Tag Archives: entry door

Strange Claims of Entry Doors Moving

Strange Claims of Entry Doors Moving

When it comes to post frame (pole) buildings and barndominiums, stories being shared often sound like they originated in Twilight Zone episodes.

Reader STEVE in MERCER writes:

“Everyone I talk to recommends one side of the man door be a structural post but there is a 50/50 disagreement on the other side. Some say you need another full length post from the trusses down while others say it’s best to use 4×6’s only up to the top of the door. Some of them state they have seen doors shift and no longer open or close correctly on buildings with the 2 full length posts and haven’t had this happen with the shorter 4×6’s. It sounds like a strange claim so I am wondering if there is any truth to it and is one way better than the other or are they both equally acceptable? Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

In an ideal world, I suppose one side of an entry door should be secured to a roof supporting column. Until just a few years ago, we did not give clients a choice but to do so.

In reality, entry door locations seem to have a mind of their own(ers), as far as where they get placed. There is actually no structural reason to run columns on each side of entry doors up to your building’s roof line provided:

Columns are adequately embedded or wet set bracket mounted to avoid ground line movement;

Column tops are effectively secured to a header able to transfer loads from door posts to roof supporting columns. In most cases, this header will need to be a bookshelf style girt, rather than externally mounted.

Doors should only shift if the site has not been properly prepared to avoid heaving due to frost or expansive soils. Any clays should be excavated from site and replaced with properly well compacted materials. Finish grade should slope away from building for eight to 10 feet at a 5% or greater slope. Downspouts from gutters should discharge 10 feet from the building perimeter or into appropriate drain lines diverting runoff well past the low side of the building. Any underground water flow should be channeled into French drains. 

Basically keep the fill underneath the building area dry (or in expansive soils – at a constant moisture level).

With new 2021 Building Codes being adopted, egress doorways will be required to be frost protected – this being best done with use of rigid polyiso board below grade.

Pole Building Door Safety

Don’t be the Next Break In

Sometimes the story is not the story and the misfortunes of others can be a lesson.

In this morning’s news:

“Police are seeking information about a break-in at a Wexford County, Michigan pole barn.

The incident occurred Monday on Boon Road in Haring Township. A side door to the barn had been pried open, according to police.

A large gun safe containing four firearms was taken from the pole barn. The firearms included a .22 caliber rifle, a .357 caliber revolver and a shotgun. The safe also contained a large amount of silver 50 cent pieces.”

In general, for most people, the concept behind owning a new pole (post frame) building is to protect possessions of value. We have stuff which we want to keep from being damaged by the elements or permanently borrowed.

The morning news (above) gives just one of many examples of a case of a permanent borrow.

There are ways to minimize the potential for your new building being the next break in which appears in the news –

We are as yet unaware of a case where anyone has pried open a sectional overhead door to gain access for burglary. Even the best of sliding doors are subject to being able to be pried open. It is just the nature of the beast. Sliding doors (by their very name) need to be able to roll open past the adjacent sliding. When closed, this affords points which can be levered open – even when securely latched from the inside.

Commercial Grade Entry DoorEntry doors…..

This is where I see more penny wise and pound foolishness than anywhere else in building (today’s near worthless trivia – while this phrase is often attributed to Ben Franklin, credit is more aptly given to one-time Secretary to the Treasury of Great Britain William Lowndes).

How about saving a few of those Ben Franklins by picking up a basic entry door at your local hardware store for around $130?

While I am sure this is an excellent buy, if I am a burglar, I will spend about two seconds kicking this pole building door in as the wood jamb breaks. The upfront savings of a person door such as this, will not probably cover the deductible from your insurance when you are burglarized.

Commercial steel entry doors, with steel jambs don’t make it impossible to break in, but they certainly make a burglar think twice before they even try.

Please – if you listen to nothing else I have to say – when planning a new pole building door, plan to order doors which at least will keep the honest people honest.

How Should I Do Knee Braces?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you guys have any ideas or pictures on how one might want to finish off a pole building with knee braces? Thanks, GARY

DEAR GARY: Thank you very much for your question.

