot square. I can’t even fathom how he ever managed to tape and texture it!

(As a seven degrees of separation thing, in 2017 Hansen Pole Buildings provided a post frame building kit package in Laramie, Wyoming to Joe’s son!)

There are methods of hanging, taping and texturing drywall to get a finished product my boss Joe Borg would have been proud of. And post frame buildings are perfect for this, as you can read here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/11-reasons-post-frame-commercial-girted-walls-are-best-for-drywall/.

Putting Everything Under One Post Frame Roof

Putting Everything Under One Post Frame Roof

I have been an advocate of one larger roof, rather than an enclosed building with a roof only side shed for years. This allows for greater headroom in ‘shed’ area without having to deal with pitch breaks (transition from a steeper slope main roof to a flatter shed roof), making for easier assembly. In almost all instances, this will result in a less costly design solution.

This also happens to be a lesson I have tried to impart upon our Hansen Pole Buildings’ Design Team, however they have been slow to embrace this concept.

Reader RYAN in SUN RIVER writes:

Hansen Pole RV Storage“I have plans to build a 52x48x14 this spring.  The idea is 52×48 roofline 4/12 pitch. Under that roof is a 16×48 open side for rv parking and then 36×48 enclosed with concrete floor.  My original thoughts are to 2×6 stick frame the wall separating the open area from the enclosed area after the pad is poured (any suggestions). 16×12 insulated door and a 4’ man door on the front gable end and a 3’ man door to get in from under the open area towards the rear.

How much would you charge to draw this up with your building techniques?  

I am planning on sourcing materials local but wouldn’t mind a quote from you either.”

I do like your idea of having your enclosed portion and roof only under one gabled roof, rather than a smaller gable over enclosed portion and balance as a shed roof off one side. You gain headroom, it is easier to assemble and usually less costly.

I would frame separation wall with wall girts, rather than stick framing and having to add on horizontal framing to attach wall steel. Code also will not allow for a stud framed wall greater than 10 feet in height without it being engineered. To minimize possibilities of water from your RV area migrating into enclosed areas, your concrete should be two separate pours, with RV parking slab slightly lower at main building wall and sloping away from it.

Your choice of having a four foot wide person door is one you will not regret. For a minimal added investment you will save your knuckles repeatedly. 

As for building plans, we are not a plans’ service, however your investment in a new Hansen Pole Building does come with complete third-party engineer sealed structural plans, along with verifying calculations. This alone will usually save you thousands of dollars in engineering costs, plus you have our roughly 20,000 buildings of experience to arrive at what will be your most practical and cost efficient design.

Why people think they are somehow going to get a “better deal” by sourcing materials locally is beyond my comprehension. We have buying power an average individual (or contractor even) is never going to have, plus our control over materials being provided allows our engineers to be certain what they specify on plans, gets delivered to your building site. Some materials we have produced only for our clients – you cannot buy them elsewhere. 

For continued reading on this subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/03/diy-pole-building/

What to Consider in a Post Frame Garage Door

What to Consider in a Post Frame Garage Door

Today’s guest contributor is Irene Trentham, Content Marketing Strategist of Arizona’s Best Garage Door and Repair Company, a locally-owned enterprise specializing in installing new garage doors and repairing defective ones for Phoenix Arizona area residents. She loves to do camping, hiking and yoga and to spend time with her family and baby girl, Tatum when not writing.

“Post frame buildings are becoming increasingly popular because of their versatility.  They’re a great choice for every type of low rise building whether a commercial garage or storage facility to a post frame home, shouse or barndominium because they’re not only economical, they’re also fast and easy to build.

A key feature to many post frame buildings is a garage door – often serving as a main or primary entryway. With this said, anybody who’s planning to build a post frame building certainly should discuss garage door options with their potential post frame building supplier.

 When selecting a garage door, many people usually go for least expensive or one they like most. There is a lot more going into choosing a garage door than looks and budget. It is also instrumental in safety and protection of your building and everything in it. Choosing one is not a decision you should take too lightly.

 From commercial garage door installation to looks and aesthetics, here are important things to consider when buying a new garage door.

Security

 Safety and security are essential to any building. This is why it should be a paramount consideration when looking for a new garage door. It is standard for garage doors (operators) to have safety sensors, but newer ones may have more advanced and sophisticated detectors. This feature is especially crucial if your post frame building is located in a high traffic area. When a sensor detects a person or an object as door closes, it stops or reverses direction, preventing unwanted accidents.

 For additional protection, you can opt for more recent garage door (operators) models equipped with rolling code technology. This feature changes your door’s security code every time someone uses a remote, preventing unauthorized access into premises.

Design and style

 One main difference between commercial and residential garage doors is their size. Residential properties typically have a two-vehicle size garage door, while commercial properties often prefer a wider garage door to accommodate several company vehicles.

 

When picking a garage door for your business, choose something blending with style and ambiance of your workplace. Garage doors come in a range of designs and make, so you’re bound to find something suiting your taste and aesthetics of your workplace.

 If you’re not too sure about how a specific style will look on your commercial space’s garage, check out manufacturer websites for samples. There you’ll find photos of garage doors and probably get an insight into how they’ll look on your space.

Material

 Garage doors come in a variety of materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Steel, for example, is the most common because it is least expensive. Steel doors are available in a myriad of styles – flat panel, short and long raised panels and commercial panels. Carriage house options allow for affordable classic looks. Wood may be best aesthetically, but they’re expensive to maintain and have a relatively short life span.

 You can often find garage doors in wood, steel, fiberglass, aluminum, and vinyl materials. Vinyl is a new garage door material option becoming increasingly popular because of its durability and ease of maintenance.

Installation and maintenance

 Building owners are often tempted to  DIY when installing garage doors, thinking it will save them some money. But unless you have knowledge, experience, or will read and follow installation instructions, this idea may not be as good as it initially seemed.

 When considering overhead doors in your new post frame building, choose to work with reputable and experienced professionals who can recommend adequate door sizes, aesthetic and insulation options, wind-load ratings, and openers. You’ll be glad you did!”

More Information, Pricing for a Kit, and Site Work and Grade Changes

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about “more information” on Hansen Pole Building’s product, pricing for a kit, as well as site work and grade changes.

Hansen Buildings TaglineDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey, I was wanting to see if I could get some more information on a steel house. My wife and I have 5 acres in Kings Mountain, NC and are wanting to start the home buying/ building process at the end of next year. Do you guys take care of the structure, concrete slab, flooring, electrical, grading, plumbing, well, etc? I am trying to find more information on the steel house process and how I can go about getting started. Looking forward to hearing back from you. SAWYER in KINGS MOUNTAIN

DEAR SAWYER: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Here is a great resource to get you started: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/10/show-me-your-barndominium-plans-please/

Our goal is to provide you with the best possible building value and to help you avoid making crucial mistakes you will regret forever. We take care of custom design and structural aspects of your home along with delivery to your site. We include detailed step-by-step assembly instructions for you or your builder as well as unlimited free Technical Support from people who have actually built buildings.

Sign up for our every weekday blogs, friend us on Facebook, or give us a call at 1(866)200-9657.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have seen your kits available other places so I decided to go to you directly. Where do I find pricing for 48 ft. x 60 ft. x 20 ft. Wood Garage Kit without Floor. LEAMARIE in NEW RICHMOND

DEAR LEAMARIE: Your quickest way to obtain pricing on this (or any dimension post frame building) is to call 1(866)200-9657 and ask to speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I live on the side of the mountain and planning on building a 36×40 shop, I have to do a little of grade work and may need to bring in some pit fill. Wondering if these pole barn kits will work for me? My plan is to have a concrete slab… was thinking of a Thickened edge slab because of my concern of frost heaving of a floating slab, does a pole barn make sense in my situation? Or should I just do a stick frame… DAVE in BOZEMAN

DEAR DAVE: Beautiful area – I spent a year in Bozeman when I was studying Architecture.

There have been many questions recently on dealing with grade change and fill…..all clear, level sites must be used up!


Regardless of what building type you are going to do, here is some information on site preparation, fill and compaction: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/soil-compaction-how-to/.

Thickening your slab’s edge is probably not going to be a solution for frost heave. Here is some further reading on frost heave: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/pole-building-structure-what-causes-frost-heaves/.

Post frame (pole) building construction is going to be easiest and most cost effective design solution.

What Is Keeping Posts Above Ground Worth?

What is Something Worth?

I can be overly anal. Sometimes I have to really work hard to get around it – I purposefully have conundrums on my desk and for some perverse reason I feel comfortable in them. 

I inherited my maternal grandmother’s counting gene. Even into her nineties, if I called her up and asked what she had been doing, she could tell me she picked 384 strawberries. Passing trains are my worst – if I see it right in front of me I have to work to not count cars.

Back on track – traditionally post frame buildings have been pressure preservative treated columns, embedded in augured holes.  Pretty low tech – as most people have available technology to dig a hole.

I will share a recent Facebook exchange, regarding a drawing posted by a potential barndominium owner:

MK:  “Looks great if its stick built on a poured stem wall.”

Me: “Looks like it would be a challenge to stick build. Those poured stem walls also add significantly to costs.”

Here is an article I had authored on foundation costs: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/

MK: “I imagine $20k extra. But you more than doubled the lifespan of a “AG building” with a wood foundation, which average is 60 years depending on soil. Usually less.”

Me: “Your $20k is probably pretty close. Properly pressure preservative treated columns will last far longer than any of us will be around to witness. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/

MK: “I’ve personally seen rotted pressure treated wood. For AG buildings, use perma columns. You won’t catch me building my dream home on a wood foundation. That would fall under the same term as “throw away society”, and what about our children who inherit a house that’s rotting? I understand these shomes are driven by demand, but please inform people about the differences between a AG building and a house.”

Me: “I have seen it also and every single case I have seen documented the pressure treating was unrealistically low what its intended use should have been.

The treating standards in the past were much more lax than today. 30 years ago you could treat wood to “.60 or REFUSAL” with CCA. Lots of really not treatable wood was ‘treated’ – I personally know people who did it. A past employer of mine used to send 6×6 DouglasFir to be CCA treated. DougFir will not take a waterborne treatment except with heat and different chemicals.

 

Hansen Buildings only uses properly treated lumber to UC4B. UC4A doesn’t cut it. After over 30 years and 20,000 buildings I have yet to see a member treated to UC4B rot.

I could live in any type of building anywhere in the world I choose. Even though our weather can be brutal, rural Northeast South Dakota has its own charm. We live in a million dollar post frame building by choice and we love it. How much do I believe in our product? Good enough to live in it every day.

If you become a reader of my blog articles, you will find me referring people to Professional Engineers and promoting the use of plans from a Registered Design Professional. A great post frame engineer will design a stronger building, with few(er) materials. It actually costs less to do the job right.

Permacolumns are expensive and difficult to handle – in my humble opinion. It is more economical to pour a pier with a wet set bracket and far easier. If the bottom of the column is an inch above the top of the slab, the columns do not have to be pressure preservative treated even.”

For information on Permacolumns: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/perma-column-price-advantage/

All of this got me thinking and thinking hard. For four decades I have been standing upon a soap box extolling longevity of properly pressure treated wood embedded in ground. Perhaps I have been making this issue more difficult than it had to be.

In this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVwUl4cm8fQ Kyle from Rural Renovators demonstrates how to pour piers and place wet set brackets: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/.

I conducted an informal and not overly scientific poll on Facebook:

“Traditionally post frame (pole barn) buildings have been designed with pressure preservative treated columns embedded in holes. Research proves properly pressure preservative treated columns, in ground, should last a lifetime without decay. There are at least two very popular post frame building companies who use only columns above ground, in brackets. We are investigating if there are enough perceived benefits to justify an added investment.

Along with this we would consider going to all high strength glu-laminated columns. These would be stronger than any other regularly utilized post frame columns in the industry. They are also very straight and lighter weight.

Per column, what range do you think is reasonable?”

Out of 22 respondents, exactly 50% felt an added investment of over $100 per column would be reasonable.

The good news is – we can make this happen for about half of this!

Calculating Stairs Rise and Run

What is Wrong With this Picture?
Stairs, they seem to confound and befuddle just about everyone. In my early years as Sales Manager at Coeur d’Alene Truss, I used to volunteer to go measure houses up to confirm plan dimensions would match up with what was actually being built. Usually yes, but on occasion – not.

One of this area’s best framing crews used to call me to measure trusses just so I could tell them how to cut stairs. Even though they had framed hundreds of houses, math skills to determine stairs were outside of their toolbox. For this reason every third-party engineer sealed set of Hansen Pole Buildings’ structural building plans including stairs has tread rise and run spelled out.

Back on task to this photo.
2018 IBC (International Building Code):
“2304.12.1 Locations requiring waterborne preservatives or naturally durable wood.
Wood used above ground in the locations specified in Sections 2304.12.1.1 through 2304.12.1.5, 2304.12.3 and 2304.12.5 shall be naturally durable wood or preservative-treated wood using waterborne preservatives, in accordance with AWPA U1 for above-ground use.”

This means those portions of stairs in contact with this concrete slab-on-grade must be pressure preservative treated.

Stair stringers per 2018 IBC Table 1607.1 must be designed to support a minimum 40 psf (pounds per square foot) uniformly distributed live load for stairs and exits of one- and two-family dwellings and 100 psf for all other uses.
Let us assume a minimal rise from top of slab to top of next floor of nine feet. With a maximum rise of 7-3/4 inches per tread and minimum run of 10 inches, this would require 13 treads with a horizontal distance of 130 inches (10.83 feet).

Here is how to calculate what it takes to carry residential stair loads:

Moment = (40 psf live load + 10 psf dead load) X 36 inches wide X 10.83 feet^2 / 8 = 26,390 inch-pounds

Learn about Bending Moments here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/09/bending-moment/
With this given rise and run, remaining portion of 2×12 after cutouts is 5-1/8 inch. Using Fb (Fiberstress in bending) for SYP 2×12 #2 of 750 we will solve to determine if what is present is adequate structurally:
26,390 inch-pounds / (750 X 2 X 6.566) = 2.68 where it must be 1.00 or less to adequately carry this load.

But, you might ask, where did these other two variables appear from? Two (2) is because we have two stair stringers to carry loads. 6.566 would be Sm (Section Modulus) of remaining portion of 2x12s after cuts are made to accept treads.
So our photo has stringers 268% overstressed – not good.
This can be resolved by adding another 2×12 stringer at center of stairs and nailing a 2×6 alongside each 2×12 stair stringer.

IBC 1015.2: Guards shall be located along open sided walking surfaces that are located more than 30” measured vertically to the floor or grade below at any point.
This means a guardrail must be on each side of these stairs.

IBC 1015.4: Required guards shall not have openings that allow passage of a sphere 4” in diameter.

Easiest solution here would have been to have vertical supports for hand railing spaced with a maximum distance between of four inches.

A “toe plate” should be incorporated into these stairs at the rear of each tread to fill space between treads and meet with four inch maximum space requirement.

