Tag Archives: DIY

Dragging Panels, Code Compliance, and “Some Assembly Required”

Today’s “ask the Pole Barn Guru” addresses reader questions about dragging steel panels over one another during installation, and the effects on the panels, a recommendation to consult a registered design professional in Michigan regarding footings, and if a Hansen Building is a “some assembly required” type of kit.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: So I am having a building put up. They drug the roof sheets across the other sheets so I’m concerned about the paint being scratched. But my main question is would you consider this acceptable? The picture isn’t the best but hopefully you can see what I’m talking about. I’m not saying what I don’t like as I want an honest opinion. Hopefully they come through. thank you for any advice you can give me. LEE in BEAVER CROSSING

DEAR LEE: This excerpt is from American Building Components 29 gauge steel roofing installation manual (most, if not all steel roll formers should have similar language):

“On job sites, reasonable care should be taken when handling painted surfaces during installation in order to protect the finish. Although the paint coating is tough and provides impact resistance, dragging panels across the surface of one another will almost certainly mar the finish.”

I would not consider dragging panels up a roof to be an acceptable installation. Sadly, your recourse is probably quite limited. It might be possible to have them post a bond to guarantee no adverse effects from panels being drug up roof – however chances are actual damage may not become evident for years, if not decades.

Although it should not affect structural integrity, random placement of screws going up roof leads me to believe installers had little or no prior experience. As you look up roof, screws should appear in a straight line.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m building a post frame barn and we like it so much as we move on with the project that I’m wanting to use part of the barn as a pole barn home. I used Permcolums 8ft on center and set them on a footer 24×13 inch poured concrete. I need to convince our inspector that the columns on my footings work. He would like a footing between each post. I’m wanting in floor heat and using R10 foam 250 around the sides and under the concrete. Is this a code compliance method? Thanks. KELLY in BROWN CITY

DEAR KELLY: Building Codes allow for residences to be supported by widely spaced piers. There is no structural rationale for a continuous footing or foundation not supporting a continuous load from above. Some jurisdictions in Michigan have enacted “rat wall” ordinances, however there is merit for them being other than concrete: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/06/rat-wall/. Here are some methods for rodent protection: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/03/rascally-rodents/.

My recommendation would be to engage services of a Registered Professional Michigan engineer who can evaluate your structure as built for structural sufficiency and provide sealed plans. A resource to find one would be: https://nfba.org/aws/NFBA/pt/sp/directory. Select “Designer” under What you are looking for.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Are these pole structures assembled on site or just a “kit-some assembly required”? THOMAS in SEBRING

DEAR THOMAS: They are complete building kits requiring assembly on site.

Your new building kit is designed for the average physically capable person, who can and will read and follow instructions, to successfully construct your own beautiful building shell, without extensive prior construction knowledge (and most of our clients do DIY – saving tens of thousands of dollars). We’ve had clients ranging from septuagenarians to fathers bonding with their teenage daughters erect their own buildings, so chances are – you can as well!

Your new building investment includes full multi-page 24” x 36” structural blueprints detailing the location and attachment of every piece (as well as suitable for obtaining Building Permits), the industry’s best, fully illustrated, step-by-step installation manual, and unlimited technical support from people who have actually built post frame buildings. Even better – it includes our industry leading Limited Lifetime Structural warranty!

Spray Foam, Siding Strength, and What is DIY?

Today, the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about closed cell spray foam, which building would be stronger if one was wrapped in steel siding and the other with wood, and what aspects of a DIY project are “do it yourself”?

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Thanks for taking the time to respond… hope this finds you doing well… I’m planning on using closed cell foam… so if I’m using closed cell I don’t have to use house wrap? I’m new to all this… so any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated… RICKY in INDIANA

DEAR RICKY: Closed cell spray foam is best applied directly to wall and/or roof steel. Please read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/04/spray-foam-insulation-3/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey bud I wanted to pick your brain for a second. If a person built 2 steel truss pole barns the exact same… the only difference, one would be wrapped in metal, and the other would be wrapped in wood siding… which one would be stronger? The one with wood siding would be using 1×8 hemlock boards if that makes any difference. Thanks. RICKY in KINGSPORT

DEAR RICKY: It would depend upon spacing of wall girts and how each was fastened, as well as number of openings in walls. Done correctly, steel siding would be a stiffer end result.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have seen some discussion on “price per sq. ft. to build” a barndominium you said DIY was about $85 I believe correct? When you say DIY, are you referring to like self contracting the house or self contracting and actually doing plumbing, electrical, flooring, shower install labor, etc.? LANCE in YOUNGSVILLE

DEAR LANCE: Fully engineered post frame, modest tastes, totally DIY, move in ready, budget roughly $70-80 per sft of floor space for living areas, $35 for all others. Does not include land, site prep, utilities, permits.

