Tag Archives: caulking windows

Moisture Management, Poor Steel Cutting, and Info Help

Today’s “Ask the Guru” tackles reader questions about moisture management, poorly done steel cutting around windows and doors, and help “Looking for info” for Jack.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I am framing out an animal barn (right now to be used for housing chickens and storing some feed and hay) inside of an existing metal, wood framed pole barn.

The structure is near identical to what was described in this previously posted question here:

Insulating a Room in an Unheated Pole Barn

The only difference is that the roof itself is not insulated.

In the new interior room we will be adding fiber insulation between the studs (with a large gap between the exterior metal and the insulation), and a vapor barrier on the interior side, then the sheathing (likely plywood) interior surface. Then insulation, vapor barrier, sheathing on the ceiling/ floor of the “attic” storage. We are adding a vent in one exterior wall and one interior wall for air flow.

Is this approach sound in terms of moisture management? I’m unsure if this becomes an issue at the top of pole barn wall where we have an open roof overhang. There are also plans to heat the remaining area of the barn down the road.

Appreciate any help! HANNAH

DEAR HANNAH: If you have no vapor barrier under your concrete floor (or are unsure if you do or not) seal it to prevent moisture from coming up through it. I would recommend using unfaced rock wool batt insulation, as it is impervious to moisture. Do not use a vapor barrier in your ceiling.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello! I am in the process of building a pole barn that has several windows and walk-thru doors. As such, when I look closely at the exterior around these windows and doors, they look a little sloppily done where the metal siding meets up with the finish around the window and door openings. Is there a product that will help seal the 2 pieces of metal together as well as look nicer? I can provide a picture if you’d like. I was wondering if caulk is the way to go – or is there some double-sided sticky sealant foam type product that would work? Thank you! TRICIA in SUGARCREEK TWP

DEAR TRICIA: Yes, what you have was done very sloppily. Whoever built this for you should be replacing some panels to provide a much tighter fit between wall steel and J Channel around windows. While they are at it, here is how to create a leak free window: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/03/no-leak-barndominium-windows/



DEAR JACK: A great place for info is the www.HansenPoleBuildings.com website. Navigate to the upper right corner of the page and click on SEARCH, type in whatever term you want information on (e.g. BARNDOMINIUMS) and ENTER. Up will come relevant articles for you (there are over 2000 of them).

You may also want to get our helpful Planning Guide https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/pole-barn-planning-guide/

How to Prevent Leaking Windows

Not all, but many post frame buildings have steel siding. The reality is, steel is going to be the most durable and cost effective siding available. Hands down.

When I was first constructing pole buildings, we used standard vinyl windows like those stocked and sold at major lumber retailers and big box stores. In order to flash them, it required cutting and carefully fitting four pieces of steel “J Channel” trim around the window – adding copious amounts of caulking at all of the corners. We would then do the appropriate chants and offerings hoping we’d not end up with leaking windows.

As luck, or unluck, would have it – even with the best installation about 10% of them would leak. For a builder, this is painful, as it meant having to send someone back to do a repair.

Then the “ah ha” moment (think Thomas Edison)….when we realized using windows with integrated J channels would probably resolve the problem. While these windows are special order, the wait time is well worth it, and Hansen only orders this type of window.

So yesterday, Eric (one of the owners of Hansen Pole Buildings) asks me why we don’t have leaking windows.

Any water which hits the wall above the window, rolls down the siding panels, into the top J. The water will go left or right, to the side J’s and then out the bottom.

It is at the lower corners of the window where the potential for a leak occurs. If a high steel rib ends up at exactly the wrong point, an opening could be left where water could get into the building. The solution has always been the same…goop on lots of caulking at these points, prior to installation of the steel siding.

There are alternatives, one of which I read about just this morning (what a coincidence).

Protecto Wrap® Super Stick Building Tape may afford a cleaner solution than caulk.

It is a high-performance window and door flashing tape. This high tack, tenacious, durable, peel and stick air/vapor barrier tape system is used for sealing vinyl and aluminum fin windows and doors; window and door openings; and has a full coverage air vapor barrier membrane. It is a high performance window and door flashing tape designed to be applied down to -20°F without the use of primer or mechanical fasteners on most substrates (substrates are what is underneath the window).  It utilizes a high tack pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) combined with a high performance facer film. This design provides a full 12 month UV exposure. A greener, cleaner building tape solution which offers no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), HFCC’s (hydroflurocarbon compounds), nor CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons). It is non-toxic and non-allergenic. No Off-gassing is produced during the manufacture nor installation of this product.

As I always seem to goo as much caulk on my work jeans as I do around the window, I’d be willing to give it a try!