Tag Archives: Hansen Pole Buildings Construction Manual

How to Install Bookshelf Girts for Insulation

How to Install Bookshelf Girts for Insulation

Reader SEAN in CAMAS writes:

“Please help! I have plans for a 48x60x16 pole barn here in the NW. I helped build a pole barn when I was in my teens and I think mostly for my young back and ability to swing a hammer. However I am a bit lost with these new plans. They call for bookshelf girts.  I sent a photo of the plans showing the details and the cut away. I get that the boards are on their side between the posts with a 2×6 “holding it up” on both ends that is nailed to the posts. However it looks like they all protrude 1 3/4″ beyond the outside of the post based on the bottom PT board being laid on the outside of the post. This would make sense to keep the siding all hitting a level board all the way up. Any photos or explanation would help greatly.” 

Well Sean, you are finding a set of plans is only as good as installation instructions provided with them. Having thorough step-by-step instructions, such as those in Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual, can save countless hours of grief, wasted materials and doing and undoing work.

Here is an excerpt you can use:

Most Common Mistakes:

  1. Installing wall girts before framing roof and roofing. 
  2. Placing first girt bottom at a height other than 27-1/2” above grade.
  3. Girt end blocks cut to varying lengths.
  4. Setting girts to project beyond column outsides other than by 1-1/2”.

Cut girt blocks to 22-7/16” lengths from 2×4 material provided. First girt block bottom edge starts 5-1/2” above splash plank bottom. After the concrete floor has been poured, a 2×4 pressure treated base plate will be inserted between floor top and girt block bottoms.  Base plate is toe-nailed to the pressure treated column at each end (exception being if columns are attached to brackets), as well as anchored to the concrete floor two feet on center (using concrete nails or nails “shot” into concrete). Base plate inside edge will be even with the inside edge of the girts above. Base plate should be installed over a sill gasket and/or caulked to the concrete floor. When space between treated columns is less than 24”, there is no base plate.

See Figure 29-1

Figure 29-1 Toe-nailing Base plate


Any pressure preservative treated lumber cut edge or end should be treated with a Copper Naphthenate solution. Copper Naphthenate is available as a brush-on (Cuprinol No. 10 Copper-Green® Wood Preserver https://www.homedepot.com/p/Copper-Green-1-gal-Wood-Preservative-176223/300502829) or spray-on (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Copper-Green-Wood-Preservative-14-fl-oz-Aerosol-CopperSpr/100191444).

Girt blocks are placed so the block inside edge is flush with the wall girt inside edge. This may cause girts, as well as blocking, to extend past columns on inside, without adversely affecting interior finish applications such as gypsum wallboard. Nail girt block with (2) 10d common nails at each end (unless specified otherwise on building plans).  

In any event, the total nail number used to attach any girt block to a column should never be fewer than the nail number used to attach girt to block top.

Cut girt to fit snugly between columns, with “crown” out, resting on girt blocking at each end. Outside girt edge extends from columns outward 1-1/2”. See Figure 29-2

Figure 29-2 Commercial Bookshelf Girts For Insulation

Nail each girt end securely into girt block tops below, with two 10d common nails minimum. Repeat for each bay around building.

Where two adjacent wall columns are 2’ or less in between, 2×4 exterior (barn style) girts will be provided to nail on outside column faces, as insulation batts will fill space remaining.

Nail 2x blocking material to exterior column faces in line with girts.  This a good way to use up cutoffs from bookshelf girts. See Figure 29-3

This blocking will serve as backing material for any screws falling in this area.

Figure 29-3: Commercial Bookshelf Girts 2x Blocking

Install 2×4 inverted “L” sidewall drywall backing using 2-10d common toe-nails through “L” vertical member into columns. See Figure 29-4

4” shown in Figure 29-4 is for 2×6 girts; for 2×8 girts, it will be 5-3/4”.

 Figure 29-4: L Sidewall Drywall Backing

For buildings without ceiling joists, install 2×4 inverted “L” endwall drywall backing using 2-10d commons toe-nailed through “L” vertical member into columns.

  See Figure 29-5

Figure 29-5:  “L” Endwall Drywall Backing

This should give you a good start. Good luck and let me know how it all turns out. Pictures appreciated!


Temporary Client Insanity – Truss Problems?

