Tag Archives: pole barn addition

Electrical Poles, Adding an Awning, and Sliding Door “Overlap”

This week Mike the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the practical use of “electrical poles” for the addition of a lean-to to a garage, adding a door awning to a pole barn kit, and how much overlap a sliding door will have around the perimeter.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If I add a lean to on to my garage 18 x24,/ 24 foot side. Electrical poles 6 feet out of ground 8ft away. Add 2x 6 trusses and purlin on top of that. How do I attach the 2×6 to the round pole? SUE in HINCKLEY

DEAR SUE: We would never recommend or suggest utility poles be used for post-frame construction, for a plethora of reasons. Here is some extended reading:

Reasons to Buy Used Utility Poles for Pole Barns


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m having a 36′ x 36′ pole barn built from your kit. It has an entry door. Do you sell a door awning that will fit securely to the wall siding? I don’t want the awning to leak up against the wall. Thanks. ROGER

DEAR ROGER: Bad news is – whomever is erecting your building may have told you it would be one of our buildings, however it is not. We have had contractors do this in past years, only for there to be problems later, clients called us only to find out it was not what they believed they had invested in. Sadly, you will not have our industry leading limited Lifetime Structural Warranty. For our buildings we do offer a wide variety of weather tight entry door covers, both self-supporting and pole supported. These can have single sloped, gabled or hipped roofs to meet our client’s needs. We are unable to provide any of these choices for buildings other than ours.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I have a question. If you have time to answer. If the rough opening of a sliding door is 20′ x 14′. How much overlap should the doors have when closed? As in on the top and outer sides? I have tried looking at your site, and every other site on the internet. I am seeing maybe 3/4″ on top and the outer sides. Of course the center of the doors meet in the middle. Would the 2 doors be something like 10′ 1″ x 14’1″ Or bigger? Thank You, JOE

DEAR JOE: Typically for a 20′ wide x 14′ tall split sliding door, with top mounted track, from grade (bottom of pressure treated splash plank) to bottom of 2×6 track board (mounts on face of door header) will be 14′ 4-1/2″. 20′ width is measured from center of post to center of post on each side. Working from these dimensions, each door leaf will be 10′ wide x 14′ tall. Space between track board and top of sliding door will be roughly 1/2″ (this will be covered by sliding door track cover trim). Bottom of door will be roughly 1/2″ above top of a nominal 4″ concrete slab (3-1/2″ actual). Each extreme outside edge will overlap wall by ½ width of column on each side.

Steel Posts, a Pole Barn Conversion, and Column Size

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the use of steel posts for a lean-to, converting an existing pole barn with an open wall into a one-bedroom tiny home, and columns for a post frame remodel and addition.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m building a lean to up against my 40′ high cube container using 11′ galvanized steel posts that are 2 3/8″ diameter at 13ga. Poles are set in concrete at 3′ and plan to set 7 poles every 6′ on center for a total span of 36′ from center of each end post. Will be using 2×10 treated wood for rafters and 2×4 treated wood for purlins.

My question is are 7 poles every 6′ center overkill or can I get away with 5 poles. Roof will be 26ga. Galvalume.

DEAR DAVID: I personally would not attempt to build any structure based upon steel posts. You really should invest in services of a Registered Professional Engineer, who could give you answers you can hang your hat on. Much better than waking up one morning and finding your lean to either flat on ground, or blown away into your neighbor’s yard.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a 22′ by 32′ pole barn with 3 metal sides, front open no flooring. We would like to turn into a 1 bedroom tiny home for our daughter. Can it be done without breaking the bank? STEVE in EFGEFIELD

DEAR STEVE: Before you get too deeply into this, you really should engage a Registered Professional Engineer to visit your building to determine if it is structurally capable of being converted for residential use. Most pole barns are not designed to residential standards, so your engineer can advise as to what repairs/upgrades will need to be made.
Typically fully engineered post frame, modest tastes, totally DIY, move in ready, budget roughly $70-80 per square foot of floor space for living areas. Does not include bringing in utilities or any permits.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a future project coming up and the customer wants us to take half a existing building and take it from a 9′ side wall to a 16′ sidewall. My question would be should we use the existing laminated column and just off set the joints or remove the posts and start fresh for that half? CHANCE in CASPER

DEAR CHANCE: You will want to place a new set of columns for this taller eave portion, both from a practicality standpoint, as well as liability. Any time you structurally tie into an existing building, you now become liable for any failures associated with it, whether you actually has anything to do with it or not.

Also – maybe consider rotating roofline of taller portion by 90 degrees to keep weather (e.g. snow) from dumping off in front of new overhead door.