Tag Archives: Pole Building Height

Wide and Tall, Building on Slope, and a Condensation Issue

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about the potential wide and tall a pole building can be designed, if a pole building can be building on a slope, and how to mitigate condensation in an existing ‘horse barn’ with an open metal roof.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How wide and tall can a pole building be? TODD in ALLENWOOD

DEAR TODD: While clear spans of 120-150 feet are possible, from a practicality standpoint 80 feet is realistically about it. Overall building widths can be increased by utilization of interior rows of strategically placed columns. Structurally, Building Codes allow for sidewalls (at eaves) to be 40′ (or 50′ with fire suppression sprinklers). Some jurisdictions have more restrictive overall heights, so you will want to check in with your local Planning Department.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can a barndominium be built on sloped land? And if so, what is your professional recommendation on how to build? Thank you! JENNIFER in BONITA SPRINGS

DEAR JENNIFER: Post frame barndominiums lend themselves very well to building on slopes. I solved a personal situation where I had 14 feet of grade change in 24 feet, by building on stilts: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2022/11/what-to-do-when-the-old-post-frame-garage-has-issues/

For another building, on same parcel, I had 12 feet of grade change in 40 feet, so I excavated hillside and used ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms) for tall sidewall and stepping down across rear endwall. This basically created a daylight or walkout. It is mentioned as part of this article https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/02/barndominium-on-a-daylight-basement/

Walkouts can be created using ICFs (as I did), poured concrete walls, or reinforced concrete block walls. With any of these, wet set brackets can be poured into tops of walls to attach building columns.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, We’ve got an uninsulated horse barn with ‘open’ metal roof (no plywood underneath). We’re having a problem with condensation dripping ruining some of our hay. We once saw a picture of white foam guides you can staple under the rafters to guide the dripping/air outside, but can’t find a generic name, or a product name, for these guides. They are NOT an insulation product, but may be used under eaves? Do you know the name? We’d sure appreciate your help. TIM and LOUSIE

DEAR TIM and LOUSIE: This is where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are numerous product capable of being applied below rafters, trusses and/or roof purlins, however in order to be truly effective, you must be able to achieve a perfect seal (impossible in real life). If not, warm, moist air from inside your building is still going to rise, get through any gaps, and now be trapped with no way to escape. Even with a tight seal, unless there is a thermal break, chances are fair you will now have move the condensation from underside of roof steel, to underside of new product. There are some solutions – least expensive, highly labor intensive is to remove roof steel, install a well-sealed thermal break, reinstall roof steel or have two inches of closed cell spray foam applied to underside of roof steel.

When Your RV Doesn’t Fit

When It Just isn’t Tall Enough

Early in my career supplying pole building kit packages, we provided a building to a client in Oregon for him to house his motor home. Our salesperson really felt he had done due diligence in having the client measure the height of the motorhome before ordering the building.

After the building was completed, the client sent us a photo of his new building – which he absolutely was thrilled with. And the building was frankly beautiful.

I could immediately tell from the photo there was a problem with the building……

The motorhome was parked outside.

It seems the client actually did not measure the height of his motorhome, he merely guessed it would fit through a 12 foot tall door!

In a related more recent scenario….

RV Storage BuildingWe have a client who is enjoying his 30 foot wide pole building – which has a ten foot wall height. It did everything he wanted it to, until he bought an RV. Which is nearly 12 feet tall.

No matter how well he greases it up, the RV will just not fit into his existing building.

The first suggestion was to put a 12 foot wide side shed on one side, with a very flat roof slope which would extend up to the peak of his existing building. Needing a 12’6” eave height on the low side of the shed, this would result in a slope of only 1.11/12.

Problem – on roof slopes less than 3/12 the steel companies all disclaim any warranty. Bigger problem, the existing building has prefabricated roof trusses, and the extension to run from the existing wall line to the peak of the roof would place a point load on the peak of the trusses, which they are not designed for. Framing (such as a tapered stud wall) could be placed on top of the trusses to support the rafters, but this is just adding to complexity and costs.

Further, the steel siding on one-half of each endwall would need to be replaced with longer panels, as would the wall towards the shed.

My proposed solution, was to first gutter the side of the existing building towards where he wants to park his RV. Then construct a free standing gabled building, as a roof only, immediately adjacent to the gutter. This would prove an immensely less expensive solution.

To confound things further, it turns out the client is in a HOA (Home Owners Association) which limits property owners to one detached accessory building.

I went back to my proverbial “drawing board” and suggested he place siding from the roofline of the new cover, down to the roof of the existing building, allowing just enough gap to allow water to flow into the gutter. This would effectively connect the two roofs into a single structure.

I am waiting to hear if this satisfies the HOA!