Tag Archives: hay barn

Footings, Mechanical Plans, and Hay Ventilation

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about concrete footings for a lean-to addition, how to incorporate plumbing, electrical, and HVAC plans into to process, and proper ventilation for a hay barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are putting a 10′ Lean-to on a Steel Framed Building. We will be using 4×6 posts spaced 10′ with 18″ holes. My question is about footings. I was hoping to tamp the bottom of the hole, add a bit of gravel, place post, add quickrete, and back fill. I am hoping to avoid filling the entire hole with concrete to save some money. If there are better ways I am open to them just looking for cost effectiveness, if possible. Thank you! PETE in UNIONVILLE

DEAR PETE: Any building is only as strong as its foundation, so this is not a place to be penny wise and pound foolish. Code requires minimum six inch thick concrete footing, or a Code approved alternative (here is an example https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/footingpad/).

Subject to approval from your building’s engineer, I would recommend supporting your building columns up eight inches from bottom of hole, then monopouring with concrete to give at least an 18 inch total depth of concrete. Done in this fashion, you could pour roughly 10 holes with a yard of premix. Balance of hole above this bottom collar can then be backfilled with compactible material.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: When I order plans and the pole barn kit from Hansen and work as my own general contractor, how do people generally build HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc. into the plans to take to the county to acquire permits? Do I have to get plans from those contractors and then take it to a drafter to get drawn up for approval for permits? JOHN in LAPINE

DEAR JOHN: Our floor plan team can add plumbing and electrical for a nominal fee – challenge is, your subcontractors will ignore this entirely. I have always had best results having these subcontract trades submit their own drawings when they apply for their permits (these permits are outside of your structural permit).

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Have a 24ft x48ft pole barn that we store hay in. The hay is always getting moldy, hay sits on OSB wood which sits on a steel grate platform, 1ft above concrete floor. Barn roof is OSB wood with felt and shingles with a ridge vent. Sides of barn are steel with OSB wood on inside. Am thinking of building a new barn with a hay loft, but was given a suggestion to contact you first for a possible solution. Barn is in northeastern Ohio, very humid in summer. We check the hay before we store it and the moisture level is fine. I even thought of enclosing hay area and putting in a dehumidifier. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you, STEVE in NORTH RIDGEVILLE

DEAR STEVE: A hay barn needs proper ventilation to expel moisture from hay respiration. Hay barns are typically dependent on natural ventilation to get air exchange, so proper orientation can be critical. Typically, a hay barn should be oriented so open eave sidewalls are perpendicular to predominant wind direction.

For barns with enclosed sidewalls, enclosed vented sidewall eaves and a vented ridge are critical design elements to allow for passive ventilation. Air enters through eaves and exits through ridge vent with excess moisture.

Choose a location away from swampy areas or at bottom of a hill, as it will require more costly drainage. Gutters or rocked ditches close to sidewalls should be included in planning costs. Hay barn floor should be at least six to eight inches higher than surrounding ground level.

With a concrete slab-on-grade floor, it is crucial to have a well-sealed under slab vapor barrier.

Hay Barn Loft Removal, Screw vs Nails, and Find a Builder

Today’s “ask the Pole Barn Guru” visits questions about the stability of a hay barn once the loft floor is removed, what screws can be used as a substitute for nails, and if Hansen could assist in finding a builder to erect a garage.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a very old gothic arch barn. 30ft wide x 40ft long. It is beautiful inside and solid. Our barn is stabilized by a “hay floor” at about 7ft. This appears to be holding the walls in. The walls total height is 10ft with the hay floor at 7 ft. I want to remove the hay floor and open the barn up in order to pull my 5th wheel into the barn and eventually beautify the barn interior. It has a height clearance of 13.5 ft. I’m concerned about compromising the integrity of the building. Can you give me suggestions on how to support the walls / roof to maintain stability? I’ve heard rods or cables could be a possibility. Would beams across the width work? That would be 30ft beams at a height of 14+ ft with floor post supports. GARY in HUNTSVILLE

DEAR GARY: We have many gothic arch buildings in our general area (NE South Dakota and West Central Minnesota) and not having grown up around them, I found their proliferation quite interesting. My best recommendation is going to be to engaged services of a local Registered Professional Engineer who can actually visit your building and make a best determination as to what route to take to maintain your building’s integrity.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can we use screws to construct our building or do we need to use Nails? If we can use screws which do you suggest? JEREMY in CRESCENT VALLEY

DEAR JEREMY: From Page 24 of Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual:

Screws: As an ALTERNATIVE TO NAILS:

0.148” x 1-1/2” nails may be replaced by Simpson SD9112R100 or SD10112R100.

0.148” x 3” into hangers may be replaced by Simpson SD9212R100-R or SD10212R100-R.

0.148” x 3” lumber-to-lumber nails can be replaced by Simpson SDWS16300QR75.

Fastener quantities remain equal in all cases.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If I was to purchase a residential garage kit, is it possible for you to help me find someone local to install it? I just don’t have to time or muscle to do it myself. AMANDA in HARRIVILLE

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR AMANDA: While your new garage will be designed for an average physically capable person who can and will read instructions to successfully construct your own beautiful buildings (and many of our clients do DIY). Your building will come with full 24” x 36” structural blueprints detailing the location and attachment of every piece (suitable for obtaining Building Permits), a 500 page fully illustrated step-by-step installation manual, as well as unlimited technical support from people who have actually built buildings. For those without the time or inclination, we have an extensive independent Builder Network covering the contiguous 48 states. We can assist you in getting erection labor pricing as well as introducing you to potential builders. However they may not necessarily be local to you as many builders enjoy the variety of travel. Please keep in mind, many builders are already booked out until 2022 and 2023.

