Tag Archives: foundation

Dry Set Brackets on Foundation, Unfinished Jobs, and Engineering

Today the Pole Barn Guru discusses rebuilding on an existing concrete foundation with dry set brackets, unfinished work, and proper engineering.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’ve recently torn down an old machine shed that still has very good 8″ wide by 24″ deep cement foundation walls that I’m thinking about using to erect a new pole barn/machine shed.  Only about 6″ out of the 24″ of the foundation wall is above ground.  Can I erect 4×6 or 6×6 posts to the existing foundation or should I use more of the stick framing techniques?

One additional question on this:  The previous machine shed had a sole plate on the foundation.  Would you normally use a sole plate in a situation like this as well or just attach directly to the concrete? What’s the advantage of using a sole plate?  If I were to use a sole plate and anchored it to the foundation, and then put the posts on top of the sole pate, how would you recommend attach them to the sole plate?

Thanks, MICHAEL

DEAR MICHAEL: Regardless of design solution chosen, it would prudent to have your existing foundation reviewed by a competent local engineer for adequacy. In many areas frost depths are deeper than your foundation, rendering it unable to be reused. Provided your concrete has sufficient depth and strength, a post frame building can easily be mounted to it using dry set anchors (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/dry-set-column-anchors/).

Bracket manufacturer shows anchors mounted directly to concrete walls and I would imagine this achieves best possible connection without creation of additional hinge points due to sill plate thickness. Sill plate still in place upon top of existing concrete wall, then I would recommend it being cut away where brackets will be located.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I had contacted you before regarding a kit but decided I didn’t want to get into a project that big.  I contracted with a local builder from Idaho Falls, Idaho to build my building in Afton, Wyoming.  He seems to have disappeared after setting the posts and framing in the wall girts.  Since he builds very similar to your kits I thought I might inquire to see if you could sell me a partial kit.  What I have is 6×6 posts on 12 foot centers and as I already said, they are framed in with 2×6 girts.

contractors-workingI noticed on your web site you have some buildings in Wyoming.  Do you use vendors for regional distribution?  I can’t imagine shipping everything from MN. JOHN in AFTON

DEAR JOHN: I hate it when a builder pulls things like this it just makes our entire industry look bad. We’ll need specifics of dimensions and features to price balance of your building, as well as what materials you actually have delivered. We have distribution agreements with vendors all across country in order to maximize possible providers and minimize costs of shipping. Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you shortly.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: For the post on top of a foundation wall would you recommend 4″ x 6″ or 6″ x 6″ post and would they need to be treated?

Thanks, MICHAEL

DEAR MICHAEL: Second part of your question gets answered first, it would only need to be pressure preservative treated if wood was in contact with concrete. As most commonly available timber sizes are pressure preservative treated, you might very well find treated timbers to be both more readily available and more cost affordable.

As far as size of column – this should be determined by an engineer hired to design your building (or engineered plans provided by your post frame building kit provider). Post size will be influenced by heights of both walls and roof, design wind speeds and wind exposure, snow loads and many other variables. Please do not just take advice from some layperson when it comes to your building’s structural design, rely upon a registered design professional.

 

 

Double Skirt Boards, Siding Options, and Foundation Plans

Today’s blog discusses double skirt boards, siding options and foundation plans.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The pole building garage at the house I bought has two skirt boards. Can I remove the interior board to remove the dirt easier and put quikrete in its place. There is a 5” gap between the wall and the floor. The previous owner started putting quikrete in some places. Looks like the floor was put in before the building was built. KENNY in PARKERSBURG

 

 

 

DEAR KENNY: The Hansen Pole Buildings’ warehouse has the exact same situation. The interior splash plank is doing nothing for you or your building, feel free to remove it.

 

 

 

 

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can the steel exterior panels be omitted? I plan to install log siding and false log corners to match the appearance of my new log home.
Thanks BILL in WILTON

Roof Only PorchDEAR BILL: In short, yes – we can provide a building ready for you to side. What we most typically provide is 7/16” thick OSB over bookshelf girts 24 inches on center, with housewrap over the sheathing. If your false log siding can structurally provide resistance to shear, the OSB could be omitted, however this would not be my recommendation.

 

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you include foundation plans with your kits? JOE

DEAR JOE: All Hansen Pole Buildings come with complete engineered foundation plans based upon your specific building, upon your site and reflecting the soil bearing capacity confirmed by you.

 

 

Building Height, Building on Existing Foundation, and Spray Foam

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about calculating the height of a building, Building on and existing foundation, and Spray Foam Insulation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m looking for over all height of a building with a 14’ eave?
Thanks. DOUG in PILOT ROCK

DEAR DOUG: The overall height determination starts with a clear understanding of how eave height is to be measured: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/02/eave-height-2/.


