Tag Archives: international

A Baker’s Dozen Post Frame Home Myths Part I

A Baker’s Dozen Post-Frame Home Myths

Pole Barn Guru BlogThis article is so lengthy it will be fed to you in three installments. For your reading pleasure I present here Myths #1 through 3.


Now this happens to be one of my favorite subjects.  If I believed in past lives, maybe I was an attorney in one of them, because I get all too excited about prospects of winning this argument.

Here is my basic Email used to sway Planning Departments (anyone is welcome to borrow this – or contact me and I will fight your battle):

“Post frame (pole) buildings are Code conforming buildings and methodologies for their structural design is outlined and/or referenced in every International Building Code edition.

It is within legal scope of a Planning Department or Commission (after following whatever processes are in place for public notifications, etc.) to be able to place limitations on size of structures, their placement on a given property, as well as appearance (e.g. restrictions on type and or color of siding and roofing materials). Any appearance restrictions must be applied uniformly to any Code conforming structural system.

In order to legally preclude use of post-frame construction (or of any other Code conforming structural system), onus would be upon a jurisdiction to somehow prove their structural inadequacy. It would be both arbitrary and capricious to deny utilization of post- frame construction, possibly easily leaving an open door to a plethora of probably indefensible lawsuits – resulting in undue costs to a jurisdiction, as well as their taxpayers.

While I am not an attorney, nor profess to offer legal advice, I have been involved in similar circumstances with other jurisdictions, each (when presented with this evidence) has made a determination to NOT LIMIT use of post-frame buildings as a structural system. I would encourage this same decision in your jurisdiction.”


Fully engineered post-frame homes CAN be more affordable than stick or steel. But, they are not going to be 10-50% less. Think about it – your only differences are in structural systems, all of your electrical, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, interior finishes, fixtures, cabinets, floor coverings, etc., are going to be identical investments no matter what structural system is chosen.

Outside of land costs, site preparation, permits and bringing utilities to your site, you are simply not going to build a post-frame home with 2000 square feet of living space for $100,000 turnkey (and unlikely to reach this even if you DIY absolutely everything).


Many lenders refrain from offering traditional mortgages for post-frame homes. For example, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will not offer these loans at all.

Those small percentage of entities offering mortgages for pole barn homes will typically have much higher requirements, because they’ll be using internal money to finance it.
They’ll likely require a 30% down payment (and oftentimes, more than this).

In reality, a fully engineered post-frame home is no different than any other wood frame steel roofed and sided home and any lender will approve a mortgage for one as long as you do not use terms like “barndominium”, “pole barn house”, “post frame house”, etc. Apply the K-I-S-S method (Keep It Simple Stupid) and refer to it only as being a fully engineered, custom designed, wood frame home with steel roofing and siding. Period and 100% factual.

But won’t my lender send out engineers and inspectors who will “catch” me building a post-frame home? No. Your lender will be concerned about progress, not how you are getting there.

Before going to a lender you will need a place to build (land), blueprints (floor plans and elevations) and a budget (or contract subject to finance approval with a builder).

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of myths.

Shipped International, Post Protection, and EmSeal!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can the kit be shipped international, like Philippines? ERIC in SUSANVILLE

DEAR ERIC: Post frame building kit packages can be shipped anywhere on the planet. In most cases, the components are delivered to the docks – in your case most likely the Port of Tacoma or Seattle, where it is reloaded into a container. As containers have a maximum exterior length of 40 feet, it will limit the length of any prefabricated wood roof trusses, unless they are designed to be built in halves and field connected.

Many countries will require the lumber to be treated with a fungicide in order to prevent possible contamination of their own forest resources.


The furthest I have personally shipped to has been Saipan.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I really like the idea of post frame construction for residential, not because it is cheaper but because I believe it is stronger. Maybe I should qualify that by saying it is stronger laterally (horizontally) but probably not vertically. What I envision as post frame is having posts made of pressure treated lumber like 6×6, 8×8 etc set deep in the ground in concrete, and these posts would extend to the top of the wall or where the roof begins.

My question is do you know of methods of treating the wood so that it does not rot so quickly? I was thinking that if one were to coat the wood in epoxy resin that would help greatly, but I don’t know. Or could you not encase it in some kind of liquid plastic that once dried you would stick the post in the ground. Thanks. JACK in COBB

DEAR JACK: Post frame buildings are actually incredibly strong in the vertical (compressive) direction as properly braced timbers can withstand a very large downward force. Post frame buildings will be more economical than any other permanent building system, as well as affording greater flexibility for architectural design.

Properly pressure preservative treated lumber will outlive you, me and probably our grandchildren. If I did not believe so, I would not have invested the money in owning three of them myself, including the 8000 square foot finished building we live in. If you are yet concerned about longevity, there are currently available commercial products which will isolate the columns from the surrounding encasement (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi Mike, I recently found this blog and man is it helpful. I have been remodeling a 1977 24×40 pole building. Never had one before and I’m learning as I go… hoping I can build a new one later in my life I’m only 29. I completely replaced the roof/trusses etc. and installed bubble insulation under steel for condensation. No soffit only Ridge vent. I want to seal up my gables up to peak. How should I do this? Solid closure strips? Vented closure strips? Or Emseal AST? Thanks for your help and hopefully I can order a new building from you in the future. ZACH in BLACK CREEK

DEAR ZACH: Thank you very much for your kind words! I will guess your building has no endwall overhangs, if this is the case the best way to seal up those endwalls is to use Emseal AST (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/emseal-self-expanding-sealant-tape-closures/) between the rake trims and the endwall steel.


If you have endwall overhangs, you should be able to use spray foam in a can (such as Great Stuff or Tite Foam) from inside of the building to spray up the high ribs of the endwall steel.