Tag Archives: pole barn roof

Stepped Roof Design

When I first began writing blog articles over four years ago, I assumed I’d get to maybe 100 topics or so, and then be out of things to write about.


After 957 of them, the list of possible topics grows every day. I did a search for “stepped roofs” on our website today and it didn’t come up, in fact it wasn’t even in my “to do” list!

Let’s identify what a stepped roof is.

As an example, a building with a shop say 40 feet wide by 60 feet long with 16 foot tall eaves – big enough to fit an RV, semi, etc. Along with this is an area off one end which will later be finished.

Now the way this has usually been done is to just make the building longer. Then when the area is finished it either has a very tall ceiling, or a lower ceiling has to be framed in.

The tall ceiling may look wonderful, but it means when heated all of the heat rises to the ceiling and when cooled there is a much greater volume of air to condition.

Framing in a lower ceiling may involve having to place interior bearing walls or beams in places where it is less than desirable (not to mention having to pour, at the least, a thickened slab where the walls go).

There is an easier way – lower the eave height in the desired areas.

Stepped RoofMost pole (post frame) building kit package providers and builders are not too keen on this idea, as they have not done it often enough to feel comfortable with the process – so when faced with this option, the price is made appropriately too high, in hopes it doesn’t get ordered.

With repetition, comes the ability to not only work out a smooth “system” for the stepped roofline system, but also to be able to add the ability to rapidly calculate out accurate pricing and materials’ lists for them. Hansen Pole Buildings has recently added these features into our Instant Pricing™ system, allowing clients flexibility in their building design, which others only dream about.

A plethora of options are available with the stepped roof  design – including multiple steps, convenient when building sites have a significant amount of grade change and it is not cost effective to bring in and compact thousands of yards of fill

Your Pole Building Roof and Insurance

To a property and casualty insurance company, the roof is the most important part of your pole building. Why? Because it’s the gateway to far greater damage claims once it’s breached.

“The roof is the first layer that wind, hail, wildfire and other hazards really begin to act on,” says Tim Reinhold, chief engineer at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, an independent, nonprofit research organization based in Tampa, Fla. “In more than 90 percent of hail or high-wind claims, there is a payout relative to the roof cover.”

With insurance, a lot rides on your roof.

Because insurers have a vested interest in your pole building roof, they price your property insurance accordingly, based on the soundness of its construction and what it will cost them to replace it. Note also premium incentives and disincentives for roof types vary widely by company and location.

Building near a wildfire zone? Example: Much of San Diego County, California.  Any roofing other than a steel roof which won’t burn will either be prohibited by Code, or highly expensive to insure.

Check with your agent or broker before you build to see what impact the roofing type might have on your premium. Also keep a watchful eye, as insurance companies are moving more and more toward ‘actual cash value’ coverage for a roof and not paying the full replacement cost.

What’s the best pole building roof material choice for you?

Installing Steel RoofingFor most, through screwed steel roofing is going to be the material of choice. It is more cost effective (as a system) than even low grade “three-tab” shingles.

Steel is light weight – which is a plus over heavier roof options in high seismic areas, where roofing can be damaged by earthquake movement.

Unlike shingles, steel roofing is highly durable. Shingles fade, become brittle, attract mold and mildew, and may blow off in high winds. According to Reinhold, “Shingles age more than any other roof type”.

Steel roofing is also Class 4 rated against hail damage (read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/09/steel-roofing/).

Manufacturer’s specifically name hail as an exclusion to their shingle product warrantee, as builders and roofing contractors. Newer roofs can actually be more susceptible to hail damage versus older roofs due to the time it takes a new roof to cure from exposure to the elements.

There are some added words of advice if you consider steel for your pole building roof. Metal reflects the sun’s rays, keeping attics cooler. Keep in mind, improperly installed (without insulation below) steel roofing can be noisy in severe rain or hail storms. Use good quality insulation, installed according to manufacturer’s directions, and your roof will be no noisier than other roofing types.

My wife and I have steel on all five of our buildings (WA & SD), and would never consider another choice. Several years ago when enough shingles blew off the roof of my wife’s former house (where her son now resides), causing leaks and dire need for replacement, we put steel right over the shingles. It looks great, keeps it cooler and we will most likely never have to do any sort of repair or maintenance to it with usual weather conditions.