 

With this in mind, the rise of the roof can be calculated by multiplying the distance from sidewall building line to the center of the building, in feet and multiplying this by the roof slope. Here is an example for a 36 foot width gabled roof with a 4/12 roof slope:  36′ X 1/2 (half the building width) X 4″ / 12″ = 6 feet. Adding this to the eave height gives an overall height of 20 feet, in this particular example.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can they be built on a poured basement wall from a previous home? PAT in GREENEVILLE

DEAR PAT: As long as the concrete is structurally sound you should be able to utilize dry set column bases (ones designed specifically for post frame construction) to mount columns to the top of the foundation.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing Hansen pole barn 24×24 with a 9ft eave height and full length ridge vent, it has reflective roll insulation between the roof panels and the purlins. How can I further insulate it from Florida heat? I insulated the walls with rigid insulation. Can I add insulation under the existing reflective insulation at the roof? STEVE in ROSELAND

DEAR STEVE: I’d be contacting local installers of closed cell spray foam insulation. You will get close to R-7 per inch of foam (again, must be closed cell) and do not have the ventilation issues posed by using batt insulation between purlins. You will need to block off the eave and ridge vents for this to be an effective solution.

 

 

 

 

Proper Foundation and Slab, Two-Story Buildings, and Door Parts

Proper Foundation and Slab, Two-Story Buildings, and Door Parts

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Dear Sir, I read the details of pouring a concrete slab after building the barn. I live in Montana with some pretty cold winters. If I were laying a slab for a conventional stick built structure i would be required to dig footings 48” deep all around the perimeter. What should I do if I am building a pole barn? While I may supply low level background heat I would like a construction that does not require it to resist Montana winters.
Regards, DEREK in KALISPELL

DEAR DEREK: Regardless of the type of construction used, the success or lack thereof for your slab is going to come from what you do underneath it, as well as grading the site properly to keep water from pooling below it.

Follow along first by reading my series of articles devoted to site preparation which begins with: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/.

You will want to have your building site graded so as there is a 5% slope away from the building, when completed.

Now the fun part – protecting your building itself. I’ve become an advocate for Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations. Here are a couple of articles which should get you heading in the right direction: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/11/frost-protected-shallow-foundations/

and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/post-frame-frost-walls/.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you offer 30 x 40 2 story apartment/garages?? ROB in ALPINE

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR ROB: We offer any dimension of footprint you desire, not just 30 foot width by 40 feet long and would encourage you to look at what works best for you in an internal layout, then create the exterior dimensions which best fit your interior needs. Two and even three full or partial stories can easily be done with post frame construction and if your zoning allows the overall height and you are willing to add sprinklers, you could go four stories.

Your mixed use will probably result in having to at least one-hour fire separate the apartment from the garage. This could include having to protect the stairs, if they are interior, as well as to provide clear protection all the way to the outside world. A discussion with your local planning and zoning friends could provide you with added insights.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you have available, either metal or wood, a barn door and hardware for an opening 8′ high and 5′ wide, to be placed within a screen porch (the entrance to the garage)? TRISH in WIMBERLEY

DEAR TRISH: Thank you for your interest. Due to shipping challenges, we now only provide barn doors along with the investment into a complete post frame building kit. You might try contacting the ProDesk at your local The Home Depot®.

 

 

 


Dear Guru: Have You Used SIPs?

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 have any experience with SIPs? Would it be possible to construct a pole frame building with SIP panels for the roof and floor joists across the top of the building? This would create a full width storage area above without trusses. Matt in Coeur d’Alene, ID

DEAR MATT: I’ve actually never used SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) personally, however I’ve been researching them and their application to pole building frames over the past few months as I believe they may have some applications.

For those unfamiliar with SIPs, they are structural facing material (think oriented strand board – OSB or plywood) with a foam core.

Using SIPs is probably not for the faint of pocketbook. Much of the cost, like a new pole building to begin with, is deciding you are going to do it at all. Once you have made the leap, you might as well go all the way. An R-16 SIP is going to run $4 to $4.50 per square foot, while TRIPLING the R-value only adds about $1.50 per square foot.

A SIP wall will offer about twice the R-value as an equally thick stud framed wall with fiberglass batt insulation.

The higher R-value SIP is also going to be able to span greater distances, however the thickness is going to have to be considered. I would surmise a fairly thick SIP panel would span 12 feet between supports under the majority of wind and snow load conditions. This is not going to eliminate the need for trusses, or other beams being required to support the SIPs, albeit without the need to have wall girts or roof purlins!

SIP panels of other than minimal dimensions are going to be heavy and will require lifting equipment. They also cannot be left exposed to the elements and require the use of appropriate underlayment between the panels and roofing and siding materials.

Let me know if you go this direction and how it works out for you.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:   I would like to know if you’re interested in building my new building?  I have the prints and need a quote.  I want r38 in ceiling and R19 in the walls.  Let me know?  I am attaching the plans.  I am in the process of getting quotes for a heating and air system, if you want to quote that I am open to your thoughts. SHERRY IN MITCHELL, IN

DEAR SHERRY: We are interested in doing the design and providing the materials for just about any pole building.