Granted, this requires some math but given the variables, just plug them in and away you go!

Free Home Milled Lumber

Every few years it seems there arises a need for young (remember I am only 62 years young) men to head into forests and become loggers. I have been there personally – there is just something manly about hacking down some snags with a chain saw! Myself, there is a sudden rush when a tree starts to fall….makes my arm hairs stand on end!

These newly felled trees often become raw material for backyard sawmills. I have seen a few requests for post frame buildings recently where prospective clients want to use their own home milled lumber.

BAD IDEA.

I equate this concept of “free” home milled lumber to my sons who hunt and fish to provide “free” meat for their families. 

Now if these persons would have been doing any sort of internet searching on this subject, they might have stumbled upon a previous article of mine: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/ungraded-lumber-using-home-milled-timber/

Adding to this article (better actually go read it, eh?), are these excerpts from 2018’s IBC (International Building Code):

2303.1.1 Sawn lumber.

Sawn lumber used for load-supporting purposes, including end-jointed or edge-glued lumber, machine stress-rated or machine-evaluated lumber, shall be identified by the grade mark of a lumber grading or inspection agency that has been approved by an accreditation body that complies with DOC PS 20 or equivalent. Grading practices and identification shall comply with rules published by an agency approved in accordance with the procedure of DOC PS 20 or equivalent procedures.

2303.1.1.1 Certificate of Inspection.

In lieu of a grade mark on the material, a certificate of inspection as to species and grade issued by a lumber grading or inspection agency meeting the requirements of this section is permitted to be accepted for precut, remanufactured or rough-sawn lumber and for sizes larger than 3 inches nominal thickness.

Keep in mind, Code requirements are only bare minimum standards for safe construction.  In my humble opinion, pushing risks of a failure from an ungraded piece (or pieces) of lumber used structurally is a face slap to already minimal practices. 

Be safe, be sane and be practical. Don’t use home milled lumber for any part of a post frame building.

Barndominium Airplane Hangars and More

I really suppose it is unfair of me to limit this article to just airplane hangars, as I have had instances to design hangars for helicopters as well.

As an elementary school student, my pre-teen friends and I were all very impressed when a girl down our street’s father landed his helicopter in a field behind their house. We made certain to keep this area free from weeds, so he could land more often!

When I was a post frame building contractor, we were approached by a gentleman who lived in a very exclusive neighborhood a few miles north of our office in Millwood, Washington. His idea was to land his helicopter in his driveway and roll it away into its own post frame hangar to be attached to his home. Somehow his neighbors were not overly enamored of this idea and sadly mounted successful efforts to see his idea did not come to fruition.

A project actually coming together as it should have was a barndominium/hangar just outside of Las Vegas. When most think of how difficult it could be to acquire a Building Permit in Clark County, Nevada, they turn tail and run. Either I was not smart enough, or was too stubborn, to realize it could be a challenge and happily dove right in.

Our client wanted to combine living and flying. Moreover, he wanted to live above his hangar. This would be no simple accomplishment, as he required a 42 foot clearspan width to allow for his hangar door as well as to provide enough wall each side of this door to prevent racking due to wind shear. Our client’s original idea was an attic truss, one giving a bonus room at center. This proved to be too limiting as he would end up with only a long and narrow room at the middle of his second floor.
Instead, we designed for a solution using 42 inch deep parallel chord floor trusses and placed a second floor on top of this system. Post frame to his rescue!

Looking to live where you fly? Or fly from where you live? Give Hansen Pole Buildings a call today 1(866)200-9657.

Airplane Hanger

Interested in more light reading on hangars? Go to www.HansenPoleBuildings.com – navigate to SEARCH at upper right and click on it. Type HANGAR in this search box and ENTER. Magically you will be treated to numerous relevant articles on hangars for your reading enjoyment. You can do this with any term, try BARNDOMINIUM for instance.

Scissor Trusses, Hanger Bolts, and Foundation Options

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about scissor trusses, wood framing and hanger bolts for sliding doors, as well as a foundation option for a post frame house.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 30×40 pole barn. And my lower beam on the trusses is to low for my car lift. Is scissor trusses as strong or stronger then common trusses and I know without a engineer doing the math it’s hard to say. ZACH in ATASCOCITA

DEAR ZACH: Scissor trusses can be engineered to be every bit as strong as conventional trusses. If your idea is to swap out some or all of them, you would be looking at a highly labor intensive project. It might very well be less expensive to just add a taller bay onto one end of your building.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The round rail hanger bolt on our sliding door got pulled out of the hole drilled through the 2×6 at the top of the door. We have made angle iron for the top and bottom of the 2×6 with 1/2in holes but are finding it difficult to get the bolt through the holes. Is there an easy way to reinstall the door hanger without removing the entire door from the track? AARON in MARYSVILLE

DEAR AARON: You have just discovered one of many reasons why sliding doors should not ever be framed out of lumber. Steel door components (such as horizontal girts) are far superior in every way. They are stronger against wind loads, they do not warp or twist, doors are phenomenally lighter weight and trolley hanger bolts never pull through!

In direct answer to your question – you are going to have to remove entire door, reinstall trolley hanger bolt and rehang door. This might be an ideal time to totally replace your wooden components.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can a pole barn be a permanent house residence, and can they be built on a walled foundation? TERRY in AKRON

DEAR TERRY: Post frame (pole barn) buildings can be permanent residences – I happen to live in one myself, with about 8000 square feet of finished space. They can be built either with embedded columns, or on a partial or full foundation. For more information please visit www.HansenPoleBuildings.com , navigate to upper right corner of the page and click on SEARCH type BARNDOMINIUM in search box and click ENTER. This will bring up a plethora of relevant articles for your reading enjoyment.

 

 


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Exciting Times for Post Frame Construction

Exciting Times for Post Frame Construction

Welcome to 2020!

My fifth decade of post frame buildings and I could not be more excited.

Pole Barn Guru Blog40 years ago today if you would have told me I was going to embark in an exciting career in post frame buildings I would have looked at you quizzically – and then asked what a post frame building was!

Now I realize 40 years is greater than a lifetime for many of you readers. Or, if you had arrived on this planet, you might have not yet been school aged even! A few of you may look upon me as being ancient. Trust me I know ancient –  probably 20 years ago my son (in all seriousness) asked me what it was like watching space aliens build the Great Pyramid!

 I have no qualms about being 62 years old – and am still excited to see what each new day will bring.

Well, back on task, if you would have told me a post frame building was a pole barn, at least I would have heard about them.

I had migrated from Northern Idaho to Oregon late summer of 1979, when home mortgage rates topped 10% and home loans were no longer available there due to a state mandated cap on interest rates. By January 1980, interest rate issues brought housing starts in Oregon to a screeching halt as well.

 My truss plant typically produced eight to 10 buildings worth of trusses a day. In January 1980 we had only four orders in an entire month! Not good – however there was a single common denominator among those four orders, they were all for pole barn trusses. I didn’t have the slightest idea what a pole barn really was, but it was time to find out. Long time pole barn builder George Evanovich allowed me to pick his brain and I was an apt student!

Frankly (knowing what I know now) these buildings were not very good. I suppose they do resemble some buildings I see people buy from their local lumberyards – a great price and not much else! At least I established quickly a firm policy of always supplying all materials to assemble a building. It might not have been much of a building, but it was all there.

Virtually every building 40 years ago was nothing more than a barn. Very few ever required building permits and if they did, engineer sealed truss drawings usually got a permit acquired!

Technology has changed our everyday lives. I grew up actually dialing a rotary phone! These same technologies allow us today to structurally design intricate post frame buildings for virtually any use – with walls up to 40 feet in height and three stories high (add 10 feet and another story for sprinklers).

True residential construction, not just a garage or shop out back, is becoming a driving growth force for post frame buildings. Today’s post frame homes (also known as barndominiums and shouses) are quickly becoming our business core. They can be erected quickly, even by DIYers, are more cost effective than any other Building Code conforming permanent structure and can meet exacting demands of energy efficiency.

Ready for your new building? Think no further than post frame construction. Call Hansen Buildings at 866-200-9657 and talk to a Building Designer today!

Supporting Fill When Considerable Grade Change Exists

Supporting Fill When Considerable Grade Changes Exist

Everything in post frame (pole) building land seems to be predicated upon a clear level site. While many parts of our world (Upper Midwest) are fairly flat, most live where ups and downs, swirls and contours exist.

Reader ROBERT in RIVER FALLS writes: 

“I have a considerable slope from front to back where I want to place my garage. I will need to haul in considerable amounts of fill to bring to level. My question is what is the best way to support the fill on the back side. A concrete wall is expensive. Hauling in enough fill so it supports itself seems like it could lend itself to problems of erosion. Any suggestions?”

Our eldest son was faced with this situation 10 years ago when we help to construct his two story 24 by 30 combination garage/shop/in-law apartment near Maryville, TN. In his building’s small footprint he had just over five feet of grade change. His cure for this was to have a concrete block wall built on one side and one end to reduce how much fill would be required. With his lot continuing its precipitous fall in these two directions, it would have been impossible to ever bring in enough fill to have had a stable site.

Back in my post frame building contractor days, I erected a shouse (shop/house combination) at our property near Spokane, WA. With a dozen feet of grade change across 40 feet of building width, our solution began with digging (and digging and digging). You can read more of this story here:  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/.

In many instances the best scenario is to cut away from a high side, fill on low side. High side should be cut far enough back from building to allow for a 5% downward slope away from building and to allow equipment to get past building. Provided adequate space exists, the bank can be tapered to slope down towards the edge of slope away from the building. If space does not exist, a retaining wall (or terraced walls) can be placed to hold the hillside from caving towards building.

Ecology blocks can make for low cost retaining walls as well – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/04/ecology-blocks/

Whether your site is level or sloped, Hansen Pole Buildings can assist you in arriving at as close to an ideal of a solution as possible. Please dial 1(866)200-9657 to speak with a Building Designer today.

Remodel or Not?

Remodel or Build New?

I am as guilty as most – my initial reaction is always to remodel, rather than build new. Even when it makes no practical or economic sense.

Reader JIM in LAWTON is working through one of these situations. He writes: 

“I have a 30 x 40 pole barn 32 years old. I want to take the 4/12 pitch trusses off and add bonus room trusses with a 10/12 pitch and a shingled roof, it is now metal. The new trusses will free span the 30’. My concern is the 4×6 posts holding everything up. They are 8’ on center, 54” down. I met with the building inspector and he inspected the poles and footers on two poles, one on each side of the building. The footers are a concrete block 4x8x16, poles are 4×6. I drove two nails in the two exposed posts 6” and 12” down and the centers didn’t seem soft at all. The building inspector says go ahead and beef up the headers and build up. I don’t want any issues. I am doing the work myself. Do you feel there is anything else I should do to confirm the posts will support the additional weight? The room is going to be an extra bedroom. Anything else meaning contact a structural engineer and pay big bucks for their opinion. Thanks, Jim.”

You are aware your remodel will be more expensive than erecting a brand new building?

Chances are good your existing building was built as a low risk building, if it was engineered and permitted at all. Adding in a bedroom makes it a higher risk building, increasing design loads for both wind and snow. From your limited information provided, your columns will not be large enough, footing diameters will need to be increased, headers (truss carriers) will need to be increased to support probably at least a load twice as much as what was there.

If you do indeed decide to move forward as you suggest, you would be making a grave error to not have an engineer inspect what you have and make recommendations to bring your existing building up to current Code and to be adequate to support your remodeled design.

 Mike the Pole Barn Guru

P.S. Due to shingles’ very short lifespan, I would recommend you go with a steel roof.

Bare Splash Planks

Oh What to do About Bare Splash Planks

Pole Building ShopMost people rarely notice or pay attention to splash planks (skirt boards) below their post frame (pole building) siding. They are so far below eye level frankly most people just do not notice them!

Reader TOOD in SPRINGFIELD worries about them. He writes:

“Hi there, 

I called the Hansen number and the lady told me I could ask a question in here for a quick response. I wanted to ask, on the finished Hansen buildings, the bottom of the building is exposed—there’s just the wood trim there. You would think there would be some metal trim over top… not just for appearance reasons but to protect the wood. I believe the wood is pressure treated, which I know lasts awhile but it would start to warp/crack over time. I don’t think Hansen would put trim over it, but do you think it would help if I added metal trim over it at a later date? I know the metal would have moist soil up against it a little at the base, so I don’t know if that’s ok. I’m just trying to protect it long term (30+ years). Would it be better to push dirt or gravel against it to cover it up or would it not matter either way? The downside to gravel is I’d have to buy it but also weeds would grow up through it, so it would be more maintenance over time to get rid of the weeds. Anyway, I’d really appreciate your input on all of this and I really appreciate your time. Thanks! Todd”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru answers:

Around the bottom of any properly designed post frame (pole building) there should be exposed four to six inches of pressure preservative treated splash plank. In our case, splash planks are treated to a minimum UC-4A standard, making them acceptable and appropriate for a lifetime of use in contact with ground. This exposed treated wood is ideal for pouring aprons, landings, sidewalks and driveways against and it keeps concrete from being in contact with your building’s steel siding and trims, as either of them will decay with direct contact to chemicals in concrete. You want to avoid having soil or gravel against steel as it will rust. If you feel it imperative to cover your splash planks, we can provide vinyl plasti-skirts to cover them (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/08/plasti-skirt/).

Column Types, SW Missouri, and Site Preparation

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses reader questions about types of columns used in Hansen Pole Buildings, what type of car for a small 2 story barn, and the best site preparation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning. I was just running through your website looking at the different materials you guys use for your buildings and I could not find the type of column you use. I know some people have 6x6s, some use 3ply 2x6s and others use the glulam columns, both spliced and un-spliced. If you could let me know now your method that would be great. Thanks! BLAINE

Concrete slab in a pole barn

DEAR BLAINE: We supply either solid sawn timber columns or glulaminated columns depending upon where building is located, client request, and/or climactic conditions. Glulaminated columns have finger jointed and glued splices – unlike some nailed up columns.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m looking at wanting to build a 30 x 40 2 story pole barn with the barn roughed in for a second floor and just one small garage door what kind of car should I be looking at? Do you do work in Southwest Missouri?

DEAR SOUTHWEST MISSOURI: Well, you are probably best to get a car fitting your family’s needs. Personally, I drive a 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche – because if something hits me I would like to survive.

For a single vehicle overhead garage door 10 feet of width and seven feet of height should keep your mirrors on. For sake of resale value, you might want to consider going with a 16 foot wide door, as it offers wider appeal to future owners of this building.

