Tag Archives: mother-in-law apartment

Condensation Control, Mother/Daughter Addition, and Vapor Barrier for Roof

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers readers questions about condensation control in a small garage with a gravel floor, the possibility of adding a “mother-daughter” unit to her house, and “ribbed vapor barrier” for a shed roof.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Recently purchased a metal garage kit, 24X26. No insulation. Two garaged doors. Gravel floor with plastic under grave. I am getting condensation on some days, that makes my cars, etc have like a dew on them.

My rib looks to be 1” and 7” between ribs. How do you install a wall vent with the ribs? JODY in ALTON

Machine ShopDEAR JODY: First step is to take care of your source. Pour a concrete slab on grade with a well sealed 10-15mil vapor barrier underneath. As you have no thermal break between your warm moist air inside building and roof steel, have two inches of closed cell spray foam insulation applied to underside of roofing. You would be better served to vent eaves and ridge, than just gable vents. If gable vents are your choice, look for vinyl vents with a snap ring as they can be installed on ribbed steel siding.

Using inward vent base edges as a guide, mark area to be cut on endwall steel INSIDE, make hole cut square with steel sheet (vertical cut lines parallel to steel ribs). Cut hole with appropriate tools.
Push vent base through hole in steel from inside.
Note word “TOP” on base when positioning. Vents installed with top side in any direction other than up will allow water to leak into building.
While holding vent base in place, snap face into base from steel exterior by pressing firmly (this takes two people).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m interested in building an attached mother/daughter addition to my home. Do you have plans for that? Approximately 600-700sq ft. NANCY in MONROE TOWNSHIP

Floor PlanDEAR NANCY: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Every building we provide is custom designed to best meet the wants, needs and budget of our clients. We offer a floor plan design service for folks just like you: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q 


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are having a 50×30 all metal building. We were advised to get ribbed vapor barrier for roof. We have searched everywhere. Is it called something else? SHANNON in OLEAN

DEAR SHANNON: We are also not familiar with any product known as a “ribbed vapor barrier”. We would normally recommend use of roof steel with an ICC factory attached (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/09/integral-condensation-control-2/). If this is not an option (or if you are using closed cell spray foam directly to underside of roof steel), next choice would be a radiant reflective barrier – look for six foot wide rolls with an adhesive pull strip attached for ease of installation.


Small Yards, Big Building Design

As new homes have shrunk in size, so have the lots the homes are constructed on. With this the space available for detached accessory buildings (primarily garages and workshops) has shrunk with them.  When you have a 40-foot wide lot, there’s only so much room for another building. But this doesn’t mean homeowners are willing to settle for plain vanilla building design, or worse yet, no building at all. A tremendous amount of style and function can be packed into a small space.

People also are buying old houses, which were built on small lots. A well planned backyard pole building can provide an escape from the confines of small rooms and smaller spaces. The demand for unique building design is on the rise.

My oldest son lives in Maryville (a suburb of Knoxville, TN). He and his wife purchased a home of about 1200 square feet with an unfinished basement. The “daylight basement” included a single car garage door, with the idea for a vehicle to be parked downstairs…underneath the main floor.

With a growing family, finishing the basement to make space for more bedrooms and a family room meant the loss of this space, as well as the downstairs workshop.

While a 24’ x 30’ footprint would avoid his backyard drain field and fit within the property line setbacks, just a plain box would not have satisfied the needs of his mother.  The vast amount of options and flexibility with pole building design came to the rescue!

A 20’ x 24’ second floor “mother-in-law” apartment was added above the rear 2/3 of the garage. With the peak of the roofs running at 90 degree angles to each other, it ended up being aesthetically pleasing in a residential neighborhood. Inside the apartment, scissor trusses created a vaulted ceiling, with the added height making the room feel more spacious. Cantilevered decks (4’ in front and 6’ in the rear) allow for outdoor living, especially with the sliding glass patio door to the large rear deck.

Now our son has a place to park two vehicles inside, along with his own shop area. His wife loves the large storage shelves lining the downstairs garage/shop for those seasonal items and Christmas decorations. The mini apartment upstairs hosts visiting guests in a private space all of their own.  Not to mention “Mama” is happy with the large air conditioned space with a deck to relax on when she comes to visit.  And footprint wise, it didn’t take up anymore space than a two car garage, but allowed for a lot of expansion to their daily living.

Recent research into post frame fire walls, allow pole buildings to be built close to, or right up to property lines. This allows for buildings to be placed in spaces they would not have fit into in the past.

A wood stove or fireplace can make a man cave, or hobby space a delightful area, and are easily added.  Heating and A/C are affordable for small spaces, for maximum climate control.

Looking for the ideal building design to add to the livability of your home? Pole buildings do not have to be “plain Jane” and the variables for design are virtually limitless.