If you hire everything turnkey then take above numbers x2 to 3 (depends upon market). Acting as your own General Contractor and subbing everything out will put you roughly halfway between.

You will want to read #4 here before going down a “turnkey” road: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/



Roof Leaks, DIY or Hire Builder, and Building Width

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about on old roof that leaks due to nails used in attaching steel, a request for builder referrals, and if a Hansen Building is available in a 48′ width– yes, they are.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My older metal barn complete with roofing nails, not screws, leaks badly. If I install eve trim would I use gutters also? Now, the building, 96×40 has neither. It leaks under the eves. Replacing the nails has worked some. KAREN in ELMA

DEAR KAREN: Hansen Pole Buildings’ warehouse is a roughly 50 year old post frame building with roof steel attached with nails and it leaked like a sieve. We used two cases of “super whammy” caulking to try to seal around nails, it helped some, but ultimately our only solution was new roof steel. Although it sounds painfully expensive, it really is going to be your only true solution. When you order new steel, make sure it comes with a factory applied integral condensation control and use 1-1/2″ diaphragm screws to attach (they are larger diameter, powder coated and have EPDM washers).

Continuous seamless gutters are always a good investment, provided you add snow breaks on your roof, if you are in snow country.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are looking for a builder to put up a 70’x40′ pole structure for us — do you have any names of contractors/individuals who have put a Hansen building in the area? ESMEE in WENATCHEE

DEAR ESMEE: Your new building kit is designed for the average physically capable person, who can and will read and follow instructions, to successfully construct your own beautiful building shell (and most of our clients do DIY – saving tens of thousands of dollars). We’ve had clients ranging from septuagenarians to fathers bonding with their teenage daughters erect their own buildings, so chances are – you can as well!

Hansen Buildings Construction ManualYour new building investment includes full multi-page 24” x 36” structural blueprints detailing the location and attachment of every piece (as well as suitable for obtaining Building Permits), the industry’s best, fully illustrated, step-by-step installation manual, and unlimited technical support from people who have actually built post frame buildings. Even better – it includes our industry leading Limited Lifetime Structural warranty!

Currently (and for the foreseeable future) there is a nationwide shortage of building erectors. Many high quality erectors are booked out into 2023. We would strongly encourage you to consider erecting your own building shell.

For those without the time or inclination, we have an extensive independent Builder Network covering the contiguous 48 states (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/find-a-builder/). We can assist you in getting erection labor pricing as well as introducing you to potential builders.

A CAUTION in regards to ANY erector: If an erector tells you they can begin quickly it is generally either a big red flag, or you are being price gouged. ALWAYS THOROUGHLY VET ANY CONTRACTOR https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/vetting-building-contractor/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do your pole barns come in 48’ width?

About Hansen BuildingsWHITNEY in DANVILLE

DEAR WHITNEY: All Hansen Pole Buildings are 100% custom designed to best meet our client’s wants and needs. You may have any width, length or height you desire – down to even fractions of an inch, without having to pay a premium for some perceived standard.


Mounting Door Tracks, A Post Frame Inquiry, and Floor Options

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about where to mount the vertical tracks for his overhead garage door, a batch of questions for a possible DIY’er, and a question about flooring options.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do my tracks for garage door mount directly to the 6×6 posts, or is there a 2×6 supposed to be added to mount to? DAVID in ROCKFIELD

DEAR DAVID: Mounting should be called out for on your engineer sealed building plans as well as specified in assembly instructions provided with your building kit. In most instances door tracks will be mounted directly to columns on each side of door opening, unless interior girts are being added. With interior girts, place a 2x on interior column face and larger steel jamb trims will be required.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you deliver to MA?
Can I put up garage on to existing concrete slab, or do I have to dig holes for posts?
Can I get information about what it takes to put up your building so I would know if I can do it myself or not?

Click here to download our free brochure!DEAR KAYA: Yes, Hansen Pole Buildings delivers to Massachusetts as well as all 47 other contiguous U.S. states. For Alaska and Hawaii, we will deliver to a West Coast port (most usually Tacoma) for loading onto a container contracted by you.

For existing concrete slabs, we recommend saw cutting holes through it and removing concrete at hole locations to either auger holes for columns, or to pour piers for wet set brackets. As an alternative, you could dig holes outside of your existing slab (making building larger in width and length than your existing concrete).

