Tag Archives: pole barn kits

You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

Screamed headlines of my first ever print display ad for pole barn kits in 1981!

I have included below a snippet from one of my first blog posts from 10 years ago:

“In the summer of 1979, home interest rates began to rise. Idaho had a usury limit, home mortgages stopped in Idaho. I set out looking for other opportunities and ended up in Salem, Oregon.

I was offered the position of truss plant manager at Lucas Plywood and Lumber, in August 1979. It would be a smooth transition, as the prior manager would be there for a month or so to ease me into the system. At first glance, the operation was frightening. I was used to trusses being manufactured using hydraulic presses to embed the steel plates into the trusses, not teams of workers banging them in with hammers and pushing them through a set of “rollers”. Even more frightening was when I discovered all the lumber being used was green (I had no idea trusses were built anywhere with lumber which was not kiln dried). But my total heart failure nearly occurred when I found they were using lumber graded as Standard and better for truss chords, as someone had convinced them it was the same as #2 and better. Not even close! Well, the previous plant manager packed up at noon of the first day saying, “Good luck, son”. My first several months were spent on educating the troops and introducing dry lumber, both with some successes. The lumber sales team was my age as well, which helped to gain eager learners. I taught them how to do lumber lists from building plans, so they could quote framing packages.

In January 1980, the housing crunch I had fled from in Idaho hit Oregon. My truss plant, which typically produced 8 to 10 buildings worth of trusses a day, had only four orders in the entire month! Not good – however there was a single common denominator among those four orders, they were all for pole barn trusses. I didn’t have the slightest idea what a pole barn was, but it was time to find out. I picked the brain of a long time pole barn builder, George Evanovich, who explained the basics to me.

Now I have to confess, I was brought up with, “Wood is good”, so the entire concept of using roll formed steel for roofing and siding was a novel experience for me. Having convinced myself it had its place, we figured out material prices for some fairly typical pole barns and ran ads selling building kits. The response was overwhelming. By April, we were not only running the truss plant full time again (producing primarily pole barn trusses), we had also hired George and his two crews to construct buildings for our clients. By June, the truss plant was operating double shifts, just to keep up with the volume.”

For those of you interested, the full text of this post can be found here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/06/theres-no-education-like-real-life-business-experience/

Anyhow, back on point, there were an incredible number of people totally willing to undertake erection of their own pole barns. Even more amazing is – any of them turned out! We provided absolutely no instructions and “plans” (I use this term lightly) were drawn by hand on a few sheets of 8-1/2” x 11” white copy paper.

Moving forward four decades in time, Hansen Pole Building kits have greatly evolved, and not just in quality, benefits and features – but in ease of assembly for an average D-I-Yer.

Your new Hansen Pole Buildings’ kit is designed for you (an average physically capable person, who can and will read and follow instructions), to successfully construct your own beautiful building shell (and most of our clients do DIY – saving tens of thousands of dollars). We’ve had clients ranging from septuagenarians to fathers bonding with their teenage daughters erect their own buildings, so chances are – you can as well!

Your new building investment includes full multi-page 24” x 36” engineer sealed structural blueprints detailing locations and attachments of every piece (as well as suitable for obtaining Building Permits), the industry’s best, fully illustrated, step-by-step installation manual, and unlimited technical support from people who have actually built post frame buildings. Even better – it includes our industry leading Limited Lifetime Structural warranty!

Yes – You CAN do it!

It Can’t Be a Pole Barn!

If Ignorance is Bliss…..

Then these folks are truly happy.

From a July 21, 2015 article in the Salina (KS) Journal by Tim Horan, “City approves exterior plaza for field house”…….

Salina Mayor Jon Blanchard said he wants the appearance of the field house to be unique.

“It is going to be a building designed for the downtown environment that it is in,” he said. “It can’t be a pole barn. That block needs to be done in a fashion that it looks good. If we’re planning to build a pole barn, I’m wanting out of doing the building.”

(The full article can be read here: https://www.salina.com/news/city-approves-exterior-plaza-for-field-house/article_1fe85791-6e3c-5275-9f83-51fb94255243.html)

Commercial Pole BarnWhat the good (yet uniformed) mayor is missing is a “pole barn” (more properly referred to as a post frame building) can look just like any other building.

