Tag Archives: Existing slab

Posts Out of Ground, Brackets Wrong Orientation, and a Rebuild

This week the Pole Barn Guru delves into reader concerns over use of a thickened edge with brackets instead of embedded columns in and area of northern Minnesota with heavy snow loads and lots of rain, the issues with wet set brackets set in the wrong orientation, and the prospect of rebuilding over current slab with existing building that is too small to fit needs.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I see your communications on here a lot so figure I would take a shot at asking you some questions. If you’re not interested in wasting your time I understand and disregard. I am trying to plan out a future build for a pole building probably 36x46x16 to heat and store a RV in. My area in Northern MN gets heavy snow and lots of rain so I think posts out of the ground would be best (mounted to slab). So we would do a thickened edge like we did with our home. Is there any semi-basic logic to what kind of thickened edge would be required or does it need to be calculated by an engineer? SHAINE in DULUTH

DEAR SHANE: Always happy to help. Thickened edge slabs are most often used in areas of little or no frost. It most instances, it is going to prove most cost and performance effective, to use embedded columns. Properly pressure preservative treatment (UC-4B rated) columns will outlast your grandchildren’s grandchildren, even in areas with profuse rainfall. If you do opt for a thickened edge slab, then it will need to be properly insulated (or extend downward to below frost line) to prevent heaving. Whoever provides engineer sealed plans for your building, can properly detail foundation depending upon route you ultimately pick.

Sidebar – if you have the space, consider building 36′ x 48′ as it will be nearly identical in investment due to efficiencies of material usage.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Builders put wet sets in wrong set 2×8 4ply glu lams columns now the laminated side is running with the face not the trusses. How much strength did I lose how can I fix it without demolition? 62ft trusses 80 ft long 10 ft post spaces in front (it’s open) back is 12 ft spacing with an additional 18ft lean to. Main building is 14ft high. KURT in HAGERSTOWN

DEAR KURT: Do-it-yourselfers just do not make mistakes such as your ‘professional’ builder just has, because they will actually look at plans, follow instructions and use common sense. 4 ply glulam columns measure 5-3/8″ x 7″ Column strength in bending is based upon Section Modulus (Sm). As designed, Sm – 5.375″ x 7″^2 / 6 = 43.896, as placed by your builder 7″ x 5.375^2 / 6 = 33.706, so you are losing over 23% of your bending strength. You have a bigger problem than strength of column – wet set brackets are not designed to take a load when rotated 90 degrees. Sadly, sounds to me like your builder has an expensive demo on his hands.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am looking into a property with an existing pole building on a 24×40 slab (construction history unknown, it’s old so there might not be any). The building is too short for my needs, and is also pretty worn out overall. My question is would I be capable of taking down the current building and reconstructing my own on the current slab? Would it be possible to have the slab inspected as to know it’s exact structural capabilities? Would it be best (or even possible) to have a 2′ skirt with footings poured and tied in around the entire perimeter, and just build a larger building on that as to avoid the structural limitations of the current slab? Thanks! BEN in ZIMMERMAN

DEAR BEN: As no building is ever too big, I would look to build outside of existing slab, then infill.

Rather than pouring footings – use properly pressure preservative treated columns, embedded in ground. Will prove structurally superior, easier to build and far less costly.

Wall Height, What’s Included? and Drill Set Bracket Usage

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about customizing the wall height to best “utilize sheet goods” on interior walls, what Hansen includes in a pole barn kit, and the practicality of using a drill set bracket for columns into an existing slab.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Once I save up the funds, I plan to have you guys design me a 28′ x 48′ pole barn with 12′ walls and 6/12 roof. Due to various reasons I will be foregoing metal siding and utilizing wood sheathing and siding for the exterior. I know you measure wall height from the bottom of skirt board, but is it possible to have 12′ walls from top of concrete floor to bottom of truss so as to efficiently utilize sheet goods on the interior walls? Also is 12′ post spacing possible? Thanks TROY in HONEOYE FALLS

DEAR TROY: Yes, we can design to give you a 12′ finished ceiling. Typically, your Building Designer will plan upon 12′ 1-1/8″ from top of slab to bottom of trusses. This allows for finished ceiling thickness (drywall, steel, etc.) and to be able to utilize 12′ drywall panels run vertically and be 1/2″ above your concrete. In most instances sidewall columns every 12 feet will be your most economical design solution (and minimizes number of holes having to be dug).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I was wondering what is including a pole barn kit? JOSHUA in LEBANON