Hansen Pole Buildings provides custom designed engineered post frame buildings kits everywhere in the United States – even Southwest Missouri.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What preparations must be made for the ground for the area that a pole barn is to be built on? Is a base such as a concrete slab, or gravel required, or may one be built only with the poles in the ground, and the concrete holding them in place? JOSHUA in BECKETT

treated postDEAR JOSHUA: Simplicity is a part of post frame (pole barn) construction. If your building will not need a concrete slab on grade, then you could merely auger holes, then place them with limited amounts of concrete in hole bottoms to resist settling, overturning and uplift. If your future plans include a concrete slab, then more extensive site preparation should be done to insure proper results: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/.

 

Jai Alai Court

Jai Alai Court

In my now rapidly approaching 40 year career in and around post frame buildings, I have covered lots and lots of very diverse things. These have included train and trolley car refurbishing, Las Vegas zoo’s giraffe barn, a United States Marine Corps rifle range, steer roping, basketball and volleyball courts, baseball batting cages, but never before a Jai Alai court.

Well, first time for everything, right?

We recently received this request from Senor Frogs Restaurant in the Bahamas:

“Good Morning,

We are building a Jai Alai court in Mexico (photos attached)

We would like to install a roof like the one in the picture also attached. (we found this photo in the internet and had your website)

The structure will be done locally but the need the material to cover it.

Is that something you can help us with?

Thank you very much

Kind regards”

My sum total of knowledge about Jai Alai is I had heard of it. Not much of a basis to work from, however I do have internet access!


Jai Alai originated in Spain’s Basque region some 400 years ago. Today Jai Alai is played in Spain, Cuba, South America, Mexico, The Philippines, Italy and even in the United States of America, primarily in Florida. The first court was made in 1748 and more than 300 have been built since.

Jai Alai is typically played up to a score of seven with points being scored when the opposing team fails to return to serving team. A return must be one swift motion with player catching the pelota and throwing it back in one fluid movement. The Pelota is the hardest ball in all of sports and is tougher than a rock. If the pelota is held too long a return can be considered void.

Known as a fronton, a Jai Alai court is 176 to 180 feet long by 35 to 50 feet wide by 35 to 40 feet high. It is comprised of three walls, side, back and front. Primary playing surface is the three part sidewall.

In order to play Jai Alai players must have some equipment. Most important piece is the cesta, meaning basket in English. A cesta is attached to a player’s right arm and is used to catch the pelota.   A helmet must also be worn to protect player’s head as the pelota can go up to 200 miles per hour!

Whether in Mexico, or anywhere else on our planet, Hansen Pole Buildings can custom design a third party engineered post frame building to cover or enclose any low rise structure (up to 40 foot tall walls without sprinklers) – even a Jai Alai fronton!

Building a Barndominium on an Existing Concrete Slab

Building a Barndominium on an Existing Concrete Slab

Whether a simple pole barn or an elaborate barndominium, shouse or post frame home, there are some challenges when it comes to constructing on an existing concrete slab on grade.

Reader NATHAN from PITTSFORD began this article when he wrote: 

“I have a 28x 80 foot pad. How hard would it be to build a pole barn house on the pad. It has a singlewide trailer on it now but want to build on this pad.”

While an existing concrete slab may be able to be integrated into a pole barn or barndominium as a floor, in most instances it will be inadequate to structurally support any structure, unless it has been specifically designed to do so in advance. In most cases, it will need to have been placed with a Building Permit and have had appropriate inspections by a Building Official.

Concrete slabs, such as Nathan’s, can be a resultant of several different circumstances. In his case, it appears to have been poured merely to park a manufactured home on it. Other times they have been poured with an idea of placing a future building upon, however without (in most cases) adequate structural considerations. I have run into more than one person who has an existing slab as a result of a previous building having burned down.

Usually I would avoid attempts to erect a structure on top of an existing slab unless I knew it to have been adequately designed and properly inspected, or knowing a Registered Professional Engineer had done a thorough inspection to determine adequacy.

If able to support a building, dry set anchors can be used to anchor columns in place (read about dry set brackets here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/dry-set-column-anchors/).

For flat slabs, without curbs or raised perimeter foundations, square holes for columns can be cut with a concrete saw to allow for holes to be augured and columns placed. Space between columns and saw cut edges can be later filled in with concrete.

A simple solution, for those who feel they must use their existing flat slab, is to build outside of slab edges. This allows for holes to be dug, without any need for concrete cutting.

Have an existing slab to be incorporated into a new post frame building? Please call 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Building Designer today.

A Shouse in the News

A Shouse in the News!
Casual readers might not understand what a shouse even is. My lovely bride and I happen to reside in an 8000 square foot shouse (combination shop and house) in Northeast South Dakota. (The shouse in this article is not our house.)

Whether shouse, barndominium or merely post frame (pole barn) house – chances are good you will be seeing more and more of them cropping up as people are recognizing their architectural aesthetics, cost effectiveness and ability to be self built.

Photo from Google images
Below is from a December 14, 2019 Park Rapids Enterprise article by Lorie R. Skarpness

“Have you ever seen a shouse? A shouse is a relatively new word for a combination shop and house, and a Nevis resident approached the planning commission recently with a request to build one that is 40 by 60 feet.

Described to the Nevis City Council Monday night as a “glorified man cave with storage,” it would have to meet state requirements to classify it as a living structure.

As far as council members can tell, this is the first such request in the city’s history. The building inspector said the council could make suggestions for the finishing of the building. Plans have not been received for the shouse, but the individual who wants to build it stated he plans to use siding for the exterior.

He also requested having shipping containers approximately 25 feet by 9 feet to store belongings for less than a year while constructing the shouse on a large lot located in a residential zone.
Mayor Jarod Senger said he has friends who built a shouse. “There are some very nice ones,” he added.

“It can be a pole barn that’s like a gigantic garage and they finish off one corner of it with a front door,” council member Jeanne Thompson said. “They come in there to the living space and the rest of it can be storage or a personal woodworking shop they can putz around in.”

Thompson said her concern is the aesthetics of these structures. “If it does look more homelike versus a metal shed someone is living in, all of those logistics,” she said.

Building on the proposed shouse would likely not start until April, if approved.
Council member Rich Johnson suggested the planning and zoning commission look into the proposal and draft some ideas for acceptable finishes for a shouse before proceeding along with an ordinance to cover future requests that may come in.

The Minnesota state building code addresses minimum size issues required for shouses.”

Considering construction of a new home? Give a barndominium or shouse some consideration, you might be surprised. Here is an article with several helpful links for prospective barndominium owners: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/10/show-me-your-barndominium-plans-please/.

Ready to take the plunge? Please call 1(866)200-9657 today and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer.

Prefabricated Endwall Trusses

Most post frame (pole) buildings use prefabricated wood roof trusses to support their roof systems. Luckily (as well) most of these also use a truss on each endwall, rather than having crews (or unsuspecting DIYers) cobbling together rafters onsite.

As a former owner of two prefabricated metal connector plated truss companies for 17 years, this photo makes me cringe. Why?

This 40 foot span truss is being picked up at its peak alone!

A document known as BCSI-B10 is produced jointly by WTCA (Wood Truss Council of America) and TPI (Truss Plate Institute). This eight page document covers “Post Frame Truss Installation and Bracing”. It is in the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual (included with an investment in any Hansen Pole Buildings’ post frame kit package) and should be furnished at any post frame roof truss delivery as well.

On Page Three under ‘Mechanical Installation’, is specifically stated (in red even), “Do not lift trusses with spans greater than 30’ by the peak”. Pretty clear and is even written in Spanish, “No levanter trusses con vanor mas de 30 pies por el cumbre”.

Doing so risks truss failure due to damaged steel connector plates or cracked truss members. Just do not do it.

Now, an even bigger cringe!

Trusses with only vertical studs for web members (like in this photo) are designed only to transfer vertical loads directly downward to a continuous bearing wall. Looking at this photo, there is no bearing wall for this truss to rest upon. In reality, only rarely would a post frame endwall be designed with structural provisions for a truss like this to be used on an end!

I see this incidence all too often and am unsure if it is due to ignorance by whomever is placing orders or ignorance by truss manufacturers.  In either case, this is an improper use of a non-structural endwall truss and could easily result in a building failure.

Adding insult to injury, vertically studded endwall trusses are usually more expensive than structural trusses AND they are only effective with non-steel siding!

Looking for a post frame building done right? Please dial a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1 (866) 200-9657 today.

A Workshop, A Sliding Door, and A Metal Gauge of a Beverage Can

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about a new a heated floor in a new workshop, adding a large sliding door to a building, and the metal gauge of a beverage can.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, New fan of your site 🙂   We are designing a 40×80 pole building workshop for heavy equipment, with radiant in-floor heating.  Contractors want to use rigid foam board under the concrete, we are concerned about crushing under the weight of equipment, and then the concrete cracking.  What do you suggest?

Thank you, AL and LORI in COLUMBUS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DEAR AL AND LORI: Welcome, I am hopeful you have gained some information of value. Your 40 x 80 pole building workshop would be very happy as a new Hansen Pole Building.

Your concrete contractor is correct you will want to install XPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam sheets over your vapor barrier (and below concrete). You can specify a product’s compressive strength, but it appears even standard 25 psi should be adequate.

Although I have not tried it myself, I have read of others who have had two to four inches of closed cell spray foam applied directly over their prepared site. This would both act as a vapor barrier and as under floor insulation.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How much does a 20 foot wide x 13 foot high metal single sliding door with track and hardware cost installed in zip 51561 CHARLEY in PACIFIC JUNCTION

CHARLEY: We are not building contractors, so would have no idea. You might try contacting the Pro Desk of your local The Home Depot® to see if they could recommend a contractor who could tackle your project.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What gauge metal is the wall of an aluminum beer can or Coke can? How many millimeters thick is it? LETITIA in ONEONTA

DEAR LETITIA: My now adult children have accused me of being a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things of worthless trivia. It just so happens I have written an article on this very subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/05/steel-thickness-2/

 

Spray Foam for Barndominiums

Spray Foam for Barndominiums – Is a Thermal or Ignition Barrier Required?

Although it’s certainly not used in every green building project, spray foam insulation has become a popular way to build an air-tight (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/airtight-post-frame-homes-and-barndominiums/) barndominium, shouse (shop/house) or even just a well-insulated post frame building. Early on building codes hadn’t caught up with how best to use spray foam insulation, however this has changed. Change creates confusion though, and requirements for thermal and ignition barriers are one area where there is a lot of confusion.

If you put spray foam insulation in a barndominium, it needs a thermal barrier. This is what separates it from occupied spaces. If there is a fire in your barndominium, a thermal barrier keeps separates combustible spray foam and flames to increase fire resistance. International Residential (IRC) and International Building Codes (IBC) both include requirements for thermal and ignition barriers.

Standard prescriptive material to be used as a thermal barrier is 1/2″ gypsum board (drywall or sheetrock). Anything else has to be approved as an ‘equivalent thermal barrier’ by undergoing tests for temperature transmission and fire integrity. 

If a barndominium has spray foam insulation in an attic or crawl space, code requires using materials or assemblies offering some fire resistance but not as much as is required for a thermal barrier. If you’ve got spray foam insulation in an attic, for example, it’s probably already separated from living spaces by a thermal barrier. Most ceilings are made of 1/2″ or 5/8” drywall. But spray foam is still attic exposed and thus needs an ignition barrier.

In this case, you have a choice of several prescriptive materials approved by code as ignition barriers. These would include: 1.5″ mineral fiber insulation, 1/4″ wood, 3/8″ particleboard, 1/4″ hardboard, 3/8″ drywall or 0.016″ corrosion-resistant steel.

You can also use specialized paint, such as TPR FIRESHELL®. FIRESHELL® is a proprietary non-flammable, intumescing (expands up to 2000%) interior coating providing oxygen starvation to fire. It is a non-toxic, water based, drain safe, no fuming GREEN product. FIRESHELL® is NFPA 286 and E84 class A certified and meets the requirements for a 15 minute thermal barrier. FIRESHELL® does cost around 85 cents per square foot.

Other materials and assemblies may be allowed based on International Code Council Evaluation Service tests as described in their Acceptance Criteria 377. There are limited types of spray foam insulation qualifying to be sprayed without an ignition barrier.

When do you need an ignition barrier? According to Code, an attic or crawl space needs an ignition barrier over spray foam if it can be accessed but will not be used for storage or auxiliary living space. You don’t need an ignition barrier if these spaces cannot be accessed without cutting into it and if it is not connected to other spaces.

Building Code enforcement of spray foam insulation is spotty. Some jurisdictions are sticklers about it and some don’t even know about it. Best policy, as always, is to find out what they require and what they’ll accept. Then use your best judgement and err on the side of being conservative.

One thing to be aware of is not everything claiming to be a thermal or ignition barrier actually meets requirements. If it’s not on your building department’s approved list, ask the company selling it for their test data and evidence of code approvals. You may need them to satisfy your building inspector.

What if your local Building Department doesn’t require anything? Well, it sure is tempting to keep your costs low and omit ignition barriers in attics and crawl spaces. But what if your barndominium burns, and insurance company refuses to pay because there was no ignition barrier? Keep in mind, insurance companies hire people like me (and smarter) to find ways to keep from paying out. No ignition barrier? It shouldn’t take a genius to know you are out of luck!

Bottom line is if you are using spray foam insulation, know applicable code regarding thermal and ignition barriers and use them where necessary.

Concrete: Cured or Dried?

Concrete: Cured or Dried?

Recently I posted an article in regards to finishing a concrete slab-on-grade. I admit to knowing slightly more about concrete than I do about plumbing. Muy poquito – one of the few Spanish terms I can actually pronounce (and have used all too frequently when visiting South America).

For those of you who missed my previous article (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/12/how-to-finish-a-concrete-slab-on-grade/) I made reference to concrete drying out. I was corrected, as one reader felt I should have used ‘cured’ rather than ‘dried’.

Being fairly ignorant and having relied upon wisdoms (and terminologies) from actual professional concrete finishers, I broke out Google and went on a search. www.cement.org seemed to be a likely prospect for correct language and here is what I found:

“The terms curing and drying are frequently used interchangeably with regard to the moisture condition of new concrete slabs. The following definitions clarify these terms.

Curing

Curing of concrete is defined as providing adequate moisture, temperature, and time to allow the concrete to achieve the desired properties for its intended use. This would mean maintaining a relative humidity in the concrete of greater than 80 percent, a temperature greater than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and for a time typically ranging from three to 14 days depending on the specific application. When these recommendations are properly specified and performed in the field, the final properties of the concrete mixture will be achieved.

Drying

Drying of concrete is defined as providing the proper conditions to allow the concrete to achieve a moisture condition appropriate for its intended use. The moisture condition of a concrete slab is of significant importance for the application of moisture sensitive floor finishes such as vinyl composition tile, linoleum, wood flooring, and non-breathable coating like epoxy. The moisture condition is specified as a maximum relative humidity by percent or a vapor transmission rate in lb/1000 ft2/24 hr. A typical value specified for relative humidity may be less than 75 to 80 percent to assure the successful application of the flooring materials, while a commonly specified value for vapor transmission rate may be 3 lb/1000 ft2/24 hr.”