The term “post frame” comes from the major structural supports for the building being wood columns (or posts) typically embedded into the ground (although they can be bracket mounted to concrete, or similar, foundations). The “post frame” becomes the structural skeleton of the building.

No different than any other structural system – whether stick framed (stud walls), steel frame, block, etc., the exterior of a post frame building may be sided and roofed with any materials. Any materials can be T1-11, board and batten, vinyl – wood or cement siding, stucco, log look, masonry….need I say more? The difference – post frame construction happens to be the most cost effective permanent structural system for low rise buildings (generally up to 50 foot tall walls or three stories).

This particular project in Salina is budgeted at $9 million for a 69,000 square foot building, or just over $130 per square foot. From my somewhere beyond 17,000 post frame buildings of experience, is money that could have been saved had a more open minded approach been taken towards a structural design solution.

Regardless of the end use – post frame construction should be a consideration to be examined for any low rise structure.

Pole Barn Roof Leaks

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 answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Would like some pricing information on a building similar to project number 04-0509. We want it for residential use. Want 2 story, the inside open to the ceiling with exposed beams. Basically I want a kit to get the building in the dry, then go inside and frame out how we want the floor plan. Can build myself, just want a kit if it is available. Please send pricing info. Thank you.

DEAR MICHAEL: As every building we have ever provided has been custom designed to best meet the needs of the individual client, we can certainly modify a previous project to your desires. The beauty of post frame construction is it allows almost unlimited flexibility for locations of interior walls and partitions.

In order to provide pricing info, we will need to know where the building will be located, so proper climactic conditions can be applied (wind and snow loads). We’d also recommend you contacting one of our Building Designers at (866)200-9657 so we can best customize your ideal dream building.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We recently built a pole barn home, the whole outer shell is metal. We blew insulation in the attic, but did not vent it (to my knowledge) now when our central air unit kicks on, it blows hot stuffy air for a few seconds. Is this because of the attic not being vented? Will this cause us problems in the future? SYNTYCHE IN SENATH

DEAR SYNTYCHE: Without knowing a lot more about the installation of your central air system I cannot speak to it. You would be best to contact your local HVAC expert for a solution.

You WILL have problems with an unventilated dead air space attic. The Building Codes require any dead attic spaces to be ventilated to help prevent mold and mildew issues, keep attic insulation from getting wet from excess moisture and to help keep the attic from becoming unbearably hot.

Probably your best solution is to add gable vents. If they are in the upper one-half of the attic, the vents need to provide at least one square foot of free ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic. If the vents must be in the lower one-half, then twice the free ventilation area is required.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a pole shed approximately 27 x 40.

It was on our property when we bought it 2 years ago.

The steel on our pole barn roof leaks. It has nails (not screws)

Is it possible and/or recommended to replace it?

If so, any ballpark on how much it would cost?

Thanks so much.



DEAR ANN: You are not the first person to have a leaking steel roof and probably not the last. Here is some reading on why it leaks: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/01/steel-roof/

It is both possible and recommended to remove the existing steel and replace it.

The actual length of the steel and number of pieces will depend upon roof slope and overhangs. You should also replace the ridge cap, rake trims, ridge and eave closures and reflective roof insulation. For budgetary purposes, plan on roughly $2-3 per square foot for the materials to repair pole barn roof leaks.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi: I have been reading through your website and have a question.  I am from Wisconsin, and am wanting to building a pole garage, there are lots of options out there.  My main interest is keeping costs down in its construction and the best way to do that is to build it myself.  I am no builder but am intelligent enough to build it myself, if, I have good detailed directions/instructions.  I want to spend my money on good high quality building materials.  So my question to you is, if I buy the materials from you, could you also supply the detailed construction manual to help me build this pole garage myself?  I plan to heat this garage, am making it bigger to not only park vehicles but added space for a small workshop.