Anyone who is physically able bodied and can read and follow instructions in English can successfully erect one of our buildings. Sample structural plans are available on our website: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/sample-building-plans/. For a nominal fee (applied to your future building investment) you can obtain one of our complete Construction Manuals – please reach out to  Plans@HansenPoleBuildings.com to acquire one.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Does the estimated price of a Pole Barn include flooring options, or is that extra? DAVID in MAPLE GROVE

DEAR DAVID: Our fully engineered post frame building kits do not include finished floor coverings, we leave this option up to you.

For wooden subfloors, we offer a choice of either underlayment grade plywood or Oriented Strand Board.


Hay Barn Loft Removal, Screw vs Nails, and Find a Builder

Today’s “ask the Pole Barn Guru” visits questions about the stability of a hay barn once the loft floor is removed, what screws can be used as a substitute for nails, and if Hansen could assist in finding a builder to erect a garage.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a very old gothic arch barn. 30ft wide x 40ft long. It is beautiful inside and solid. Our barn is stabilized by a “hay floor” at about 7ft. This appears to be holding the walls in. The walls total height is 10ft with the hay floor at 7 ft. I want to remove the hay floor and open the barn up in order to pull my 5th wheel into the barn and eventually beautify the barn interior. It has a height clearance of 13.5 ft. I’m concerned about compromising the integrity of the building. Can you give me suggestions on how to support the walls / roof to maintain stability? I’ve heard rods or cables could be a possibility. Would beams across the width work? That would be 30ft beams at a height of 14+ ft with floor post supports. GARY in HUNTSVILLE

DEAR GARY: We have many gothic arch buildings in our general area (NE South Dakota and West Central Minnesota) and not having grown up around them, I found their proliferation quite interesting. My best recommendation is going to be to engaged services of a local Registered Professional Engineer who can actually visit your building and make a best determination as to what route to take to maintain your building’s integrity.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can we use screws to construct our building or do we need to use Nails? If we can use screws which do you suggest? JEREMY in CRESCENT VALLEY

DEAR JEREMY: From Page 24 of Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual:


0.148” x 1-1/2” nails may be replaced by Simpson SD9112R100 or SD10112R100.

0.148” x 3” into hangers may be replaced by Simpson SD9212R100-R or SD10212R100-R.

0.148” x 3” lumber-to-lumber nails can be replaced by Simpson SDWS16300QR75.

Fastener quantities remain equal in all cases.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If I was to purchase a residential garage kit, is it possible for you to help me find someone local to install it? I just don’t have to time or muscle to do it myself. AMANDA in HARRIVILLE

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR AMANDA: While your new garage will be designed for an average physically capable person who can and will read instructions to successfully construct your own beautiful buildings (and many of our clients do DIY). Your building will come with full 24” x 36” structural blueprints detailing the location and attachment of every piece (suitable for obtaining Building Permits), a 500 page fully illustrated step-by-step installation manual, as well as unlimited technical support from people who have actually built buildings. For those without the time or inclination, we have an extensive independent Builder Network covering the contiguous 48 states. We can assist you in getting erection labor pricing as well as introducing you to potential builders. However they may not necessarily be local to you as many builders enjoy the variety of travel. Please keep in mind, many builders are already booked out until 2022 and 2023.





Builder or DIY? In ground or Brackets? and Remodel or Rebuild?

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses finding a builder or DIY, posts in the ground or use wet set brackets, and whether or not to remodel or to rebuild a new structure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Thank you for this great website.
I have learned so much reviewing the blog articles.
I will definitely buy one of your kits (I have submitted an initial request today)
My only concern is finding a qualified builder to put it up.
Thank you again for sharing all your knowledge
Looking forward to working with you all :). TODD in MONERA

DEAR TODD: Thank you for your very kind words.

Keep in mind, all of our buildings are designed for the average person who can and will read English to successfully erect their own beautiful building. Most of our clients do build their own and frankly do beautiful work – better than what they can pay for in most instances. Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can assist you in finding one or more possible builders, should you not have the time or inclination to assemble yourself. You will want to properly vet them out and follow this guide: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/vetting-building-contractor/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Posts in the ground versus above grade or on the slab – After inquiring about mortgages for a “Pole Barn” house I was informed that if I put the posts in the ground the interest rate would be higher (approx 2%) versus having the posts on top of the slab or above grade by using something like the Perma Columns with Sturdi-Wall Brackets or using the Sturdi-Wall Brackets (wet set or placed after the concrete is poured). My question is — If I pour a 24″ column say 4 foot deep(of course engineer designed) and Wet Set the Sturdi-Wall brackets into the concrete column – How do I install 2″ styrofoam insulation vertically 2 foot down the side of the slab? STEVE in WHEATFIELD

