Tag Archives: glu-lam

Footers, Building Over Old Pool, and Home Made Glu-Lams

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about need for a “footer,” building over an old pool, and the efficacy or viability of building ones own glulaminated posts.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: You have most likely answered this question before. I don’t seem to be able to find it.

I am thinking about building a post frame home. Building department says if I put the post into the ground I do not need a footer for the floor slab. We have cold winters where ground may freeze. Will I have a problem with the slab moving? JOHN

DEAR JOHN: Congratulations for considering a post frame home as your solution. They make for wonderful homes (I live in one).

Your Building Department is correct in saying you do not need to have a “footer” for a thickened slab in a post frame building. However it will stand a great possibility of moving without taking some precautions.

Proper site preparation is a key to success – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/.

If you are going to do radiant in floor heat (strongly recommended) you will need to provide a layer of insulation under your slab. Most jurisdictions have requirements for all homes to meet minimum energy saving requirements, this includes insulating around your building’s perimeter:


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a unique building situation. I have an in-ground 18′ by 36′ rectangular swimming pool with the shallow end being 14′ long by 18′ wide with a depth of 4 feet, and the deep end 22′ long by 18′ wide with an average depth of 6 feet. I want to drain the pool and then build a structure of 22′ by 40′ to cover the area previously occupied by the pool. I do not want to demolish the pool, unless I have to.

Floor PlanWhen completed, the new building would be two stories (8′-10′ of it will be below the foundation of my existing house, with a finished basement with a 9′ floor to ceiling height, and a second floor as the main living floor with a cathedral ceiling whose peak will run the 40′ length of the new addition. Will a pole barn structure work for me? If so, will your company draw up the plans and engineer the project so that I can get it approved by my City Building Department? DENNIS in SEASIDE


DEAR DENNIS: I am not a Geotechnical Engineer, but I imagine at the least your Building Department will require the filling of your existing pool to be designed by one. You will want to be discussing with the city. Once it has been adequately filled and compacted your site becomes just like any other one. I will assume your ‘basement’ reference is in comparison to your existing home’s grade. Yes, a pole barn (post frame) structure will work for you. We have a program set up with an independent floor plan expert to take care of your interior spaces: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q and we provide the structural engineering to go with your building.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: For a pole barn is it ok to make laminated poles from say 4 2x6s screwed and glued, ground contact treated? CHRIS in CUSHING

DEAR CHRIS: Ultimately your answer will need to come from whatever engineer you have hired to design your building.

Unless those ground contact treated 2×6 are UC-4B rated, they should not be used in ground to begin with. Here is my take on your idea: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/01/making-glulam-columns/




Glu-Lam Solution, Building Hawaii? and Riding Arenas

A Glu-Lam Solution? Buildings in Hawaii? and Riding Arenas

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I’ve come across your site many times in search for what I’m looking for in a building. One of the things I’m finding difficult is higher pitch, even just 6/12, that is wood based, without web (open), with a fairly wide span available.

Today I came across your article on box beam so I put that idea on hold. I have been interested in glu lam but I don’t want to employ an expensive architect to design it. My thought was 48, 50, or 60 foot maximum width. I have found examples the same or larger even.

Can you provide something like this?


DEAR BARRY: I’ve had challenges with finding an engineer who can make even a 40 foot side span work using the box beam concept work using dimensional lumber. I’d suggest you contact either Dale at Timber Technologies (https://www.timber-technologies.com/titan.phtml) or Duane at Gruenwald Engineered Laminates (https://gruen-wald.com/). Both of them manufacture glu-laminated columns. If there exists a design solution, one or both of them are the people who can solve it for you.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, Do you build in all 50 states? We live in Ohio and have a pole barn and love it. We were thinking about moving to Hilo, Hawaii. Can you tell me if you build in Hawaii? Thanks, AARON in CAMP RAVENNA

DEAR AARON: While Hansen Pole Buildings is not a contractor, and therefore does not construct anything for anyone anywhere, we do provide complete post frame (pole barn) building kit packages to all 50 states, including Hawaii.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are looking at having an arena constructed and would like to know if you can do a 120 x 250 clear span. JODI in HOPKINSVILLE

DEAR JODI: While a 120 x 250 clearspan can be done, it is going to prove to be phenomenally expensive (whether in wood frame or all steel). Most often clients determine clearspans of 80 feet will better meet with their pocketbooks, while still allowing for the majority of training and riding needs. One of our Building Designers will be in contact with you shortly to discuss your needs and options.




