Tag Archives: bonus room

Solutions! The Key to a Successful Post Frame Building

Solutions! The Key to a Successful Post Frame Building

When one considers the tremendous number of individual components and the thousands of people who touch these pieces from concept to jobsite, it is amazing anything ever gets built!
I ran some numbers once – tracked the rough path of all of the parts for a small post frame garage. As best I could tell, in excess of 4,000 people were in some way responsible for getting those pieces successfully to the client.

The true mark of a construction project success is not in everything going perfect.
Success is measured in how the things which did not go perfect got solved.
Here is a real life scenario…..

A client invests in a new post frame building which has “attic” trusses. These would also be described as “bonus room” trusses. The client also ordered a pair of windows for this same building.

As is true in most of life – communication breakdown is what creates most challenges. There is a passing chance the client and his Building Designer discussed where these windows were to be located in his new post frame building. As the great majority of clients know they want windows, however are unsure of exactly where they will be placed on the finished building, we went with them being “field located”. The purchase order and invoice for the building did not specify a window location.
Therein begins the breakdown. Client wanted a window in the center of each end of the bonus room.

Plans are produced and approved by the client, which did not show the windows located in the center of each end of the bonus room. The client, admittedly, was not overly skilled at reviewing plans, and as such did not notice there was no provision on the plans for the windows to be located where he truly wanted them.

Now this particular structure, like most Hansen Pole Buildings, has a prefabricated roof truss on each end of the building. The saving grace – the end trusses are notched into the columns by 1-1/2 inches and flatwise 2x framing is placed on the face of the truss, in the field, to allow for the attachment of the endwall steel.

Here is a solution, utilizing the siding backing to frame in the window:

“The portion of the window inside of the flange is approximately 1-7/8″ thick (the balance of the window thickness is incorporated in the flange and integrated J Channel of the window itself). As the framing on the face of the truss is 1-1/2″ thick, it will entail having to place some 3/8″ thick shims somewhere in the assembly. I would suggest putting them between the members which will surround the window, and any nearby end truss members which support the underlying framing. This will create a gentle curve in the window supporting framing members, which the steel will easily follow and be imperceptible to the eye from the ground.”

The real keys to success – first, make sure everything which is important to you about your new post frame building is spelled out clearly in the ordering documents. Do not leave anything to chance, or chances are it will pose a later challenge.

Second, and most important, invest in a post frame building kit package from people who have actually built post frame buildings and who have been involved in enough projects to be able to come up with solutions to challenges which work!

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.

Building Plans 101: Loft Storage or Bonus Room

Last week and up through today I have been talking about building plans, how to tell if they are “good ones” or not, before you buy your building.  Whoever you buy a pole building kit from should be able to show you a set of sample plans prior to you plunking down a huge chunk of change to purchase it.  The plans don’t have to be for your specific building.  If you are ordering a custom design, it takes manpower and dollars on their part to configure the design and draft them.  However, they should be able to at least give you an idea of what the plans pages entail for drawings and instructions of how to put it together.  Pole building kits are probably one of the easiest buildings to assemble, compared to all steel buildings or stick built.  But it’s amazing what some companies do to make it look like rocket science in the presentation of their pole barn plans.  It just doesn’t have to be “that hard”.

Plans should be specific, easy to understand and follow.  Obviously a set of plans will only show how to put in a loft, if the building is designed for loft storage of any kind.  If you don’t tell the company you are purchasing a pole building kit from you will “someday” be putting in a loft, your building will not be designed to support one.  Trying to “beef it up later” is just not smart thinking.  I’m sorry, but this is the cold hard reality: be sure to tell the vendor you are purchasing from exactly what you are doing with your building in the future, not just “now”.  Yes, you may never put in the loft storage space you dream of.  But the extra cost now may save you thousands of dollars later.

Or worse yet for those who sort of “ignore” the design loads for adding a loft “later” and think the trusses/roof support system can handle adding “attic space for a few boxes”….Do NOT go there.  I am serious.  Do you really want to risk having your building fall down on your new car, pickup or even worse, family members or friends, because you chose to inadequately design your building?  This is nothing to mess around with!  For a few dollars more you can, at a minimum, have the trusses designed to carry the load of your loft/attic/bonus room.

What you will see on your plan of your loft is exactly what I’ve alluded to here: loft loading values.  Your plans should clearly list the floor live load.  This value varies according to what you are putting up in the loft.  Discuss with your vendor if you are going to use the loft for a “bonus room” such as a room for the pool table, or to store hay, or just to throw a Christmas decoration boxes up there.

Stairs are also shown on the plans, with very code specific guidelines on what you can use for the handrails, guardrails and balusters, besides stair “rise and run”.  These may vary from one state to the next, and even between counties within a state, so it behooves you to ask your county ahead of time.  There are over 7,000 different building departments in the United States!  Although our company tries to keep up with all of them, including changes over time, it helps to have the client on the ball for every bit of county (or borough or city) specific information on lofts and stairs.

Click here to see a sample Lofts/Stairs layout: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/sample-plans.htm

What are elevation drawings and who needs them?  Come back tomorrow and find out!