Tag Archives: building addition

Additions, Notching Posts, and Stem Walls

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about adding to an existing pole barn, the possibility of notching girts into posts, and use of a stem wall on an uneven site.

Hansen Buildings TaglineDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing 36x36x12 pole barn and would like to do an additional 36-48 roof only build off the back. I used the Oregon ready build plans for my existing barn, built in 2019. My 2 over head doors are on the end wall. I was told by my county official that the ready build plans cannot be added onto because they are stand-alone buildings, but maybe with engineering they could be. Do I need to consider building a separate barn 12′ behind mine or can I possibly get it engineered to be attached? Thank you. CLAYTON in SCAPPOOSE

DEAR CLAYTON: Your county official is correct in stating your existing pole barn is a stand-alone building. It is likely we could engineer and provide your proposed extension, however it may require some modifications to your existing building. A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you to further discuss your building needs.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If a DIYer had all the time in the world to build a post frame, could the posts be notched for the girts? MARK in KNOXVILLE

DEAR MARK: My lovely bride and I spent a fair amount of time in Knoxville as our oldest son got his Master’s degree at U.T., lived in Maryville and taught high school at Lenoir City. His youngest sister, used to play summer basketball for Pat Summit (she has a piece of championship basketball court signed by Pat for being best player one year). Beautiful area!

Could and should are not necessarily the same. Sound engineering practice limits notch depths in columns to 1/6th of direction being notched, without requiring more complex engineering review. On a 6×6 (actual dimensions 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″) this would allow notches to be only 7/8″ deep for an externally mounted girts, or if one was doing bookshelf girts, 7/16″ deep on both sides of column. With externally mounted girts, this could pose challenges with aligning other wall framing members such as splash planks, door headers, etc. For bookshelf girts, nail or screw connections would have to be angled, reducing lateral strength of this connection so as to require extra fasteners.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My site is not level. Can you build in a stem wall? CHRIS in SEQUIM

DEAR CHRIS: You can either excavate and have a stem wall on the formerly high side, or have a stem wall on the low side and fill. Stem wall can be poured concrete, ICFs or concrete block with wet set brackets, or we can incorporate a Permanent Wood Foundation wall between columns. A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you for more information about your new post frame building.



UC-4B Treated Columns, A Connecting Structure, and Custom Options

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about UC-4B treated columns, advice to connect a new structure to existing building, and if one can customize a monitor style building to eliminate pony wall.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are considering residential post frame construction in southeast Ohio. I’m concerned about wood posts in the ground and trying to avoid permacolumns. I asked the post frame contractor I’m talking to about UC4 treated posts in the ground, specifically UC4B. His response was that building codes changed in the last couple years and all UC4 posts are now treated at the same level, there is no more UC4A/B/C distinction. In your expert opinion, is that information correct? Should I continue discussions with this contractor or walk away? RORY in CHILLICOTHE

DEAR RORY: Your proposed building contractor is talking out of his……..(not mouth) as he obviously has no clue as to what he is talking about. Building Codes dictate UC-4B pressure treating levels for lumber to be embedded in ground structurally. You can look this up yourself at: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2021P1/chapter-18-soils-and-foundations#IBC2021P1_Ch18_Sec1807   Go to subsection 1807.3.1

American Wood Protection Association has a detailed listing relating use categories to placement – please  to upper left on Page 3 of this document for definition and where to use UC-4B treated wood. https://awpa.com/images/standards/U1excerpt.pdf

In my humble opinion, it may behoove you to deal with a supplier who can provide you with a fully engineered post frame home to meet Building Code requirements and either erect shell yourself or hire an erector to assemble it for you.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The picture is of my existing 30x40x10 Pole Barn.  One the back side I’m planning to build an attached a 26X40X16 barn.  The peaks of the barns will in the same direction and aligned in the center.  There is no rear overhang on the existing barn, just a piece of trim like you can seen in the picture on the front side.

My question:  how do I make the connection between the roof on the existing barn and the new wall where they attach?  I can see from some of the pictures on your website that this is somewhat common, but couldn’t find any details.  

The roof on the existing barn is shingles (not steel), will that pose any problems?

If you need more pictures or any other info let me know and I’ll get it for you.

