Tag Archives: monitor loft

How to Clearspan a 60’ Wide Monitor Barn Including a Loft

How to Clearspan a 60’ Wide Monitor Barn Including a Loft

Reader DANIEL in HADLEY writes: “ I am really liking the Monitor style barn. I however find the support posts for the raised portion very in the way for what I want. I am looking to have an open floor on a 60 x 60 Monitor build. Center section of barn 20 ft and each wing on side 20 ft wide as well. I would like to pull a vehicle into the center section of barn and make a 90degrees turn and park 4-5 vehicles in each wing. My problem is the support beams would hinder a lot of this. Is there a plan out there that would give me a 60X60 Monitor with the loft space, without the annoying, in the way supports? Heck I wouldn’t be mad if it had 2 In the middle at the 30 ft mark. But ideally none. I know I’m asking for unreasonableness, but it’s worth the ask, and if you have a solution for me could you link me to the resources I would need? Thank you!”

Nothing unreasonable at all. As I tell clients – your only limitations are imagination, depth of your pocket book and available space. We tend to attract clients who are looking for structural solutions everyone else will not touch. If you desire no interior columns, it can be done, we would utilize a set of parallel chord trusses at each side of your raised center to span from endwall to endwall. Trusses for 20′ wing as well as main (raised) center roof and floor trusses would be carried by these. These will limit your ability to place windows in kneewall above wings. Keep in mind, since loads on beams are a function of square of span, having columns at 30′ will reduce forces needing to be carried by a factor of four (and will similarly reduce your needed investment).

Room for a Loft

I’ve come to face a reality – the great majority of people are dimensionally challenged. And it is OK if you might be one of them. I’ve worked with dimensions and sizes of all sorts and shapes since I was a teenager swinging a hammer (and being go-fer) on the buildings my Father and Uncles were framing.

A case in point just this morning – a client had requested a quote on a building (happens a few hundred times every day for us, so nothing surprising there).

The building was requested with a 10 foot eave height, as well as a 10 foot tall overhead door. Obviously a challenge as the tracks for the door need somewhere to go – solution easily taken care of, make the eave height 12 feet. Crisis averted.

Now, the fun part….

This same client requested a full loft 30’x40’ in a 30’x40’ building, with a 4/12 roof slope.

The 4/12 roof slope means the height of the roof increases by four feet, for every 12 feet of horizontal travel. In this particular building, being 30 foot wide, it would be five feet taller in the center.

Now I am vertically challenged – I am tall enough so if I am wearing my favorite cowboy boots, my head brushes the tops of doors as I walk through them. But, having been this height for my entire adult life, I have gotten used to it.

With only five feet of rise in the center, this requested full loft would cause vertical challenges for nearly everyone!

When it comes to actually planning usable loft space, give some thought to the space being created.

Interior LoftFor a full loft (sidewall-to-sidewall), at the very least there should be four feet of height above the loft floor at the outside eave wall. As floor and roof systems have a thickness – use this for a guideline:

Take the height of the tallest large door (sliding or overhead). Add a foot above a sliding door and at least two feet above an overhead door (an extra foot is even better). This will be the top of floor height. Now to this number, add the minimum amount of height at the lowest point of the loft plus allow for the roof system (this number should always be at least five).

This resultant will be the minimum eave height.

Example: Your tallest door (which happens to be an overhead) is 8’ – plus 2’ for the overhead – 8 + 2 + 10’ is the top of floor height.  Adding in at least 5’ you end up with 15’ and since lumber is most economical in 2’ lengths – and look back where I said “another foot is even better) – final eave height is 16’.