Tag Archives: plasti-sleeves

Keeping Ground Water Out from Under a Post Frame Building

Keeping Ground Water Out from Under a Post Frame Building

Reader TED in LEBANON writes:

“The holes for my future building can be around 4 foot deep. Then solid rock, I think that is a good foundation? Level ground but at bottom of hillside. Surface water drains well. But, between the hardpan and solid rock there is an artisian water effect. The ground is solid, but in my observation hole that I check regularly there is always water in it until July- August. I’ve considered treated post with coatings and the plastic sleeves. Also post in concrete, but they claim that’s no good. Please advise thanks.”

Any time you can rest a foundation upon solid bedrock is a good choice. You do want to keep water from flowing under your building. Picking a building site at the bottom of a hill can exasperate challenges and as often as possible should be avoided. If there is just no other building site choice, there are some options.

Your property needs to be able to handle stormwater and rainfall amounts it receives, so extra water doesn’t cause costly damage.

There are a variety of solutions, depending on the exact problem and your property characteristics.

Sometimes, the best plan is a combination of solutions.

Here’s a look at some options:

  1. Dry Creeks

This is a subtle and creative solution for drainage issues and offers a bonus: it’s pretty.

A shallow trough is lined with stones or rocks, offering excess water a place to flow and runoff.

  1. Trench Drains

This is a great choice for heavily paved areas such as driveways and parking lots. Trench drains are concrete-lined channels helping direct water flow while filtering out debris using grates or filters to reduce clogging.

  1. French Drains

A more intricate method of controlling water flow around a building or property is by using French drains. This, and proper site grading, will probably achieve your best results.

French drains are typically perforated pipes channeling water in a specific direction. These pipes are usually covered with rocks and gravel to help with filtration, water flow and ensure pipes stay in place.

  1. Site Grading

Site grading involves changing landscape to encourage water to flow in a desired direction — away from your building.

Many drainage issues stem from improper grading techniques during a building’s construction. At a minimum you want to grade at least 10 feet from your building with a 5% or greater down slope (this is also a Building Code requirement).

  1. Dry Wells & Reservoirs

When surface water has no place to go, it pools and floods. Building a dry well underground, or a surface reservoir gives excess water a home. Swales fit into this category: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/swale/

Properly pressure preservative treated wood posts (UC-4B) are not adversely affected by ground water, nor is there scientific proof being in contact with concrete results in their premature decay. If you are yet skeptical then Plasti-sleeves may be a good investment for you: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/

Answers to Questions Unable to Find on Website

Answers to Questions Unable to Find on Website or Learning Info

Even having penned over 2000 articles on post-frame design, there are always more topics to cover and questions to be answered. Luckily, we have potential clients who want to know – as informed clients are happy clients!

Reader CARY in RAYMOND writes:

“Raymond Nebraska, Exposure C (in Tornado Alley), monitor style pole barn (30’ wide x 40’ deep x 18’high with 2 16’ wide x 40’ deep x 10’ high sidewalls.

We have sustained winds of 30 to 45 mph and gusts from 60 to 75 mph during storms. Our new house lost 1/3 of its roof During tornado event in 2013 and insurance agent stated 160 mph winds in our area. For this reason, I want a very sturdy structure to minimize damage should another tornado pass by. Wind driven snow and drifts are a problem as well although this past winter not too much snow.

  1. I wish to retain a monitor style building and it appears a gambrel roof style would be your preferred scheme to minimize wind wall loading if I read your info and blog correctly. Is there a preferred ratio of slanted side to top panel roof for a gambrel style? If so your ideas. Diaphragm design, working storm design, tornado straps, etc., to mitigate damage.


  1. Max load duration of 10 minutes per lifetime??  I understand that wind does not sustain high speeds usually however buffeting can be quite severe. How does one account for this in this calculation? Just an answer a layman might comprehend, I am not an engineer, but 10 minutes over the lifetime of the building.


  1. The double truss design piqued my interest yet the attachment to the columns has me baffled. If I recall Kyle from Rural Renovators uses your laminated columns and trusses and wet sets. The upper portion of the 3 ply column is constructed minus a portion the middle 2×6/2×8 to allow truss with 15 1/2” heel to fit. With a doubled truss would this design require a 4 ply column or how would it be done / connected?


