Tag Archives: Clear Span

Wide Clearspan Barndominium Floors

Wide Clearspan Barndominium Floors
Multi-story post frame barndominiums are embracing a great feature found in better stick framed homes – engineered prefabricated wood floor trusses.
Loyal reader RICK in MONTICELLO writes:

“First off, thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience in the blog and answering questions regarding post frame construction with us laymen!
It is very educational and enlightening.

Kicking around ideas currently. Have a 50ish x 80ish building in mind.
And since you suggest working in 6 foot multiples. We’ll go with a 54′ x 84′ two story building.

Thinking about 12′ clear inside height grade level and living upstairs (actually a lake house so to speak).
You mention you have 48′ free spanned with floor trusses.
I’m curious how deep they are and what centers they are installed at.
As I’d like to clear span the 54′ if possible.

My questions and curiosities are:
• You aware of any fabricated wood floor trusses spanning longer than the 48’ you have?
• Would the floor trusses be prohibitive, as far as cost and losing a lot of height due to the required depth they would need to be?

If I free spanned the whole building at 12” centers I’d need 82 of them.
Working from an assumption they would have to be on 12” or 16” centers raises the below questions:

• How is this done in post frame?
• Would I require regular stud walls between each post that first 12’ of building height for the floor trusses to rest upon to transfer the loads to the ground/ foundation?

Hopefully not too lengthy.

Thanks in advance”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:
Thank you very much for your kind words, they are greatly appreciated.

With typical residential live loads of 40 psf (pounds per square foot) and dead loads of 10 psf, normally floor trusses are spaced every two feet and their depth will be roughly an inch per every foot of distance spanned. 54 foot clearspan is certainly well within range of prefabricated wood floor trusses.

Even with all of my years as a manager of owner of truss plants, 48 feet is as wide as I have participated in – although for our own personal shouse (Shop/house), we wish we would have gone 12 feet wider (no matter what size you build, it is never big enough). Your added investment, for floor itself, between having a myriad of internal columns, or clearspanning is roughly four dollars per square foot. For what it adds in downstairs usability by not having columns or walls to work around, it is worth every cent in my mind. Add to this it allows for all utilities to be hidden from view and they are a winning combination. As we are providing more barndominiums seemingly every day, we have many clients taking advantage of clearspan floor trusses and have never heard a regret from having done so!

Most usually floor truss ends are supported from beams attached to wall columns. This eliminates having to have load carrying stud walls between columns, as well as thickened slab edges or continuous footings and/or foundations. In order to maintain ceiling heights, your building will have to be made taller. In most instances, adding a few feet to a building’s height is relatively affordable.

Building Near Nashville, Engineered Plans, and Clear Spans

Today the PBG answers questions about building near Nashville, engineered plans for a possible client, and the possible clear span of trusses.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can we have this built near Nashville TN? CRAIG in SAN CLEMENTE

Nashville Tennessee on a map


DEAR CRAIG: We can provide a new Hansen Pole Building kit package anywhere in the United States.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, We are interested in one of your barn plans for purchase. We will need engineered plans to submit to our local county development team for gaining approval and permits. Can we get the engineered plans first? TINA in SNOHOMISH

DEAR TINA: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. You will need to complete a building department questionnaire which provides us the necessary load information we need to properly design your structure, with that we guarantee our third-party engineered plans will pass a structural approval. Usually your plans will be sent to you in seven to 10 days after you have electronically approved your documents.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the greatest clear span available? KEITH in NEWARK

DEAR KEITH: In most geographic areas 80 foot, however there are some parts of the country where we can provide as wide as 100 feet.




Reduce Heat, Garage Kits, and Updates to Aging Building

Reduce Heat, Garage Kits, and Updates to Aging Building

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m looking to build a 40×48 monitor style barn with a 16×48 loft in the center. I don’t plan to heat or cool the loft but would like to reduce the heat in the summer. My first plan is to use a light color or Galvalume for roof metal. My second idea and where I need more advice is on insulating the roof. I was thinking about first laying down foam board insulation and then putting metal roof down. I’m sure there are issues with this option please help me out. I also want to use the insulation to help deaden the sound when it’s raining. MICHAEL in ENTERPRISE

