Tag Archives: attic

Is This Floor Plan Doable as a Post Frame Barndominium Kit?

Is This Floor Plan Doable as a Post Frame Barndominium Kit?

This question was posed by Reader TIFFANY in HOPKINSVILLE. My answer is yes. Whether an existing floor plan or a custom design – virtually anything you can imagine, can be converted to a post frame barndominium kit, provided it is possible to do structurally at all!

When it comes down to it, your only limitations are – your imagination, budget and available space.

Here is an online description of this build:

“This design is of another stunning ranch-farmhouse which brings back a beautiful era. Country-style living is now becoming a trend all over America and there are many reasons why. Sometimes, a peaceful living space is all it takes for one to get a complete lifestyle makeover. The busy city can take a huge toll on one’s health, be it mentally or physically. It’s very hard to relax when you hear the loud honking of cars outside, parties in the next room and a ton of workload. Wouldn’t it be nice to move into a peaceful house where none of those things exist? This beautiful traditional ranch-farmhouse could be your dreamhouse.

A wrap-around porch and a steep roofline is among the many beautiful elements that this house has to offer. Having a traditional ranch-farmhouse for home doesn’t mean you’re going to totally eliminate any sense of modernity. The facade of this house can be tweaked and redecorated to perfectly suit the family. A family of around 5 members can freely occupy the three spacious bedrooms in this layout. Palladian head windows and doors are installed on the walls to provide the house natural sunlight.

A large attic could be utilized as a storage room or a man-cave for hobbyist dads. It can also be turned into another bedroom for new members of the household. The space on the upper level is vast and ideal for any purpose.”

 

Stats: 1,793 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage.”

I am a great believer in homes being custom crafted to best meet the wants, needs and budget of those who will live in it, as well as being tailored to best fit upon one’s property. With this said, I fear no canned plan is going to meet this.

In my humble opinion there are some less than ideal features in this plan. These would include:

Lack of accessible features – all doors should be three feet wide, hallways four feet. A step down to a dining room means those 10% of Americans who will be confined to a wheelchair at some point in their life will not be able to eat with everyone else. It is also a trip hazard, especially for guests. Sunken living or dining rooms were possible in he 90’’s but have mostly gone out of vogue. There is no accessible bathroom or roll in shower.

Upstairs bonus room – bonus rooms are not free space by any means. Nor are they accessible. Try to get anything of size around a corner and up those stairs would prove impossible.  Dormers might be cute, however they do come with a premium price and are not adding to usable floor space.

My kitchen is my domain and I would feel shut in with this design. I would do away with the kitchen eating area and open up it and the dining room to create a big open space along with the current great room. Pantry barely big enough to be a small closet – give me a space I can get a second refrigerator and an upright freezer in. Those additional storage areas are priceless.

A design for secondary bedrooms including walk-in closets would be preferable.

Laundry location is going to make for a lot of steps to the master suite. Sitting area looks cute in plans, but how many of us are seriously going to utilize this space? Rarely do those garden tubs ever get used, ditch it for a tiled open shower with a rain head (and roll-in wheelchair accessibility). Soaking tubs or jetted tubs are also very popular.

What about this two car garage would work for anything but two cars? Most of us have stuff (bikes, work benches, golf clubs, ski gear and many more) and “stuff” needs a place.

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!