Temporary Client Insanity – Truss Problems? 

Long ago someone told me during the course of any construction project there comes a time when every client goes absolutely bat-pooh crazy. Personally, even knowing what I know, I am guilty of freaking out and having had a case of temporary client insanity during our own remodel and construction projects for our home.

For hyperventilation they have people breath from a brown paper bag, in my case – perhaps a plastic bag over my head and tied tightly about my neck would have been more appropriate.

Below I will share a client’s concerns. He remained much calmer (totally appreciated) during this process than I might have. He wrote to Justine (Hansen Pole Buildings’ Master of All Things Trusses):

“Justine, one more thing, the top chords of the trusses show 2×8 and the trusses were delivered with a 2×6 top chord, so all the bracing (purlins) will be hanging down. This roof is going to be insulated.

Also, the double trusses are not fastened together and I think I should have more than 1 set of scissored trusses.”

Our Technical Support response:

Building plans are drafted prior to receipt of truss drawings, so trusses as drawn on your plans are merely a depiction of what they may look like. Top and bottom chords as well as internal diagonal webs may be entirely different. The roof slopes will be accurate. Your building’s roof purlins certainly may hang below roof truss top chords, as this has no bearing upon your ability to insulate (please refer to Figure 9-5 of your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual). As your roof has a Reflective Radiant Barrier, if you intend to use batt insulation between purlins, make sure to use unfaced insulation without a vapor barrier on underside, otherwise moisture can become trapped between two vapor barriers. This can lead to ineffective damp insulation as well as potential mold and mildew issues.

Per change order #3 your building is to have standard trusses in front 24 feet and a vaulted ceiling in rear 24 feet. With a pair of scissor trusses at 12 feet in front of rear endwall, this allows for the rear 24 feet to be vaulted and front 24 feet to have a level bottom chord.

Truss assembly people are not carpenters – and rarely do truss manufacturing facilities even have nail guns. It also avoids nail wounds from inexperienced or inappropriate use. As an example – back in 1979, I was shopping for a new employer designing and selling trusses. I interviewed with Tilden Truss, near Seattle. They used air guns firing a “T” staple to initially set steel truss plates. Their fabrication shop ceiling was covered with hundreds (if not thousands) of these “T” staples!

You will find it much easier to maneuver single trusses around your building site, than twice as heavy double trusses.

Please feel free to address any building assembly concerns to TechSupport@HansenPoleBuildings.com.

Another crisis averted.

Placing Steel Trim Around Post Frame Shed Rafters

Reader HEATH in NACOGDOCHES writes:

“I am going to build a pole barn with shed roofs. I want to know what the best way to trim out under the sheds where the side wall meets the ledger board or bottom of rafters. Building will be sheeted with metal. There will not be any soffit under sheds. Rafters will be exposed. Do you have any pics that I could see of this detail?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

This is just one of a plethora of subjects covered in Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual:

Trim Around Rafters Through Sided Eave Wall

Install a 2x block (cut from scrap) to extend a minimum of 2-1/2” past most extreme edges of rafter combination to outside column face directly below rafters.  See Figure 42-8

 To avoid running out of J Channel, install all longer lengths first, and then use cutoffs for these shorter segments.

Cut to length a J Channel piece to fit between rafter assemblies. 1” face (3/4” for ABC trims, 7/8” for McElroy) will be cut back from “J” bottom at a 45-degree angle. Tack in place this J Channel piece to eave strut snug to roof steel. See Figure 42-6

Figure 42-6  J Channel Cutting for Rafter Tails

Square cut a J Channel piece to Distance “A” plus 2” long (for trims provided by ABC use 1-1/2” to Distance “A”; McElroy 1-3/4”).  

Using snips, cut 1” (for ABC trim 3/4”, McElroy 7/8”) in from each end along J Channel bends.  Holding J Channel like an inverted “J”, bend up two tabs created between cuts. See Figure 42-7

Figure 42-7  Cutting tabs on J Channel

Install this trim piece tight underneath overhanging truss tails, with folded-up tabs on each side.  See Figure 42-8

Figure 42-8 Cutting Trim Pieces for Through Rafters

Next install vertical J Channel pieces along front and rear faces of rafters. These piece lengths will vary depending upon roof slope and rafter size.

