Tag Archives: overhead door posts

Solar Panels, Concrete Free Slab, and Overhead Door Posts

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru discusses the possibility of installing solar panels on a pole barn roof, use of a “concrete free” slab, and overhead door post sizes.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can solar panels be installed on a pole barn roof?


DEAR JAMES: Provided roof truss top chord and purlin dead loads have been appropriately adjusted upward to account for weight added by your solar panels, they can certainly be added on a ‘pole barn’ (fully engineered post frame). We have had numerous clients do just this. For some extended reading please see: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/solar-panels-2/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: On page 32 in the February/March 2022 issue of Fine Homebuilding, is an article entitled “Inside the Concrete-Free Slab,” about building a plywood slab-on-grade floor. Are you familiar with this construction method and if so, would it be a possibility for a residential Hansen Building design. RICHARD in LEWISTOWN

DEAR RICHARD: I had not previously seen this as a design solution, however it totally works and we could certainly incorporate it into your new Hansen Pole Buildings’ barndominium. I very much appreciate your sharing this article with me (https://www.finehomebuilding.com/project-guides/insulation/concrete-free-slab).

A benefit of a fully engineered post frame building is you do not have to have continuous footing and foundation, even in using this system.

At edges, I would recommend three inches (roughly R-15) of EPS (expanded polystyrene) vertically, on inside of pressure preservative treated splash plank. Top would be set at 3-1/2″ above bottom of splash plank and extended downward two feet (in Climate zones 4 and greater, add an outward horizontal to match Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation requirements).

There are some true beauties to this system – it does away with expensive concrete for slabs, along with near impossible to find skilled concrete finishers. It will be so much easier on knees (mine scream at me when I stand too long on concrete).

Cost-wise, at current plywood prices, it looks like a roughly four dollars per square foot investment for plywood. Under plywood insulation (I would also use EPS) should be same whether concrete or wood.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I have a 24’x36′ pole barn that has one open 12’x24′ bay. I would like to add a garage door on that side. Looking at the closed bay, it seems fairly straight forward on products required. My only issue that I see so far is the 4″x4″ used to support the sides of the garage door itself. The closed bay side has the 4″x4″ inserted into the ground before the cement slab was poured. My only options would be to come up or locate some type of bracket that will screw in securely to the concrete pad or cut the concrete and dig down place the poles, then re-concrete that sections. Do you have any suggestion? Thank you for the help. I have supplied a photo on what I am working with. RONALD in CAMANO ISLAND

DEAR RONALD: Each side of your new overhead door should have a 4×6 column, rather than 4×4. Four inch face should be oriented towards sidewalls. Simpson Strong-tie makes several retrofit brackets – so there will be no need to cut into your existing concrete slab. Check with your local The Home Depot ProDesk as they can recommend an in stock base. Ask for a bracket with a one inch standoff, so you will not need to use a pressure preservative treated column.



Overhead Door Install Without Concrete Floor

Overhead Door Install Without a Concrete Floor
Reader WILLIE in SHELBYVILLE writes:

“ I am building a pole barn and I am not going to pour concrete on the floor just a rock base and I am going to install an overhead door. My question is what do I need to stop the door from coming out of the track at the bottom when closed?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:
While you may not intend to ever pour a concrete floor in your building, there is a better than good chance at some point in time this will change. Maybe for you, perhaps for a future owner. For this reason, overhead doors should always be placed to allow for a nominal four inch thick concrete floor – with bottom of door up 3-1/2 inches from the bottom of pressure preservative treated splash plank.

If this is not done, and a concrete slab on grade is to be added later, your overhead door will need to be taken out. Overhead door and top jambs will need to be raised by 3-1/2 inches – entailing cutting this off bottom of all steel siding panels above door opening. Side jambs will need to be lengthened at top, probably causing more steel jamb trim to have to be obtained.

This results in an issue with sealing overhead door bottom, to prevent your neighbor’s cat from living inside of your building. I have had clients solve this gap challenge in many ways, all resulting in a bump or hump across door opening. Most usually it is done by creating a gravel berm.

I also deferred to Hansen Pole Buildings’ overhead door expert, Rick Ochs. In his past life, Rick operated an overhead door sales and installation company.
Rick’s answer:

If I understand correctly:
There is a threshold at door opening. His rock base is lower than that imaginary line from jamb to jamb. He doesn’t want the rollers to fall out of the bottom of the track when the door goes down.

When my crews would install overhead doors without any flooring or concrete in place, they would mount a 2x to the inside face of the overhead door posts with the top edge at threshold height. The outer corners of the overhead door would then rest on that until concrete was poured. Some customers would temporarily build up the threshold with aggregate, but this rock gets pushed around and has to be built up continually.

Where the red is butted to the inside face of posts: