Tag Archives: addition

Door Facing North, Optimizing Space, and Remodel?

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a (about) 40×24 pole building that faces north. I have a regular door that faces west. The wind and any accompanying rain typically blows directly against that west facing door. The building was built in 1996 by the original owner of the house. I’ve only lived in the house for 3 years and when we bought the house the moulding and threshold were starting to deteriorate. I would like to add an awning over the door to stop the rain from pounding against it. Is it as simple as attaching a ledger board, building off it, and adding a roof? CHRIS in SEAFORD

DEAR CHRIS: You sadly have a very common problem – people all too often end up with exterior people doors which are sadly inadequate for long term use. Most often they have wood jambs which have been left exposed to the weather and not kept painted or otherwise protected.

As to your solution – just adding a roof off the existing building may very well be problematic, as the footings of the existing building are probably inadequate to support the added weight from the added roof (awning).
What I would do – I would replace the troubled entry door with an insulated commercial steel door with steel jambs which is factory finish painted (I actually have recently done this with three of my own doors).
If you do want to build a permanent roof over the door, you should hire a competent registered design professional (architect or engineer) to inspect your present building and design a solution for you which will not compromise the integrity of your existing structure. It will be money well invested.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello I am wanting to build a 40x104x18 pole barn, my dad will have his living quarters and a wood shop on the main level, the second level will be my living quarters and an exercise room. The top level will be 40’—40 feet. What kind of beam or footing do you recommend? Also if you would like to quote me for this building package that would be great. Thank you, SHAWN in WRIGHT CITY

DEAR SHAWN: Lots of ways you can go with supporting your second floor, and how you design the floor will determine the size (diameter) of the concrete footings needed beneath the individual columns.

Least expensive will place a literal forest of columns below the floor – on 40 foot square, most probably every 10 feet in both directions. Whilst this might be dandy for the pocket book, it could cause challenges with the use of the space below.

As columns become spaced further apart, the beams necessary to support the floor joists and possibly the floor joists themselves are going to become larger in dimension and their cost will not be offset by the savings of a few columns.

I recently designed a floor for a 40 foot by 40 foot residence which had only a single column dead in the center. The LVLs (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/lvl/) necessary to carry the floor joists were 20 inches in depth! The floor joists were 2×12 at 12 inches on center. Not a low budget investment, but it did provide far greater flexibility downstairs.

Another option is to go to prefabricated wood floor trusses. In our own home we have a 48 foot wide clearspan floor – it is also four feet deep! A floor this thick requires a taller eave height to allow adequate headroom. And yes, it is expensive!

Regardless of which of these options works best for your internal layout it will behoove you to look at the ultimate stiffness of the floor in regards to deflection. Some extended reading on floor deflection and vibration can be found at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/12/wood-floors-deflection-and-vibration/.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I currently have a 30×40 pole barn. I want to install a post lift and would need to remove one bottom chord on a truss. The trusses are 4ft on center. Is this possible and how would I do such a thing? The pole barn is also insulated and closed in with 5/8 osb. Except for the one 8 ft span. DUSTIN in NESCOPECK

DUSTIN: Given enough time and money, anything is possible, although probably not practical. Your situation is one of my “case in points” as to why post frame buildings with trusses placed every four feet on top of truss carriers is not the most flexible design solution when it comes to having to remodel.

Should you pursue a remodel, it should ultimately involve a registered design professional (architect or engineer) as what you are looking at doing is not going to be a simple task.

I’d probably follow a path such as this – adding a new extra truss to the single truss at each side of the eight foot area. Temporarily supporting the flat purlins over the middle truss whilst removing it, then adding purlins on edge between the two new trusses (and either under or next to the existing purlins). Keep in mind, this is a highly simplistic outline and the actual fix will be far more complicated.

A less expensive solution – add a 12 foot bay onto one end of the building with a truss on each side of the 12 feet and purlins spanning from truss to truss.


The Right Size, Connection, and Foundation!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am considering using pole barn construction to add on to an existing metal building I have I also already have a 24×34 foundation were I want to put the add on. This will be a residential building. Would you recommend using drill in slab brackets to connect the post to the slab? COLT in EDGEWOOD

DEAR COLT: Pole barn (post frame) construction is going to be your most cost effective addition. If your foundation is adequate enough to support the weight of the new building, then drill set brackets would be the way to go. If you are unsure of the capability of the slab, you could consider using typical post frame construction, placing embedded columns just outside of the existing concrete. This would slightly increase the footprint of the proposed addition. For more reading on dry set brackets: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/dry-set-column-anchors/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: High of building, siding and ceiling or no ceiling, floors, concrete, use of lube pit? Find out as much about deferent aspects of the construction good or bad? Any comments you might have for having been around designs. As different materials used in the construction, heating and cooling? Would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! ROBERT in DENVER

DEAR ROBERT: Your question is pretty broad, however I will do my best to give answers which will prove helpful.

Construct the largest footprint and height building which you can fit on your property within Planning Department limitations and will fit in your budget. It will never be big enough.

Use post frame (pole building) construction, it will be the most economical and easiest and fastest to construct (and time is money also). Pour a concrete slab on grade, over properly compacted fill with a vapor barrier.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the suggested foundation for a 40’ x 80’ pole barn we plan to build on a slightly sloping site that has a rock shelf at ground level on the upper long and short sides? We live in mid Missouri. Thank you. GREGORY in EUREKA

7-31-12-Blog-Image-from-HPBDEAR GREGORY: Whilst it might be tempting to pour a continuous footing and foundation, I believe in the long run it will be easier and less expensive to go with post frame.


Because foundation costs are astronomical! (read about how astronomical here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/)

Rock can be dug through. Start by calling your local power company and ask them if they have equipment for boring through rock, or if they don’t who does it for them. You can bet they have a solution for this – and many power companies are happy to make a few bucks putting their equipment to work which would otherwise be sitting idle.

Another alternative is to rent a skid loader with ram hoe attachment.