We are not contractors and do not construct buildings for anyone, anywhere. We do work with builders in nearly every state, who may be able to provide assembly, or we can assist you in finding a builder on your own. We do not ever recommend any particular builder – so it will be up to you to thoroughly vet them. (Read how to check out a contractor here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/07/contractor-6/)

One thing we do not do is to provide materials based upon structural designs provided by others. We most often find the plans to be either structurally under designed, or overkilled. Our services include complete structural drawings, where every member and connection is verified to be able to support the design loads. Our plans are always designed to Code and can be sealed by an engineer if you so choose.

We can most certainly design to meet the insulation R values you desire, and in many cases supply the insulation itself.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: On your blog you say the best post footings are achieved by supporting the post 8″ above the bottom of the hole and filling the hole 24″ or so with concrete. What is the method of supporting the pole while placing concrete until the concrete sets. GAYLA in MOUNDS,IL

DEAR GAYLA: Stand the post in the bottom of the hole (column depth below grade) specified on the building plans) and align the exterior face as if the column were going to be concreted in – then pull it upwards 8” (leaving an 8” space below the column) and temporarily nail it to a purlin or other piece of lumber laid across the hole to keep it in this “finished” position. Pour the concrete – you can shovel or push it in and around the column with another stick of lumber so the mono-pour encases the pole. Once the poles are “set”, hammer the temporary piece of lumber (like a purlin) off the column –to use where it is designated. Sometimes I use two pieces of temporary bracing to support the column to be concreted in – so the pole is basically suspended in mid-air within the hole…until the day after concrete is poured. Remove temporary braces and reuse them. You won’t “hurt” the lumber used as temporary bracing.

 

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

Lying or Just Plain Stupid?

Yesterday afternoon, one of our senior building designers sent me this instant message:Kid ready to make a bad decision

“So what do you do with a customer who is being sold a bill of goods by his contractor? Starting from, client was told he needed to pour footings and build with 2×6 studs because pole buildings ‘move too much’. All the way to – ‘you need to sheet your walls and roof with plywood before you put steel on’. This is because of security and dust coming through the walls. Not to mention on the roof for a vapor barrier.”

It amazes me the ignorance about pole buildings after over 80 years of solid pole building construction.

A bit more about this particular client’s building. It is 40’ x 80’ with a 14’ eave height. The client initially contacted the builder to get a labor quote only –  to construct a Hansen Building kit.  The client specifically asked for one of our pole buildings.  The builder told this client a pole building would be way too complicated to construct and the stick frame building would be less expensive.

Let’s look at the realities of the situation. To construct a stick frame building will take excavating a trench around the perimeter of the building to below the frost line (and it DOES freeze deep in Maine). A footing must be formed and poured. With a wall this tall, I’d imagine at the least it would have to be eight inches thick and 16 inches wide with rebar in it. On top of the footing will need to be formed up a foundation wall. This foundation is going to be a minimum of four feet tall, due to the frost depth. The wall should probably be an eight inch wall, but assuming six inch thick, three truckloads of concrete will be used for the footings and foundation! With the pole building, holes are augered in the ground and around five yards of concrete are required for the backfill. Pretty low tech and saves a bunch of money in equipment, materials and labor.

A kicker the contractor may not have considered, or has ignored….the maximum stud wall height allowed (according to code) without engineering is 10’. His building is going to need to be designed by a registered professional engineer in order to meet code requirements.

As far as “movement”, steel roofing and siding has shear values nearly equal to those of 7/16” osb or ½” plywood. Imagine the steel as being very thin, very strong plywood. It is the sheathing of a building which holds the frame stable, not the framework. With steel and plywood virtually equal for strength, it takes away the “movement” issue. Our Hansen pole building office is 44 feet high from ground to roof peak and has no noticeable movement in even the extreme wind loads of South Dakota.

Moving on, let’s address the issue of “eliminating dust”.  Each steel panel overlaps the adjacent panel which prevents dust infiltration. Base trim (aka “rat guard”) keeps dust from entering around the base of the building. All other steel edges have trims which cover possible infiltration areas. The eave edge of the roof steel and under the ridge cap are sealed by form fitting closure strips, which seal those areas.

The only place for dust to enter either style of building is going to be via an open door! Same goes for security – your building is only going to be as secure  as the quality of the doors. Chances are the builder is going to provide entry doors with wood jambs, which is an invitation to enter via a good swift kick. The commercial steel doors we provide have steel jambs as well.  No one is going to break those jambs with a kick.

As for a vapor barrier, our buildings come standard with a reflective radiant barrier for under the roof steel. With our exclusive PSA (pull strip attached) adhesive strips, proper installation assures the elimination of condensation. A side benefit being the increased insulation value and the reflective radiant barrier is superior against heat gain. Using plywood on a roof proves to be expensive, adds weight to the roof system and requires the use of asphalt felt paper or other similar and materials to create a water tight seal.

If ignorance is bliss, this particular contractor is either very happy, or he is feeding a line to the client. If the first, he is doing no justice to the client, if the second, he’s worse yet.  My guess is… stick framed is all he knows.  He is just too lazy to try something “new”, easier….and cheaper for the customer, while being just as solid, air tight and long lasting.