Tag Archives: engineered pole building plans

Insulation Option, Condensation Control, and Plans Only?

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about adding a styrofoam insulation board to help keep a pole barn warm, how to best prevent condensation, and if one can purchase plans only instead of the complete kit.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I recently built a pole barn, I’m in Ohio. I put in a 15000w electric heater, it does an ok job as long as it’s not 20 degrees out. My question is, can I use styrofoam insulation board that is 1″ think for insulation on the trusses? I have a condensation layer on the roof metal. I’d like to start somewhere and I thought this would be least expensive. Thanks. TERRY in CARROLL

DEAR TERRY: If “on the trusses” is in reference to across truss bottom chords, chances are good your trusses can support their weight if your insulation board is polyisocyanurate. Polyiso weighs in at roughly 0.25 pounds per square foot per inch of thickness. An inch of polyiso provides an in service R value of roughly 5.6. Polyiso insulation may need to be fire or flame spread protected, by Building Code – you will want to consult with your local Building Official, prior to moving forward. Adequate ventilation must be provided for your dead attic space (read more about ventilation requirements here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/adequate-eave-ridge-ventilation/)

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m working on building a 30×40′ post frame building for storage/ garage and workshop and I live in Kansas so it’s cold in the winter and humid in the summer so I have concerns about condensation. I’ve looked into the single and double bubble foil insulation products and just the foil sheets for thermal/ condensation and the condensation blankets.

I plan to eventually insulate the walls and heat with a wood burning stove and just open the garage doors and turn on a fan in the summer. When I pour my slab I have 10mil vapor barrier that will go down on the ground.

What would be my best budget option to help control condensation and insulate some? JOEY in ANDOVER

DEAR JOEY: I will do my best to balance ‘best’ and ‘budget’.

Kudos for use of a under slab vapor barrier thicker than 6mil. My typical recommendation is 15mil, but 10 is certainly a step up. Make certain overlaps are well sealed and run it up inside and onto top of your pressure preservative treated splash planks (bottom girt).

Walls – use a well-sealed Weather Resistant Barrier (WRB) between framing and steel siding. Read more about WRBs here – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/determining-the-most-effective-building-weather-resistant-barrier-part-1/. Frame walls with commercial bookshelf girts (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/). Install unfaced fiberglass batt insulation between girts, with a well-sealed 6mil clear visqueen vapor barrier on inside.

Roof – order roof steel with an Integral Condensation Control factory applied (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/09/integral-condensation-control-2/). Roof trusses should be ordered with raised heels two inches greater in height than thickness of blown in fiberglass attic insulation (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/raised-heel-trusses/) and attic adequately ventilated with vented soffit panels at eaves and a vented ridge.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good Morning, Can I just order the plans for a pole barn instead of the full building kit? TANNER in BOWLING GREEN

DEAR TANNER: Thank you for your inquiry.

Engineer sealed pole barnHansen Pole Buildings are carefully designed and engineered to exacting and stringent standards. Included with these structural design solutions are some components an average individual cannot just go buy off a shelf at your local lumber dealer or big box store. Due to liability issues with materials specified on plans not being able to be readily acquired by general populace members, our third-party engineers are unable and unwilling to put their seals and signatures on plans where we are not providing components. Even if they were to do so (and you could find parts as specified) we have so much buying power, we are able to provide materials at a price level competitive to anything you would be able to acquire on your own.


Poor Pole Barn Plans Lead to Poor Results

Poor Pole Barn Plans Lead to Poor Results

There are a plethora of places people can go to buy a pole barn kit package with plans – Hansen Pole Buildings (I’d like to believe there is a reason we are the industry’s leader), a few online resellers, nearly every lumberyard in America, as well as from many post frame builders. One could also have a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) draw up building plans for them, they could scrounge something up online, or wing it themselves.

In the end, the better the engineered building plans and instructions are, the better the end result is going to be. These are the intangibles which are worth paying for.

Reader JOSH in LOGAN is experiencing some of the pain, which luckily he caught before it is too late: Josh writes:

“I keep reading through your blog about the concrete surface being 3-1/2″ from bottom of splash board. My plans show my overhead doors closing to the bottom of the splash board or should I say lack thereof at garage door openings. This tells me that is where the top of floor should be according to my plans. I would like to revise my plans to have floor surface 3 1/2″ from bottom of splash board. Would this simply mean moving my header up 3 1/2 inches? Same plan w walk through door openings? Do I need to worry about wall steel no longer fitting? Anything else I should consider?”


Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

You have discovered one of my pet peeves about post frame building plans which are produced by people who really do not understand how pole buildings are best designed. If you were to follow these plans, you would have to excavate your site down below grade in order to pour the slab! How practical would this be? Next issue is – when it rains (or snow melts) water from outside would end up inside on top of the floor.

You really should not make changes on the engineered plans you have, you should request they be changed by whomever you got the plans from. With this said – if you raise the overhead door header up 3-1/2″ inches (again this change should be made on the plans) then those steel panels above the door opening will need to be trimmed down. If the overhead door is on the endwall, you will need to cut the panels to fit the slope of the roof, so it will not entail an extra cut. One thing which could be an issue is having adequate clear height for your overhead door tracks and the opener, as you are chewing up 3-1/2 inches of headroom.

Bottom line: good (engineered) building plans means good results.


Things to Know When Adding onto an Existing Pole Building

Things I Need to Know When Adding on to a Post Frame Building

home-addition-150x150Real life scenario – one of our clients is adding onto the end of a clearspan 24 foot wide by 36 foot long by 10 foot eave post frame building. The add-on makes the structure another 24 feet longer, same height and roof slope.

Piece of cake – right?

I’d written an article about this very subject previously, so the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer had the advantage of being well educated in this area: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/08/building-endwall/.

There were some known challenges in this addition. The client needed a 12 foot tall overhead door in the new endwall. Luckily the existing roof slope was 7/12 and by using interior columns and rafters, instead of clearspan trusses, the door could be placed in the center of the endwall.

Problem solved…..

However, the existing building has an 18 inch overhang beyond the endwall, which was not communicated originally. The challenge was resolved by attaching the roof purlins in the bay closest to the old building to the old fly rafter.

However a larger challenge appeared – the client wanted to remove the endwall columns from his old building. The client knew this, the Building Designer knew it, however it was not communicated up the chain to those who were having to do the structural design for the building.

What might have been helpful, would have been getting our hands onto the truss designs from the existing building. However, no truss drawings could be found.This made it impossible to determine if the existing endwall trusses were designed as a clearspan, or if they were reliant upon the existing columns for bearing.

In the end – the solution was to span the end of the existing building with a large LVL (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/lvl/).

So – things I want you to tell me about your existing pole building….

If you have the building plans and/or truss drawings, please share them with us.

Any paperwork you have from the original purchase (we want to as closely match what you have as possible).

Send us photos of the outside and inside of the building. Make sure they are clearly identified, so we know which wall the photo is showing.

Will you be making any changes to the end of the existing building? Will siding stay on the building, or will some or all of it be removed? Do you plan on moving or eliminating any columns?

Provide the measure of the eave height of the building (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/02/eave-height-2/). Make sure to do this right, as this will be crucial in getting the best possible result.

Measure the distance from the bottom of the pressure preservative treated splash plank, up to the bottom of the base trim.

If the end of the existing building does not have a prefabricated roof truss on it, the roof slope needs to be verified.

Be prepared to have to answer more questions – the more we know about your existing building, the happier you will be in the end.