  1. What is the strongest way to mount a column for a pole barn?  Buried 4 feet in concrete (frost line here 39”), wet sets placed in a footing to frost line, constrained by concrete on all sides ( 4’ sidewalk around building ) negating hairpin. On this subject what is the plastic sleeve I believe I read about on your site, extra protection against rot?

Thank you for your time to answer these questions and I shall forward line drawings of my project once I understand these issues. I have gone to many sites and yours is most helpful.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s answers:
Code design wind speed in your area is 115 mph (just an FYI). For Exposure C sites, effectively buildings must resist roughly 20% greater forces than Exposure B at the same design wind speed.

1) Monitor style with a gabled roof would minimize effects of wind loads. Gambrel style roofline increase vertical dimensions, creating a greater surface horizontal wind forces are applied to. Our engineers verify every component and connection for adequacy to resist selected design wind speeds and exposure. Hansen Pole Buildings are designed utilizing diaphragm design.

2) Sound engineering practice for wood design incorporates a  load duration of 10 minutes at design wind speed, across building’s lifetime. P (pressure) at a given wind speed is determined from speed (in mph) squared x .00256. For 115 mph, P = 33.856 psf (pounds per square foot). A 75 mph gust produces a force of only 14.4 psf (just over 40% of design load). For structural design of systems incorporating wood, we are only allowed to utilize design values of 40% of Pult (ultimate failure pressure). To paint a picture in layperson’s terms – if 100 samples of a given grade of lumber were tested to failure and their failures were plotted on a bell curve, we would go to 5th percentile failure from the bottom of the curve and utilize 40% of this failure’s value for design. This results in a tremendous safety factor for engineered wood design and explains why engineered wood structures, built to plan, do not fail within design loads.

3) Double trusses are notched into one side of columns, rather than having to have expensive lifting equipment to raise trusses up and over a central notch in a column. This allows for entire bays of roofs (two sets of trusses, with purlins and bracing in place) to be cranked up columns using winch boxes https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/winch-boxes-episode-v/

4) Properly constrained embedded columns are strongest method to resist wind loads. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/importance-of-constrained-posts/.  An external sidewalk would not provide constrainment, as there would be a joint created where splash plank divides two independent slabs. Although properly pressure preservative treated (UC-4B) columns will not experience premature decay within lifetimes of anyone alive on our planet today (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/09/pressure-treated-post-frame-building-poles-rot/), we do offer Plasti-sleeves, for those who may yet have durability concerns https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/.

Living Quarters, Plasti-Sleeves, and Poly-carbonate Roof Panels

The Pole Barn Guru answers questions about living quarters, Plasti-Sleeve sizes, and poly-carbonate roof panels.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello there, 

I have a quick question that I’m hoping someone can answer for me.  For your metal buildings that feature “living quarters” such as (PROJECT# 04-0509), have any of these ever been built on a property in Washington state as the primary residence (not as an accessory building)?

I am searching for a piece of land in Thurston county, and plan to build a home and a ~3,000 square foot shop.  I love the idea of combining the two.  I know that this is common in other parts of the country (with companies like Morton Buildings), I’m just not sure if this is doable in Washington state.

If you have any insight, I’d love to hear it.

Thank you for your time!


P.S.  If you have any interior pictures of Project# 04-0509, I would love to see those.

DEAR ROBERT: Thank you for your interest. Post frame (pole) buildings are Code compliant structures and can be erected upon any buildable lot. You will have to meet Washington State Energy requirements Energy Code (as will any new residential construction). Your local Planning Department or a HOA may dictate specific types of roofing and/or siding to meet local covenants. This is not an issue for post frame as we can provide any type of exterior materials.

Because we supply only kit packages, we rarely get finished interior photos of our buildings. We will hope to be seeing ones from you in the not too distant future!


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The pole sleeves are .25″ too small for all of the hem fir PT posts that are used for door openings. What do i do?  SCOTT in EAGLE


This is from the manufacturer’s website:

Helpful Hints:

Wood, especially treated, can swell with moisture beyond its normal dimension. If your Plasti-sleeve (more on Plasti-sleeves here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/) is too tight, here are some ways to ease installation without forcing it on.

