Tag Archives: existing foundation

Raising a Ceiling, Foundation Wall Build, and an Indoor Riding Barn

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the possibility of raising a ceiling 4′ – 6′ for pickleball, the advice of whether or not to attempt to add a post frame building on top of an 8″ foundation wall– don’t, and the maximum clear span of an indoor riding barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We currently have a pole barn trusses built on a cement foundation 72’x36′ half office/open shop building that we would like to raise the ceiling height 4′ to 6′ to accommodate pickleball play. What is the most economical way to raise the ceiling? Thank you! DEB in FERNDALE

DEAR DEB: Your most economical solution will be to build another building to play pickleball in. Building should be no less than 34′ x 64′ with an 18 to 20 foot high ceiling. Trying to raise your existing ceiling is going to involve some serious engineering, not to mention challenges in trying to actually make it happen from a construction standpoint.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing 8 inch foundation wall that I would like to use in my pole barn build. The foundation is 50 ft x 80 ft so the size suits me perfectly. There are cast in anchor bolts on the top of the foundation wall every 4 ft. What are your thoughts on putting down a pressure treated sill plate then attaching my 14 ft columns to a second sill plate and screwing the 2 sill plates together. For added stability I was also thinking of installing 2 ft x 2 ft 3/4 inch plywood gussets on both sides of the wall to the double bottom plate and the column. I would fasten each plywood gussets with 12 – 3.5 inch GRK structural screws to lock the column to the sill plates. Have you ever seen anything like this done?

Thanks in advance for your reply. MICHAEL

stick frame building collapseDEAR MICHAEL: While I have seen all sorts of things done, most of them were not structurally sound. You have probably seen television news stories of buildings being lifted off of concrete foundations (or blown over). I fear your proposed design solution could become one of those. There are dry set column brackets available, however they are not capable of handling any significant sort of moment (think bending) load. So, I could not, in good faith, recommend using them. If it was my own, my first choice would be to embed columns in ground outside of existing foundation. This results in your strongest possible design solution and will be easiest to construct. My second choice would be to break out concrete foundation at column locations and either embed columns or pour into your existing foundation ICC-ESR approved Sturdi-Wall Plus wet set brackets.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How wide can you go on a indoor riding barn, before it has to be made out of different materials? I was thinking like 115 feet by 150ish feet by 15 feet high, could you go wider? JACK in RANDOLPH

therapeutic riding arenaDEAR JACK: We’ve found very few clients who actually have needed a clearspan riding arena greater than 80 feet in width. I have had a few of what I like to pleasantly call ‘past lives’. In one such past life, I was a prolific post frame building contractor, with as many as 35 crews building in six western states. Our biggest arenas was 100′ clearspan by 240 feet in length. In a second past life, I owned a prefabricated wood truss plant, where we had engineered designs as great as 140 feet. Hansen Pole Buildings is currently setting up operations to be able to prefabricate wood trusses, so we would be able to clearspan your requested distance. Trusses would be fabricated in half (for shipping purposes) and designed for halves to be joined onsite with an engineered connection. We are likely 90-120 days away (think mid-May) from being able to provide accurate quotations for those sorts of spans.

Existing Foundation, “Home/Pool Combo” and HOA’s

This week the Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about design ideas to build over or around an existing foundation, designing a “home/pool combo,” and design options for roofing and siding when dealing with an HOA.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We currently have foundation/basement that measures 14×66, with additional 26×26 room with ground level concrete. We’d like to build on this same foundation, but go wider over the basement area and add overhang/porch on the long side. If this makes any sense, I hope it does, would you have ideas and builders in the Dodge County WI area? DIANE in BURNETT

DEAR DIANE: In all likelihood it could be possible to build around your existing foundation and basement. This would be structurally preferable to attempting to build directly upon existing concrete of unknown quality.
Currently (and for the foreseeable future) there is a nationwide shortage of building erectors. Most 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/
We would appreciate the opportunity to participate in your new home. Please email your existing concrete dimensions and photos, site address and best contact number to our Design Studio Manager caleb@hansenpolebuildings.com (866)200-9657 Thank you.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Have you ever built or designed a pole barn or pole barndominium with a swimming pool in or under the roof? Separate from the main living area but in heated living space. I’ve been interested in a home pool combo like they have in modern motels . ERIC in SPOONER

DEAR ERIC: Short answer is yes. Here is some extended reading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/08/post-frame-indoor-swimming-pool-considerations/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We just bought our retirement lot in Brownwood TX. It will be a couple years 3-7 before we retire but I have a couple questions. Our favorite idea is a approx 40’X70-80′ with 1600sqft living section. Other half would be pull thru garage for rv and cars. If that helps paint a picture. I have looked at some of your builds and like the different options. We are trying to figure out options with our idea for buildings and HOA requirements. 1 with roof and siding are there other material options? Shingle or other material for roof and same with siding? 2 Can a small 3′ tall brick/stone from ground up be placed for design to off set? 3 can patio and entry over hangs be added on? Thank you for your time. JOHN in BRIGHTON

DEAR JOHN: I have always encouraged my readers to (when possible) avoid having to deal with HOA’s (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/05/not-mess-hoas/). Sometimes, one finds an ideal spot (other than being in a HOA) and so just has to deal with it.

About Hansen BuildingsWhile painted steel siding and roofing are your most durable and least expensive options, we can design and provide any materials desired. We have a client doing stucco with concrete tile roofing currently, just as an example.

Wainscots of either real brick or stone, or thin brick or faux stone are increasingly popular and easily incorporated.

All sorts of patio or entry way coverings can be made a part of your new home. They can be single sloping either at same pitch as main roof, or with a pitch break (slope change). We also can cover these areas as reverse gables https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/07/reverse-gable-porch/