Tag Archives: hillside building

Properly Treated Posts, Hillside Locations, and a Post Frame Option

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about properly treated posts, building on hillside locations, and an option to build with post frame.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: According to most of the answers on the Internet, if I bury the posts for my deck they will rot away and the whole thing will come crashing down 10 or so years. What proprietary space-age technology are you using in your pole barns that deck builders don’t know about?
(yes this is a bit tongue-in-cheek) MM in MILTON

DEAR MM: How about we start with over 50% of all builders did not graduate from high school? The great majority of deck builders call in, text or email the lumber list for the next deck to their supplier of choice. I worked in or owned my own lumber yards for years and never, ever can I recall a builder specifying a level of treatment when they ordered pressure preservative treated wood.

Builder says treated, and he gets treated….probably not adequate for most applications. Any lumber placed structurally into the ground should be treated to a minimum UC-4B retention. I wrote this article for Rural Builder magazine, so it is directed specifically towards builders and suppliers, however it should make my point: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a hillside location and am looking for information on pole housing in California and their seismic ratings? ROBIN in SAN DIMAS

DEAR ROBIN: San Dimas – the town Bill and Ted made famous! Post frame (pole) buildings perform admirably on hillsides, as they can be attached to partial foundations (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/) or built on stilts (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/stilt-houses/) to compensate for grade changes.

As far as seismic design, structures are affected by earthquake in relationship to the weight of the structure. The lighter the structure, the more resistant it is to tremors! Here is a little earthquake reading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/10/a-whole-lotta-shakin-going-on/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/05/earthquake-resistant-post-frame-construction/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am in the engineering phase of our forever home in Minnetonka. I have an architect drafting my designs, and am now working with structural engineers to figure out the best way to construct it. My original plans show double stud 2×4 walls (for super insulation), and our ceiling heights are on the tall side.

An option we are considering is getting the house pole framed for the interior stud wall, and then site framing the exterior stud wall, in order to create the cavity for super insulating. I also plan to use an interior ledger system for the floor joists.

Let me know if you think this is a possibility. I can send you our current drawings for you to look at. There are obviously a lot more details to sift through than what I’ve covered in this email.

Let me know! Thanks! SONJA in MINNETONKA

DEAR SONJA: One of the great features about investing in a post frame building kit package (at least from Hansen Pole Buildings) is it includes the engineered structural plans for your new home – no need to pay an expensive structural engineer!

Installing Drywall on CeilingThere is probably a much easier way to achieve your super insulated walls – using post frame construction and ‘commercial’ bookshelf style girts, you can create a deep wall insulation cavity for one or a combination of the following: unfaced fiberglass or rock wool (best since it is not effected by moisture) batts; BIBs (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/bibs/); and/or closed cell spray foam. Between the inside of the framing and the wallboard, use high R insulation board, which creates a thermal break between and wall framing and the interior conditioned space.

We’d be pleased to assist you in your project.





Creating a Thermal Break

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: Have recently purchased a home with an existing pole building on it. The pole building is in nice shape but we will be replacing the roof panels. My question is about moisture control. The existing roof framing is like a typical house frame roof, with trusses on 24″ centers and a roof deck of 5/8 osb. Would a synthetic roof felt be the proper choice before installing the new roof panels or would you recommend something different? I see a lot of references to AV1 as a thermal break but I believe the roof deck would accomplish this. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks again. CORN FARMER in Burr Oak, MI

DEAR CORN FARMER: Thank you very much for being a loyal reader. Synthetic roofing felt should work just fine for your application, as the roof sheathing will provide the thermal break necessary to prevent condensation issues. One concern – if the current OSB is installed directly to the top chord of the roof trusses, 2×4 purlins will need to be placed on top of the sheathing in order to give the roofing screws something to “bite” into (OSB will not adequately hold screws). The 2x4s can be placed flat wise and should be nailed through the sheathing into the top chord of each truss with two 16d galvanized common nails (even better if the nails are ring shank to aid in preventing withdrawal). We had a similar circumstance when re-roofing my wife’s home a few years ago, and we opted to use A1V reflective radiant barrier draped loosely over the purlins, in order to more effectively utilize the reflective coating on the outer face of the insulation to assist against heat gain in the summer.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is it possible to build a pole structure into a moderate hillside? By way of either setting extra poles and laying 4×4 or 6×6 timbers horizontally to retain the soil against the structure and waterproofing the timbers and incorporating adequate drainage. I really don’t want to invest in building a separate retaining wall as this would create a “gap” between the wall and pole structure to collect debris and snow in the winter. I’ve received poured wall estimates in the range of $30,000-$44,000 just for a foundation making that route unfeasible. My plans are for a 40×60-64×14 structure with attic trusses. Any input you may have is greatly appreciated.

Brett in Dewitt, MI

DEAR BRETT: Yes, it is possible to building a pole structure into a moderate hillside. The easy way – build a concrete or ICF (Insulating Concrete Forms) foundation wall to support areas which require a “cut” into the hillside and mount the building to the top of the wall by means of brackets. (Read about bracket mounting here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/)

I am not expert on concrete foundation work, but the estimates you are seeing appear to be more than sufficient to excavate, form and pour an entire full basement along with a concrete slab in the bottom and have money left over.

(To get an idea of foundation costs read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/)

I actually have personal experience with a situation probably far more dramatic than yours, which you can read about at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/02/grade-change/

Mike the Pole Barn Guru