Tag Archives: closure strips

Roof Insulation, a Riding Arena, and Closure Strips

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about insulating a roof to keep exposed trusses, the size limits for and equestrian riding arena, and whether or not to use closure strips between the gable (rake) trim and siding.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 30×40 post frame building with cathedral style trusses. I really like the open look and don’t want to cover them with a ceiling. I want to insulate against the metal roof with vinyl faced blanket insulation to give a nice finished look. The roof currently has bubble wrap which I’m told I should remove so I don’t have two vapor barriers. Question is, if I remove the bubble wrap, is it ok to lay just blanket insulation between trusses or should I try to fill the 1.5″ space between purlins with foam board then blanket insulation over top of foam board. Or would filling the 1.5″ space with spray foam, then blanket over that? Thanks for any advice. BRIAN in LANDISVILLE

DEAR BRIAN: Only way to properly do as you propose is to remove bubble wrap, then have 2″ or more of closed cell spray foam insulation applied directly to underside of your steel roofing. Balance of insulation cavity can be filled with either more closed cell (best R value) or rock wool insulation (as it is impervious to moisture).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Need an open cover 150 L x 75 W x 13 H to function as a cover for an equestrian arena. Can a pole barn get this big? And if not what is the largest size we can go. JEFF in PINELLAS PARK

DEAR JEFF: While we have provided post frame riding arenas with up to 100 foot clearspans, in most geographical areas, wood truss fabricators are limited to building and shipping lengths up to 80 feet and overall truss heights of 12’.

Interior Clearspan Arena

For extended reading on riding arenas, please visit: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/the-perfect-indoor-riding-arena/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Should I use closure strips between the gable trim (rake trim) and siding? The siding is tuff rib. STEVE in WARREN

DEAR STEVE: Standard form fitted closure strips are sized to only fit perfectly when applied at 90 degrees to length of steel panels. When going up rake trim, these closure no longer fit, however we have a perfect solution Emseal! https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/emseal-self-expanding-sealant-tape-closures/
To acquire, please reach out to Materials@HansenPoleBuildings.com along with lineal footage required and ship to zip code.


Seal Walls, Fill for Compaction, and Condensation Control

Let’s close out the week with another installment of Ask the Pole Barn Guru! First up is a resolution to seal up a building, followed by assistance with compacted fill, and finally an alternative to spray foam to control condensation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I purchased a pole building from you last year and there was an error that I wanted an insulated building. So I will be insulating this myself. What keeps all the drafts and bugs out at the roof eve and lower edge of side panels? I am doing house wrap on the exterior walls. MARK in MOUNT VERNON

DEAR MARK: Communication – we as humans do so much of it and all too often do not fully convey our intentions. I am just as guilty as any other person, so do not feel like you are alone in this. This is one reason we strive to do everything in writing, so both parties are clear on each other’s expectations.


Also, successful construction is not measured by how perfect things went initially, but rather by how challenges are solved to arrive at a great end result.

Your roof eaves should be sealed with inside closures, provided with your building package, to install between fascia board and roof steel, so should not be an issue there. If you have not yet installed siding, same inside closures can be placed at bottom of walls, on top of your Weather Resistant Barrier to keep any little critters from entering steel high ribs in your 1/4 inch space between base trim flat and bottom edge of wall panels.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’ve worked with a Hansen Building Designer, ordered my building, and materials will start arriving in two weeks. Looking forward to it, but also a little bit ‘trepidated,’ as it’s my first post-frame build (I completely remuddled a 100 year old farm house at our last place, so that’s what I have for previous experience).

My question has to do with the compacted fill that goes onto my cleared site after the poles are concreted in. Is crusher run gravel appropriate, or is a different type of gravel recommended for better drainage (I’m not familiar with the options, so please be specific if so)?