Kind regards,


DEAR DAVE: You are absolutely correct about being able to keep your costs down by doing it yourself. And you certainly can successfully construct for yourself a great building: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/01/build-it-yourself/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/02/pole-buildings-3/

Part of what you get with every building is our 500 page Construction Manual, which seriously covers pretty much everything imaginable (and a few things which are beyond imagination): https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/07/how-often-and-why-building-technical-support/

Of course the plans are so specific, you will be amazed, down to the last board: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/10/pole_building_plans/

You get plans drafted specifically for your pole building kit. Included in the plans is a pole layout, roof framing plan, cut-away section of the interior, and all four walls. To boot, we throw in the steel or osb layout sheet as a bonus. We have thousands upon thousands of proud clients, we’ll look forward to seeing the photos of your new building!

Mike the Pole Barn Guru


Guru: Where is Hansen Pole Buildings?

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 or Saturday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Forget about quoting me anything, I had no idea you were in MN. MEANDERING IN METHOW

DEAR MEANDERING: Yes, we are “in” MN.  We are also in ND, SD, ID, WA, OR, PA, NM, TX…..Have you ever ordered anything from Amazon.com? Amazon.com happens to be based in Seattle, however they ship from both their own warehouses all over America, as well as from third party fulfillment centers.

Think of Hansen Pole Buildings as being the Amazon.com exclusively for post frame & pole buildings. We ship from locations in all 50 states (including Omak and Wenatchee) – our home office just happens to be on the MN/SD border. Truth be told, our home “base” is in South Dakota, which really “is neither here nor there” when we service all 50 states as if they were all in our “own backyard”.  We have pole buildings in every state in America, most of them in the Pacific Northwest (a ton of them in WA), which just happens to be prime country for pole buildings.

Chances are good, wherever someone needs a pole building, we are going to be shipping the majority of the building components from locations nearby the building site, within 100 miles or less.

Just like Amazon.com, we are logistical wizards.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing 40′ x 56′ x 12 pole barn. I am wanting to build a 28′ x 40′ x 8′ living quarters in the rear of building. There is no house wrap or insulation now. What is the best way to air seal and insulate the living quarters? A local contractor suggested 2″ of open cell spray, and then fiberglass over that. Will spray foam eventually rot the metal? Could I use a vapor/air barrier over the metal, and then use fiberglass. I guess I would have to remove the exterior metal in order to install house wrap?

I also read where I could install Roxul stone wool insulation directly over the metal, and put plastic over that. Then dryall.


DEAR WAITING: I’d remove the wall steel in the area you want to convert to a living quarters, placing a high quality housewrap over the framing and putting the wall steel back on – use inside closure strips at the top and bottom of the wall panels as well as above any doors and above and below any windows.

I’d recommend the use of BIBs insulation in the walls, rather than batts – it fills all of the voids and results in a higher R value and better system performance.

The spray foam is unlikely to rot the steel, however it is a very expensive solution.

Your DIY Pole Building Kit: Does it Come Pre-Cut?

Winter before last, a large Midwest post frame building construction company invited us to visit their offices. This was an opportunity too good to pass up, especially as one of their offerings (at the time) was a precut DIY pole building kit package.

Having spent three decades involved in the design and sales of over 14,000 buildings, I was curious as to how successful this program was.

Unlike milled steel components, wood is organic and with organic products comes a degree of variability. Even kiln dried wood is subject to varying degrees of shrinkage, warp, cup and twist, which when compounded in the length, width and height of a building could result in some challenges if all pieces were precut.

Back to “the other guys”…..they explained they seriously were precutting all of the pieces, placing labels on them and spray painting ends of boards. I happened to notice the pricing of the precut buildings, was pushing the price I would expect to see fully constructed buildings at. One thing which they could not explain to my satisfaction was – what happens if a post is set wrong by even ½ of an inch?

I recently visiting their website, and can’t find the pre-cut DIY Pole Building Kit packages offered any more….interesting.

Frequently potential clients will ask me, with concern in the voices, how much cutting IS going to be involved in constructing their own new Hansen Buildings’ pole building?

This is a very broad question, as the amount of cutting required will depend upon the complexity and features of the building. Construct a building with all columns at 2’ multiples on center and overall lengths and widths being multiples of 3 and cutting is reduced. Pick odd dimensions and column spacings, with lots of door and window openings, expect to cut more.

