Tag Archives: lumber

How Roof is Done, “Logs” for Kits, and Two-Story “Shoffice”(?)

This Monday, Mike the Pole Barn Guru discusses the ins and outs of a roof, lumber provided with the Kit, and if we can offer a two story shed/office (“Shoffice”?).

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How is the roof done? Do you use screws or nails? Is the frame wood or steel? MARY in MT. PLEASANT

DEAR MARY: Most of our buildings have steel roofing (although any roofing type can be used – shingles, tile, etc.). We recommend using some method of controlling possible condensation on underside of steel roofing – either a Reflective Radiant Barrier (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/effective-reflective-insulation/), an Integral Condensation Control (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/integral-condensation-control/) either of these two we typically supply or two inches of closed cell spray foam.

All of our steel roofs are fastened with 1-1/2 inch long, color matched and powder coated screws.

All Hansen Pole Buildings have a structural wood framework, making them very DIY friendly. This wood framework eliminates thermal transference issues found in steel frame buildings.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking at a 40x44x18 garage kit from sales at Home Depot. I read reviews & they talk about “logs” showing up & sawing the lumber. Is this the case?? Not much of a kit if you have to make your own dimensional lumber? RICHARD in SHILOH

DEAR RICHARD: Comments/reviews posted on The Home Depot® website for our buildings are literally nothing short of hilarious. Obviously these are not from verified purchasers of our engineered post frame buildings kits. All lumber needed for this and any of our buildings is sawn to size. Dimensional lumber has been planed (surfaced), dried to 19% moisture content or less and grade stamped to verify adequacy for structural usage.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking to build workshop and office, would like to know if the kits come in 2 story. Looking at 30 X 30 building with one garage door, two reg. door cut outs and 4 or 5 window cut outs. Looking to build late summer. Thanks, WIL in PROVIDENCE FORGE

DEAR WIL: Without sprinklers, we can provide up to 40 foot tall sidewalls and three stories. If you sprinkler 50 foot sidewalls and four stories.




Rough Cut Lumber, Insurance, and Girt Orientation

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I’m planning on building a ( 32’ x 60’ x 12’ ) Pole Barn with 4/12 scissor truss.  I want to price out rough cut lumber on walls and ceiling.  How do I calculate the

Amount of board feet lumber I need to cover the walls and ceiling.

Thanks BRIAN

DEAR BRIAN: The first thing you should do is to consult with the engineer who has designed your building to find out if he or she will approve your use of ungraded rough cut lumber (which, unless you season it thoroughly, is going to have a very high moisture content and is going to be prone to warp, twist and shrink as it dries). I cannot imagine very many registered design professionals who are going to approve with the proposed use of your material. In the event you are considering constructing a building without having an engineered set of building plans which are designed specifically for your site and your building – you are putting yourself, your loved ones and your possessions at serious risk. The few dollars you might save by not having engineered plans are just not worth it – please do not be penny wise and pound foolish.

Back to your question – you can take a count of the boards on your engineered building plans which will give you the required lengths and quantity required.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Need an insurance company that will insure 1/2 acre lot with a pole barn that is adjacent to 1/2 acre lot with a lake house but on two separate deeds. FRANK in LOUISVILLE

DEAR FRANK: I would suspect any independent insurance agent can find you several companies who would happily write a policy for you. Try calling one or more in your area.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you explain girt detail why the 2×6 are placed horizontal and not vertical and why they hang off 1.5 inches past the columns? OWEN in FLORA

DEAR OWEN: This article explains the why of how the wall girts are oriented: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/girts/

They hang 1-1/2″ outside the columns so the outside face is in the same plane as other members such as the 2×8 pressure preservative treated skirt board, large door headers, etc. It also allows for any wiring to be placed horizontally without having to drill through columns.



Treated Lumber for In Ground Use

Treated Lumber – Justine Schools a Major Lumberyard Chain

When it comes to pressure preservative treated lumber, ignorance from the supply side seems to be bliss and there are way too many folks out there happily selling under treated product.

For your entertainment pleasure I bring you a discourse between Hansen Pole Buildings Lumber Wizard Justine and the manager of one of a 145 plus location lumberyard chain which supplies materials to both post frame builders and DIYers.

Justine: “Good Morning. Can you confirm 4×6’s and 6×6’s treated to .23 retention level?”

Manager: “No. They are ground contact treated to .14pcf.  And our 2×4 and 2×6 are above ground .05pcf. We do not carry .23pcf in any of or lumber treatments.”

Justine: “I need these to be in ground contact treated.  So if you’re using MCA I need them to be .23 which I have gotten with Xxxxxx many times.  Would you please quote those.”

Manager: “UC4A .15 is ground contact for structural posts and deck posts. 

I can special order in UC4B .23 (or .31) Critical – for permanent wood foundations in full units for you. You would have to purchase 24qty of the 4x6x14’s and 24 of the 6x6x14’s and it will take me a couple weeks to get in.

Let me know if you want to do that?”

Justine: “Good Morning (another manager in same chain),

.15 cannot be buried in the ground, it doesn’t meet code.

.23 I have ordered in pieces and less then bunk units with Xxxxxx many times.

2nd Manager, can you help 1st Manager with this one.”

