Why Post-Frame Columns Need Adequate Footings
Reader STEVE in GRANTS PASS writes:
“Dear Pole Barn Guru, height of the post for my RV pole barn have moved. What is the best way to raise and support the header so that I can replace and or place concrete footings with Simpsons?
Hopefully these are better pics.
If I use the furthest to the left post as a baseline for height (base on a laser level) here are the variances from left to right.
#1: base height
Based on everything I’ve seen with this property the builder did not sink these into concrete or use any type of Simpson column anchors.
How would you go about fixing this mess?”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
Thank you for your photos. You certainly have a mess going on here. Besides columns having (or maybe they were never correct to begin with) not been provided with adequate (or maybe no) footings, columns also appear to be greatly undersized.
Please keep in mind, these suggestions are not to be construed as an engineered repair. You should ideally engage services of a Registered Professional Engineer to confirm adequacy as well as to determine what other portions of your building may need upgrades or repairs.
To fix this you will need an all-terrain lift, a mini excavator, some 2×6 for bracing, as well as some UC-4B pressure preservative treated 2x lumber.
Using excavator, dig out on all four sides of an offending column, down to base. Add full length UC-4B treated scabs vertically from bottom of column to header using (2) two 10d common hot dipped galvanized nails every (6) six inches on all four sides. If your existing columns are 6×6, you will need (2) 2×6 and (2) 2×10 or (4) 2×8. Basically, you are boxing in each column. From outside (exterior) of building lift underneath header at each side of column until desired point is reached. Brace column at top of hole, by placing a 2×6 on inside and outside of column (running length of building) directly in contact with firm ground and nail with (4) four 16d duplex nails.
Repeat on balance of columns. On any column being above your zero point, you will need to dig out below the column.
Once above is completed for all four columns, have a pre-mix concrete truck deliver enough concrete to completely fill holes up to level of bracing. Give concrete a week to reach strength and remove braces.
It will not be fun or easy but will give your desired result.