Personally I can live with these terms being used interchangeably, just don’t try to do it with cement and concrete (read why here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/01/cement-versus-concrete/).

Lumberyards-Don’t Burst Customer’s Dreams

Lumberyards – Don’t Burst Customer’s Dreams

A week or so ago I was contacted in regards to a 42 wide by 48 foot long 12 foot eave post frame (pole) building kit. This person had actually ‘purchased’ this building from a vendor local to him for just over 12,000 dollars with steel roofing and siding, with him to provide his own doors. He was also planning upon adding a front deck (as in photo) at a later date.

Now this seemed to be a heck of a deal. Client had lined up a builder to start right away and all was lovely until his Building Department asked for engineered plans. And his provider of choice could not provide them!

This client was nice enough to provide his earlier provider’s invoice, so we could do a comparison. It was only then that I discovered there was more than just engineer sealed plans absent from this equation.
Look at trusses specified on this invoice. 30 foot span would need a major board stretcher to cover 42 feet. Good news is there are 25 of them, enough to go 48 feet of building length. Bad news is, there is no material for truss carriers (aka headers or beams) to run from column to column to support these trusses. No idea why trusses would have overhangs on only one side.

Posts are perfect in quantity for a 10 foot on center spacing, however there should have been four more (ignoring wrong building width) to have placed client’s three nine foot width overhead doors. In case you are curious, these three doors would not have fit across a 30 foot wide endwall.

Endwall steel is plenty too long for a 12 foot sidewall, however no provision has been made for shorter panels above overhead doors. Where this gets dicey is when roof steel is looked at. 19’3” would be a correct length for a 10-1/2” eave overhang, at 30 foot wide and 8/12 slope. Assuming no end overhangs, each 48 foot roof side takes 16 three foot width pieces. 20 are on the order? Maybe just 30 feet on each side of roof?

No idea what was planned to cover 48 feet of ridge using four 10 foot long ridge caps.
Sidewall steel exhibits similar problems – only 20 pieces 14 feet (again too long for a 12 foot eave), however there is a mysterious 10 pieces of 8’2”.

By now – I am sure you are getting an idea as to how upset this client would have been with his 12 foot too narrow building. How about his builder? Even had 30 foot been accepted, there would have been many a trip back to this supplier (over 50 miles away) to even come close to being able to assemble this mess.
This is what upsets me – this unknowing client has scrimped and saved for his dream building and now believes he can afford it. Only to have those expectations and dreams smashed by a supplier who (in my humble opinion) had no business even leading client to believe they could supply what he desired, wanted and needed.
At Hansen Pole Buildings, we guarantee we will furnish a complete and ENGINEERED post frame building kit per invoice and plans. Along with all step-by-step instructions on how to assemble and unlimited free Technical Support from people who actually know how to erect post frame buildings.
Want it done right? Please dial 1 (866) 200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today.

A Skid Lift for Post Frame Building at Heights

The Use of a Skid Lift for Post Frame Building Safely at Heights

Long time readers will recall my penchant for safety on roofs, given my own Father’s untimely demise from a rooftop fall back in 1988. Today’s guest solution is thanks to Paul Wick. Paul is Sales Manager at Skid-Lift, LLC located in Fargo, ND. He has a BSME in Mechanical Engineering from North Dakota State University. He is also a founding partner of Skid-Lift, LLC.

Post frame (Pole) builders and post frame Do-It-Yourselfers often are faced with an issue of how to work at heights on a building and be productive while staying safe. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, ladder falls rank as 2nd leading cause of U.S. death, behind transportation incidents.  One option for staying safe and improving production is with the use of a Skid-Lift which works well with skid steers or tractors. One post frame builder in Western Nebraska said this after using a Skid-Lift for 6 months, “The Skid-Lift was a life saver!  Wish we had one years ago. The time we saved using the Skid-Lift was amazing”.

Skid-Lift is designed to pair with a skid steer or tractor and use their positioning and hydraulic capabilities to position and power lift. This not only simplifies lifting but also greatly reduces Skid-Lift maintenance. It also gives Skid-Lift versatility to go anywhere a skid steer or tractor goes. Being attached to this power unit not only gives this scissor lift a large footprint, but it also adds 5000 to 8000 pounds or more depending on power unit size. This makes user much safer being attached to this large anchor weight.

Many builders see a large increase in productivity as stated by one builder in Minnesota, “We have used it a lot putting up the wall sheeting, fascia, eaves, etc. I don’t know how we did it before the Skid-Lift, a lot of wasted time with scaffolding and up and down ladders I guess… We already have at least a half dozen jobs lined up that we will definitely be using it on, it has become essential on a few jobs now”. Skid-Lift is also much easier to maneuver and transport as it goes easily onto a trailer attached to a skid steer or tractor.

Skid-Lift is offered in three different models with varying heights and Standard or Heavy-Duty configurations. These lifts are USA built in North Dakota and can be shipped direct to customers in areas where a dealer is not close to them. Skid-Lift can help keep people safe and productive while working at heights! Check out Skid-Lift at http://skid-lift.com/ or contact Skid-Lift at info@skid-lift.com.

Pole Barn Guru thoughts – if your local equipment rental does not have a Skid-Lift, you might recommend it to them. Another option for D-I-Yers is to purchase equipment pre-build, then sell it when project is completed. My brother-in-law did this when he erected his post frame building and actually made money when he sold it!

Building Permits, Building Changes, and Frost Protection

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about ability to “build … without any problems…” permitting, adding wall skirting to an open building, and appropriate frost protection.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I build my pole barn in Hernando County without any problems from the county for permitting which is located in Brooksville, Florida? CHARLES in BROOKSVILLE

DEAR CHARLES: Maybe – you need to be discussing with your county’s Planning Department at (352)754-4057. It will depend upon zoning of your property, restrictions and lot size.

This will help you along: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/planning-department-3/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Bought a home with existing pole barn and need to find a local contractor to skirt it. How do I find someone to do underpinning? JANE in HIXSON

Roof Only Riding ArenaDEAR JANE: Before making changes to your building, such as this, it would behoove you to consult with engineer who originally designed. If they are unknown or unavailable, you should consult with an engineer who can evaluate what you have and what you want done, in order to determine if structural upgrades will be necessary. Many pole barns with little or no sides were not originally designed to support this added wind load, and it is best to be safe, rather than sorry.

Once you have engineer approval, check to see if a Building Permit is required.

Only then could you go to your local Craigslist and post what you want done under “Gigs”. Be fairly specific and you should receive several qualified responses.

 

slab edge insulationDEAR POLE BARN GURU: We plan on installing a cement slab floor inside our pole building for our farm shop. We were planning to install hard board insulation 2 ft deep 2 inches thick around the perimeter of the building. But we have a footing and wall of 42 inches underneath insulated garage doors. Do we need to have insulation on the outside of the walls below grade to keep frost from migrating inside under the floor? We have a 48 ft door, plus a 24 and a 16 ft door on this building. We will drive trucks or combines inside this building. We are doing this project right now…we have finished first wall. Thank you for your help. ED in FREELAND

DEAR ED: Yes, you should be placing insulation outside of your building walls, below grade, to prevent frost from migrating under your concrete floor. Please read this article for more information: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/11/frost-protected-shallow-foundations/

 

 

Barndominium Flooring Over Radiant Heat

Our shouse (shop/house) has radiant in floor heat on its lower level and we love it! (read about it here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/radiant-floor-heating/) I encourage anyone who is building a barndominium, shouse, post frame home or even a garage or shop to at least have Pex-Al-Pex tubing placed in any slab-on-grade concrete floors (research Pex-Al-Pex here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/pex-al-pex-tubing-for-post-frame-concrete-slabs/).

Radiant heat has many benefits. Walking on heated floors in winter is very cozy. And radiant heat can be very economical.

In Floor Heat System Installation

If you are considering the installation of a radiant heat system, some flooring options work better than others. Here are the top four flooring options for use over radiant heat.

Tile Flooring

Porcelain and ceramic tile are great conductors of heat, so your barndominium gets radiant heating system’s full benefit. In addition, tile flooring will not expand as it warms or contract as it cools. Such expansion and contraction can cause cracking. This is not a problem with tile.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring replicates solid hardwood or tile flooring’s  look without requiring a huge investment. It also does a great job over radiant heat. Laminate material is built up with layers of wood running in opposite directions. This creates a more stable material than solid hardwood. Laminate won’t expand and contract, in other words like solid hardwood flooring would. Much of our shouse’s second and third floors have oak flooring – we can vouch for it growing in humid weather and shrinking when humidity is low.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Like laminate, it is produced in layers, so it has a more stable base and will not react to heating and cooling processes. Top, or wear layer, is solid wood and comes in all the same varieties found with other solid hardwood flooring. Engineered flooring even comes in bamboo. It looks great, wears great and warms great.

Natural Stone Flooring

Granite, travertine, sandstone and other natural stone flooring types conduct heat wonderfully. You might think of stone as cold, but not when it has warm water flowing beneath it. If you never thought you would like to walk on stone flooring bare-footed in January, you never considered radiant heat!

What Flooring Should Not Be Used Over Radiant Heat?

Carpet has insulation value, so it will prevent some heat from transferring through into your barndominium. You can use a few area rugs, but avoid large rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting. Vinyl flooring is not a good choice either. Heat may discolor vinyl or cause off-gassing of chemicals. Finally, solid hardwood flooring will swell and shrink when heated or cooled, especially in barndominiums using a humidifier during winter. You don’t want to invest in pricey hardwood flooring only to have it cup, buckle, crown and crack.

Planning to install comfortable, efficient radiant heat, your best choices for use with radiant heating are tile flooring, laminate flooring, engineered flooring and natural stone flooring.

Square Up a Building Fast

In our Facebook discussion group for pole and post frame builders only, a builder recently asked about fastest easiest way to square up a new building. For a beginner, this task may prove both daunting and time consuming. There is a way to be accurate and fast and although for most making a $1500 investment is not practical, you might be able to rent Stabila’s 180 layout system from your nearby equipment rental location.

Stabila LA 180L

Stabila’s LA 180L layout station (https://www.stabila.com/en-US/products-553/details/la-180l-layout-station-with-auto-alignment.html) can be used to lay out to 300 feet and is said to cut layout labor costs by 50%.
This product is designed for fully automatic, long range layout. Auto alignment allows you to layout square with only one person in just seconds. Layout over ranges above 50ft is a time-consuming and high risk job. When layout errors occur high follow-up costs will result. Stabila’s LA 180 L self-leveling multi-line laser allows you to layout greater than 20ft up to 300ft fast and accurately. A REC 410 Line RF receiver controls LA 180 L using STABILA wireless AUTO ALIGNMENT technology. One press of a button and laser adjusts automatically to position receiver.
Features include:
Self-levelling multi-line laser for precision layout.
AUTO ALIGNMENT function: Receiver automatically controls laser positioning laser at distances of up to 150ft – fully automatic axis transfer and creation of right angles on floors, walls and ceilings, all at the same time. Precise alignment without losing reference point.
Pulsed laser lines for precise measurements with receiver (up to 300ft) indoors and outdoors.
Versatile: 3 vertical lines, 1 horizontal line and plumb-line function.
Extra sharp, easy-to-see lines for fast and efficient work directly on laser line – visible range up to 100ft indoors.
Unique housing shape for positioning in room corners and over edges (e.g. concrete slab) – rapid checking of right angles.
5/8-11 tripod mount.
Includes: Laser, receiver with bracket, laser enhancement glasses, magnetic red target cards/plates, batteries, hard shell case.
Optional: Rechargeable battery pack, brackets for using laser with batter boards and forms.

Besides laying out your new post frame building it has other applications. This is a fast and precise layout tool. It is designed for applications >20ft up to 300ft. Commercial construction, HVAC, masonry, concrete and top end landscape jobs. Drywall construction – suspending ceilings, positioning interior and partition walls within a range of 300ft. Framing – layout wall positions at push of a button. Quickly establish square, even when a slab or foundation you’re working on is out of square. Concrete – Layout forms perfectly straight and square. Optional laser and receiver mounts available for most re-usable forming systems.

Swinging Doors for a Post Frame Building

On Facebook I am a member of a group “Pole Barns and Buildings”. Recently a group member posted this question:

“I’m new to the group so thanks for letting me in. I’m having a 30’x48’x16′ pole barn built for a shop that will be insulated with a concrete floor. I am also putting an enclosed pull through lean-to on it for our fifth wheel with a sliding door on one end and am planning on double swinging barn doors on the other end. I can’t put a sliding door on both ends since the roll up door on the shop wouldn’t allow for the track across the front. My question is since each door is going to be 14’x7′ has anybody made swinging doors this big and what issues have you ran into? Any tips on the door construction? I’m planning on 4 12″ t hinges per door with a chain pull latch at the top, a cane bolt at the bottom and an old fashion 2×4 bar across the inside on z brackets (there is a walk through door from the shop). Sorry for the long post but I want to make sure I get this right the first time.
Thanks!”
A disclaimer, this is NOT a Hansen Pole Building.
Our friend is actually looking to cover this open shed end with a 14 foot by 14 foot door, made of two seven foot width leaves. If I had been designing this building, I would have made some recommendations to head off this challenge before it began.
But, why not use swinging doors?
Unless they are made from a welded steel framework, it is going to be fairly difficult to eliminate sag. And (very important for most) a remote operated garage door opener is just not going to be practical.
My design suggestion would have been to construct a 44 foot width building all at 16 foot eave. This would allow for a 12 foot side by 14 foot tall overhead door instead of dealing with swinging doors. It would also eliminate a pitch break currently shown between main clearspan and shed. When all is said and done, my option would most likely have been less expensive and more practical.

How to Finish a Concrete Slab on Grade

How to Finish a Concrete Slab on Grade

Concrete is not my friend, it ranks right there with my ability to do plumbing.  My Dad was awesome, he could do either of these with ease. Neither of these tasks, done by me personally, have given me results I am pleased with. So I hire professionals. For those who are braver than I, here are words of wisdom from those experts.

If you have a small concrete slab or floor and you want to achieve a smooth finish, using a steel trowel is going to be your best bet.

A hand trowel will give you a very smooth concrete finish. Know the proper procedure on how and when to start using it.

Basic steps for finishing concrete are:

After pouring concrete let it firm up enough so you can only press your fingers into surface about 1/4 of an inch.

On your first finishing pass, use a mag float to smooth surface. With moderate pressure, move mag float in a back and forth motion. This motion will change surface texture surface, working up some cream and cement paste.

Once you’ve gone over entire surface, let it dry a little before using your hand trowel.

Start troweling using same back and forth motion as you did with mag float. Slightly tip trowel edge up a bit in the direction you’re moving it. Go over the same area 2 – 3 times and it will start to look smoother.

Don’t worry if you’re leaving a few small trowel lines, you will remove them on next pass.

After troweling entire surface, let concrete dry a bit more.