So what does have to be cut?

After the wall columns are set and the trusses are in place, any column portion which extends above the plane of the roof will need to be trimmed off with a saw.

Most buildings utilize prefabricated roof trusses, no cutting required with them. On buildings with side sheds or wings, rafters will need to be cut.

Assuming columns along the length of the building are set to even spacings, a circular saw makes quick work of cutting off the thickness of a pair of trusses from the overall length of the board.

Wall girts will need to be cut to length to fit between columns and a lot of blocks to support the ends of the girts need to be cut – however they are all cut to equal lengths, so it goes quick and is fairly mindless.

When all of the wood members are cut or trimmed, the scrap materials for even a good sized building probably won’t cover an area the size of a card table. For those of you who are too young to remember card tables – they were not that large!

In most cases, all of the roof and wall steel is shipped precut to length. On peaked ends of buildings, the angle of the roof slope needs to be cut on the top edge. Other places steel will need to be cut are around door and window openings. Keep in mind, anywhere a field cut needs to be done on the steel, a piece of trim has been provided which will cover the cut edge. These cuts do not have to be perfect, just fairly close to the right size.

The DIY pole building kit concept itself was designed for a minimum of waste and the ability for people with limited skills and equipment to be able to successfully construct their own buildings. These precepts have not changed over the decades.

I’ve had geriatrics approaching 80 years, fathers and their daughters, and even women only successfully construct their own beautiful pole buildings. When the job was done, none of them ever complained about how many pieces they had to cut.  Instead they all universally take pride in the jobs they have done and the beautiful buildings they have completed!

Mike the Pole Barn Guru: Unemployment Line?

I don’t think so….

Back in 2002, this was just a fledgling business. Sure, I had over 20 years of experience, but this new business meant starting over from nowhere.  I had never before sold buildings primarily through the internet.

Our building plans – two pages (granted they were full blueprint size at 24” x 36”) would “get you there”, but you had to guess a bit and pay a lot of attention.

The reason most pole builders do not want to sell pole barn kits…instructions.

If you provide really, really good instructions, you get very few phone calls and Emails for help. But, it takes crafting those directions. And it is a long and time intensive project, especially when you want to sell “custom” buildings.

When we first started, our instruction “manual” (using the term loosely), was less than two dozen pages.  The directions had been written by me back in the early ‘90s, when I was a builder – we had our subcontract crews using them.

Now from the plans and those bare bones pole building instructions and my having been involved in several thousand buildings, I certainly could have put together a fine building. However, very few people (even those who pound nails and drive screws for a living every day) have my level of experience.

Over the years, every time a client would have a question or concern about either the plans or the instructions, we would add more wording, pictures and “live” drawings to the appropriate documentation. We wanted our clients to have the best possible building experience, and our plans and instructions reflected our desire.

The building plans became more and more detailed, swelling to six pages or more. And the “Construction Manual” over 400 pages!

Along with this, we got to the point where we had such a huge volume of business – we ended up with one person pretty much doing technical support full time. Technical support means helping people via phone, text, FAX and/or Email through their building project.

Now this was crazy!

In hopes of better servicing our clients, I ended up as Technical Director (meaning “Mike, you can do the Technical Support”).  First it was sort of a joke, but the name Pole Barn Guru quickly had me “flagged and tagged”…and the name stuck!

Over an 18 month period, our Construction Manual was completely revamped and rewritten. Chapters were made very narrowly focused. More drawings were added as well as actual construction photos. The guide now appears in each client’s login on the Hansen Buildings website.

The chapters which pertain to each particular building are now highlighted. We’re back to keeping it simple.

So how does all of this pertain to an unemployment line?

Judy, one of Hansen’s owners, asked me today about how many total hours I have spent on true Technical Support with our clients since the new construction manual “went live” at the beginning of 2011.

While I couldn’t give her the exact number of minutes, I know it has been less than a total of a half day of time, in seven plus months!

I had worked (written) myself out of a job…..

Or did I?

See tomorrow’s blog…..