Tag Archives: Drainage

A Conventional Foundation, Weather Resistant Barrier, and Moisture Issues

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about building a “conventional” foundation, drainage between steel and shiplap siding, and potential moisture issues of stick built vs post frame foundations.

slab edge insulationDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am building a 24X48 pole barn, but instead of using a slab, I would like to have a conventional foundation. Is there any advice you can give me on layout and construction using this method? ROBERT in FRENCH CAMP

DEAR ROBERT: We can engineer your building to be attached to a concrete, block or ICF foundation wall using wet set brackets. As an alternative, we can also provide a pressure preservative treated Permanent Wood Foundation. Details of your choice of system will be included on your fully engineered building plans, included with your investment into one of our building kits.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am installing pole barn metal on a shiplap sheathed chicken coop/shop. Windows framed with J-profile trim. 8-foot walls with 2-foot eaves. Panels resting on treated 2x2s. Should I worry about water drainage behind the panels? Drain holes at bottom of panels?

Thank you. HAROLD in WELCH

DEAR HAROLD: You should probably place a Weather Resistant Barrier between shiplap and steel siding. As long as you seal windows well, you should not have any issues or need drain holes at bottom of panels.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I was confused with pole verse stick built structures. I thought that I needed to pour a concrete footer to put the building on to help give me a vapor barrier. Im placing this building in a area where I get some water and I wanted to keep it 8 inch on the perimeter. If I was to use a pole built would moisture come underneath into the building. JOSHUA in EDGEWATER

DEAR JOSHUA: Having a continuous footing and foundation will not act as a vapor barrier (but will add to your expense). Building Codes require a minimum 6mil vapor barrier under any concrete slab poured in a conditioned building (and we recommend using one under any interior pour). We normally recommend using thicker material (ideally 15mil) to help prevent damage during pouring slabs on grade.

If your site is in a location where water might collect or pond, your site should be built up with good, compactable fill to a level higher than any possible water depth (and some excess wouldn’t hurt).


Pole Design Home Plans, Custom Sizing, and Proper Site Prep!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have home plans for a stick build but, am interested in the savings of a Pole Home. I was wondering if you can help me incorporate our design into a pole design. Thanks ROGER

Hansen Buildings TaglineDEAR ROGER: In a word – YES. Keep in mind, what we do is the structural portion of your building – the exterior shell, any raised wood floors (like over a crawl space) or second and third stories. Any non-load bearing interior walls will be up to you. You will find tremendous savings in the foundation, as well as from the ability to construct it yourself.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I specify a different size other than what you show on your pricing page? For example, if I wanted a 20’ X 30’ could I do that?  BILL

DEAR BILL: We can provide buildings of any possible dimensions of width, length, height and roof slope. The beauty of the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Instant Pricing™ system is it calculates exactly the materials needed for any size post frame building – you do not have to pay a premium to get dimensions other than what many people consider to be ‘standard’.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Building area has a hill on one side. The man doing my dirt work has leveled the site and is now going to add 2 foot of gravel to get the site up higher and away from the hill and 3feet wider all the way around the building foot print.. Also by raising the site he will be able to provide a trench to move water away from building The site is mostly heavy clay soil .so my question is will I need to get longer poles to get down below frost line of the original grade or from the building grade he created.

DEAR LARRY: Provided your excavator is doing proper compaction of the materials he is bringing in, the depth and diameter of the building columns should be able to remain the same as they were indicated on your original engineer sealed plans for the building. Here is detailed information on achieving adequate compaction: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/soil-compaction-how-to/. If unsure at all, it would not hurt to order columns two feet longer than normal and auger the holes deeper than shown on your engineered plans by the thickness of the fill. In my humble opinion, your foundation is what everything is built upon, and to not err on the side of caution is leaving the support for your brand new building up to chance.