Trowel surface again same as first time you troweled it. Surface should be drier and harder now. Smooth out your trowel marks from previous pass, surface should be looking smoother.

Continue this process as many times as necessary to get desired smooth finish you want.

If you have a large concrete floor or slab, the best way to get a smooth finish is to use a power trowel.

Learning how to use a power trowel will take some practice.

If you’re renting one, make sure rental company shows you how to start, hold on to, and move machine right and left. This is very important for your own safety.

Most important part of getting your concrete floor smooth using a power trowel is knowing when to start.

If you start troweling too early, you could potentially create humps, dips, or a wavy surface you won’t be happy with.

If you start too late, it’ll be hard to get concrete as smooth as you like.

There’s a couple ways to test concrete to see if it’s ready to start power troweling.

Press your fingers into concrete. If you can only press into concrete about 1/8 to 1/4 inch, this tells you concrete is close to or ready to start power troweling.

If you can only press your fingers into surface 1/8 inch, try walking on the surface. If you only sink into the surface 1/16 to 1/8 inch with your feet, concrete is ready to power trowel.

IMPORTANT: If you start power troweling and you start “sinking” in more than this or power trowel starts digging into surface and creating waves or humps, just stop and wait a little longer then try again.

If concrete seems ok, then run trowel in an east to west motion across the surface, covering the entire floor. Start furthest away from where you want to stop and work your way backwards.

When you’ve troweled entire surface you may have to stop and let concrete “dry out” awhile before going over it again.

Time it takes it to “dry out” will be greatly dictated by outside temperature and if it’s in direct sun. 

It should take multiple passes with power trowel to get a very smooth finish. Maybe three to five depending on how fast concrete is curing.

Cross your pattern each time you power trowel surface. If you started with an east/west pattern, go north/south next time and so on.

If you want a non-slip surface on your concrete, then a broom finish is what you’re looking for.

In my opinion, learning how to do a broom finish is a little easier than doing a smooth steel trowel finish.

If you’re broom finishing basics are the same.

Knowing when to start is key to success. Much like above, you start finishing process when:

Start to mag float surface when you can only press your fingers into surface about 1/4 inch.

After you mag float surface, drag broom across surface in a backwards motion pulling it towards you.

Continue this process working your way from one end to the other until you’ve broomed the entire surface.

If you can’t reach the entire area from outside edges, you will need a set of concrete skids to get onto the concrete.

With patience and courage, you can successfully finish a concrete slab!

Horizontal Sheeting, Framing for Insulation, and Alternative Siding

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about overlapping horizontal sheets of steel, the best plan for framing to insulate, and best way to install vinyl lap siding on a post frame building.

Horizontal Steel SidingDEAR POLE BARN GURU: When installing horizontal sheeting, does the top sheet always cover the bottom sheet when joined? GARY in EUFAULA

DEAR GARY: In order to prevent water infiltration, yes. Provided overlaps have sufficient overlap, gravity will pull water downward across this overlap.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am looking to have a pole barn put up and wanted your opinion on how to best construct the shell if I want to insulate it down the road. From some of the things I have read I should include some type of foam board under the roof sections and maybe tyvek under the metal walls? Please let me know your thoughts. ROBERT in TIPP CITY

DEAR ROBERT: You do not want to place foam board between roof steel and roof framing as this will create a potential ‘slip’ between steel and framing, reducing or eliminating your roof’s diaphragm strength and resistance to wind loads.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I want to put vinyl siding on my pole shed. Do I need to frame 16″ on center walls between poles? What do you recommend? Thanks. TRAVIS in ANDOVER

DEAR TRAVIS: I would recommend using roll formed steel siding.

If your building is not yet erected, contact your engineer who designed your plans to have him or her confirm this is adequate. Place 2×6 wall girts bookshelf style between columns, with outside of girt and outside of columns flush. Install 2×4 Standard & better with wide face to wind at 24 inches on center vertically between pressure preservative treated splash plank and eave strut – nailing 2×4 to each girt with two 10d common nails. Toe nail at top and bottom.

Install 7/16 inch OSB or ½ inch CDX plywood to 2×4 per engineer’s recommendations. Wrap with a Weather Resistant Barrier and install vinyl siding.

 

 

 

Overhead Door Jambs

Overhead Door Jambs With Bracket Mounted Columns
Of course there are many methods of post frame construction-ours just happens to be best (at least we like to think so)!
Reader TOM in BOSCOBEL writes:
“I set laminated 2×6 beams into wet set anchors. I am ready to attach the 2×6 jambs to the rough opening, to prepare for overhead door installation. I secured the posts to the wet set anchors using carriage bolts. What is the best way to attach the 2×6 jambs when the anchors are protruding into the opening 1/4″ plus the head of the carriage bolts? Thinking I could router the bottoms to fit over the brackets, giving me a flush and plumb fit jamb.”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
Well, Tom could router out vertical overhead door side towards bracket to fit over tab of wet set bracket (for extended reading on wet set brackets please see: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/), however there is an easier approach as outlined in this excerpt from Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual:
Overhead door columns: Usually 4×6 pressure treated, if required, will typically be oriented 6” toward wind, unless wall columns are 6×6 or larger. Correct orientation will be shown on building plans. Space between columns, for residential doors, will be approximately door width plus 1”. For commercial (ribbed) doors space between columns will be approximately door width plus 3”.

As overhead door columns have been set from dimensions called out on building plans, the only requirement is to create a “picture frame” to place the overhead door behind.

Vertical jambs will be cut from pressure preservative treated lumber and installed first. If a choice is available, use the straightest possible boards for these.

If overhead door opening columns are 6×4 (with 6-inch face towards wind) jambs will be 2×6 (with sidings other than steel or vinyl 2×8).

If overhead door opening columns are 4×6 (with 4-inch face towards wind), 6×6 or 3-ply 2×6 glu-laminated, jambs will be 2×8 (with sidings other than steel or vinyl 2×10).

If overhead door opening columns are 4×8, 6×8 or 3-ply 2×8 glu-laminated, jambs will be 2×10 (with sidings other than steel or vinyl 2×12).

In steel sided applications, jambs maybe multiple members (e.g. two 2×4 or a 2×6 plus a ripped 2×4, rather than a 2×8), as they cover with steel trim.

Cut vertical jambs to length first. They will be 1-1/2 inch less in length than residential overhead door vertical height (e.g. 9’10-1/2” long for a 10’ tall door), ½ inch less for commercial doors. When installed, vertical jamb bottom edge will begin 4 inches above splash plank bottom. Install with cut end up. See Figure 24-1

Figure 24-1: Overhead Door Column

Hold vertical jamb in place with any “crown” out and vertical jamb edge top and bottom 1-1/2” outside column edge. See Figure 24-2

For vinyl siding hold vertical jamb 1-15/16” outside column edge. For other (non-steel) sidings, hold inside jamb edges flush with column inside faces.

Figure 24-2: Vertical Overhead Door Jamb – Plan View

Tack into place with one 10d common nail at each jamb top and bottom.

Important: Do NOT drive door jamb nails in completely yet!

 

Place shims between vertical jambs and overhead door columns so jambs are plumb in both directions. For installation when overhead door column(s) are wet set bracket mounted, use shims thick enough to avoid having to notch into vertical jambs to accommodate bracket and bolt heads.

Ideally, space between vertical jambs for residential doors is approximately equal to overhead door width, less 2”. Commercial doors space is equal to door width.

For example: For a 10’ width residential door, space between jambs will be about 9’10”. If this varies slightly, rest assured, doors will still seal.

OK, now nail jambs securely into place!

Cut horizontal jamb to length: at width between jambs plus 3”. Place horizontal jamb flat, on vertical jamb tops, flush with vertical jamb outside edges and with any crown out. Nail downward through horizontal jamb ends into vertical jamb top butt ends to secure in place.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru adds: And there you have it! Good Luck and let me know how it all works out.

Post Frame Standards or Extras?

On Facebook I am a member of a discussion group for Pole and Post frame building professionals only. Recently one of our group members posed a question, “What are the extras you do to set yourself apart”?

It was only then I realized there are some significant differences between a Hansen Pole Building and other alternative suppliers:

Most important is every Hansen Pole Building is fully engineered (not just engineered trusses) specifically to match our client’s building features (all doors and windows placed) and individual jobsite conditions (snow, wind, wind exposure, seismic loads). Not only are building plans sealed and signed by a Registered Professional Engineer, but also a complete set of verifying calculations is provided. This ensures to our client his or her new structure is designed to withstand this given set of load conditions and will be structurally sufficient. A few thoughts on non-engineered buildings here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/10/non-engineered-building/.

Entry doors are important as they are one of very few moving parts on a post frame building. Ideally you want your building to be secure – without a threat of it being kicked in by a miscreant due to having wooden jambs.  All Hansen Pole Buildings entry doors are insulated steel doors with steel jambs and are factory finish painted. These are sturdy enough to keep honest people honest and they will not have to be painted (or repainted), unlike most wood jamb doors. Why your entry door is important: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/09/pole-building-door-safety/.

When it comes to steel roofing and/or siding we tested actual steel sheeted assemblies to determine shear strength. Our testing led to development of an entirely new screw design to provide maximum system strength (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/this-is-a-test-steel-strength/).  We couldn’t leave well enough alone, so we had these ‘super screws’ powder coated to minimize or prevent paint chipping. Beauty and strength, a great combination: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/01/powder-coated-screws/.

Prefabricated wood double (ganged) roof trusses directly aligned with sidewall columns. There are a myriad of structural and ease of assembly benefits to this system, read about them here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/is-the-double-truss-system-stable-for-the-midwest/.

Prevention of condensation below roof steel is an essential feature in any use structure. Reflective Radiant Barriers are a very popular design solution. Most often these are provided as square edged four foot width rolls, requiring taping of all seams in order to maintain continuity.  We found this system to be inefficient, so we went to having this manufactured just for us in six foot widths plus including an adhesive pull strip tab along one side to eliminate seam taping. This wider width matches up well with two, three foot wide steel panels and reduces the amount of product having to be handled. Extended reading is available here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/effective-reflective-insulation/.

Most common sidewall column spacing is every 10 to 14 feet. This allows for greater flexibility in wider doors in sidewalls, without a need for expensive (and occasionally difficult to install) structural headers. It also minimizes probably the worst part of post frame construction – digging holes. You won’t want to miss this: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/efficient-buildings/.

Bookshelf style wall girts, for all spans over eight feet. Turned in this direction makes for very stiff walls, meeting Code requirements for both strength and deflection limitations.  Read about how this works and why it is important: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/girts/.

Most Hansen Pole Buildings come with overhangs (in my humble opinion they all should). And most of these overhangs are enclosed (they have soffits). Besides superior looks, when factory perforated the soffit material becomes an integral part of a properly vented attic. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/overhangs-2/. Our most popular soffit material is vinyl, which is manufactured in 12 foot long panels. Most overhangs are 12, 18 or 24 inches in width, necessitating having to cut them into smaller pieces. As a service to our clients, we have developed an in-house precutting line to eliminate field cutting.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Instant Pricing™ program allows for total customization of  building width, length, height and roof slopes – without paying a premium to do so. More about Instant Pricing here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/10/hansen-buildings-instant-pricing/.

500+ page illustrated step-by-step Construction Manual. It does matter how good post frame building plans are (and ours are specific down to showing every piece), if there are not great instructions to guide contractors or Do-It-Yourselfers to an excellent installation. There is nothing even remotely close to ours! Find out how this manual has made my life easy: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/07/how-often-and-why-building-technical-support/, even though we also offer unlimited free Technical Support! If you, or your builder, get stuck or are just unsure actual experienced experts will answer your questions or just reassure you (when necessary).

And, something no other post frame building kit provider has – a Written Limited Lifetime Structural Warranty on all non-commercial post frame building kits. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/11/pole-building-warranty/.

These benefits clearly show why Hansen Pole Buildings provides The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™.

Post Frame Condensation and Insulation Challenge

Solving Yet Another Post Frame Condensation and Insulation Challenge

Long time loyal readers will sigh as yet another post frame building has been erected without thoughts to how to properly insulate and control condensation. Had our new friend invested in a Hansen Pole Building, chances are good we would not be having this question and I would have had to write about something else today! Our Building Designers follow with these recommendations: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/post-frame-building-insulation/.

Our new friend COREY in POST FALLS writes: 

“I have a 36×48 pole building with trusses on 12’ with BCDL 5psf, the roof is plywood sheeted with composition roofing with ridge vent and gable vents. The wall Purlins are on the exterior of the poles and there is no vapor barrier. I would like to install a ceiling with insulation and insulate the walls. I am looking for vapor barrier and insulation recommendations. Was thinking of installing 2×4 on 24 centers to bottom of trusses and installing OSB and blown in insulation, and then framing in between poles adding batt insulation and sheeting with OSB, but am unsure of controlling vapor. Thank you.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Small world, many years ago I graduated from Post Falls High School!

A vented ridge relying upon gable vents as an air intake is usually very inefficient. You should make sure your vents in each end are located in the top half of your attic and have at least 415 square inches of net free ventilating area on each end. This means you are probably going to have to add more vents. Effective ventilation of this area is essential to preventing mold and mildew in your attic.

Wall girts flat on column exteriors are inadequate to carry imposed loads and will not meet deflection limitations. I would suggest you reinforce each of them to create either an “L” or a “T”. Assuming you have 6×6 wall columns, you could place a 2×8 bookshelf style girt on top or bottom of each girt, nailing through 2×8 into existing girts with a 10d common nail at say 12 inches on center. This will create an insulation cavity and allow for easy interior finish.

For ceiling joists between your trusses, 2×4 will not be adequate you should use 2×6 #2 with joist hangers on each end.

Unless you have a Weather Resistant Barrier (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/determining-the-most-effective-building-weather-resistant-barrier-part-1/) between framing and wall steel, my recommendation would be to have two inches of closed cell insulation spray foam to the inside of wall steel. Then fill balance of wall cavity with BIBs insulation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/bibs/ with a well sealed vapor barrier towards the inside space.

Tstud for Post Frame Bookshelf Wall Girts

Tstud™ for Post Frame Bookshelf Wall Girts

I have been somewhat enamored of Tstuds’ potential since one of our clients asked if they would be a viable option last summer.

First I had to find out what a Tstud even was, as I had never heard of them before. Once you skip past ads at the start of this video, it gives a pretty good idea of how Tstuds work in traditional stick frame construction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=140s&v=mxDSulcLpAE.

Framing with Tstuds minimizes air infiltration, reduces carbon footprints and saves on electrical energy costs.

A lumber frame is obviously great for providing post frame buildings’ structural integrity. However, this same framing is also a massive weak spot in a wall insulation system – where external air can easily infiltrate. Traditionally a Weather Resistant Barrier (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/determining-the-most-effective-building-weather-resistant-barrier-part-1/) is used to cover a post frame home, shouse (shop/house) or barndominium and blanket those weak points.

