Tag Archives: pole barn fasteners

Pole Building Screws

Screwing a Pole Building Together

In 2001 I was working for a Northern Idaho pole building construction company. One of my clients was a building contractor from Moscow, Idaho. It seems he had a client he was building a home for in California, and needed a 5000 square foot pole building erected on the site, which could be torn down and moved at a later date.

Those of us in our mid-30’s and older remember well the sound of the dial-up phone modem, the free AOL (America Online discs in the mail) and the excitement of “You’ve Got Mail” (made even more famous by the 1998 Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie of the same name).

American Online, as a company, was the brainchild of the now fabulously wealthy Steve Case – hitting the ‘net in 1991. Ten years later AOL merged with media giant Time Warner in a $164 billion (with a “B”) acquisition. At the same time, Steve was having a new home built for himself….which needed the aforementioned pole building.

The purpose of the pole building – was to “touch sand” and varnish all of the studs to be used to frame the house. I suppose when one has a bazillion dollars, they can pretty much satisfy most any quirk!

deck screwWe made an error when it came to assembling the building, which didn’t matter for the short life at the original building site – we assembled it all using screws for the framing. While, in my humble opinion, screws are a superior fastener to nails, deck screws are very brittle and make a poor fastener for permanent situations.

If you have a penchant for constructing a pole building with the intention of taking it down later and moving it, using pole building screws may be a consideration. Certainly, with approval from the building’s Engineer of Record, wood screws can be used instead of nails. The following provisions should be met to use pole building screws:

-The screw should be equal in yield strength to the specified nail

-The root diameter (not the outside thread diameter) should be equal to the specified nail

-And the overall screw length should be equal to the specified nail

It seems to me it would be a monumental task to put a pole building together with the intentions of disassembling it. But I guess if it “serves the purpose” and money is no object, then by all means, get those screw guns ready for action.

Dear Pole Barn Guru: Better Pole Barn Screws?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment.   If you want a quick answer, please be sure to send from a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am looking for alternatives to the standard hex head and separate washer pole building steel screw.  I have been told that Hansen Buildings has some new ideas.  Is there anywhere on the net I can research these (or other good fasteners), or do I have to contact a Hansen salesman?  I have already found Atlas International, btw.  Thanks JIM in ROCHESTER

DEAR ROCHESTER: Without knowing exactly what your objection is to the fairly industry standard screws, it is difficult to properly address the concerns you may be having. I’ve seen many alternative screws, however have yet to hear raving reports back as to ease of installation or satisfactory performance.

 Generally people who are looking for an alternative have had issues with either the neoprene rubber gasket decaying (resulting in leaks), the paint chipping off from the screw heads, or the screws themselves rusting.

Years ago we went to using a screw which offers the ease of installation of the standard ¼” hex head – but with many improvements. Featuring EPDM gaskets, powder coating, and JS500 plating, the manufacturer guarantees these screws will outlive the steel they are attaching.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am constructing a pole barn with treated, round poles.  It is not clear to me however, the best method to attach roofing girts to the poles.  I have seen pictures in books of “circular spike grids” that attach to both the poles and girts, but none of the building supply places carry these here.  Do I have to notch out the poles or can I just use lag bolts or carriage bolts? Thanks! MISPLACED IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR MISPLACED: You have just discovered one of the many reasons to not construct pole buildings using round poles – they are difficult to build with. By the time you project is completed, you will have chewed up enough extra time, energy and effort to have made paying for dimensional posts (4×6, 6×6, etc.) a bargain.

 Back to the problem at hand…flat to flat is going to give the most solid connection. I’d recommend cutting the posts to give flat surfaces at all connections. Assuming the posts are treated with preservative chemicals, be sure to wear all appropriate safety gear when cutting.

 Unless countersunk (adding more time and effort) lags or carriage bolts have heads which will protrude and cause problems when it is time to install siding.