Wood Horse BarnDEAR MICHAEL: Many different colors of “cool roof” steel are now available, which adds far more flexibility in aesthetics – one is no longer limited to bare Galvalume or galvanized, or white- https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/selecting-building-colors/
Foam board insulation between the roof purlins and the steel roofing would be one of the worst possible choices you could make, from a structural standpoint. It allows for the roof screws to flex within the thickness of the insulation, creating leaks and reducing the strength of the roof steel to resist wind shear. Some other options would range from installing a radiant reflective barrier under the roof steel, or (better yet, although more expensive) using closed cell spray foam insulation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I am interested in one of the garage kits I found on The Home Depot’s website. I would like to see floor plans and interior dimensions for this kit. And what size would a cement pad need to be to fit under this structure? 48ftx60ft? Hope to hear back soon. Thank you! DAYNA in EAST TEXAS

DEAR DAYNA: The beauty of post frame buildings is a concrete slab is not required in order to support the building. As to floor plans – unless otherwise requested by a client, most post frame buildings are clearspan structures, without any interior columns or partitions. This allows for the total flexibility to place walls wherever one chooses, if any. The quickest way to hear back soon is to include an email address to send responses to.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello. We are starting to look into getting some new insulation and facing put in our shop. The current product is at least 15-20 years old. We were going to just carefully wipe down the dirty putter facing and postpone this project for another year or two, but that job in itself quickly became a hassle. As we are currently looking into which insulation and facing we will replace it with, we are trying to figure out what kind of insulation facing was originally put on that we have right now. The facing itself is exposed on the walls and ceiling besides the first 8’ of wall cover at the bottom. Do you know of any way to determine what type of facing we have? I attached a few pictures of it in case you might be able to help out with any guesses…

Thanks a lot for your help! JON in HANOVER

DEAR JON: Your metal building insulation has a WMP-10 facing, which is generally used in a typical metal building application where the walls are exposed to light to moderate traffic. It obtains a mid-grade durability. The front side is composed of polypropylene insulation facing, with a white kraft paper backing on back side. WMP-10 is slightly heavier than WMP-VR facing.


Covered Arena, Nail Numbers, and Clear Spans!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My daughter has taken up roping, and I would like to build a covered arena so she can practice year round. Note I said covered, not enclosed. I am not sure I can afford an enclosed arena, but can a covered arena. My question is, what size should this be? I have read that 120 x 240 is the smallest. Also, she does poles and barrels. We would use the arena for this also.

Arena InteriorDEAR GEORGE: Having raised a “horse” daughter, I can empathize – it is not a hobby for the faint of pocketbook. In post frame construction, it is often more economical to cover some or all of the sides, rather than constructing just a roof. For roping, even the professionals usually stick to 70 to 80 foot widths and 18 foot eave heights, in order to keep the investment down. For barrel racing, 120 foot does seem to be the most common competitive width, however when faced with erected costs which can run easily upwards of a quarter of a million dollars compromises are usually made to fit within a more comfortable budget amount (again, usually going with a narrower width).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How do you figure per SQ FT how many nails you will need. MIKE in SIOUX FALLS

DEAR MIKE: Square footage really has nothing to do with the number of nails needed. For 10d common framing nails, a general rule is five pounds for each 20 dimensional 2” lumber pieces. Nailing T1-11, wood or composite sheeting with 8d commons? Usually a pound will do about two 4’x8’ sheets. For joist hanger nails, conventional 2×6 hangers take a pound of 10d common x 1-1/2” nails for each eight hangers.

Keep in mind these are merely approximations. Actual usage may vary due to specific building design requirements or individual installation techniques.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m looking at your 60×120 pole barn kit.
Is that a clear span? I’m planning on making a riding arena and not wanting poles in the riding area.


Horse ArenaDEAR MIKE: Unless you for some reason wanted to have interior columns, the 60’ x 120’ pole barn (post frame building) kit package would indeed be a clearspan. We can also provide wider, longer or a combination of the two. For more reading on perfect riding arenas: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/the-perfect-indoor-riding-arena/.



Glu-Lam Solution, Building Hawaii? and Riding Arenas

A Glu-Lam Solution? Buildings in Hawaii? and Riding Arenas

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I’ve come across your site many times in search for what I’m looking for in a building. One of the things I’m finding difficult is higher pitch, even just 6/12, that is wood based, without web (open), with a fairly wide span available.

Today I came across your article on box beam so I put that idea on hold. I have been interested in glu lam but I don’t want to employ an expensive architect to design it. My thought was 48, 50, or 60 foot maximum width. I have found examples the same or larger even.

Can you provide something like this?


