Tag Archives: brackets

Post Frame Possibilities, Engineer Sealed Plans in Canada, and Horse Barn Apartment

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about the possibilities of post frame wall height with columns atop a concrete wall, interpreting client needs into engineer sealed drawings, and the scope of a barn to accommodate horses on the main level and an apartment above.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Could I build tall (25 ft) walls with poles at 6ft on center on top of an 8″ thick concrete wall, with anchors as required? I have never built with pole system; always stick framed, but I need the larger spans for tempered glass walls. Thanks for your advice. TARUNO in LA HONDA

DEAR TARUNO: In answer to your question….maybe. With 25 foot tall walls, an eight-inch thick concrete wall may not prove to be adequate. We can incorporate ICC-ESR approved wet set brackets into top of your concrete, in order to attach columns. Walls would need to be checked, by our engineers, to assure they would have adequate amounts of sheathing to properly transfer shear loads from roof to ground. We are able to provide columns up to 60 foot lengths, so your wall height should not pose a challenge.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is your company or you capable of interpreting customer wants into engineered drawings for permits compliance? MARTY in CALGARY


DEAR MARTY: This is exactly what we do for roughly a hundred new clients every day, seven days a week, in all 50 U.S. states. Unfortunately for you, we do not currently have Candian Building Codes programmed into our system.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How tall would a barn have to be to accommodate horses on the bottom and eventually a 2 bed 2 bath apartment in the loft? JUSTINE in LITTLETON

DEAR JUSTINE: Before we get too deep into this, some things to consider: living above horses you will be faced with dust, odors, noise, insects and rodents. Most jurisdictions will require a two-hour fire separation between living and barn spaces, this means you have to have outside stairs and all structural supports for second floor need to be two-hour fire protected as well. You will have stairs to negotiate. Insurance is going to be very expensive. On to your question: Horses should have 10 feet of headroom, then thickness of your floor, 8 feet (or more) of ceiling height for your living space, then thickness of your roof system (raised heel trusses to blow in full depth of insulation from wall-to-wall will be nearly two feet thick). When all is said and done, you are looking at roughly a 22 foot eave height. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/how-tall-should-my-eave-height-be-for-two-stories/

A Residential Pole Barn, Missing Lumber, and Building on Existing Slab

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about plans for a residential pole barn, lumber going missing, and to building an existing slab.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I’m looking to build a residential pole barn. I would need enough space for 3 bedroom 2 bath. How big of a pole barn would I need? CULLEN in ROCHESTER

DEAR CULLEN: It depends upon what sort of spaces you want to live in. I grew up in a home which was just as you describe and only 960 square feet. Conversely, right now I live in a home which has one bedroom, 1-1/2 baths and has 2400 square feet of living space.

I encourage you to go to lots of open houses, take your tape measure and a notebook. When you find rooms feeling comfortable to you, measure them. Consider spaces you need to create for your lifestyle. Don’t short yourself when it comes to closets, storage spaces, etc. Do you need a family room and a living room? Maybe just a great room?

Once you get rough sizes and needed spaces figured out, fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle to make most efficient use of space. Try to minimize hallways as well as travel distances – think about how many trips get made to a laundry room. How many footsteps are taken during those trips between opposite house ends? Place those utility areas where they are most convenient.

When finished, draw a box around your creation and this will give you space you need.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What grade lumber should we use for the roof purlins on a pole barn building? It appears we have run very short on our project (I think somebody made off with a bunch during the night)! Prime, #1, #2, etc.???? Building in Northeast Pennsylvania, 4ft OC trusses, purlins spaced 2ft OC. JOEL in DUPONT

DEAR JOEL: Sadly jobsites suffer from a high incidence of pilferage. When I was a post frame building contractor, we did a big project in Northern Idaho. We’d lose nearly a unit of 7/16” OSB every night until we had a fence put up around our materials! Apparently it was an overly friendly neighborhood where everyone shared without asking.

To find out appropriate grade for roof purlins you are short, refer to your engineer sealed plans provided with your building kit package. They will specify size, grade and spacing.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing block and slab detached garage. It is old and well built but smaller than I want and the overhead doors are on the wrong face for my purpose. I would like to replace this 24×24 structure with a 36×60 pole barn. Removing that much concrete and then replacing it will add a good bit of cost and time to the project. Would it be possible to use the existing slab and foundation for the posts that would be on it using brackets and the rest of the posts set more traditionally in concrete or using piers and wet set brackets? ROB in ANNAPOLIS

DEAR ROB: Provided your existing concrete has adequacy to support your new building, it would be possible to use dry set anchors to mount columns in those areas. If any doubts about adequacy, you should consult with a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) who can evaluate your situation in person. For cost and ease of construction, I would typically recommend balance of columns being placed in augered holes.