Tag Archives: hay storage

Hairpins? Best Eave Height, and the Cost of a House…

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am installing re-bar hairpins prepping for a pour in a Hansen pole barn. My question is about the inside poles. I have on rebar per outside pole. Do i put two rebar hairpins on the inside poles?  


DEAR ALCUIN: The purpose of the rebar hairpins is to maintain the columns in a “constrained” condition. Columns with concrete on less than all four sides would require the hairpins to keep them from separating from the slab on grade in the direction(s) away from the floor – which would cause undue deflection at grade. Interior columns which are surrounded by concrete on all sides would not require the hairpins in order to meet with the requirements of a constrained condition.



DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How tall at the eaves is needed for a pole barn so a squeeze can be used to stack hay regular hay bales? SANDRA in CORNING

DEAR SANDRA: In the end the required height is going to depend upon the equipment you own. The great majority of what I would regard as ‘serious’ at their hay storage are using eave heights of 19 to 21 feet in order to clear the trusses.

One big consideration for hay storage is preventing condensation from the underside of the roof steel. Every good hay barn should either have reflective insulation or I.C.C. (Integral Condensation Control – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/integral-condensation-control/) in the roof.

You will also get the most bang for your investment by loading from one or both eave sides, as opposed to loading from an end. In some instances, loading from the ends can work, provided there is an interior wall running across the narrow (width) direction of the barn half way between the ends.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I just need to know a round about price for a 2000 square foot home. Just your basic 3 bedroom 2 bath. With garage please. Thank you. STEPHANIE in STEELE

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR STEPHANIE: This is about the same as asking about how much a new car is going to cost? Do you want to drive a compact or an SUV? The possibilities of either are virtually endless.

With a post frame building being used as a home there are certain features which in my humble opinion are a must to include. Among these would be:

Built over a crawl space (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/03/crawl-space/) – my knees just are not happy living on top of concrete.

Bookshelf style wall girts to provide a deep insulation cavity in the walls.

Use of a house wrap (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/11/house-wrap/).

Raised heel trusses (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/raised-heel-trusses/).

Generally you will be looking at $15-20 per square foot for a nicely configured building shell delivered to your clear level site in the lower 48 states.

The Triple Whammy: Hay Storage in a Pole Barn

This story from FOX 47 News in Lansing, Michigan on September 20:

“Strong winds spread a fire from a burning trash pit to a pole barn in Stockbridge Township Wednesday evening.

The Stockbridge Deputy Fire Chief tells us the pit was about 40 feet from the barn. The owner called 911 around 5:45pm when he saw smoke. There were several horses in the barn, all of which escaped.

Some farm equipment stored inside may have been damaged.

Firefighters had to use a backhoe to remove burning hay from the barn before they could put the fire out. Nobody was injured and the fire did not spread to the surrounding corn fields.”

In my humble opinion, the burning of this pole barn had absolutely nothing to do with the pole barn itself, but everything to do with the “Triple Whammy” put on it by the building’s owner.

Whammy number one….having a trash pit for burning within 40 feet from a building to begin with.

Whammy number two….burning in aforementioned trash pit when strong winds were present.

And…the envelope please….Whammy number three….hay storage inside of a barn with animals and farm equipment.

Without the first two whammies, the hay storage alone is an issue. In the above story, winds drove flames into the hay stored within the pole barn. However a bigger risk lies in those stacks of hay.  Lives have been lost and hay crops destroyed because of fires caused by spontaneous combustion. Any time you have hay storage with above 20-25% moisture content, spontaneous combustion may occur.

Hay which is stored when too wet will heat rapidly. If heat loss is restricted, the internal temperature of the bales will rise. As the temperature rises above 130°F, a chemical reaction occurs and may sustain itself. This reaction does not require oxygen, but the flammable gases produced are at a temperature above their ignition point. These gases will ignite when they come in contact with the air.

Besides the obvious (don’t store overly wet hay), it is also prudent to not store hay in the same building with animals and equipment. The premiums paid for fire insurance can be potentially reduced by minimizing the risks.