Tag Archives: Lowes

Building After a Burn Down

Building After a Burn Down

Western United States wildfires have been featured on network newscasts and seen in our air for months. My own Auntie Norma’s home was a victim of California’s 2018 Camp Fire – where she lost all of her worldly possessions.

Reader MATHEW in RENO writes:

“Greetings, I know I’m not the only person thinking this. Every day it is so smoky I can barely see the sun. After a house burns down, won’t the lot still have the utilities? The electrical service may need to be replaced if it is overhead, but that can be done. Water and sewage should be existing. I cannot afford to buy my son a house with the current costs, but I might be able to afford a lot with existing utilities. Do you offer a kit that is sort of like a beach house (elevated enough to park under). A elevated single story (2 bedroom, 2 bath and a big balcony) would be good. It might have paving stones for the garage floor. It might have a chain link fence with the internal slats to secure the garage. I saw somewhere that offered a concrete sleeve for poles (it was meant to keep dock pilings from rotting out), could this be used for fire proofing? Anything that is built needs to meet code. We all have seen the sad story of “Phonehenge” (youtube). If you build anything these days, you buy a “section”. Home Depot and Lowes offer prebuilt roof trusses and Zip Systems offers prebuilt 6 X 8 wall sections with framing and insulation. If I rented a LULL I could probably lift the sections in place. I would hire a experienced utility operator to set the poles. A laser level is a good friend. When I used to work, we never called anything “cheap”, it was “value engineering”. The floor joists could be “engineered wood beams”. The floor could be something like 5/8″ T1-11. I have heard ugly stories about outgassing from closed cell foam, but I think I could get about a 1″ spray under the floor to insulate. We have “earthquakes” out here and I think that vinyl flooring might survive a “shake” better than tile. PEX plumbing and maybe a solar panel or two to charge the cell phones when the fires are back. Feel free to share and use any of these ideas, I just cannot bear the thought of spending 300K for a 15 year old doublewide on a 1/10 acre lot here. My son and I have looked and even in New Mexico, there is no property that is worth buying. No Rush.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds: 

Even here in NE South Dakota, over 1500 miles away, we have had days of smoky haze.

Here are a few answers to your questions: you are correct about underground utilities remaining in place however they should be carefully inspected for any possible damage prior to reuse. We most certainly do provide what are known as stilt houses. Plastic sleeves used for fear of properly pressure preservative treated wood decaying prematurely when columns are placed in ground would not protect from fire proofing. If columns were large enough (roughly a 10×10) they should resist an ASTM E119 fire exposure for an hour, however it may be less expensive (and certainly easier to work with) to wrap them with two layers of 5/8″ Type X drywall and then cover with steel trim.

Your area is in Climate Zone 5 – meaning underfloor insulation would need to be a minimum of R-30. As you will need to protect the underside of your floor system from fire, you might consider using Rockwool batt insulation (it will not burn and is unaffected by moisture) with steel panels underneath.

There is a Building Code (2018 International Wildland Urban Interface Code or IWUIC) specifically addressing areas of concern when building in potential wildfire areas. It can be found at www.codes.iccsafe.org/content/IWUIC2018/effective-use-of-the-international-wildland-urban-interface-code.

How to Vet Pole Building Suppliers

How to Properly Vet Pole Building Suppliers

Whether planning a single car garage or a post frame (pole) building larger than an acre, your hard earned money is going to be invested in it. Even if you decide a Hansen Pole Building is not the right fit for you, it is important to both the industry and me personally for no one to be either scammed, or to get less in quality or service than expected.

I’ve explained how to check out pole building contractors previously: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/07/contractor-6/

When bringing new team members on board, I encourage them right up front to check us out thoroughly. The methods they have used to find out about us, are the same ones you can use to check out other pole building suppliers.


This is 2023 and the internet has been used commercially for over two decades, do you actually want to do business with a company which does not have a website? Even an unprofessional website is a harbinger of potential pitfalls. Poor grammar, misspellings and bad punctuation are not signs of a business which will be paying attention to important details – yours!

If there is not a physical business address listed on the website – RUN!!! There is a reason they are hiding from you (and possibly lots of other people). If there is a physical address – Google it and see if it looks like a real business.


Look for the business on Facebook. You can tell a lot about any business by their social media presence.

Do they have videos posted on YouTube? How about photos on Pinterest?


Type in the name of the business in a Google, Yahoo or Bing search and start reading. When you search for Hansen Pole Buildings there are not just one or two links listed – there are hundreds!

Type in the name of the business and “complaints” or “reviews” and read them. I recently looked up a business which also supplies pole building kit packages and found over 1,000 complaints on a single website – and not a single one of them showed as being resolved!

Type in the phone number or numbers listed on the company website in any search engine. This often will bring up other businesses which may be affiliated with the same number. Check them out too – while the record may be “clean” in one place, if it is dirty somewhere else, the problems could become yours.


Call the numbers on the website and send email. If you don’t at least hear back, in some fashion – “Houston, we have a problem!”


Hansen Buildings BBB Ratingwww.BBB.org allows consumers to see if a business is an accredited member, as well as a complaint history. Every business which truly respects its clients should be a BBB member.

National Frame Builders Association (NFBA) members care about their industry, they make a financial commitment to support advancements in research and technology.

You can read more about both of these at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/10/post-frame-2/

Considering the average pole building kit package is well over a $40,000 investment, if it takes an hour to properly vet pole building suppliers and you do not get ripped off – it may very well be the most money you have ever made per hour!