DEAR STEVE: It is unfortunate lenders just do not understand longevity of properly pressure preservative treated wood. Moving forward, most economical solution for above ground is poured piers with wet set brackets. This is a regularly used option we offer. You can install insulation boards on exterior of splash plank, from below base trim down. Your foam insulation does not have to be in direct contact with your slab on grade – you just need to create an adequate thermal break.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Just bought a property with an old pole barn and I want a workshop and storage and assume restoring the barn is my best bet, partially because I am not sure of what I would be getting into if I built a new barn dealing with the local planning people who seem not to be able to give straight answers. The existing building seems to have good structure and the poles seem to be similar to telephone poles. The siding is old metal that was nailed on. There are sliding doors that are in bad shape, one half gone, and they seem stuck. I would like to make a second floor inside the barn and assume I could do something like an interior deck. Also want to concrete the floor. Any suggestions? DOUG in LOUISVILLE

DEAR DOUG: Before making a decision, I would ask to meet face-to-face with your Planning Department Director and get some clear answers (and in writing). My guess is worst case will be you can replace your old pole barn with a comparably sized new post frame building.

In regards to what you have – rarely will an old pole barn be adequate in design to meet current Building Code standards. If you do decide (or have no other option) to restore the barn, you should invest in a Registered Professional Engineer to do a thorough inspection of what you have and provide any structural modifications needing to be done to insure you are not throwing good money after bad.

Having been involved in several remodels, unless work to be done is minor, you are normally best to dig a big hole and push your old barn into it.



DIY Savings, Moving an Existing Building, and the Ideal Building Size

Today the Pole Barn Guru discusses potential DIY savings, moving an existing building, and the ideal building size.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am out of the area of which I can order a premade kit and have it shipped to me. If I wanted to still build it myself and buy the parts local how much savings would you say I could expect to save by doing that and still subbing out most of the work? PRESTON in IDAHO FALLS

DEAR PRESTON: Hansen Pole Buildings delivers post frame building kits into your area of Southern Idaho frequently, so we could certainly meet your needs. Hiring your own engineer to design the building and purchasing materials locally on your own will probably add 15-20% to the cost of investing in a complete kit package which includes the engineered plans. Acting as your own General Contractor and subbing out most of the work should save you around 25% as opposed to hiring a general to do everything for you.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a Morton pole barn 35 x 62 that I would like to relocate .The location is 91 xxxxxxxxx rd Hackettstown NJ If you google the location you will see the green Morton building. I would like it to go behind the small white pole barn which will be removed.


DEAR WAYNE: You might be able to contract with a house mover in your area to relocate your building. Here is a link to a previous article on this very subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/shop/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Does it make more economic and structural sense to build a 40’ deep x 56’ wide or 32’ deep x 56’ wide pole barn to house tractors and farm equipment and why? BRENDA in FENELTON

DEAR BRENDA: For starters – always construct the largest building you can economically justify and which will fit on your property. In the almost 20,000 post frame building projects I have personally been involved with, I have yet to have a client contact me after they were using their building and tell me it was just too big.

Economics – As a general rule of thumb, with identical features the price per square foot will most generally decrease as the footprint gets larger. Buildings closer to square are normally more affordable than ones the same size which are long and narrow (this is the structural issue, as properly designed the diaphragm strength of the more square building is more effectively utilized.

Buildings which are even numbers for width and length, width and length divisible by three, and length a multiple of 12 feet are most normally the most cost effective for utilization of materials. Lumber comes in multiples of two feet long, steel roofing and siding is three feet wide, the 12 foot length multiple is generally the “sweet spot” for requiring the least number of columns, trusses and pieces to handle.





Considering a Pole Barn, Roof Loads, and Proper Ventilation

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning.

I am considering building a pole barn on our land in northwest Georgia and wanted to know the following:

1) On your website, you list links for residential, agricultural, and commercial buildings.  What is the difference between a those three types of buildings?  Are they different because of design or do they each involve different construction materials?  Do the commercial buildings use a lower gauge (thicker) sheet of metal for siding than a residential building?

2) Do you have any product comparison documentation between your kits and the other pole barn kits on the market (DIY, Menards, etc.)?  Interested specifically in design, material, and construction comparisons.

3) Would your pole barn kits be able to accommodate a chimney/stove pipe if I wanted to use a wood burning stove for heat?


