Tag Archives: downspouts

Post Frame Construction On Clay Soils

Many years ago, when I first went to work at Lucas Plywood and Lumber in Salem, Oregon I was given a quick tour of some areas where new construction was prevalent. Having moved from sandy/gravel soils of Eastern Washington, I was totally unprepared for bright red clay soils in this Willamette Valley region. When wet walking across these soils would add huge and heavy red clay mud balls to work boots.

Post frame (pole) building construction, or indeed any type of building, can become problematic when dealing with clay soil.

Reader JEFF in GAMBIER writes:

“I have a high water table, a 24 in diameter 5 foot deep augured post hole in clay soil will fill up in 3-4 days with water. Will a CCA treated 0.60 retention 3 ply glu-laminated post survive in these conditions or is this a good place for the concrete “perma-columns”.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says: Let’s take a step back – to site preparation:

At a minimum, site preparation includes:
· Remove all sod and vegetation.
· For ideal site preparation, remove topsoil and stockpile for later use in finish grading. In frost prone areas, remove any clays or silty soil
from within future building “footprint”.
· Replace subsoil removed from around building with granulated fill to help drain subsurface water from building.
· Distribute all fill, large debris free (no pit run), uniformly around site in layers no deeper than six inches.
· Compact each layer to a minimum 90% of a Modified Proctor Density before next layer is added. Usually, adequate compaction takes more than driving over the fill with a dump truck, or
earth moving equipment.

Why would clay be an issue to build upon? Clay expands and contracts depending upon amount of moisture present. When wet – clay expands, when dry it shrinks. These movements will cause buildings to move as well – not a good thing.

You might also add a french drain beyond the building perimeter, in order to direct water away from your site. Make sure to slope the ground away from your new building, no less than a 5% slope. Downspouts should discharge water at least five feet away from building.

Whether your site is adequately prepared or not, properly pressure preservative treated columns should provide more than a lifetime of use. Your real question to be answered is if you want your building to be stable and straight, or if you are willing to accept it moving up and down, in and out (and perhaps randomly) with time.

Building a Pole Barn House

Reader JEREMY writes:
“Good Morning and Happy New Year!
We are currently in the process of building a house inside a pole barn, and have noticed condensation on the inside walls and roof when we heat it.  We do not have any vents installed yet, and would like to know if the condensation will stop after we get the walls/insulation/sheetrock put up and vents added to the attic.  We are very concerned about this issue, so any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated by our family J!

enclosed overhangsHere are a few details about our current building:
-No vents to the outside yet, but plan to install venting in the attic soon.
-Regular R-panel metal roof and walls installed on wood runners hanging on treated wood posts.
-Concrete slab floor that has been poured for about 2 years
-Bubble wrap insulation between metal outside and wood runners-not sure of r-value or details and it seems to be sealed well
-When heating we are using an old propane central heating unit, but did not have exhaust on the heater ran to the outside so thinking that could contribute to the condensation
-also use a wood stove to supplement heat when we are out in the building working
Let me know what you think when you have time, and thank you!”
Jeremy ~

Mike the Pole Barn Guru 

My first guess is there is not a well sealed vapor barrier under your concrete slab. if not, things which will help – make sure ground around your building is sloped away at at least a 5% slope for 10 feet or more. If you do not have gutters, get them. Have downspouts discharge at least 10 feet away from the building. If excess water is still present, it may be necessary to install drain tiles around the perimeter of your building.

If you have not insulated the perimeter of the slab, do so. Follow the guide for Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/11/frost-protected-shallow-foundations/).

Seal the surface of the concrete slab.

Take off the steel siding, remove the reflective radiant barrier from the walls and install a quality building wrap (like Tyvek), then put the siding back on. The barrier is keeping moisture in your building, whereas a building wrap allows moisture to exit. Completely fill the wall cavities with insulation. Place a well sealed vapor barrier between framing and gypsum wallboard to be installed on the walls. Do not place a vapor barrier between the ceiling drywall and the roof framing above.

Install fully vented soffit panels along the eave sides and a continuous ridge vent.

Seamless in Seattle: Rain Gutters

I just could not resist this title. This article is not a plug for the business which actually uses this name in Seattle, it just caused a chuckle. Rather like the hair stylists, Curl Up and Dye.

guttersThe main purpose of rain gutters is to protect a building’s foundation by channeling water away from its base. They also help to reduce erosion, prevent leaks in basements and crawlspaces, protect painted surfaces by reducing exposure to water, and provide a means to collect rainwater for later use.

In many building permit issuing jurisdictions, gutters are a requirement on any new building.

Water collected by a rain gutter is fed, usually via a downspout, from the roof edge to the base of the building where it is either discharged or collected. Collection systems for water carried from rain gutters may include a rain barrel or a cistern.

Excess water near the foundation of a building can cause settling. With the widely spaced columns of a pole building, a settled post can cause noticeable visual humps along the eave line. Repeated or prolonged exposure to moisture also creates susceptibility to mold, mildew and decay.

Properly functioning rain gutters channel harmful rain water and snow melt away from building foundations.

About ¾ of all rain gutters installed in the U.S. are made of seamless aluminum.  At a moderate cost, they will last the lifetime of the building and are rust resistant, even when subjected to standing water for prolonged periods of time.

Seamless is somewhat of a misnomer – as seams do exist where gutters meet at corners or downspouts. It does afford fewer places where leaks could potentially occur.

This type of gutter cannot be done as a D-I-Y project, as they are formed out of flat coil stock by a gutter machine.

My personal experience is the gutter industry is very competitive. When I had the seamless continuous rain gutters and downspouts put on my own house and pole building garage, I was amazed at how reasonably priced they were.

There are lots of places to save money, when it comes to a pole building project however, in my opinion, trying to do rain gutters other than seamless is not the place to scrimp.