Thank you very much. JON in WAYNE


DEAR JON: Assuming new endwall columns for your addition can be placed directly against your existing endwall – framing will extend 1-1/2″ past these columns (effectively creating an overlap above your existing building). A piece of flashing known as sidewall, will go up your new endwall and lap onto your existing roof. Being as your existing roof has shingles, I would order Emseal expanding closures to use on underside of this flashing to seal against water infiltration. Sticky side of Emseal can be placed on flashing (inside of drip leg) and it will expand after installation to fill any irregularities. Wall steel is then applied to overlap this flashing.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is it reasonable to design a monitor style pole barn home: 1.5 stories With the central roof lines connecting into the shed roof sides, without the traditional short wall seen on most exteriors? Will I run into trouble creating head space in the central alley of the second floor? I have looked at attic trusses and mono trusses…I had thought to get an 18′ wide, alley with pony/short walls of 4′ – 5′. But it looks like the cut off is 16′ wide with a squared off 8′ tall ceiling. I suppose I could do with the more traditional look, but I want to keep a low profile, and would rather have the ceiling follow the roof line on the interior and not have it be squared off. Is this possible with a pre-built truss system?

Thank you, I love your blog. AMY in STANWOOD

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR AMY: Thank you for your kind words. Depending upon width of side sheds, we could probably have your building engineered using rafters at attached to shed eave side columns, main columns and cantilevered over center portion. Same concept could also be done using parallel chord trusses, however they would take up more depth. In either case, you could have a vaulted ceiling to follow roof lines.



A Building Addition, A “Coverup,” and Advice for an Acquired Building

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about adding on to an existing pole barn with use of 24″ oc trusses, covering old wooden sliding doors with steel, and advice regarding erecting an acquired Cuckler steel building.

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Trying to plan on a 36’x80’x12′ addition to an existing 30’x40’x10′ pole barn. This new barn will be insulated with an insulated ceiling and have a shingled roof to match my existing barn. Because I am not planning on a steel roof and instead, OSB sheeting and asphalt shingles and because I am needing an insulated ceiling I do not believe it makes sense to install double trusses at 12′ apart. I have no need for roof purlins and ceiling joists if I put single trusses at 24″ O.C. The material & labor costs to install purlins & ceiling joist must out-weigh the cost saving of having 4 less roof trusses per 12′ span. JOE in FENNVILLE

DEAR JOE: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. We certainly can design your building with trusses placed two foot on center on top of truss carriers (headers) between columns. Your Building Designer will be reaching out to you shortly.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an old wood barn that I overlapped with metal. I completely redid the double sliding doors which are 6 feet wide by 12 feet tall. They are 2×4 wood frames that I plan to place metal on top of. I am having a very difficult time finding out how to trim the doors so none of the wood is exposed on the outside face. I have seen what is called F channel, but is it made to fit dimensional lumber as in 1.5 inches? JEFF in OWNESBORO

Pole Building ShopDEAR JEFF: I would have ditched lumber frames for prepainted metal frames and been done with it, plus metal will never twist and warp like wood and your door frame would be significantly lighter (not too late to regroup). Still not convinced? Any steel roofing and siding roll former can bend trim to match any dimensions, so you can have created exactly what you are looking for.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: When we purchased our land, we acquired an old cuckler steel clearspan building we would like to erect as our garage. The steel is in great shape and will make an awesome garage with some work. All we have are the trusses, side beams and z purlins so I will be supplying new 2×10 roof joists, metal roofing and siding. I’ve got a hardware list put together with all new grade 8 bolts, some 1″, and I’m fine with assembly but we need some engineering plan to be able to get a building permit. How can we go about reverse engineer this enough to give us what we need to apply for a permit? Also the sidewalls on this building are 8′ and we are trying to figure out if we want to raise the sidewall, what is the best way to do that?

Building info: model C20 Rigid frame 40×60

We found an old Cuckler building guidebook. We have the building on page 12 and 13. (see attached) TAMI in STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

DEAR TAMI: Your attachment did not make it, but no worries. I am going to connect you with Hansen Pole Buildings’ primary third party engineer – if it can be made to work, he can do it. I will caution you, Building Codes and accepted engineering practice have changed dramatically since this old Cuckler Building was designed. It is possible you own nothing more than a pile of recycling. Best of luck to you.