Tag Archives: Grade Changes

Uneven Ground, Greatest Strength, and Post Spacing

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about building a pole barn on uneven ground, if spray foam adds the greatest strength, and post spacing for a roof only porch.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We were potentially looking to build. We were investigating our options and I came across pole barns. My potential issue is the land I would be potentially building on. Its on a hillside and not exactly flat. Is this an issue with pole barns? As most of the photos of homes are on flat ground. LESLEY in HAZARD

DEAR LESLEY: Fully engineered post frame (pole barn) buildings can be adapted to fit most any ground surface – from pancake flat to steeply sloped. Many design solutions are possible: cutting into hillside (will require a retaining wall outside of building perimeter or a foundation of concrete, block, ICFs, or pressure preservative treated wood); a combination of cutting and filling; filling to bring site up to highest grade (this is most common and minimize possible affects of exterior surface water infiltration) or as a stilt house.

Here is how I personally solved 12 feet of grade change for my own shop/house: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What would give pole barn the greatest strength- closed cell exterior walls or under roof?

Due to cost would closed cell under metal roof and open cell on all walls provide much additional structural support?

Would close cell all but price prohibitive so looking at next best option.

CAM in DANVILLE

DEAR CAM: In order to insure your post frame (pole barn) building has its greatest structural integrity, it should be fully engineered (not just trusses) to meet or exceed Code mandated design wind speeds and Exposure for your site. While closed cell spray foam insulation will make any surface it is directly applied to more rigid, I would not rely upon it as a structural solution.

Your site is located in Climate zone 5A. 2018 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) requirements for residential energy efficiency specific R-49 for ceilings, R-20 for walls. For cost effectiveness you could do a Weather Resistant Barrier in your walls between framing and steel siding, then fill balance of wall cavity with kraft faced fiberglass R-21 batts. For your roof, order trusses with 18 inch energy heels designed to support a ceiling and blow in 16 inches of fiberglass on top of your ceiling. Control condensation with a well-sealed Reflective Radiant Barrier (least expensive for materials but more work) or an Integral Condensation Control applied directly to roof steel when roll formed (slightly more for materials, but easily installed). Provide adequate ventilation with intakes through vented sidewall soffits and exhaust at ridge.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I build a 24×24 gabled roof over my deck using only four posts? RON in TRUMANN

DEAR RON: It might be possible, but may not be practical as you are going to need to have 24′ long lumber for either purlins, or truss carriers. Chances of being able to acquire either, without purchasing full unit quantities, will be slim. We would typically recommend using 6 columns, spaced every 12′ along eave sides.

 

 

Pitch a Roof, Up or Out, and a Site Prep Problem

Today’s Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about a “way to put a pitch on a flat carport roof,” when building is is cheaper to go “up or out,” and “extra” costs associated with poor site prep.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the fastest, least expensive way to put a pitch on a flat carport roof? My inclination is to use 2x material cut at 1.6 degree (3/8″/foot) across the 24′ width 16″ apart covered with 7/16″ OSB. DANIEL in YELLOW SPRINGS

DEAR DANIEL: Unless you are going to use a hot mopped or rolled EPDM roofing, you should probably be looking to do a slope of at least 3/12 for either shingles or steel roofing (steel will be least expensive and quickest). Below this roof slope shingles require added underlayment and most steel roofing paint warrantees are void. You should have a Registered Professional Engineer investigate specifics of your carport and determine a structurally sound design solution – rather than you guessing and either creating a bigger problem, or over killing and being more expensive than necessary.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My wife and I are researching pole barns with the intent of building within the next year. You’re site says it’s cheaper to build a larger footprint than it is to build up. When we built our home, our builder told us it was cheaper to build up than to build with a larger footprint. What’s the deal? JONATHAN in KENNEWICK

DEAR JONATHAN: Without comparing an exact set of variables – exact usable square footage, ceiling heights, insulation requirements, include concrete, HVAC, literally everything, I would find it difficult to predict other than they should be very, very close when all is said and done. This article goes further in depth on this vary subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/02/barndominium-one-story-or-two/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Our contractor set the poles without grading the site. Now he wants to charge us $5000 more because there’s a 2′ drop. He says he needs 7 truckloads of fill dirt to make the floor level. We are building the pole barn to put our travel trailer in and now the clearance of the 12 foot door opening is in jeopardy because he has to build up the outside ramp to get to the door. What can we do? RUTHIE in SPRING HILL

Entry Door ProblemDEAR RUTHIE: To begin with your site should have been graded prior to construction starting, obviously you did not know what you did not know. Fill should not be dirt, in any case. Up to within two to six inches of bottom of your building’s splash planks should be sub base – compacted no more than every six inches. On top of this should be two to six inches of sand or sandy gravel – also compacted. Seven truckloads of fill should amount to roughly 115 yards, so if this is for proper materials, compacted, price is probably not out of line.

You could solve much of this by cutting down high spots on your site – probably at least a foot inside your building’s footprint and sloping away from your building for 10 feet outside.

 

 

More Information, Pricing for a Kit, and Site Work and Grade Changes

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about “more information” on Hansen Pole Building’s product, pricing for a kit, as well as site work and grade changes.

Hansen Buildings TaglineDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey, I was wanting to see if I could get some more information on a steel house. My wife and I have 5 acres in Kings Mountain, NC and are wanting to start the home buying/ building process at the end of next year. Do you guys take care of the structure, concrete slab, flooring, electrical, grading, plumbing, well, etc? I am trying to find more information on the steel house process and how I can go about getting started. Looking forward to hearing back from you. SAWYER in KINGS MOUNTAIN

DEAR SAWYER: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Here is a great resource to get you started: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/10/show-me-your-barndominium-plans-please/

Our goal is to provide you with the best possible building value and to help you avoid making crucial mistakes you will regret forever. We take care of custom design and structural aspects of your home along with delivery to your site. We include detailed step-by-step assembly instructions for you or your builder as well as unlimited free Technical Support from people who have actually built buildings.

Sign up for our every weekday blogs, friend us on Facebook, or give us a call at 1(866)200-9657.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have seen your kits available other places so I decided to go to you directly. Where do I find pricing for 48 ft. x 60 ft. x 20 ft. Wood Garage Kit without Floor. LEAMARIE in NEW RICHMOND

DEAR LEAMARIE: Your quickest way to obtain pricing on this (or any dimension post frame building) is to call 1(866)200-9657 and ask to speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I live on the side of the mountain and planning on building a 36×40 shop, I have to do a little of grade work and may need to bring in some pit fill. Wondering if these pole barn kits will work for me? My plan is to have a concrete slab… was thinking of a Thickened edge slab because of my concern of frost heaving of a floating slab, does a pole barn make sense in my situation? Or should I just do a stick frame… DAVE in BOZEMAN

DEAR DAVE: Beautiful area – I spent a year in Bozeman when I was studying Architecture.

There have been many questions recently on dealing with grade change and fill…..all clear, level sites must be used up!


Regardless of what building type you are going to do, here is some information on site preparation, fill and compaction: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/soil-compaction-how-to/.

Thickening your slab’s edge is probably not going to be a solution for frost heave. Here is some further reading on frost heave: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/pole-building-structure-what-causes-frost-heaves/.

Post frame (pole) building construction is going to be easiest and most cost effective design solution.