Our designs do not utilize knee braces, you can read why not here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/01/post-frame-construction-knee-braces/

Your question is probably best addressed to the RDP (Registered Design Professional – engineer or architect) who originally designed the building, as they may have one or more of these issues with knee braces:

Not designed to support dead loads such as framing being placed between them to support a finished angled ceiling; having too much flexibility to support gypsum wallboard without cracking it; if adding a fairly rigid covering (such as OSB or plywood) making the assembly too stiff for the trusses to carry the imposed loads.

If you can stand the look – I’d suggest staining or painting the knee braces, as you will not negatively impact the structure.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello! What is a walk door? PAUL

DEAR PAUL: Also known as an entry or man door (or being politically correct a “person door”), is a pre-hung, hinged door allowing for access into or egress from a building by means of turning a lockset or pushing a “panic bar”. Most popular size is 36 inches in width by 6’8” in height. 48 inch and double doors offering a 72 inch width are also available as standard sizes.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I used too many screws in my siding on my Hansen Pole Barn. I need more to finish. Where can I purchase 1000 pearl gray 12x 1.5 screws? Dave

DEAR DAVE: It does happen every once in a while, however using too many is structurally better than not enough. Please contact Justine@HansenPoleBuildings.com and she will get your extra screws on the way!

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

WalkThru Garage Door

More “True Confessions” from the Pole Barn Guru….. I’ve not only never installed one of these and never sold one – I’ve also never seen one in real life!

I have not one, but TWO detached pole building garages at our house. One is two car, the other three. Each of them has an entry door near one of the overhead doors (in both cases immediately around a corner). You think we actually use the entry doors to get in and out? Hah – fat chance, we punch our code into the keyless entry pads!

Given this, I can see where a Walk Thru Garage Door would have lots of benefits.

Above our small garage is a home office which is our workplace. The overhead door has become the main entrance for not only my bride and I, but also for deliveries. Most of the year, we end up just leaving one of the overhead sectional doors open – not too secure!

By Code, pole buildings are required to have an alternate entrance (other than an overhead door). (Read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/entry-door/ ). We have commonly disregarded either entry door as a viable entrance, usually due to their location. Each entry is off to the rear or side of the building with other obstacles in the way. We tend to take the easy way in, not fighting with stuff left on either side of the entry door.

pass-through-overhead-doorThe first beneficial feature of the WalkThru Garage Door is being able to enter into the pole building from the driveway without having to open the entire garage door. This is an ease of operation feature, much like a sliding door on most of today’s minivans. For a premium, the owner can have a second sliding door to conveniently load and unload passengers and accumulated stuff! With vehicles there is no payback from this high priced option. No better fuel efficiency or more passenger or cargo space. This is a mere convenience feature.

WalkThru Garage doors come with many subsequent advantages. A simple key to the deadbolt gives instant access to the pole building. The garage door stays down; therefore the contents of the pole building are not exposed to the neighborhood or passers by. In our case, this sure would be nice. The WalkThru component swings outward. It should never have any obstructions in front of it. The more traditional entrances into pole buildings commonly have obstructions placed in front of them, prohibiting passage. While I would like to say this never happens in my own buildings – it actually does. As an entrance to the pole building within the garage door, a tremendous amount of space is economized. Wall space and floor space where another entrance would have been is left for the use of the occupant for storage. And I vouch entirely for there never being enough wall area in a building. In the event of a power failure the building can be easily entered or exited through the WalkThru Garage Door.

An inherent feature of the WalkThru Garage Door is energy conservation, which in turn means dollars saved. The time spent to open and close a swinging door is significantly less in comparison to the time for the larger garage door to be raised and lowered. The reduced hot or cold air exchange between the building interior and the exterior, results in a reduced energy recovery expense to re-heat or re-cool the interior space. Also reduced is the energy expended by the garage door opener by not requiring it to open in all access situations. Wear and tear on the garage door opener is also reduced, extending its useful life.

The WalkThru Garage Door provides its users with a significant safety advantage. With no other point of entry to the pole building but the WalkThru in a garage door, an intruder has to put himself in full view, in the drive way, in order to attempt to gain entry. The WalkThru Garage Door opens to the exterior, so a good stiff kick or shoulder to the door only closes it more. In order to break in, one would have to pry outwards with adequate tools in full view of the neighbors. The other more traditional entry doors to pole buildings have often been a preferred point of entry for break-ins. The WalkThru Garage Door would prevent this from being the case.