DEAR JOSHUA: Our fully engineered post frame (pole barn) kits include: Mutli-page full size (24″ x 36″) engineer sealed structural plans, specific to your building, on your site, detailing location and connection of every structural member. Includes foundation design. Engineer sealed calculations to verify adequacy of each member and connection. The industry’s best fully illustrated Construction Manual. Unlimited Technical Support from a team who has actually built post frame buildings. All columns, pressure treated splash planks, wall girts, blocking, headers, jambs, roof trusses (and floor trusses where applicable), truss bracing, roof purlins, joist hangers, specialty connectors for trusses to columns, steel roofing and siding (or alternative claddings), steel trims, UV resistant closures for eaves and ridge, powder coated diaphragm screws to attach steel, doors and windows. In a nut shell – everything you need to successfully erect your own beautiful new building other than concrete, rebar and any nails normally driven from a nail gun.

Our Limited Lifetime Structural Warranty.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing concrete slab with extra thick edges that once housed a quonset before a tornado in the 1980s destroyed it. I have bolted on brackets intending to use the glued columns that I purchased for a 12′ sidewall building. I have since been reading your posts in multiple forums regarding moment force etc., is there any mitigation that can be done with the construction that would still accommodate my original plan? Corner shear walls etc? Thank you Mr. Guru. TOM in STREETER

DEAR TOM: While shear walls (and/or bracing) can make your building shell stiffer, they do not eliminate moment (bending) loads having to be transferred through those brackets and bolt connectors. Your best bets are to either build with columns outside perimeter of existing slab, or cut out squares at each column location for either embedded columns (best design solution) or to pour wet-set brackets into piers.

Building Over Existing Slab, Blueprints for House, and Pole Building Finance

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about building over or on an existing slab or concrete, whether of not Hansen sells “just the blueprints” for a pole barn/house, and lending for a pole building set on foundation/footing/wall.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: In Arkansas, I want to build a pole barn (or similar) on an existing 40×45 concrete 4” slab. I want the building to be tall enough for 14’ garage doors. Building will be used to store a motor home and tractors and trailers. What is the most cost efficient (but safe and lasting) way to build it- dig holes outside of the existing slab, saw cut the slab and dig holes for the poles, or do stick frame on top of the existing slab? STEVEN in EAGLE CREEK

DEAR STEVEN: Let’s begin by eliminating stick frame as there is no guarantee your existing slab is adequate to support perimeter walls and (more importantly) Code prohibits stud bearing walls tall enough for your overhead doors, as well as truss spans over 36′, without your building being engineered (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/08/stick-frame-and-some-limitations/). Stick frame is also very material inefficient.

I have done concrete saw cutting before and don’t plan upon a repeat performance – leaving digging holes as being easiest, most cost effective and structurally sound design solution. 42′ x 48′ would fit nicely and you could concrete infill areas between splash planks and existing slab with premix.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you sell just the blueprints for a pole barn/ house.


DEAR MICHAEL: We can create your ideal dream floor plan whether you order your building from us or not. Every barndominium Hansen Pole Buildings provides is 100% custom designed to best meet the wants and needs of our clients and their loved ones, please see #3 here to assist in determining needed spaces and approximate sizes, and to have professional floor plans and elevation drawings produced affordably. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/
Structural, engineer sealed, plans are only available with your investment in a Hansen Pole Building. This is due to proprietary products specified by our engineers and available only through Hansen Pole Buildings.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello Guru! I’m currently researching the building of a post frame home/workshop/garage. I was looking at getting a construction loan. The bank will finance the purchase of a building kit but they want it to have a foundation footing and wall. I’ve looked at the Sturdi Wall brackets for an anchor system and the laminated 2×6 posts. My question is do you design buildings with foundation walls? Or do you have a better recommendation? Thanks for your help.- JEFF in PORT ORCHARD

DEAR JEFF: We provide many fully engineered post frame buildings using wet set Sturdi-wall plus brackets attached to concrete, block or even ICF foundation walls. Personally (if I was not allowed to do what I feel is a best route – embedded columns) my preference would be wet set brackets in poured concrete piers. If you have a chance, please forward to me your lender’s actual written policy requirements for review, as it may give me some better insights.


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/


Mounting Door Tracks, A Post Frame Inquiry, and Floor Options

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about where to mount the vertical tracks for his overhead garage door, a batch of questions for a possible DIY’er, and a question about flooring options.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do my tracks for garage door mount directly to the 6×6 posts, or is there a 2×6 supposed to be added to mount to? DAVID in ROCKFIELD

DEAR DAVID: Mounting should be called out for on your engineer sealed building plans as well as specified in assembly instructions provided with your building kit. In most instances door tracks will be mounted directly to columns on each side of door opening, unless interior girts are being added. With interior girts, place a 2x on interior column face and larger steel jamb trims will be required.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you deliver to MA?
Can I put up garage on to existing concrete slab, or do I have to dig holes for posts?
Can I get information about what it takes to put up your building so I would know if I can do it myself or not?