Tstuds are a new engineered framing product, essentially framing lumber with an insulated core. Tstuds consist of two long wood 2×3 members connected by crisscrossing dowels factory filled with closed cell spray foam. A 2×6 has an R-5.5 value, where a similarly sized Tstud is R-20 (or equivalent to a 2×6 wall cavity filled with fiberglass batt insulation).

Tstud’s thermal benefits are undoubtedly their main draw. Their closed cell foam core gives it roughly three times as much insulation value as a typical 2×6 bookshelf girt. By framing with Tstud wall girts and filling in wall cavities with batt insulation, there is no need to consider having to add exterior insulation.  As long term readers of this column are aware, exterior insulation, for post frame buildings, takes away or eliminates diaphragm strength of steel siding. 

Another structural benefit with using Tstuds for bookshelf wall girts is they have engineering tests showing they are up to three times stronger than a #2 graded 2×6!

Now some possible downsides, distribution and availability is highly limited. And (according to Tstud), “We are retailing about the same price as an LVL stud but we are obviously a 5 in 1 solution. In the future we will be about the price as an LSL stud”.

The Home Depot® currently has a 2x4x8 foot LVL stud at $50 or $9375 per thousand board feet. This would make a 12 foot long 2×8 Tstud wall girt roughly $150 or over 11 times more than equivalent sized dimensional lumber. Picking arbitrarily a 36 foot by 48 foot post frame building with a 12 foot eave, this would add nearly $10,000 to your cost of materials! While nifty in design, it is not for the pocketbook faint of heart.

Structural Screws? Pine or Spruce? and How Many Windows?

Today’s Pole Barn Guru addresses questions regarding structural screws for bearing blocks, the strength of pine vs spruce, and adding more windows than plans indicate.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How many structural screws should I use in a bearing block for supporting a 2×12 rafter? KENT in OTIS ORCHARDS

DEAR KENT: In case you were unaware, Otis Orchards and several surrounding communities were originally part of a land swindle scheme. Marketed to Easterners with picturesque names such as Otis Orchards, Veradale and Opportunity practically untillable land was sold sight unseen. Those folks were mightily disappointed to find this area as being pretty much high desert gravelly soil covered with glacial moraine!

Back to your question – this connection (as well as all connections for your building) should be detailed on engineered plans provided for your building. Actual number required will be determined by your engineer by calculating imposed wind and snow loads upon this connection, resisted by screws’ holding power. A structural screw’s load capacity will be affected by species of lumber being used as well as depth of penetration into members and direction loads are being applied.

If this has not been addressed on your plans, you need to contact either your engineer or whomever provided you with your building kit package.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Could you give me a link or tell me pros and cons of using Pine or Spruce? Half of the load of lumber I ordered is warped, bowed, not usable for purlins. I am considering spruce if it is ok for 10’ and 12’spans. Thank you CALEB in TEXAS

DEAR CALEB: I personally prefer working with SPF (Spruce) as opposed to SYP (Southern Yellow Pine). SYP tends to warp and twist very quickly and is more difficult to drive nails and screws into. SPF is stronger than SYP of an equal grade. You will want to confirm it being okay with your engineer who designed your building plans.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m wondering about the windows, if we want a lot more than you provide, how are they added in? Is it structurally sound to have walls of windows? MEGAN

DEAR MEGAN: All openings, including windows need to be considered and placed in your third-party independently engineer sealed plans provided with your post frame building kit. While you can have a large number of windows (or openings) in a wall, they do need to be accounted for.

 

 

 

Rebar for Post Frame Concrete Slabs on Grade

Building with concrete involves many steps to achieve best results, including grading, forming, placing and finishing. One crucial step is placing reinforcing bars (rebar) correctly.

An engineer should do technical design work and provide specific information regarding sizes, configuration and placement of rebar. Slabs-on-grade for post frame buildings do not usually carry building loads, these are usually carried from roof and walls, through building columns to ground. This makes for far less complicated applications, unlike PEMBs (Pre-engineered Metal Buildings) or “weld ups” either being far more convoluted and beyond the skill level of all but experienced professionals.

rebarFor slab reinforcement, necessary rebar can usually be obtained from a big box store (like The Home Depot®) or your local building supply. Should your specific application be more involved, it may behoove having a fabricator supply rebar. A fabrication supplier can review your building’s engineered drawings and produce a shop drawing with details and identifying tags for each type of rebar to be used in your building. For simpler projects, your building plans should provide spacing requirements and bar sizes. Use these documents to determine where and what rebar is needed in individual locations.

Most often rebar is tied with annealed steel wire, either purchased in four pound bulk rolls, or if using a bag tie spinner, in bundles of pre-cut wire pieces with loops formed on both ends. Bulk rolls are easier for novices to use, however are slightly more expensive.

Prior to placing any rebar, grade and properly compact the ground after all grading and any utility rough-ins are completed. Make sure all compaction testing has been completed and you have your geotechnical engineer’s sealed report in hand before moving forward. Any termite pre-treated should be completed, as well as a moisture barrier installed.

As post frame construction places columns and splash planks prior to pouring your slab, this gives you ready made forms for your slab perimeter.

Determine the size of bars to be used in each direction and mark several of them with layout measurements in each direction (front-to-back and side-to-side). Bars can be marked with a soapstone marker, a paint pen, lumber crayon or even spray paint.

This will be an ordinary slab mat concrete, the force interacting with rebar during placement is minimal. As mat movement is unlikely, a simple single twist of wire around each rebar intersection, twisted together tightly will be adequate. This tie can be done easily with a pair of nine inch lineman’s pliers.

To use your pliers to tie these efficiently, pull feeding end from wire reel with your non-dominant hand (for sake of this article, we will call this your left hand, with pardons to lefties). Grip wire end with pliers in your right hand. Push wire behind (under) rebar at an intersection. Angle end towards where you will be grabbing it, reach from this side, grip it again with pliers, pull towards next location pulling enough slack to complete tie. Hold resistance on wire with left hand, so wire bends snugly against bar being wrapped, at each stage. Release wire so pliers can be used to grip it. Pull end around bar and twist two ends together, pulling wire with pliers so tie is tight.

Once mat is assembled it must be held in place so concrete will cover it completely. Rebar chairs or concrete brick are often used for this. Place these positioners close enough together so rebar will not sag enough to reduce desired coverage of concrete – usually about 1/3rd distance from bottom of slab.

Watch rebar configuration as concrete is placed. If shifting occurs, support rebar with a shovel or alter direction of concrete flow so force is applied in the opposite direction.

Use caution when working around exposed rebar. Construction workers have suffered serious injuries or been killed when falling on projecting rebar.

Flashing Wires and Pipes Through Steel Siding

Flashing Wires and Pipes Through Steel Siding

There are some things one just does not give a lot of thought about and this subject is one where I am entirely negligent. My post frame buildings outside of Spokane are both sided with 1×8 Cedar channel. While it looks great, I would never do it against due to having to solid body stain it repeatedly. Maybe this will be a story for another day?

My negligence?

Not having paid attention to how to adequately and permanently seal pipe or wiring penetrations through roll formed steel siding. I went out and looked at our own steel sided shouse (shop/house) and for our contractors like to use liberal amounts of caulking. I just do not see this as a permanent design solution.

This was a post in one of my Facebook Barndominium groups:


“First this isn’t my building! But I will need to have some piping coming thru the side of my building soon. Also need to think about water spigots, securing them to the building (not just to the metal siding)

How do you penetrate a metal building siding and seal this penetration from water intrusion and/or prevent it from rusting in the future.

I have a hydraulic punch out tool to smoothly cut the size needed (i have up to 4in die’s) but sealing AM<he metal to piping (pvc, metal, copper what have you) is my hold up. I don’t want to just caulk it up, I feel there has to be a better and  more long term solution, metal/plastic flashing?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

There was a suggestion made of a silicone flashing product, however when I visited their website, I was unable to locate any data on exterior use.

There is a product available for sealing pipes going through roll formed steel roofing: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/09/dektite/. I have used them several times and find them to be 100% reliable.

I have spent some time Google searching for a solution similar to Dektites™, but to no avail. Somehow I believe there is a well-hidden product available. If you happen to know of a great solution, please share it with me. It is not often I am stumped – this one has me.

Post Frame Building Insulation

Pole Barn Guru’s Ultimate Guide to Post Frame Building Insulation

When it comes to insulating any building (not just post frame ones – like barndominiums) there is a certain point of diminishing returns – one can spend so much they will never, in their lifetimes, recoup their investment.

Here my ultimate guide to post frame building insulation is based upon practicality and obtaining the best possible value for investment.

There are some basics applicable to any steel covered building:

Under any concrete slab on grade inside a building, place a well-sealed vapor barrier. Read about under slab vapor barriers here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/11/vapor-barriers-slabs-grades/.

Between roof framing and steel roofing – please do not assume condensation is not going to be a problem. At some point in time it will become one and if precautions are not taken regrets will happen. Condensation under roof steel is maybe number one of the issues I am asked to assist with.

Least expensive financially, but does take some extra labor hours, especially if it is windy – a single air cell layer reflective radiant barrier. Six foot widths will install much quicker than four foot. Make sure to order with a six foot width NET COVERAGE and an adhesive tab along one edge with a pull strip. Without an adhesive tab all butt edges will require seam tape, not expensive, but adds lots of time. Do not waste your money on adding an extra approximate R 0.5 for double bubble (two layers of air cells).

For a slightly great investment in materials, hours of labor can be saved by the use of an Integral Condensation Control bonded to roof steel. This would be my product choice. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/integral-condensation-control/.

Next higher cost would be sheathing the roof with either OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or plywood on top of roof purlins. Roof purlins will need to be spaced appropriately so sheathing seams fall on purlins (16, 19-3/8 or 24 inches on center). Roof truss top chord live load must be increased to allow for greater dead loads. Either 30# felt (asphalt impregnated paper) or an Ice and Water Shield must be placed between sheathing and roof steel. Roof screws must still be placed to go into purlins, as thin sheathing is inadequate to adequately hold screws.

Bigger financial investment, but no extra labor involved is to have two inches of closed cell foam sprayed on the underside of roof steel. This will prevent condensation and is noise deadening. As a rough budgetary figure, plan upon spending roughly two dollars per square foot of roof surface.

Storage/Utility Buildings

If you ever believe anyone might ever have a future desire to climate control your building then provisions should be made for making it easiest to make future upgrades.

For now we will assume this building is totally cold storage. If it might ever (even in your wildest dreams) be heated and/or cooled include in your initial design, walls with a Weather Resistant Barrier (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/determining-the-most-effective-building-weather-resistant-barrier-part-1/) between framing and siding. 

Taking walls one step further would be ‘commercial’ bookshelf wall girts (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/).

In roof – have trusses designed to support a ceiling load, ideally of 10 pounds per square foot (read about ceiling loaded trusses here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/ceiling-loaded-trusses/). 

Trusses should also be designed with raised heels to provide full depth of future attic insulation above walls (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/raised-heel-trusses/).

Make provision for attic ventilation, by having an air intake along sidewalls using enclosed ventilated soffits and exhaust with a vented ridge.

Any overhead doors should be ordered insulated – just a good choice in general as, besides offering a minimal thermal resistance, they are stiffer against the wind.

Equine Only Use

Same as storage/utility however ventilation is essential (and often overlooked). (Read more on stall barns here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/stall-barn/)

Garage/Workshop/Man Cave/She Shed/House/Shouse/Barndominium

Many previous recommendations are going to be repeated here. Ultimately it is going to depend upon willingness to include higher R values in initial budget, rather than having increased utility bills forever.

Start with a Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation – post frame version (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/11/frost-protected-shallow-foundations/) with sand on the inside rather than a thickened slab. This makes for an excellent and affordable design solution.

For walls, we will again work from generally ascending price and R values.

On low end would be having installed a weather resistant barrier beneath wall steel, in conjunction with commercial bookshelf wall girts. Fill insulation cavity with unfaced batt insulation and cover inside face of wall with a well-sealed six ml clear visqueen vapor barrier. As an alternative to fiberglass would be mineral wool insulation as it is not affected by moisture (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/03/roxul-insulation/). This method can be entirely done D-I-Y.

I have personally used BIBs (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/bibs/) in several buildings, including my current barndominium home. It does require a certified installer.

A Weather Resistant Barrier can be eliminated by the use of a ‘flash coat’ of two inches of closed cell spray foam against the inside of wall steel. Balance of wall cavity can be filled with batt insulation. (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/07/advantages-spray-foam-over-batt-insulation/).

For added R value and a complete thermal break, add two inch rigid closed cell foam boards to inside of framing. To maintain thermal break integrity, glue foam boards to inside of framing and properly seal all seams. Gypsum wallboard can be glued to the face of foam boards.

After ceiling has been installed, have insulation blown into dead attic space, following Energy Star™ guidelines (usually R-45 to R-60).

Truss Spacing for Shingled Roofs

Roof truss spacing seems to be a topic with no consensus. Most Americans live in traditional stick framed houses, apartments or condominiums, where roof trusses (if they were utilized, rather than using dimensional lumber rafters) are most typically spaced every two feet.

Reader CHARLIE writes:

“Dear Hansen Pole Buildings, May I ask how far apart was the Truss placement in your “Re-roofing with Shingles” article? 

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/01/re-roofing-with-shingles/

I’m considering a 24’x 36’ pole barn for a recording studio build but would need asphalt shingle type roof. I’m concerned that a suitable design would need additional rafters to meet the 7 lb/sq ft load requirement.

Most designs I have seen are showing the trusses 4’ OC. 

Respectfully, Charlie”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
In this particular article roof trusses were actually spaced with a pair every 12 feet – directly aligned with sidewall columns. This style of post frame construction affords several advantages:

Fewer holes to dig. There is nothing more deflating than getting down to digging one or two last column (pole) holes and hitting a rock larger than a Volkswagon Beetle! Minimization of holes to be dug reduces chances of underground surprises.

No need for truss carriers (structural headers) between columns in order to support trusses. Structural failures are almost always due to connection issues. Truss carriers rarely have adequate fasteners from header to columns and trusses themselves are rarely anchored sufficiently to them.

By far my most read article of all time has been on pole barn truss spacing: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/06/pole-barn-truss-spacing/.

Asphalt shingles need to be installed over asphalt impregnated paper (felt) or ice and snow shield, most usually over OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or plywood. Weak link of this system is spanning ability of this underlying sheathing.

In order to be within spanning capabilities of common sheathing, dimensional lumber roof purlins, on edge, were joist hung between truss pairs, every two feet.

When you order a post frame (pole barn) kit from Hansen Pole Buildings with asphalt shingles, we automatically have our engineers design for this added load, as well as reducing deflection criteria so you end up with a nice, smooth roof. We also take into consideration Building Code requirements to account for a future overlaid reroof (even “lifetime” shingles will not last anywhere near a lifetime).


Considering a shingled roof due to how long they are warranted? You might want to read this article first: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/shingle-warranties/.