 

 

 

 

A Hay Barn Challenge

Seemingly every small town in America has one or more pole barn ‘builders’. Many of them are more jack-of-all-trades and masters of none. They frame a few houses, do a deck or two, maybe some interior remodels in winter months and along with this – a handful of pole barns.

Sadly, in my humble opinion, many jurisdictions have minimal (or no) permitting requirements for pole barns. This practice is extended even further when it comes to pole barns deemed to be for agricultural purposes.

Combine lack of structural knowledge (plus pooh pooing any need for an engineer) by ‘builders’ as mentioned above with not needing a permit and situations arise rife with a potential for possible calamity.

Reader KATHY in KIMBALL writes:

“We have a ranch in western Nebraska. There are two hay barns on the ranch, each is 64’x44′ with 20 foot from ground to bottom of trusses. These are constructed with the trusses on 4 foot centers on double top plate and V bracing. The side walls are fully sheeted and the end walls are open. Both hay barns are level and in good shape. However, we were loading hay out of one of the barns recently, with wind gusts north of 40 MPH and we could see the trusses moving slightly with the wind, the bottom of the columns were stable as they are encased in concrete.

My questions are: Would it add significant support to build an end wall on one end of each of these barns. If so, can Hansen provide the materials and tech support to build these end walls?

Is there anything else we can do to add strength and stability to these hay barns?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru replies:
Post frame (pole) buildings work much like unibody cars and jet aircraft, it is their skin’s strength holding everything together. Here is a home experiment you can do to get a better idea (as well as an extended read): https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/lateral-wind-loads/

Your hay barns happen to be a worst case scenario when it comes to sound structural design of a post frame building: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/ends-open-pole-barn-challenge/

What these buildings really need is to have both endwalls at least partially (if not fully) enclosed from eave to ground. If this is something you would entertain, we could connect you directly with one of our third-party independent engineers to determine if there is a practical solution to your situation.

Meanwhile, make sure your buildings have good replacement value insurance coverage and avoid being anywhere near them if wind speeds are at or beyond what you have already mentioned as causing your concerns.

Advice on a Hay Barns, and Registered Design Professionals (Use them)!

Today Mike advises on the Post Frame construction of Roof Only Hay Barns, and the need to use a Registered Design Professional.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: You have a page showing roof only hay barns. There are two photos, one which shows a partially enclosed hay barn. I am very interested in this for my ranch…..what are its dimensions? I will need full walls along three sides, and a partial wall, like the one you show in the photo along the front side. DAVE in PETALUMA

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR DAVE: Rather than working off from the dimensions of a building which best fit some prior client’s wants and needs, you will be far better ahead to work with one of the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designers to come up with the dimensions and features which will best fit with your budget. If you can do a design which has some or all of both of the narrow (peaked) endwalls enclosed from roofline to the ground, it will normally be the most cost effective.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What diameter holes do I dig for my post when my barn is 44’x32’? Trusses are spanning the 44’ way. TERRY in COLUMBIA CITY

DEAR TERRY: The Registered Design Professional (RDP – architect or engineer) who designed your building and sealed the plans for you will have called out the depth and diameter of the column holes as well as concrete footing and encasement requirements.

He or she takes into account all of the climactic loads placed upon your building – wind, snow and seismic, along with the allowable soil bearing capacity of your site in making the determination. The other factors they will have taken into account include the spacing of the columns, eave height, roof slope as well as the dead loads the building must support (not only the weight of the building as proposed to be constructed, but also future loads such as wall and ceiling finishes).

If by some chance you do not have a RDP involved in your project – go hire one now, it is money well spent. Or, better yet, invest in an engineered post frame building kit package which will come with complete plans.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are building a pole barn but have decided to use timber frame scissor trusses in the open area where the trusses will be visible. Three trusses, made from 8×10 timbers will be in a area that is fully open. The other 3 trusses will be prefab, “regular”, as they will not be visible (one inside interior wall and other 2 at gable ends.
I’m having trouble finding a way to attach the purlins to the timbers in a way that the will not have exposed Simpson seismic and hurricane hangers. There must be a hanger that can be used with ‘simple’ blocking that will attach the purlins to the top of the timbers and still create a look as if the purlins are simply resting on the timbers.
Any ideas?
Thanks in advance for your advice! FAITH in SALEM

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR FAITH: This is a question which is best posed to the RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) who designed your building and provided the sealed blueprints for you to build from. I am not aware of an engineered hanger which will do what you are looking to accomplish, however there may be a direction in which to head for a solution. By predrilling holes through the purlins from narrow edge to narrow edge, it might be possible to utilize a number of very long spikes or drive screws which could provide the needed resistance to uplift and seismic forces. In order to have adequate area for connectors, it might take going to a three or four inch wide purlin, which may turn out to work well aesthetically with your timber framed trusses. There will need to be blocking placed on top of the trusses, between the purlins to prevent rotation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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