Top end (fitting tight against roof steel) will be square cut.  Lower end will again have bends each cut, with snips, up 1”.

Fold area between cuts to form a tab. 1” J Channel face (3/4” face for ABC trims, 7/8” for McElroy) is to be cut at a 45-degree angle.  

Install vertical pieces so area labeled A1 is on top of A2.  Tab B will be inserted into inverted J top below truss tails.  See Figure 42-9

Figure 42-9  Inserting Trim Pieces Below Rafter Tails

Face B1 will be on top of Face B2; C2 will be behind C1 and D2 behind D1.

Carefully determine where rafters will lie along sidewall steel. This can be done by installing full-length panels along wall until a rafter is reached.

Easiest, if grade allows, slide panel to be cut up against trimmed out rafter assembly underside and put light pencil marks on steel to align with front and rear faces of rafter assembly.


When done properly, no light will shine into building from this area.  If light does show through, use an appropriate mastic or caulk to seal area thoroughly.

Let’s Count Screws

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 16 of the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual:

Use sheeting screws ONLY on one side of each high rib (See Figure 16-2) with the following exception:

  • Roof – each high rib side at Eave Girt and Ridge Purlin (as well as at any end over end splices).


Figure 16-2

Use 1-1/2” long diaphragm screws at eave purlin and ridge purlin, installing one screw on EACH high rib side (unless instructions state otherwise).

 If double screws are used at any other locations, there will NOT be enough screws. 

 Use a diaphragm screw next to each high rib (one side only) on field purlins.  These will be 9” on center, with first screw next to overlap rib.

This language also appears on the blueprints for every Hansen Pole Building which has steel roofing or siding. As not everyone is a reader, a handy diagram is also provided so as to clarify any possible confusion.

Earlier this week, Hansen Pole Buildings’ Shipping Wizard Justine forwarded to me this message from one of our clients:

“This client thinks he is short screws for the roof, would you run a quick count.  He feels he should have received 2618 screws for his building”.

As usual, I start with the premise of we must have done something wrong, so I did a complete breakdown by hand. This client’s particular building is a monitor style (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/building-styles/monitor-building-designs/).

Here was the breakdown I provided:  Each wing has 8 rows of fasciae, eave girts & purlins

Main roof has 10 rows

(8 X 2) + 10 + 8 extra (to account for double screws at eave and ridge of four roof planes) = 34 X 51′ of roof = 1734 X 4/3 (4 screws per 3′ width panel) = 2312

At times I am realizing I am not sufficiently verbose in my answers, and I might confuse some clients, as I did this one who responded:

I am unclear about what each of your numbers represent, it looks like this was calculated by linear foot per panel, but that would be incorrect. 

Please run this by your tech support:

  1. Plans call for one screw at each raised rib on each purlin, with screws on both sides of each ridge at the eave and ridge.  That makes 8 screws on each end (2×8=16), and 5 screws for each remaining purlin (5×6=30).  That makes the total 46 for each sheet of steel.  There are 34 sheets between the two wings.  34 sheets x 46 screws each = 1564 screws for the wings
  2. For the main roof that makes 8 screws on each end (2×8=16), and 5 screws for each remaining purlin (5×3=15).  That makes the total 31 screw for each sheet of steel.  There are 17 sheets on each side of the main roof, equaling 34 sheets x 31 screws each = 1054 screws for the main roof.  
  3. 1564 + 1054 = 2618 total screws.

Thank you for sending the additional screws, but I do want to clarify both for myself and others, as their method for calculating does not appear to work for all roof designs.”

 The client told me where he went wrong – It is FOUR screws for each remaining purlin (36″ width / 9″ o.c. ribs = 4). Somehow he is using (or planning on using) a fifth screw.

The instructions on the blueprints even go so far as to specify the field screws as having four per panel.

The Hansen Pole Buildings Instant Pricing™ system is not perfect, but is pretty darn accurate. Assembling one of our buildings and find something which isn’t adding up? Contact us before it is too late and additional materials are needed to resolve the issue.

How to Avoid a Disastrous Pole Barn Project Part III

How to Avoid a Disastrous DIY Pole Barn Project

This is part three in a three part series on how to better ensure a great pole barn project, by getting rid of the pitfalls.