DEAR BARRY: I’ve had challenges with finding an engineer who can make even a 40 foot side span work using the box beam concept work using dimensional lumber. I’d suggest you contact either Dale at Timber Technologies (https://www.timber-technologies.com/titan.phtml) or Duane at Gruenwald Engineered Laminates (https://gruen-wald.com/). Both of them manufacture glu-laminated columns. If there exists a design solution, one or both of them are the people who can solve it for you.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, Do you build in all 50 states? We live in Ohio and have a pole barn and love it. We were thinking about moving to Hilo, Hawaii. Can you tell me if you build in Hawaii? Thanks, AARON in CAMP RAVENNA

DEAR AARON: While Hansen Pole Buildings is not a contractor, and therefore does not construct anything for anyone anywhere, we do provide complete post frame (pole barn) building kit packages to all 50 states, including Hawaii.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are looking at having an arena constructed and would like to know if you can do a 120 x 250 clear span. JODI in HOPKINSVILLE

DEAR JODI: While a 120 x 250 clearspan can be done, it is going to prove to be phenomenally expensive (whether in wood frame or all steel). Most often clients determine clearspans of 80 feet will better meet with their pocketbooks, while still allowing for the majority of training and riding needs. One of our Building Designers will be in contact with you shortly to discuss your needs and options.




Clear Span Truss Length, Loft Support Columns, and a Footing at OHD!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the widest clear span I can get with a 20 # live load and a 25# ground snow load. THOMAS in LACEY

Arena InteriorDEAR THOMAS: Quite comfortably and affordably 80 foot. I’ve done up to 100 foot clearspans in this loading combination however many truss plants do not have the capability to fabricate or ship trusses 100′ long in one piece.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: While waiting for my materials to arrive for my Hansen building, I was reviewing the plans for my building saw my loft flooring 2×12’s are notched into the posts which I understand the reasoning. My question is what are the rules for notching posts and still maintaining structural integrity of the post. ED in BETHUNE

DEAR ED: There are some “rules” for notching wood members, however they apply to floor joists and stud walls in conventional light-frame construction, not to columns in post-frame construction. The limitations for notches in columns would depend upon the placement of the notch and the ability of the remaining timber to carry the imposed loads. Columns are subject to forces of bending and compression. In compression columns are very strong and rarely is over 10% of the strength of the column needed to carry the downward loads. As long as the notch is done to insure a tight fit and the connection between the column and the member fitting into the notch is done properly the downward loads will be carried through the column as if it was never notched at all.

In bending the maximum moment (bending force) is going to occur somewhere midway between the supported ends (or in your case between the ground and the loft floor), very little bending force occurs at or near the ends. The remaining column at the notch must be adequate to resist shear forces, however the lateral restraint provided by the rigid floor makes these manageable.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My 36 x 56 barn is going to have an entrance door and a 16w x 12h garage door on the 36 side of the building. My question is do I have to have a footer or not on the 36 side to make sure the doors will shut and open in the winter do to frost heave? Thank you. TIM in HUDSON

DEAR TIM: In the event you have an inadequately prepared site, then having a continuous footing and foundation below the doors (and extending past the columns on each side of the doors) might be a good investment. Such a system would need to also be deep enough to be below the frost line, which could make it cost prohibitive.

Sites which have been properly prepared rarely have issues with frost heave. You will want to read the series of articles which begins here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/pole-building-structure-what-causes-frost-heaves/.



Clear Span Width, Interior Sliders, and Roof Quote!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the widest free span I can get in a pole barn? I live in zip 54474 for snow loads. Needs to have a door opening of 14′.

LES in ROSHOLTDEAR LES: It would be very practical to have a clearspan of up to and including 80 feet. In some markets, we are able to have clearspan trusses of up to 100 feet prefabricated and shipped.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good afternoon,  

I’m writing to see if you offer some sort of light-weight door panel system for an interior application in a courthouse. Our design intent is to have two movable door panels (that appear to be made of solid wood) in a bypassing setup. Each door panel is approximately 12’-0”H x 13’-9”W. Is there some way to achieve this size of panel that is movable by an average person? Maybe something with a fiberglass/steel structure paneled with a wood veneer? LAUREN IN NEW YORK

DEAR LAUREN: Thank you very much for your inquiry. Our sliding doors are appropriate for exterior applications on barns and we provide them only with the investment in a complete post frame building package.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking to see if a quote for a roof is reasonable.
Endwalls width 20, Eavewalls Length 70, Eave Height 14 feet6 inches, Snow Load 40#, Bay Size Eavewalls 12, Bay Size Endwalls 12, Pitch 4 MICHELLE in BEAVERTON

DEAR MICHELLE: Chances are good the quote for a roof will be quite reasonable. Only one challenge – you did not happen to leave any way for us to contact you!

Need a quote on a complete post frame building package? The easiest and quickest way to get one is to complete a request at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/freequote/ . The more ways you can provide to contact you (home and cell phone numbers, email address, Skype, etc.) the more likely you will be to get a quick response.