Overhead Doors, One or Two Stories, and a Wedding Venue

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about placement of overheads doors to accommodate an exercise pool, the cost differences of building a single story building or adding a 2nd floor, and a post frame wedding venue.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I want a two car garage on a concrete slab adjacent to driveway turnaround area. I need either a double or two single overhead doors on that side. I plan to use one car space for a exercise pool. I would like the side of the garage adjacent to the backyard to also have a large door preferable overhead but sliding or other also may work. I see no such plans with large door or doors on the front and also one side of the building. Can this be done? Thanks. I have up to 28 feet available adjacent to 3 car turnaround area but would like to use 24 ft max there. I can go up to 24 ft deep on the side but prefer 20 ft max there. GARY in CHARDON

DEAR GARY: It is entirely possible to have either a double, or two single, sectional overhead doors on one wall, and another overhead door on a wall directly around a corner – provided overhead tracks do not conflict with each other. As an example, your building could have a 16 or 18 foot wide door on a peaked endwall and a single overhead door say nine feet wide on one eave sidewall 10 or 12 feet from front endwall.

Due to a plethora of reasons (lack of security, inability to insulate, not wind rated) I would discourage you from considering a sliding door.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Which is less expensive to building a pole barn house/cabin with a loft with two bedrooms & bath or three bedrooms or 2.5 bath all on one floor? LINDSAY in LARAMIE

DEAR LINDSAY: In almost every case it will be more costly to go up as opposed to out. With going up, you entirely lose space on each level dedicated to stairs, anywhere from 30 to 50 square feet per floor, depending upon width and slope of stairs, height of lower floor ceiling and even more of your configuration includes a landing or two.

Loft or bonus room spaces typically do not have full headroom from wall-to-wall, further reducing fully usable space. Having all living space on one level is also desirable from an accessibility standpoint – a loft area could entirely preclude any ability for a wheelchair bound person to access these areas.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking to build a pole barn venue for weddings. Can you help? LOU in BLOOMINGDALE

Monitor Barn

DEAR LOU: Hansen Pole Buildings has assisted clients from coast-to-coast custom design event centers and wedding venues. From simple to complex, we are available to provide you with a fully engineered post frame building to best fit with your wants, needs and budget. Please dial 1(866)200-9657 to speak with a Building Designer in regards to your proposed project.

 

 

 

 

Why Not Use 6×6 or 8×8 Posts Up North?

Reader DARRELL in LUCEVILLE asked this question and included photo below.

While this photo is not of a Hansen Pole Building, I can comment upon it. Featured in this building photo are glulaminated columns – they are a great product, high strength to weight ratio, straight, highly resistant to warp and twist. They are strong because they are most generally manufactured from high strength materials, most three ply 2×6 columns have a Fb rating (Fiberstress in bending) of roughly 1900 psi. Your local lumber dealer or big box store will gladly sell you a 2×6 #2 with a Fb rating of anywhere from 1000 to 1170 (depending upon lumber species, with SYP lowest and Douglas Fir highest), so a glulam’s three members start off being about equal to five every day individual 2×6.

What about strength comparisons to solid timbers?

To determine bending strength of a member, multiply Fb X Sm (Section Modulus). A three ply 2×6 glulam would be 1900 X 19.86 = 37,738 in-lb. A 6×6 #2 SYP would be 850 X 27.73 = 23,570 in-lb. A 6×6 #2 Hem-Fir (treated species of choice in Western U.S.) has a base Fb of 575 with a reduction for incising of 20% (X .80). 575 X .80 X 27.73 = 12,755 in-lb.

Clearly, when picking for strength, glulam columns are going to be a better choice.
When it comes to practicality on a jobsite, would you prefer to carry a 20 foot long glulam weighing roughly 100 pounds, or hefting a same length 6×6 tipping your scale at 180 to 300 pounds? Not much to think about there!

Glulams columns are more prevalent in northern states due to locations where they are manufactured – primarily Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and South Dakota. We do offer them as an option on any Hansen Pole Building. Give a call to a Building Designer today at 1(866)200-9657 for your post frame building design solution.

Performance Bonds

Performance Bonds for Post Frame Buildings and Barndominiums

Don’t get me wrong, most post frame and barndominium building contractors are honest folks who just love to make their clients happy. I, for one, get tired of reading horror stories of folks who have been ripped off by those who are not so scrupulous. And every rip-off builder makes it harder for honest contractors to be trusted.

Here is a solution for all – performance bonding.

These bonds provide a guarantee a construction project will be satisfactory completed, and a contractor will live up to all bond specified terms, to project owner’s satisfaction. Company selling bonds to a contractor is known as a surety company, and as collateral for backing a bond financially, a surety company will often require some form of property or equipment.

Surety companies can be either financial institutions such as banks, or they can be insurance companies making bonds available to contractors who apply for them.

How Do Performance Bonds Work? 

Both government and private sector companies require performance bonds as protection against noncompliance, or failure to complete a project by a contractor. When a contracting company fails to live up to its obligations on a project, and for whatever reason, cannot complete specified body of work, the bonding company may be obliged to pay for project completion, or secure the services of an alternative contracting company for project completion.

Bonds include terms contractor must live up to, and constitute project owner’s evaluation of what constitutes a complete project. If a contractor fails to meet any of these terms, construction job owner would then have the option of making a claim against bond, to recover any incurred losses.

If it turns out contractor would be bankrupted by having to pay the amount of any claim against him/her surety company is left as sole responsible party for making up any losses to project owner. Because there is so much at stake in this type of bond, terms and language used must be very specific, because as often as not, a case like this can go to court, where performance surety bond terms are subject to legal interpretation.

When a Bond Obligation is not Met 

When terms are not entirely fulfilled by a contractor, project owner is within his/her right to make a claim against the bond to recover any resultant losses. Initially, surety (company) is responsible for paying this amount to the project’s owner, assuming this claim can be validated, either privately or through legal means.

In many cases, however, bonding company would then have the option to pursue contractor to recover this same amount of money, since contractor’s failure to comply caused a claim to be made. It will depend on whether or not language is included in a bond, a bonding company has this option to pursue defaulting contractor.

When this language is written into performance surety bond, and surety bonding company requires a contractor to repay amount of a claim, a contractor is legally obliged to do so. If paying a claim would push contractor into a state of bankruptcy, bond issuing company would then have no recourse for being compensated for its losses, and would then have to absorb any financial setback. For this reason, surety companies make a point of thoroughly screening applications from contractors who are interested in purchasing this kind of bond.

PERFORMANCE BOND COST:

Almost every contractor who successfully bids on a construction project should have a surety bond in hand, simply because a project owner will require this kind of assurance job will be completed. As a general rule of thumb, a contractor can anticipate a surety company will impose a charge of roughly 1% of the total contract value as a cost of a bond itself.

Contractors who appear to be relatively unstable financially will, of course, be charged a higher amount for a bond than would a financially stable contractor with a good credit history. 

How to get a Performance type Bond 

Obtaining a performance bond is a relatively easy process, assuming the contractor does not have a bad credit history, or is considered financially unstable so a bond issuing company would be reluctant to take a chance. For credit-worthy applicants, this process is fairly simple, beginning with selection of a reputable bond company.

After having selected a surety company, a contractor can go online and apply on provider’s website. This application will be reviewed, and more than likely, a comprehensive check into the contractor’s credit history and financial condition will be undertaken by bond issuing company, to protect themselves against loss.

Assuming this application is approved, an indemnity document will be sent to the contractor, to sign before a notary, and then return indemnity agreement with application fee. Upon receipt of contractor’s indemnity agreement plus a fee, bonding company will then issue the bond and conditions will be in effect from then forward.

Tall Door in a Low Height Restriction

In an attempt to preserve “pristineness” of neighborhoods, Planning Departments can come up with some interesting requirements. Amongst these are often restrictions upon building heights. Sometimes restrictions for detached accessory buildings (garages or shops) are related to primary dwelling heights, sometimes they appear entirely arbitrary.

In the case of our “shouse” (shop/house) in South Dakota, there was a restriction on any building having a sidewall height of 10 feet. We solved this by erecting a gambrel with sidesheds, where sidewall steel lengths were just under 10 feet (although overall building height is 44 feet)!

Gambrel roof pole barn

*Our “shouse” with 10′ sidewalls

Reader BILL writes:

“Good morning,

I have a customer who wants a pole barn for his RV. We have issues with height restriction. He wants a 10 x 14′ high garage door but we have a max height restriction of 14′ to the mid span of the roof. My question to you is this: can we get a building that can have say 10′ high side walls, a 10′ wide x 14′ high garage door on the end and meet the height requirement? Not sure if you can design a truss to accommodate this. It can be a gable roof, gambrel roof, or any other roof that will work. The side walls can be any height as long as the roof height meets the requirements (I only said 10′ as a guide).

They would like 30′ width but that may be too wide for the coverage. I was thinking 24′. They want it 60′ deep.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Provided they can stand 8 interior columns, you could go with a gambrel formed by using a 12′ x 60′ x 16’6″ center portion where overhead door would be placed. With a 4/12 slope your peak height would be 18’0″. On each side of center, place a 6′ x 60′ single sloping shed from 16’6″ to 10’0″ (13/12 slope). This will put average roof height at 14′ and will give an exterior gambrel appearance. If they want to go 30′ wide, make sheds 9′ wide and change steep slope to 8.67/12.

While this appears to sound like it is a circumvention of restrictions, it does meet with the “Letter of the Law”.

Faced with what feels to be an overwhelming challenge of height restriction vs. wants and needs? Please call 1(866)200-9657 and speak to a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer. Chances are good we can find options for you.

My Barndominium Windows Are Leaking

Common questions we hear from barndominium, shouse (shop/house) and post frame home owners are, “Why are my new windows leaking?” or “Why do I have condensation inside of my windows?” In fact, many new barndominium owners think their windows are defective and need to be replaced in an effort to cure this problem. To answer these questions, let’s review what causes window condensation.

Condensation is visible evidence of excess air moisture. It may appear as water, frost, or ice on window or door surfaces. This occurs more frequently during winter months because of extreme differences between inside and outside air temperatures. Warmer air holds more water meaning air in any given room center will hold more water than air adjacent to window or exterior door walls, since this area is always cooler. When warm, moisture laden air moves toward cooler window or door walls, it becomes cooler and cannot hold as much moisture as it held when it was warmer. This moisture is dropped and appears as water on glass and frames of windows and doors.
Windows do not cause condensation, they just happen to be where moisture is most visible. Condensation is a sign of excess moisture in barndominiums. This can be caused by temporary conditions such as:
Building materials contain a great deal of moisture. As soon as heat is turned on, this moisture will flow out into the air and settle on door and window glass. This will usually disappear following first heating season. During humid summers, houses absorb moisture. This will be apparent during the first few weeks of heating and then should dry out. Sharp, quick, and sudden drops in temperature especially during the heating season will create temporary condensation problems.

Condensation can also be caused by more permanent conditions:
Insufficient attic ventilation and/or soffit ventilation traps moisture in barndominiums. Having sufficient soffit vents to allow adequate air flow in and ridge vents for exhaust will allow moisture and humidity to escape. Excessive humidity may be a result of poor ventilation but can also be a result of an imbalanced heating and air system or a need to add additional ventilation. Inadequate (or missing) vapor barriers under concrete slabs on grade. While Building Codes require a vapor barrier under any concrete slabs in heated buildings, it is all too often overlooked.

Controlled ventilation and elimination of excessive indoor moisture can keep humidity within bounds. Here are some suggestions to help reduce indoor moisture:
Turn off or set back furnace humidifiers until sweating (condensation) stops. Remove pots of water on radiators or kerosene heaters. Use exhaust fans or open windows slightly in kitchen, bathroom and laundry room during periods of high moisture production such as cooking, taking showers, washing and drying clothes. Clothes dryers must be vented outside. Do not hang clothes to dry indoors. Waterproof concrete floors. Make sure attic vents are unobstructed. Place all house plants in one sunny room where the door can be kept shut and avoid over watering. Opening windows slightly for a brief period of time will allow humid air to escape and drier air to enter. Use a properly sized dehumidifier, to reduce humidity.
Excessive indoor humidity and moisture are not a result of your windows. You should view the amount and severity of window condensation as a clue moisture damage may be taking place inside walls or ceiling cavities of your barndominium. This can lead to rotting wood, deteriorating insulation, and blistering paint.

Contact Information, Moisture Barrier, and Insulation

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about contact information to build a structure, whether or not to use a moisture barrier in a non-conditioned attic, and guidance to insulate a post frame building.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I have a quick question, do you have any regional contact information for people to build these barns?  Thank you,

EARL in LOWER MICHIGAN

DEAR EARL: In many areas Hansen Pole Buildings can provide contact information of one or more possible contractors to erect buildings. We can let you know in advance if your area is one or not, however we will not provide names and numbers until after you have invested in a new post frame building kit package from us.

Why?

As much as we would like to believe otherwise, not every client or contractor is morally trustworthy. We have provided builder information to potential clients and had these same wonderful clients try to get builders to go around us and cut a better deal for their building materials. Conversely, we have had builders tell our clients to buy everything direct from them and they will get a better deal.

When either of these situations occur, clients are shortchanging themselves as they are not getting a genuine third-party engineered Hansen Pole Building. We hear about these when problems occur (they almost always do) during construction and clients call our office looking for help! My sympathy level for these people is very low, as they have gotten themselves into their own predicament – generally with disastrous results. Often times these same builders fail to see Building Permits are obtained, or neglect to call for required inspections. Or, builders will provide non-engineered and under design buildings – prone to failing under snow or wind loads far below minimum standards.

If it sounds shady, it probably is.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Mike, thank you for all the great info…

If I build a pole barn with attic storage and insulate only the walls and ceiling with blown in cellulose such that really only the interior ground floor space is insulated (and it will be heated in the winter), should I still worry about condensation on the roof sheet metal up in the attic, since the air up there should be at a similar temperature to outside? (There will be soffit vents and a ridge vent for attic air flow)
IE, do I need the bubble wrap material, or is it then unnecessary if the attic space is uninsulated?

Thanks! JESSE in CLEVELAND

DEAR JESSE: Thank you very much for your kind words!

Absolutely, you should be concerned about attic condensation. Warm moist air from inside your conditioned space will rise into attic and when it comes in contact with your building’s roof steel’s cooler surface it will condense (even with ventilation). For sake of ease of construction I would recommend an integrated Condensation Control Membrane (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/07/condenstop/ ). It will be slightly more expensive for materials than a Reflective Radiant Barrier, however time saved should make it well worth your investment.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: In central KY, would it be best to have outside metal, then house wrap on the girts, then plastic vapor barrier, then have blown or fiberglass insulation in the walls, then install metal interior? Is this the correct order or would this be wrong? Also on the ceiling and roof, would you put house wrap under the metal roof, then insulate directly against roof from inside, or just insulate directly on top of the ceiling, which would be metal, like the interior walls? Thank you!! BRAD in LEXINGTON

DEAR BRAD: Here is my definitive guide to post frame insulation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/06/pole-barn-insulation-oh-so-confusing/

In your case – you want moisture to be able to pass out of your wall cavity, so any vapor barrier needs to be on inside directly behind your finished wall surface material. House wrap (Weather Resistant Barrier or WRB) is not a vapor barrier. If installed directly under your roof steel it will allow warm moist air to pass through and you will have condensation between WRB and steel. Not good.