I’d like to thank Bret Buelo of Wick Buildings for the basis of this article, which appeared on the Wick Buildings website (www.wickbuildings.com) August 12, 2016. Information from Bret’s article appears here in italics along with my own input as well. Wick Buildings is highly rated by the Better Business Bureau and has been an NFBA (National Frame Building Association www.nfba.org) member for decades.

Part of the fun of any DIY project is learning new skills to complete a project. However, there is a point where you venture too far into the unknown and begin to cost yourself time, money and perhaps even your own personal safety.

If you’re a DIYer with lots of time on your hands and potentially cash to burn, by all means, you can take a shot at any pole barn project. But if you’re on a budget and time is of the essence, there are tipping points when you can find yourself in over your head.  Many pole barn jobs can get extremely complicated, and if you’re not careful, can lead to some significant mistakes.

We reached out to Gordon Sebranek, who manages the Engineering Department at Wick Buildings, for some insights. Following are the last three of nine potential pitfalls he outlined to help you decide if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

Go to parts one and two to get up to speed. To continue:

  1. Don’t Know the Specialized Building Tricks

General building training and experience is great, but there are also specialties within post-frame construction that require a different knowledge base.  For example, free-stall dairy setups involve a number of unique parameters. And these specialized projects tend to also require specialized equipment.

Guru comments: For those rare and unique projects, this may be the case. The Hansen Pole Buildings Construction Manual includes numerous tricks to a successful end result which are the product of experience of those who have constructed over a hundred thousand buildings. They are tried and true methods which allow the average DIYer to build like a pro.

  1. Lacking Time and Money to Make Mistakes

This category is entirely subjective. As we mentioned earlier, if you have unlimited time and money, then you’re never really in over your head. But if you are on a tight timetable or budget, you may soon find yourself in some serious soup.

Gordon notes that the length of a project depends on the specifics of the size and complexity.  He’s seen an experienced person design a 30 x 50 building in two hours. “Some jobs might take six weeks, because they’re very involved,” he said.

Project durations become longer depending on your experience level, too. Do you have the patience to teach yourself how trim out a building nicely, and to correct mistakes if and when they happen?

Guru comments: Tight time tables often occur when trying to hit the window of opportunity for a high quality post frame building contractor. When I was a building contractor, there were certain times of the year when it could be six to eight months before we had a construction crew available to put up your building.

Put structural design in the hands of the experts and you will be time and money ahead. Please – I implore you – do not attempt the structural design of a building on your own unless you happen to be an RDP, and even then, you might be ahead to farm it out to the specialists who do nothing but post frame buildings every day.

Doing things like cleanly installing trims is as easy as opening your Construction Manual and looking at the details and photos which walk through even the most challenging of applications.

And in construction mistakes can and will happen. I used to employ the best post frame building crews in the industry (in my past life as a pole building contractor). Even then, I’d see a crew blow half a day of time on something which could have been handled in five minutes by contacting the office for assistance.

This is why Hansen Pole Buildings offers free unlimited technical support via email during the construction process. 99 out of 100 times the answer was right there in the Construction Manual to begin with, but when something goes awry, it helps to have the experts near to give you the answer you need to quickly move forward.

  1. Don’t Know the Safety Requirements

You’re in over your head when you don’t have the appropriate safety tools to protect yourself on difficult jobs. Or, more accurately, when you don’t know what you need to do to protect yourself.

Wick Builders and the outside contractors that they work with adhere to OSHA requirements. Safety is the top priority on every job. It’s our opinion that if you don’t know the safety requirements for every job, then you are in over your head.

You only go around once, folks. Don’t short-change the safety requirements for a construction job.

Guru comments: I heartily agree. Safety is paramount in any construction project – my Dad was killed in a construction fall in 1988, so I am very sensitive towards avoiding injuries. OSHA (or state versions thereof) has many good ideas for safety and they consume innumerable hours of having to do paperwork – all of which the consumer pays for when they hire a contractor. For the most part, use common sense and play it safe. If you can fall more than a few feet wear a properly secured harness.

Most post frame building projects can (and should) be built on a DIY basis. This is a great way to take pride of ownership and get more out of your building dollar.

Once again I’d like to thank Wick Buildings for their contribution to this blog series, and to the fine art of pole buildings in general.