The WalkThru Garage Door is an excellent product which helps owners to save time and energy dollars, while providing a safe and very attractive point of entry to their pole building. If I ever have to change out my overhead doors, I am looking to replace them with WalkThru Garage Doors.

Pole Barn Guru Advice: Use Sonotubes

New!  The Pole Barn Guru’s mailbox is overflowing with questions.  Due to high demand, he is answering questions on Saturdays as well as Mondays.

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday or Saturday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How does a do it yourself homeowner deal with a big rock when drilling holes for the poles? AILING IN ABBOTTSTOWN

DEAR AILING: When I was building, it seems like no matter how hard I tried, the last hole on the job always contained a rock the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.  The unknown with pole building construction is always what is hidden below the surface of the ground.

How to handle the situation varies depending upon the actual size of the rock, is the rock in one hole or lots of holes, how deep the hole is before hitting rock and what type of rock it is.

If the rock is under two feet in diameter, I’m probably going to try to dig it out. If the end result is a hole larger in diameter than I am willing to pay for concrete for, then I would use sonotubes. For more on the use of sonotubes with pole buildings read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/11/sonotube/

In the case of a Hansen Pole Building kit, the holes are typically 40 inches deep, with the bottom eight inches of the hole backfilled with concrete. If I can get the hole to a depth of 32 inches of more, and hot solid rock, then I would usually call it good and completely backfill the hole with concrete to prevent uplift issues.

If just one or two holes are the issue and I can’t get to depth, renting a jackhammer is a viable option.

If lots of holes – a ram hoe attachment on a skid steer (aka Bobcat) becomes the weapon of choice.

Any deviations from the plans should involve the RDP (registered design professional – the engineer or architect who designed the building), as well as the Building Official who must ultimately approve any changes.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have two 3’x6’8″ metal entry doors on my post & frame shop building by FBi.  One into the garage area and the other into the office area.  They are a tremendous loss of energy and condensation is a problem in the winter.  I would like to replace them with good, well insulated wood or fiberglass units. What would you recommend and what is the process for replacement (Any special issues regarding opening size, depth due to posts and purlins, etc.)?  Please included recommended sources.  Thanks! FRANKLY IN FRANKFORT

DEAR FRANKLY: FBi Buildings has a reputation for constructing quality buildings, but the entry doors are only as good to a point. I know the Bahler’s – Barry (retired CEO of FBi Buildings) and Ed, and one of my former employees worked with FBi Buildings for some time. FBi has constructed some very high profile projects over the years, especially churches.

It actually sounds like you may have a problem you don’t realize. In order to get condensation of any significant quantity on the inside of the entry doors, your building walls and especially ceiling are probably very well sealed, and the concrete floor in your building probably has no vapor barrier under it, as well as the slab is possibly not sealed.

If any of these are indeed happening, steps need to be taken to remediate the issue, before it becomes an even more severe problem. Sealing the concrete floor would be a good first step.

As to the doors themselves….wood doors are not insulated (other than the minimal thickness of the wood itself), so rule out this as a solution. Even if it had a decent insulated value, wood doors require a huge amount of maintenance – and if not kept painted, they quickly deteriorate.

A high quality fiberglass door could be an option, provided it is mounted in a weatherproof jamb (not wood, or wood covered with vinyl), and is thermally broken.

We’ve found the best possible solution to be a commercial steel insulated entry door with steel jambs and thermal breaks. This affords both insulating qualities and significantly reduces or eliminates condensation appearing on the inside. I have four of these on my own building in South Dakota and have never experienced any negative issues from them over the past decade since the building was constructed.

We’d be pleased to quote these doors to you – contact Eric@HansenPoleBuildings.com for pricing. They are also available with a crossbuck or six panel design, as well as with a variety of different insulated glass types.

As to the opening, while most entry doors are fairly standard sized, there are some lower budget steel doors which have smaller openings. It may be necessary for you to enlarge the opening, if this is your case. If so, the first step is to remove the steel panels and J Channel trim from around the door. At least one of the columns next to your door will be not structural (not supporting the roof). The side of this column towards the opening can be trimmed to increase the width of the hole.

If the opening must be enlarged, you will need some new J Channel trim as well – the old pieces cannot be stretched.