  1. If your post has sharp corners, plane or shave with a saw to allow sleeve to slide on.
  2. Plane or saw sides of the post the length of the Plasti-sleeve.
  3. Use dish soap or similar slippery lubricant to aid in sliding on.
  4. In case of cold weather installation it may help to warm the sleeves to expand them.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Why do you have the clear (translucent) light panels on the side-wall rather than on the roof?

DEAR MARK: Rather than rehashing a subject I have expounded upon previously, here lies your answer: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/01/skylights/.

Challenges also exist with skylights and fires: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/one-more-reason-to-not-use-skylights-in-steel-roofs/.


Towards upper left hand corner of every webpage at www.HansenPoleBuildings.com you will find a magnifying glass adjacent to “Search”. To find information on any post frame building subject CLICK on Search and type your subject into this dropdown box, then ENTER. Magically answers will appear, in order of relevance to your request!



My now 23 year old daughter Allison sent me this meme once. I found it quite appropriate for self use when I mentioned a product in yesterday’s article which I had never written about.

From Homework Design, the makers of Plasti-Sleeve® Post Protectors is another innovation towards post frame building longevity – the Plasti-Skirt.

Plasti-Skirt enhances quality and protection for post frame buildings. Rot and decay of skirt boards (aka Splash Planks) can compromise your building structure with serious problems. Many new wood preservatives are evolving in the wake of CCA treatment being phased out for many uses. However most of the new treatment formulas are unproven long term… but plastic is. The HDPE plastic used in Homework Design products is completely resistant to moisture, organic matter, concrete, most chemicals (including wood preservatives), animal wastes, etc. Use Plasti-Skirt and Plasti-Sleeve for total protection and confidence on your new post frame buildings.

Plasti-Skirt is a heavy duty u-shaped plastic cover for skirt boards in post frame construction. With an inside measurement of 1-9/16 inches and 7-1/4 inches tall, it fits ideally over 2×8 skirt boards. Standard lengths are 8’3” and 10’3” to provide adequate overlaps between adjoining members.

While most new generation pressure treating chemical formulations are no longer (or minimally) corrosive to steel trims and siding, Plasti-Skirt does provide a positive barrier between treated lumber and steel trims and siding.

Skirt boards are largely overlooked as being a key structural component of post frame buildings, however they are essential to the proper transfer of wind shear loads to the wall columns and thence into the ground. Plasti-Skirts protect the vital skirt board from ground contact, decay, concrete, moisture, etc.

Quick to install, Plasti-Skirt cuts easily with snips, saw, or knife.

Concerned about premature skirt board decay? Or maybe it is termites you fear? If so Plasti-Skirts might just be the answer you were in search of!

Pressure Treated Lumber

Preserving Wood Columns Beyond Code Requirements

The Building Codes (IBC – International Building Code and IRC – International Residential Code) specify minimum requirements for pressure treated lumber used to structurally support buildings.

My previous dissertations on pressure treating are available for your reading pleasure here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/05/building-code-3/

Pressure Treated PostsHansen Pole Buildings Designer Kelly brought to me the question (posed by one of his clients) about the available (and feasibility) of the utilization of greater levels of preservative treatment chemicals for wooden columns embedded in the ground.

Higher levels of pressure preservative treating are available for pressure treated lumber. However they are going to be done by special order at the pressure treating plant. Special orders come with “special” (read – higher, sometimes MUCH higher) pricing, as well as extended periods for delivery of product.

The reality is, if the Code requirements will last the useable lifespan of the building or more, an increase in the treating levels is probably not the best investment of a building owner’s hard earned funds.

If one is skeptical (or even unbelieving) about the ability of properly treated pressure preservative columns to last when embedded in the ground, there are some alternatives.

Plasti-sleeves® https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/ or Post Protectors™ can be placed over the in-ground portion of pressure preservative treated columns to isolate the wood from contact with the surrounding soils.

Carrying the argument even further, columns can be removed from ground contact completely! Engineered brackets are available which allow columns to be mounted to foundations, or even concrete piers which are poured into the ground: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/.

Also available, are patented pre-cast concrete short columns with brackets on top, which can be placed into previously augured holes and the wood columns are then attached to the brackets.

The end game is, there is a design solution available to fit every future building owner’s level of comfort and pocket book when it comes to pressure treated lumber.