Grade Stamps

Walk into your local lumber dealer – whether a big box store (aka The Home Depot® or Lowe’s®), a national lumber dealer (think ProBuild®, Stock Building Supply®, or 84 Lumber®) or the local mom and pop lumber seller and pickup any piece of dimensional lumber.

grade-stampOn it will be a grade stamp – which is a voluntary standard of marking each piece of lumber to assist the consumer in identifying the moisture content, product grade, species or species grouping, the accredited agency under who’s authority the lumber was graded, as well as a unique mill number identifier or the name of the sawmill which produced the lumber.

One of my son Brent’s first days of working with me involved placing Simpson Strong-Tie® joist hangers on rafters. The rafters were different colored wood – Brent noticed the difference between the darker, more reddish hue of the Douglas Fir rafters as opposed to the whiter color of the ones which were HemFir. I explained to him what the information on the lumber grade stamps was, including the indication of the species of lumber.

The “big giant head” for lumber grading starts with the ALSC (American Lumber Standard Committee, Inc. www.alsc.org).

The ALSC, is a non-profit organization comprised of manufacturers, distributors, users, and consumers of lumber. It serves as the standing committee for the American Softwood Lumber Standard (Voluntary Product Standard 20) and in accordance with PS 20, administers an accreditation program for the grade marking of lumber produced under the system.  This system, the American Lumber Standard (ALS) system, is an integral part of the lumber industry’s economy and is the basis for the sale and purchase of virtually all softwood lumber traded in North America.  The ALS system also provides the basis for acceptance of lumber and design values for lumber by the building codes throughout the United States.

As noted above, a function of the ALSC is to maintain the American Softwood Lumber Standard.  The ALSC in accordance with the Procedures for the Development of Voluntary Product Standards of the U.S. Department of Commerce and through a consensus process establishes sizes, green/dry relationships, inspection provisions, grade marking requirements and the policies and enforcement regulations for the accreditation program.  The ALS system as a whole is set up to give manufacturers, distributors, users and consumers a mechanism to formulate and implement the Standard under which softwood lumber is produced and specified.  Participation of each segment of the industry is an integral part of the program and provides the industry with a direct voice in the standardization and accreditation program as it evolves into the twenty-first century.

In the case of Brent’s rafters, the Douglas Fir ones were marked with the WWP® logo of the Western Wood Products Association (www.wwpa.org) which is the largest association of lumber manufacturers in the United States. The Douglas Fir ones were marked with a mill number to indicate the producer, however the others were produced by Idaho Timber (www.IdahoTimber.com).

The rafters happened to be graded as Select Structural (SelStr), which indicates a relatively smaller group of allowable defects than the more commonly seen framing material, which is normally graded as #2.

For a brief overview of allowable defects in lumber, please read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/12/lumber-defects/

The species of lumber was how Brent and I originally got into the discussion of grade stamps. It was indicated by the DFir and HemFir designations on the rafters.

All of the framing lumber used on this building (as well as all Hansen Pole Buildings) is seasoned to a moisture content of no greater than 19% at time of surfacing, which was indicated by the “KD” on the grade stamps.

Lots of information contained in a little stamp – but as Brent’s older sister Allison says, “My Dad knows more worthless trivia than anyone”.

Where Pre-painted Steel Coil Comes From

Where Pre-painted Steel Coil Comes From

At the National Frame Building Association (NFBA) 2014 Frame Building Expo were several exhibitors who paint steel coil. These coils are used by steel roll formers to create siding and roofing panels, as well as trims for pole buildings.

Among these companies were AkzoNobel, Dura Coat Products, Precoat Metals, and Valspar.

AkzoNobel makes a complete line of high performance coil coatings. For the highest level of performance their Trinar has a 70 percent PVDF (Polyvinylidene fluoride) resin system and all performance characteristics demanded for high profile projects. AkzoNobel also manufactures the benchmark of SMP (Silicone-modified polyester), Ceram-A-Star 1050. This proprietary resin system, combined with the highest quality pigments, give it unbeatable color retention and superior chalk and fade resistance. Both Trinar and Ceram-A-Star 1050 are available in Cool Chemistry formulations which help make projects more energy efficient and sustainable.

Dura Coat specializes in high-quality, high-performance coil coatings for commercial, farm and residential applications. Durapon 70 is a PVDF formulation equal to or better than any coating on the market. With an exceptional resistance to installation scratching, scuffing and transit abrasion, it is also flexible enough to handle demanding post-forming. The unique chemistry of Durapon 70 reduces the carbon footprint which makes a greener product. Ceranamel XT-40 SMP is a proprietary polymer formulation which is harder, more flexible and significantly more abrasion and stain-resistant than conventional coatings. Ceramic pigmentation prompted the name, Ceranamel. It has excellent flexibility, weathering and fade resistance properties. Both coatings are energy efficient and meet Energy Star standards.

Painted Steel CoilI’ve actually toured the Precoat Metals plant near St. Louis, Missouri. The entire process of applying paint to bare galvanized and galvalume steel coil is nothing short of fascinating. Watch future editions of my blog for more about Precoat’s processes.

Valspar Corporation is an international manufacturer of paint and coatings based in Minneapolis. With nearly 10,000 employees in 25 countries it is the world’s sixth largest paint and coating corporation. Those who frequent Lowes® have probably seen the Valspar name on the shelves of the paint aisle.

Valspar offers a full range of high-performance architectural coatings in PVDF, SMP and polyester formulas. These superior coatings are available in a full palette of colors and surface textures to meet the most demanding environmental conditions and designs. Valspar’s flagship Fluropan coatings containing 70 percent PVDF resins offer premium protection against harmful UV rays, chalk, fade and chemical degradation. Their WeatherXL is a new silicone polyester coating which offers enhanced protection against weathering and superior scratch resistance.

These steel coil coaters are producing the high quality painted steel which is utilized by the best of the steel roll forming companies in America.  Stay tuned for more on the Precoat process!