Second Manager: As my location is a part of the Xxxxxx Lumber division I am able to pull the post out of our location in Millersburg.  My suggestion to 1st Manager would be to check and see if he can have them top loaded by the piece on his next treated truck.  Other than that I am not sure how to help.”

First Manager: “I just talked to Escue the treatment plant and they do not sell less than a unit. They will not top load a few boards.

 According to Federal Gov’t Regulations (AWPA Standards) the .14pcf UC4A Can be buried in the ground. It is absolutely in ground contact.”

Justine: “You are false, It can touch the ground but cannot be buried in the ground.  Code is UC4B is in ground use.

Have you tried Universal Forest as I know Xxxxxx branches use them as well.”

First Manager: “Unfortunately someone is feeding you false information  – Here is an ICC (International Code Council) report – all of the treatment plants are on there – ( Universal Forrest Included).

Look at Page 5 – .15pcf — Ground Contact – In ground

              Page 5 – UC4A – Ground Contact – In ground

I would like to take care of you on this job for 2nd Manager, but I can only sell you what I have Sir…”

Humorous sidebar – First Manager has not yet realized Justine is a member of the female side of the human species.

Here is where I step in to do some educating:  This is not meant to put you down, however you have been given some bad information.

Please read this article, then look up the cited section of the International Building Code which confirms Justine is correct:

Thank you for your understanding.”

 Considering ordering post frame building materials or a pole building kit package from a lumberyard? This is a chain of locations which absolutely should know better, yet does not. Do you want to risk your beautiful new pole barn having posts which rot away?

I think not.

Is There Really a Lumber Shortage?

Do we grow enough wood to build a significant number of new wood framed buildings?

Most people have the belief the world’s forests are shrinking. They are worried about a lumber shortage. This is one of the marketing ploys frequently used by producers and builders of non-wood framed buildings.

A Yale University-led study published in March this year estimates “the world’s forests contain about 385 billion cubic meters of wood, with an additional 17 billion cubic meters growing each year.

A mere 3.4 billion cubic meters is harvested [annually], mostly for subsistence fuel burning; the rest rots, burns in fires, or adds to forests’ density,” writes Professor Chad Oliver, director of the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at Yale University in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry.

“Swapping steel, concrete, or brick for wood and specially engineered wood equivalents would drastically cut global carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuel consumption and represent a renewable resource. Managed properly, this can be done without loss of biodiversity or carbon storage capacity.”

Think about it…..

Only 20% of the additional wood which grows each year, is being harvested!!

And the annual harvest is less than 1% of the total volume of wood in the world’s forests.

Pole buildings offer an ability to enclose a significant amount of space, with very little use of lumber.

Today I reviewed a material takeoff for a 30’ x 50’ pole building. This particular building is in a relatively high wind speed area, a most certainly a high snow load area.

In total, the building consumed about 3600 board feet of lumber, about 2.4 board feet for every square foot (the equivalent of less than 15 inches of a 2×12)!

For sake of keeping it simple, assume all the lumber was actually full sized (not 1.5 x 3.5 inches for a 2×4). This particular pole building would use up only about 70% of a cubic meter of wood.

How does this compare to the average stick framed home built in the U.S.? Try 14,000 board feet, or nearly four times as much!!

Moral of the story – we have plenty of wood and to make what we have available stretch as far as possible, pick a pole building

Framing Lumber Sizes: Why Isn’t a 2×4 Truly 2″ by 4″?

Why isn’t a 2×4 truly 2” x 4”?

When Hansen Pole Buildings first began in 2002, owner J.A. Hansen did all of the drafting. As a lifetime Registered Nurse, Judy had the attention to detail it took to be an excellent drafter. In her “nursing world” everything was measured in exact numbers. If a patient needed 10 milligrams of a drug, they were administered exactly 10 milligrams. No more, no less, and right on schedule.  You didn’t give the patient between 5 and 20 milligrams, somewhere between 8AM and noon!

This is where the challenge came in for Judy learning to draft…a 2 x 4 did not measure 2 inches by 4 inches!  Not only that, once I patiently explained framing lumber and sizes, a 2×4 was not even held to an exact 1-1/2” by 3-1/2”, but had an “acceptable range” for size, I was afraid she’d walk right out the door and never come back!

Back in the olden days of cutting trees into framing lumber, a 2×4 did actually measure more or less two inches by four inches.

Eventually evolution created high production building and high production sawmills. High production builders demanded smooth surfaced lumber to work with, rather than the rough sawn lumber primitive mills had been cranking out. About the same time, dried lumber became popular for its dimensional stability and resistance to mold.

Running the formerly rough cut 2×4 through a planer (to create smooth surfaces) and the drying process created a finished piece of lumber which measured 1-5/8” x 3-5/8”.

In the late 1970’s today’s standard sized 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” dry 2×4 was created. Besides ½ inch being easier to measure than 5/8 inch, we can only assume some brilliant bean counter in a sawmill office determined this would allow the recovery of one extra 2×4 board out of every log!

There are those naysayers who would attribute this “smaller” piece of framing lumber to less longevity in modern structures. However, all engineering calculations are based upon the actual dry size of the material being utilized.  Yes, the sizes are somewhat confusing, but they do work.

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