Oh What to do About Bare Splash Planks
Most people rarely notice or pay attention to splash planks (skirt boards) below their post frame (pole building) siding. They are so far below eye level frankly most people just do not notice them!
Reader TOOD in SPRINGFIELD worries about them. He writes:
I called the Hansen number and the lady told me I could ask a question in here for a quick response. I wanted to ask, on the finished Hansen buildings, the bottom of the building is exposed—there’s just the wood trim there. You would think there would be some metal trim over top… not just for appearance reasons but to protect the wood. I believe the wood is pressure treated, which I know lasts awhile but it would start to warp/crack over time. I don’t think Hansen would put trim over it, but do you think it would help if I added metal trim over it at a later date? I know the metal would have moist soil up against it a little at the base, so I don’t know if that’s ok. I’m just trying to protect it long term (30+ years). Would it be better to push dirt or gravel against it to cover it up or would it not matter either way? The downside to gravel is I’d have to buy it but also weeds would grow up through it, so it would be more maintenance over time to get rid of the weeds. Anyway, I’d really appreciate your input on all of this and I really appreciate your time. Thanks! Todd”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru answers:
Around the bottom of any properly designed post frame (pole building) there should be exposed four to six inches of pressure preservative treated splash plank. In our case, splash planks are treated to a minimum UC-4A standard, making them acceptable and appropriate for a lifetime of use in contact with ground. This exposed treated wood is ideal for pouring aprons, landings, sidewalks and driveways against and it keeps concrete from being in contact with your building’s steel siding and trims, as either of them will decay with direct contact to chemicals in concrete. You want to avoid having soil or gravel against steel as it will rust. If you feel it imperative to cover your splash planks, we can provide vinyl plasti-skirts to cover them (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/08/plasti-skirt/).
Concrete Apron Around A Pole Barn
My lovely bride and I live in a post frame (pole barn) home along South Dakota’s Lake Traverse. Long time loyal readers of this column have seen photos of it more than once. For those who have missed out, our home was featured on NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) Post-Frame Building Design Manual (second edition) cover: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/
Along our home’s west eave side are a steel-sectional overhead garage door as well as two entry (person) doors. A three foot width concrete apron has been poured along most of this wall, from pressure preservative treated splash plank (skirt board) out, serving as a sidewalk. In front of entry doors, sidewalk width at three feet was also adequate to meet with building code requirements for egress door landings https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/02/landings/ .
Only issue I have had with our sidewalk – finisher neglected to slope finished concrete surface away from building wall! While it may appear self-evident to have had a slope, remember our average contractor’s level of education.
Reader JOE in NORTH PLATTE has been pondering a concrete apron around a future building. Joe writes:
“Hello pole barn guru. We are planning to build a 50×80 insulated ag shop. We are contemplating pouring a 24” apron around the entire building. The cement would be sloped away from the building so water would run away. Do you think this is a good idea for some added protection from deterioration of the skirt board? I don’t know if the cement against the skirt board would help protect the skirt board? Or would the cement against the skirt board hold moisture and be more likely to rot? It probably won’t be a problem in my lifetime but would appreciate your opinion.”
(NOTE: “cement” as used by Joe in paragraph above should more appropriately be “concrete”)
Pole Barn Guru writes:
Sounds like an expensive proposition. I would only do it if you either like this look, or were going to increase width to three feet so it could be a functional sidewalk. If your concern would be skirt board (splash plank) longevity you might be better off and money ahead to invest in Plasti-skirts (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/08/plasti-skirt/) and can be provided along with your post frame building kit materials.