Directly between roof steel and purlins use one of these:

Properly sealed Radiant Reflective Barrier, Steel with Condenstop or Dripstop factory applied, 30# felt or Ice/Snow Shield over plywood or OSB, or (if none of those previously mentioned) two inches of closed cell spray foam. Me, I’d vote for Condenstop/Dripstop as it is a relatively low investment and easy to install. Blow in insulation on top of your ceiling.

And think hard about steel liner panels – they are more expensive than drywall, they reflect sound, there is a potential for condensation from your ceiling and it is difficult to attach things to walls (shelves, cabinets, work benches, etc.).

 

 

Why You Cannot Find a Builder

I read and hear more and more tales of woe from people unable to find qualified building contractors. I am currently one of them – while I live in Northeast South Dakota, I also still own a lakefront home on Newman Lake, in Washington. My step-daughter Lindsay is living there currently and it needs a new roof. I have been trying to find a builder to install a new steel roof on it FOR OVER A YEAR!! I have asked for referrals from steel roll formers, contacted roofing firms, I have even run ads on Craigslist – at best I have had no shows and ghosts! Whilst this is a project I could tackle on my own, I do have some slight challenges, 1232 miles of distance and commitments of my time to family and Hansen Pole Buildings’ clients.

This excerpt is from a commentary about an article appearing in this week’s Wall Street Journal:

“People are living in their homes longer which leads to a lower supply of inventory of homes for sale. According to this article, homeowners nationwide are remaining in their homes typically 13 years, five years longer than they did in 2010, according to a new analysis by real-estate brokerage Redfin. The article goes on to say, adjusted for population, the inventory of homes for sale is now near the lowest level in 37 years of record-keeping, according to housing-data firm CoreLogic Inc. This is not the only issue that is leading to a tight supply of homes. Since the recession, home construction hasn’t been keeping up with demand due to shortages of labor and land. Also, the price and lack of starters’ homes has hurt as well. The average price of lower-priced homes rose by 64% from early 2012 to late 2018, according to mortgage-data tracker CoreLogic. Data from Freddie Mac showed from roughly the end of 2000 to the end of 2017, median home prices rose 21% after adjusting for inflation, while median household income rose 2%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics current estimates indicate that there are about 300,000 unfilled jobs in the construction industry, and the industry is expected to need an additional 747,000 workers by 2026.”

Virtually every contractor with mediocre or better skills is booked with work for six or more months and can pretty well name their own price. Traditionally hiring a post frame building technician to assemble a building kit has run at approximately 50% of what material investment was. This shortage of builders has led to seeing quotes of equal to or even more than material’s costs!

There are solutions – do it yourself.

Let’s look at some facts. 

An average post frame building kit package is currently roughly $25,000.  An average professional building crew will put this up in roughly 200 person-hours (a highly experienced crew 100-120 hours). A DIYer will take about twice as long, with much of these extra hours due to taking the time to do precision work.

Let’s say quotes for construction are coming in equal to materials at $25,000. Divided by 400 hours (for doing it yourself) would be $62.50 an hour. Now if you NET $62.50 an hour or more (roughly $125 an hour pre-tax) it makes sense to hire your work to be done, provided you are still willing to keep a watchful eye on quality of workmanship being provided. 

For $125 an hour – most people can find plenty of time.

Another popular excuse is, “I do not have skills”. If you can read English and follow instructions, Hansen Pole Buildings provides a 500 page Construction Manual to guide you through every step of construction including diagrams and actual photos. I have had clients close to 80 years old successfully assemble their own beautiful post frame buildings.

What are you waiting for? Call 1(866)200-9657 to speak with a Building Designer today and get one step closer to your ideal dream building.

Don’t Restrict Post Frame Buildings

Post frame (pole) buildings are a Code conforming building system. In my humble opinion, jurisdictions can legally restrict a building’s aesthetics, however restrictions upon a proven structural system appear to be a restriction of fair trade. It would be fair for a jurisdiction to prohibit a certain type(s) or even color of building skin (roofing and/or siding) as long as this prohibition was applied equally to all building types.

I have argued this with several jurisdictions and even gone as far as discussing with city or county attorneys and have always won without need for a court battle.

From a Perry County (Indiana) News story dated November 7 by Mark Eisenlohr:

“TELL CITY – Restrictions on post-frame, sometimes referred as pole barn, construction will have to wait a little longer before being imposed in Tell City.
Councilors demurred on approving an ordinance offered by councilor Sean Risse that would have placed some restrictions on that type of construction
There are no ordinances right now that govern where and for what use the buildings may be erected. The issue has long been before the Planning and Zoning Commission which has to-date been unable to offer up an ordinance.
The council has expressed concern in the past several months as the number of building permits for post-frame construction has increased.
While not opposed in general to the type of building, councilors have expressed concern they not be used for residential living and believe there are some places in the city they should be prohibited completely.
Risse has been leading the charge to push the issue along and get some form of resolution.
Monday night Risse offered up an ordinance that he described as a first step, putting some restrictions in place knowing that a more detailed ordinance can be offered up in the future with additional limitations if desired.
“Planning and zoning has been walking through this for some time now,” Risse told council in presenting the ordinance. “But in the meantime all these buildings are going up.
Risse said his ordinance would essentially define post frame buildings, dictate that the primary entrance face the alley, must be a secondary structure on the parcel, comply with building requirements, would not be eligible for an occupancy permit and would be prohibited on Zone C-2 Central Business District.
“It can not be a main residence so you can’t build a house,” Risse said.
“There’s only five broad-based restrictions on this,” Risse said, adding he expected the planning and zoning commission would still likely receive variance requests.
“My philosophy around this is that if planning and zoning has to hear these variance requests they’ll understand what people are trying to build and they’ll have a better idea of what an ordinance should look like,” Risse said.
Councilors generally agreed that there is a place for post-frame construction and that many of them are well-built and attractive.
“If you want a nice garage, these are great, but as a residence, if this were built next to you, it would significantly lower your property value,” Risse said.
This ordinance, Risse said, does not require specific building materials be used for exterior walls or siding or place other code requirements on the construction other than what exists now.
In offering the ordinance, Risse said he would like to see planning and zoning come back with recommendations in the future.
Some councilors wondered if the ordinance shouldn’t be sent to planning and zoning first.
“I would like to clarify,” Risse said, “that at the next meeting like to pass an ordinance that is broad like this and allow planning and zoning time to be reviewing it.
This ordinance can always be amended but the conversation has been going on for a long time and they have yet to come to the council with a recommendation so this is kind of pushing them to make a recommendation.”
“This is intended to slow the building and make sure we have visibility to everything that is actually being built, “Risse said. “And to make sure planning and zoning understand this is an issue. Right now, Bill (Alvey, building and code inspector) is throwing out permits because we can build them. They’re not seeing those.”
Risse called the ordinance a stop-gap measure.
“I would fully intend planning and zoning would amend this whole thing and have a very detailed plan,” for a more comprehensive ordinance”, Risse said.
Council decided they would allow planning and zoning to review the ordinance with the intention the council would vote on the Risse’s ordinance at the next meeting.”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
What can be done?

Go to www.tellcity.in.gov/ward-3-sean-risse/ and on the right hand side of page contact him to express your feelings on this subject (hopefully they will be similar to mine). You can also contact www.perrycountynews.com/contact to comment upon this article.

Please spread this by sharing with all of your social media contacts, friends, neighbors and enemies. A viral campaign can stop this foolishness before it goes further.

Closing Top of Corner Trims Revisited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Airtight Post Frame Homes and Barndominiums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

A Contractor for Your Barndominium Part III

A Contractor for Your Barndominium (Part III)

Miscellaneous Topics:

Do Not Change Your Plan

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

Deal only with a licensed building contractor.

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

Verify the license.

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

Require insurance.

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

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

Know who you are dealing with.

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

What I Would Pay Extra For:

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

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

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

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

Inspections and Codes

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

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

Do Not Pay for Anything not On-Site or Completed

Re-read this over and over. 

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

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

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

Do Not pay ahead on a promise!

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

A Contractor for Your Barndominium Part II

A Contractor for Your Barndominium (Part II)

Liquidated Damages

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

Bonding

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

During Construction

Visit Your Site

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

Site Conditions

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

Under no Circumstances Provide Assistance.

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

Keep Meticulous Records

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

Hire an Architect to view your project at Framing. 

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

Drywall

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

Finish Work

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

A Contractor for Your New Barndominium

A Contractor for Your Barndominium (Part I)

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

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

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

Your work starts before you sign a contract.

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

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

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

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

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

Read contract thoroughly, including all terms and conditions.

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

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

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

Familiarize yourself with contract terms.

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

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

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

Ideal Post Frame for Growing Cannabis

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

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

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

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

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

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

GUIDE #2: DETERMINE SIZE REQUIREMENTS. 

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

GUIDE #3 CONSIDER YOUR SPACE. 

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

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

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

Tear Down and Move, Stitching Roof Steel, Foundation Size

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Winch Boxes – Episode V

Winch Boxes – Episode V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Alex (www.BuiltMammothStrong.com), please enjoy these photos.

 

 

 

Winch Boxes- A Post Frame Miracle

Winch Boxes – a Post Frame Miracle

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

And on the ground.

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

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

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

Jim’s crew refused to tell him!

Our office wouldn’t either!

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

Nope.

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

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

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

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

Checks and Splits in Post Frame Timbers

Checks and Splits in Post Frame Timbers

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

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

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

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

Placing Purlins Overhanging Lowered End Truss

Properly Placing Post Frame Building Purlins Overhanging Lowered End Truss

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

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

Well, sort of.

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

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

“Hey Mike,

 Long time lurker, first time question.

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

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

If you have any insight that would be great!”

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

This is copied from the Hansen Pole Buildings Construction Manual:

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

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

 IMPORTANT:  Align two truss ends.

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

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

Figure 52-3 Marking Rake Purlin Locations

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

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

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

 Table 52-2

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

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

Ag Exemptions, Truss Spacing, and Concrete Vapor Barriers

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

What DP Ratings Mean for Post Frame Windows and Doors

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

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

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

Pondering a Cabin Dilemma

Pondering a Cabin Dilemma

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

Reader MATT writes:

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

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

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

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

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

Show me Your Barndominium Plans Please

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Typical Wall Bracing Details for Pole Barns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sliding Doors, Building Height Increase, and Wind Ratings

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

Figure 27-3

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

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

 

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

DEAR TRAVIS: How about choice C?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Flexible Solar Panels for Post Frame Buildings

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

Reade SHEREE in MAKANDA writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overhead Door Header Problems

Overhead Door Header Problems (and More)


Reader MITCH in NASHVILLE writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overhead Door Install Without Concrete Floor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Planning for a South Carolina Post Frame Home

Planning for a South Carolina Post Frame Home

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

Loyal reader LANE in NORTH AUGUSTA writes:

“Hello,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Figure 27-5

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

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

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

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

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

 

Where to Invest in a Pole Barn

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously? 

Rough?

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

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

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

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

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

Hansen Buildings Instant Pricing

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Instant Pricing Program™

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

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

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

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

Reader BLAINE in RED OAK writes:

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

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

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

But what exactly will it do?

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

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

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

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

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

Partially Enclosed Buildings

Partially Enclosed Buildings (and Why It Matters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How could this occur?

Failure to use wind-rated doors and windows!!

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

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

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

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

Volatile Organic Compound Ratios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

pole spacing

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

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

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

 

 

 

Tipping Up Post Frame Walls

Reader JIMMY in ROCK HILL writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steel Ridge Cap to Roofing Overlap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Return on Investment of Adding a Barn?

What is Return on Investment of Adding a Barn?

Reader STACY in HOBE SOUND poses an interesting question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unknowedgeable Post Frame Building Suppliers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Thank you, DEXTER in PRIOR LAKE

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

 

Planning for a Post Frame Home

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

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

Reader NICK in NORTH CAROLINA writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for any information you can provide.”

All good questions. In answer to them:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-construction Termite Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning for a New Post Frame Home

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

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

Reader NICK in NORTH CAROLINA writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for any information you can provide.”

All good questions. In answer to them:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Torn Between Two Lovers

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

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

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:

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

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

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

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

Building Near Nashville, Engineered Plans, and Clear Spans

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

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

Nashville Tennessee on a map

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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The First Tool to Construct Your Own Barndominium

Your First Tool to Construct Your Own Barndominium

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

What is it, you ask?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starting to get excited?

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

Yet Another Case for Engineered Buildings

Yet Another Case for Engineered Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Free Post Frame Building Critique

A Free Post Frame Building Critique

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Responsibilities Where the Legal Requirements Mandate

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

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

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

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

2.3.1.6 Long Span Truss Requirements.

2.3.1.6.1 Restraint/Bracing Design.

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

2.3.1.6.2 Special Inspection

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

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

Your New Building: Can You Build It Yourself?

Can you really build your own pole building?

In short – of course you can!

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

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

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

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

Good!  One down and one to go!

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

one in the kitchen drawer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans, Scissor Trusses, a Possible New Building

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi there.

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

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

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

Thank you! VICKIE in HURLEY

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

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

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

 

11 Reasons Post Frame Commercial Girted Walls Are Best for Drywall

11 Ways Post Frame Commercial Girted Walls are Best for Drywall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Room in a Barndominium Part 2

Great Room (487/481/680)

barefoot-contessa

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

Master Bedroom (231/271/411)

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

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

Master Bathroom (115/144/210)

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

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

Master Closet 

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

Secondary Bedrooms (130/139/178)

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

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

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

Other Bathrooms (93/146/313)

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

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

Laundry Room (67/87/145)

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

Home Office

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

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

Utility/Mud Room (30/48/80)

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

Hallways/Stairs

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

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

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

Room in a Barndominium

Room In A Barndominium

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

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

Entry Foyer  (65/89/138 sft)

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

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

Kitchen (193/275/423)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come back tomorrow for more on designing your new barndominium.

How to Find the Length of a Pole Barn Diagonal

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

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

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

Explanation:

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

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

50^2 + 84^2 = k^2

2500 + 7056 = k^2

9556 = k^2

Taking square root gives us:

k=97.754795 feet

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

Taking square root of 2276 = 47.707 feet

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

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

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

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

I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Siding Materials, Fascia Boards, and Venting

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Planning for Lighting in a New Pole Barn

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

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

“Hi there!

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

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

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

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

Thanks again!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

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

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

An Avoidable Building Failure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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