Tag Archives: footing

Replacing Panels, Rebar in Column, and Wholesale Purchases(?)

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about replacing old steel panels and adding an overhead garage door, if rebar is needed in the column to collar connection of the footing, and the ability to buy rock wool insulation wholesale.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m purchasing a small farm in rural Missouri. It has a 24′ x 60′ pole barn. the framing / structure is in good shape. It has corrugated metal panels. these are sound, but the looks are poor. It also has the sliding barn type door. My hope is to re-face the building with better looking panels and put in an overhead-style door ( garage type door). JOHN in NEWINGTON

DEAR JOHN: New steel cladding would certainly “freshen up” looks of this building. It would also allow for steel siding to be held up from grade (by adding a pressure preservative treated splash plank at base), rather than being run into ground.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Does rebar need to be installed in the concrete that surrounds the column in a pole barn? I will have holes of 12″, 18″ and 24″. Thanks. LOUIS in STEPHENS CITY

DEAR LOUIS: Unless it is called out for on your engineer sealed plans, there would usually be no requirement for rebar in concrete column encasement.

A 12″ diameter hole would be very unusual as Codes require a 4″ minimum space between corners of columns and edge of holes (a 4×4 perfectly placed in the center of a 13″ hole would meet Code requirements).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I was watching a video on Youtube recently and saw a guy hanging 6″ rock wool batt insulation. I was wondering if you might know where I can buy this product wholesale? I built a 30×64 and am at that stage where I’ll be looking to insulate myself soon. MARK in ARAPAHOE

DEAR MARK: Unless you are willing to buy an entire 53′ van box of rock wool, you are not going to be able to purchase it wholesale and even then you would need to provide proof you would be distributing on a regular basis from an established business in construction supply trades.


Do it Best

Do it Best®

I get a lot of people asking some great questions of the Pole Barn Guru. Some of which take some lengthy answers, in order to adequately make the point. Here is one which involves the thought of doing business through a Do it Best® store would add a level of security.

For your reading pleasure……

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have shopped for a pole barn for several months. I wanted a simple 30x40x10. I got several quotes and put a lot of thought into the project. I was concerned about “fly by night” builders. I wound up choosing a “doitbest” retailer, hoping that they would have the backing in case something went awry. The builder arrived yesterday to begin construction, I had to leave for work but my Dad came over to oversee the project. He noticed that when they set the poles, they did not use any concrete below or around them. The builder just backfilled the holes. My question is this; Is this an acceptable practice? They have not put the sheet metal on yet, should I stop the process until we discuss this? I am not an engineer or contractor, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to have no concrete around or under the posts. Please advise? CHRIS IN CARTHAGE

DEAR CHRIS: If you shopped for several months and got several quotes, it sounds like you did put a fair amount of thought into your new pole barn (post frame building).

Do it Best® bills itself as the “World’s Largest Hardware Store”®. It is a cooperative which is owned by its approximately 3800 members, making it the only US-based full-line, full-service, member-owned distributor of lumber, hardware, and building materials products in the home improvement industry. Each store is independently owned, so dealing with a Do it Best® location gives you only what little protection can be afforded by the store you did business with. It is not like The Home Depot® or Lowes®, where every location is corporately owned and you are afforded the protection of a multi-billion dollar chain.

Regardless of the builders affiliation or lack thereof, it is important to do due diligence in thoroughly vetting them out. I’ve shared this many times in my articles, but apparently it has been under utilized: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/contractor-6/

drilling-hole-150x150On to your question. Placing no concrete under or around the building columns is probably a recipe for disaster – no building of any sort is going to prove to be better than its foundation. Although it is possible to engineer a foundation without concrete, it would involve enough extra efforts (and usually some very deep holes) in order to make it work. The concrete in the holes serves numerous functions – it has to be able to adequately distribute the weight of the building and any imposed vertical loads (like snow and ice) into the soils beneath the building to keep it from settling. This is a prevalent problem with most post frame (pole) buildings, where either no concrete or an inadequate amount of concrete has been placed below the columns. Building codes require a minimum of a six inch thick footing. Having the concrete up the sides of the column, above the footing aids in prevention of uplift (your building being sucked away) as well as overturning, neither of which would be a pleasant experience.

Here is a recent instance of a new pole building owner with a similar experience to yours: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/08/pole-barn-columns-settle/

In my humble opinion – you should stop the builder immediately and demand he provide an engineer’s certification of the adequacy of what he has done for a footing/backfill. He is not going to be able to do it, so the next step is to have him provide an engineered repair (which means it is wet sealed and signed by an engineer) and then make sure he actually does the work prescribed by the engineer.

I am going to guess the building which you have invested in is not an engineered building – where the plans have the “wet seal” and original signature of a RDP (Registered Design Professional – engineer or architect). This affords a new building owner the assurance someone who actually has the knowledge of structural design has verified the adequacy of the overall building design as well as the strength and load carrying capabilities of every member and connection. I also cannot imagine your building is somewhere structural building permits and site inspections occur – if it is, then get your local Building Official involved, as it is his or her responsibility to look out for the safety of those who are investing in new construction.

Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!