Also, please see the attached photo of the cleared site along with a drawing I created based on what I *think* are the correct dimensions based on reading the Construction Manual and a number of your blog posts. Note that I’m planning on a 5″ thick concrete floor, and have indicated same in the drawing at exactly 5″. ED in SUMMERTOWN

DEAR ED: Awesome drawing! You should have no difficulties in assembling your own beautiful building, as I can tell you are already reading directions!

Crusher run should be adequate for your sub-base. Most important is to get any clay removed from within upper levels of your grade and to have good compaction. Top two to six inches of your fill should be clean and drained sand or sandy gravel, again well compacted.

Photos: https://hansenpolebuildings.com/uploads/polebarnquestions/7bea6f6c3d75e192515b8bd12303c72c.jpg


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If not spray foam on the underside of metal roof then I saw you recommend reflective siding insulation. Would that suffice in lieu of spray foam?


DEAR DYLAN: My first alternate choice would be to use an I.C.C. (Integral Condensation Control) https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/09/integral-condensation-control-2/ easy to install and no seams to worry about. Next choice would be a Reflective Radiant Barrier – we have it in six foot wide rolls with an adhesive pull strip to seal joints. Contact Materials@HansenPoleBuildings.com for delivered pricing (rolls are 128′ long).




Dear Pole Barn Guru: Galvanized Nails or Not?

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:  I’m using 6″ x 6″ treated posts, do I need to use galvanized nails to attach my girts to the posts, do you recommend 20d galv  ringshanks driven w a palm-nailer vs 3-1/4″ 16d non galv ringshanks  I can shoot with gun? James in Golden, CO

DEAR GOLDEN: Any time nails are being used into pressure treated lumber, they should be galvanized or stainless steel. This is a code requirement.

 With pole buildings, my personal preference is to always use galvanized nails. The few dollars saved with non-galvanized nails, is just not worth the rust streaks caused, in the event the building is rained upon before being closed in.

 The size of nail is an entirely different subject.

 If you are attempting to use 2x wall girts laid flat on the outside of the columns (what I would refer to as “barn” style), there is a good chance they will not meet code for deflection. And yes, a Building Permit may have been granted, but it does not mean the building actually meets the Code requirements.

 Assuming the barn style wall girts do meet code, the critical load on the nails is for withdrawal – the wind forces are trying to suck the girts off from the building. In this case, the larger the diameter of the nail, the better it will be against these forces. I like using 10d common galvanized nails, as the .148 inch diameter is excellent against withdrawal, and I can drive them from my nail gun.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My roof cap is leaking and can’t find a closure strip think it was built in the 80’s can you help me? UNCLOSED CHRIS

DEAR UNCLOSED: What you are describing is sadly an all too common an occurrence.

 Way back (in the ‘90s) when I was running as many as 35 building crews, in six states, our project coordinators visited every job, after it was completed, to verify it met our standards. One of the tools they carried along with them….binoculars, so they could see if the closures had been installed under the ridge caps! Although closures take next to no time to place, unless the crews knew they were going to be checked up on, they would leave them out.

 More often than not, it now happens because builders, or building kit providers, are trying to lower their costs, and have cheaper selling prices than their competitors. When price becomes the driving focus of a purchase – there is always someone who is willing to leave more out, or sacrifice quality, to sell at a lower price. Until consumers experience problems like you are having (or worse), they rarely know or understand the difference.

 Knowing the exact profile of the roof steel will help to determine if a form fitted outside closure strip is available. Some steel patterns were specific to manufacturers who are no longer in business. In that case, expandable closures are available which will seal the gap. Under no circumstances be tricked into purchasing a “universal” closure strip. While very affordable, they are made from open cell foam, which is closer to being a sponge than a closure. They are also not UV resistant and will deteriorate in a matter of very few years – recreating the original problem. Take a picture of the profile of your steel and look on the internet for closure strip companies to match the profile to the strips they have available.  When in doubt, use an expandable closure.  We used some on an old building we purchased, and although very sticky (so you have to be fast and clean your hands often) they did seal the gap so no more leaks!