Tag Archives: attic

Will My Post Frame Building Support a Ceiling?

Will My Post Frame Building Support a Ceiling?

One of my frequently received questions – wanting to add a ceiling into a post frame building and wondering if the building will support the added weight. Other frequent questions include condensation issues and ventilation, so this reader has hit upon a trifecta.


Reader BRYAN in SWANTON writes:

“I am having some condensation issues. And I was curious about insulating the building. Also wanted to ask if my building is able to have a ceiling installed. Thanks for the fast reply.”

 

 


By any chance have you recently poured a concrete slab-on-grade inside of your building? If so, until concrete fully cures, it will expel a great deal of moisture inside of your building. Solution – open your doors to allow moisture to escape and keep them open until condensation issues no longer exist. Read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/01/condensation-roof-steel/.

 

If you poured a slab without a well-sealed vapor barrier underneath, it will contribute to excessive moisture challenges. If no vapor barrier, top of slab should be sealed: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/siloxa-tek-8505-concrete-sealant/

 

Your new post frame building and its trusses were not ordered to be able to support the added weight of a ceiling. It may be possible to upgrade your trusses with an engineered repair to be able to carry a bottom chord dead load of five psf (pounds per square foot) or more. Plan upon an investment of $295 (plus sales tax if applicable), even if a truss repair cannot be designed. Contact Justine at justine@hansenpolebuildings.com if you are interested in going this route.

If you are able to get a repair to install a ceiling, this newly enclosed attic area will need to be adequately ventilated. This may be a possible solution: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/07/my-pole-barn-needs-ventilation/

In order to insulate, best solution (although costly) may be to use closed cell spray foam insulation. If you purchase an insulation kit for your overhead door, you will need to change out door springs in order to handle the added weight.

 

 

Insulating an Attic Bonus Room

Attic bonus rooms seem to be the rage – Hansen Pole Buildings does more than a few of these and the trend seems to be increasing in popularity. With this comes how to properly insulate an attic bonus room.

There are more than a few challenges when it comes to utilization of attic space for a bonus room. Highest amongst them are the space is neither free nor inexpensive. The lack of accessibility becomes another factor. At our home outside of Spokane, Washington, my lovely bride and I have our office in a bonus room above our garage. Now a paraplegic, due to her motorcycle accident in 2015, my wife will probably never be able to access our office there again. Our offices have moved to a handicapped accessible space in our home, and the attic space now becomes a catch all for overflow of what I endearingly call “stuff”.

With all of this said, there are still going to be clients looking at attic bonus rooms as a design solution. In an earlier article, I had written about how to insulate the knee walls of bonus rooms: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/09/bonus-room-3/.

There are other attic bonus room areas which need to have attention paid to them, however.

Enter closed cell spray foam (read more about spray foam insulation here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/07/advantages-spray-foam-over-batt-insulation/).

There are two perfect areas of the attic bonus room which are ideal for closed cell spray foam as a solution.

The most important of these is any sloped area which has become part of the bonus room. As heat rises, it is most likely to escape through the narrow areas of the slope, or the edges of the area above the “cross tie” (the flat ceiling at the center of the bonus room). At R-7 per inch, a 2×6 truss top chord can be filled to R-38.5 with closed cell spray foam, as opposed to R-19 with fiberglass batts!

Bonus room floors can also be cold. Often attic bonus rooms (such as my own) are above unheated garage or storage space. By utilizing spray foam directly to the underside of the floor sheathing, cold floors can be minimized.

In any case, be sure to provide adequate ventilation in any enclosed attic spaces. These would include the area above the cross tie and the spaces outside of the knee walls.

Designing for a Bonus Room

One of the most asked for and least understood option for a pole building is designing for an attic “bonus room”. A bonus room is exactly what it sounds like – it is extra space, a “bonus”.

For sake of simplicity, let’s think about this in the realm of only a gable style roof. A gable roof has a slope on each side and the peak directly in the center. While we can engineer some very sophisticated areas, the idea here is to create some affordable space.

In order to maximize the usable space, it is best to go with the steepest possible roof slope. The limitation will be most prefabricated roof truss companies can only build and deliver trusses which have a 12’ overall height. This means the roof slope limitations are about 11/12 for 24’ wide buildings, 9/12 for 30’ wide, 7/12 for 36’ wide and 6.5/12 for 40’ wide. Clearspan widths of greater than 40’ are just not practical or affordable.

Now the fun parts! How wide and tall will this room be? The room width will be approximately ½ of the span of the truss. As the truss span increases, the room width will become slightly less than ½. How tall will it be? Plan on a 7’6” tall finished ceiling. Allowing for ¾” oriented strand board (osb) on the floor and 5/8” drywall, the framed height is usually 7’8”.

If you are drawing this out on paper, you will see a portion of this room is going to have a sloped ceiling. The areas towards the eave sides of this room become far too short to walk, or even crawl in.

How will this room be accessed? As you are now creating a building with a mixed occupancy – with garage/shop/storage below and living space above, the two areas must be separated by a one hour fire assembly. This will typically entail two layers of 5/8” Type X drywall on the ceiling of the lower level. Stairs require the same degree of fire protection, so often it is most practical to create a deck off one end of the building, with a door into the bonus room from the deck, and stairs to the deck.

If the floor level of the bonus room is over 12’ above grade, a landing will need to be provided in the run of stairs. The landing dimensions must be at least equal to the width of the stairs.

Prudent design would also place a window large enough for egress in the end of the bonus room opposite the stairs. A four foot square sliding or single hung window will be adequate for these purposes, and will afford ventilation.

With proper planning a bonus room can be a valuable addition to your property. As a general rule of thumb, the resale value of this created space is double the cost of the improvement!