Dear Pole Barn Guru: What Size Glulam Should I Use?

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: I’m building a 32’x40′ pole barn using 6×6 treated posts on 8′ centers and would like to use a glue-lam beam across the 40′ length, but am not sure how to calculate the size needed to support the roof or if I need to increase the support post size.

This will be the ridge beam. I live in a sparsely populated area of Alaska, but plan on a trip to town soon to look at other similar sized buildings. There are no building regs out here, but I have looked at some large metal buildings blown down by 90 mph winds we had two years ago and another built out of rough cut spruce logs (ridge beam type) that looked pretty simple to build. I planned to use posts sunk 6′ and set in concrete. I always like to err on the safe side, so overkill is OK. MUSHING

DEAR MUSHING: Even in the remote areas of Alaska, there are probably much safer and practical methods to design a pole building rather than trying to utilize a ridge beam 40 feet long. I’d seriously recommend rethinking your design and using prefabricated ganged (two ply or greater) wood roof trusses placed at each sidewall support. This will be much more efficient than the use of a huge beam.

In any case, you need to determine the design load for your site. Here is one possible source: https://www.groundsnowbyzip.com/

The International Building Code also provides a table of ground snow loads for Alaskan locations: https://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/ibc/2012/icod_ibc_2012_16_sec008.htm

You might want to consider getting an engineered pole building kit package, which could be easily shipped out of the Port of Seattle or Tacoma. This would take away your guessing at how to construct it right.

Back to your question….assuming a relatively low roof live load of 40 psf (pounds per square foot), your beam has to be able to support somewhere in the area of 30,000 pounds of weight (this will depend upon the dead loads – what is being used for roofing, etc.).

Assuming the snow will remain on the roof for an extended period of time, a Duration of Load of 1, is probably realistic. This means you will need a 2400f rated glulam with a Section Modulus of around 800 (for information on Bending Moments and Section Modulus read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/bending-moment/).

In the above scenario, you would be looking at a 6-3/4” x 27” deep glulam beam!! Not only will this be amazingly expensive, but it will also result in the need to hire a crane to set it in place.


DEAR NICK: Thank you for your continued interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Among the thousands of building kit packages we have provided are hundreds in New York (as well as every other state in the U.S.A.). We are VERY protective of the personal information of all of our clients, just like we will be of yours. Most people feel very uncomfortable with having “strangers” visit their homes and buildings. It is a security and safety issue, as it would be all too easy for an unscrupulous person to use this method as a way to case things out for “less than helpful” activity.  Please click on the Free Product Guide and we will be happy to mail you a very nice 32 page “showroom” of our buildings.

Here is what a few of our clients have to say: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/testimonials.htm

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: You have provided a tremendous amount of information and have given us a lot of questions that need answering – Thank you.

One of the major questions we have, what is code to make a living space (studio) type apartment inside one of these structures?  The second floor load being 40 psf, can this be increased for living space?

Do you have contractors that can assemble this on our site?  What kind of cost would be associated with assembly?

We are in the process of obtaining a VA construction loan with our local credit union and the above questions may be answered through that process.

I’ll take your questionnaire to our building department next Friday to get all those questions answered.

Thanks for your time and patience as we are just starting down this unfamiliar road.


DEAR WANTING:  You are very welcome, we try to assist our clients to be as educated as the want to become, so as to make certain the choices they make in the end, are the right ones.

A 40 psf second floor live load would be Code loading for a residential living space. You will need to meet the Washington State Energy Code for level of insulation in relationship to the number and area of openings (doors and windows) in the conditioned space. Whoever designs your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems can assist you with the proper recommendations to meet the requirements.

While we are not contractors, we do deal with builders who may be able to assist you with your project: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/find-a-builder.php

Fair market value for assembly varies greatly depending upon geographical location and the costs of doing business in any particular state. In my mind, a competitive labor quote should be around 50% of the cost of the materials being installed. As it begins to creep upwards from there, I think about strapping on my old nail belt and doing the work myself.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time we can assist you.

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