About Hansen BuildingsDEAR CHRIS: The differences for residential, agricultural and commercial buildings shown on our website are for the convenience of those who are looking for a particular end use, it keeps from having to browse through a plethora of photos of buildings which may not be what one is looking for. The construction materials and methods used are going to be individually tailored to the ultimate end needs of each client, as well as the climactic conditions of a particular site.

Our goal is to custom design for you a building which best meets your wants, needs and budget. We are so confident in our ability to provide the best possible value for your post frame building investment, once this is done, we would happily shop this building for you with any other provider or providers you so desire. How easy is this?

(BTW – Menards might be a bit geographically challenging as their nearest location to you is in Owensboro, KY)

Actually any post frame building (not just a Hansen Pole Building) can accommodate a chimney/stove pipe with the use of a Dektite® (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/09/dektite/).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 30 year old pole barn that is 30’ x 40’ x 9’ tall. It has a metal roof, trusses are 4’ on center. Can I tear off the metal on the roof and put down OSB and shingles? JIM in LAWTON

DEAR JIM: Chances are excellent your existing roof system is not designed to support the weight of OSB and shingles, as most pole barn (post frame) trusses are designed for a dead load of only 3 to 5 psf (pounds per square foot) which includes the weight of the trusses themselves plus the roof purlins. Steel roofing weighs in at under one pound per square foot. 7/16″ OSB comes in at roughly 1.5 psf, 15# felt and shingles 2.5 psf making the weight combination more than four times greater than the steel.

The big question is – why? Even “lifetime” shingles will usually last only about 15 years and you know the steel roofing you have had made it twice as long. Steel is far more impervious to weather (especially hail) and readily sheds snow, unlike shingles. For my money, if I had to re-roof I would invest in steel roofing with a high quality paint system like Kynar. Read more about Kynar here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/kynar/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a pole building with all metal sheeting. The interior walls are framed and insulated R13 batt. The ceiling is insulated with 1/2 foam a 3/4″ air gap then R19 on top. The underside of the roof is not insulated. I have eave ridge vent. Building is heated in winter. Can I exhaust fumes (paint,lawnmower,etc.) into the attic space and let it vent out the ridge or will I be causing a condensation problem? I will use a standard box fan to blow exhaust into the attic space. I’m also hoping to do this to help melt snow off the roof.

crash-test-dummy-symbolDEAR RICH: I’ve seriously struggled with your question for several weeks now. It lead me to spend hours researching the International Mechanical Code (I am proficient in the IRC and IBC, but not the IMC), looking for backup as to your scenario. In the end it all comes down to this – WHY would you want to dump toxic fumes and their waste into your attic? At some point this has got to be just plain unhealthy.

Whether you do or do not blow exhausts into your attic, your building has the strong potential for a condensation problem because there is no thermal break below the roof steel. You should look at having closed cell spray foam installed on the underside of the roof steel.

As to the heat from the exhaust helping to melt snow off the roof – do not count on it, by the time it gets into your attic, the heat generated will be minimal at best.

DIY Kits? Fiberglass Insulation, and Free Quotes

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Are these DIY kits or do you guys do labor too? PATRICK in LOCKPORT

DEAR PATRICK: Hansen Pole Buildings provides complete custom designed and engineered post frame building kit packages which are aimed towards the average individual who can and will read instructions in English to successfully erect themselves.

In the event you are not so inclined, we can assist you in finding several builders in your area who have the interest in assembly of the building for you.


Insulating WallsDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I use fiberglass insulation in the walls of a pole barn? BOB in DUNBAR

DEAR BOB: Certainly you can use fiberglass wall insulation for post frame buildings. The question is, how?

To do so, you should have building wrap (think Tyvek) between the siding and any wall framing. If your building was not engineered in this fashion, closed cell spray foam insulation can be applied to the inside of the siding, then unfaced fiberglass insulation can be installed with a clear visqueen vapor barrier on the inside.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am looking for a metal pole storage for our pool plumbing pipe. We are just starting to gather information and prices. We want a building to be 25′ deep x 75′ long x 12′ high. We want the doors on it to be sliding doors. CARMICHAEL in WOODSTOCK

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR CARMICHAEL: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. In most cases, the quickest way to get the information you are looking for is to call (866)200-9657 and ask to speak to a Building Designer. You can get a relative price by visiting https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/pole-barn-prices/ where you can further customize a building based upon some standard and cost effective dimensions.

In most cases, buildings with widths which are multiples of six and lengths which are multiples of 12 will result in the best value for your investment.

If either security or convenience are at question, you may wish to consider sectional steel overhead doors, rather than sliding doors.