Click here to download our free brochure!DEAR KAYA: Yes, Hansen Pole Buildings delivers to Massachusetts as well as all 47 other contiguous U.S. states. For Alaska and Hawaii, we will deliver to a West Coast port (most usually Tacoma) for loading onto a container contracted by you.

For existing concrete slabs, we recommend saw cutting holes through it and removing concrete at hole locations to either auger holes for columns, or to pour piers for wet set brackets. As an alternative, you could dig holes outside of your existing slab (making building larger in width and length than your existing concrete).

Anyone who is physically able bodied and can read and follow instructions in English can successfully erect one of our buildings. Sample structural plans are available on our website: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/sample-building-plans/. For a nominal fee (applied to your future building investment) you can obtain one of our complete Construction Manuals – please reach out to  Plans@HansenPoleBuildings.com to acquire one.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Does the estimated price of a Pole Barn include flooring options, or is that extra? DAVID in MAPLE GROVE

DEAR DAVID: Our fully engineered post frame building kits do not include finished floor coverings, we leave this option up to you.

For wooden subfloors, we offer a choice of either underlayment grade plywood or Oriented Strand Board.


Bolt to Slab, Metal Distortion, and a Moisture Drip Issue

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about use of dry-set brackets to existing slab, spray foam distorting metal, and a problem with drip when temperature is just right.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How thick does the edge of concrete need to be to support a pole barn if using the bolt on top of existing slab? CHRIS

DEAR CHRIS: Our independent third party engineers have determined brackets dry mounted to existing concrete slabs are not a good structural solution and will no longer certify such connections. We would recommend either saw cutting holes in your slab to use either embedded or wet set bracket mounted columns, or to place columns around your slab’s perimeter.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Why does the spray foam distort the metal? LARRY in KALISPELL

DEAR LARRY: Properly installed closed cell spray foam insulation should not distort either roof or wall steel. My lovely bride and I used it when we added an elevator shaft on the rear endwall of our shouse and it was used to insulate a recent approximately 3000 square foot addition to Hansen Pole Buildings’ warehouse. Both were done with no noticeable steel deflection. Here is some further reading on this subject https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/04/spray-foam-insulation-3/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a moisture problem in our 36×45 pole barn when the weather is right it drips when the sun warms it up. I understand I need more ventilation. Along the top center ridge there is formed foam gasketing like you have talked about. Some of it is falling out. Can I remove that to improve ventilation or is that there to stop rain or snow from coming in? Really appreciate many of the tips you have on your site. RON in MAZOMANIE

DEAR RON: I will suspect your dripping issue is due to there being no thermal break between your building’s roof framing and roof steel. If this is your circumstance, your only real solution is to have two inches of closed cell spray foam applied to inside of your roofing. While adding ventilation may remediate some of your challenge, there is still going to be some degree of warm moist air trapped inside.

In order to adequately ventilate, you will need to have both an air intake and an exhaust. You could remove your ridge cap and replace your present formed ridge closures with a similar vented material (vented closures). For air intakes, if your building does not have vented sidewall overhangs, you could add gable vents at each end.


Alternative Siding, Building on Slab, and Ceiling Liner Loading

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about alternative siding and roofing, whether one can build on an existing slab, and if a ceiling liner can hold insulation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you build me a steel wall inside and vinyl siding on the outside with asphalt shingles? PAUL in BLUE GRASS

DEAR PAUL: A beauty of post-frame construction is we can design for virtually any combination of roofing and siding materials you may desire. While I am not a huge fan of steel liner panels, yes – your building can have them along with your vinyl siding. Steel liner panels end up posing challenges with trying to attach things to them, like work benches, cabinets, shelves, etc. Gypsum wallboard (sheet rock) is generally far more affordable as well as easier to make attachments to. And, if 5/8” Type X is used, affords some fire protection.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can Hansen build the barn on top of an existing slab? CLYDE in BELLVILLE

DEAR CLYDE: Yes, we can design a complete post frame building kit package to be attached to your existing concrete slab. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/dry-set-column-anchors/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My trusses are 8 feet on center will the metal ceiling liner span that 8 feet without sagging if I blow in fiberglass insulation? RODNEY in LAKE ELMO

DEAR RODNEY: No, steel liner panels will sag across an eight foot span. If your building’s roof trusses are not designed to support weight of a ceiling load, then they will sag as well – and, in combination with a snow load, may fail.