Tag Archives: pole building siding

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.

Split Log Siding

For those who want their new post frame building to have an authentic rustic “log cabin” look, split log siding is the most popular answer. Log siding is the way to get the look, without the price of actual logs. Full logs are very expensive, in comparison, and split log siding produces far less wasted material. Vinyl log siding (see yesterday’s blog) is less expensive.  But for some, vinyl log siding has the appearance of “not being realistic enough”.

Split Log SidingWhile split log siding can be painted, in most instances it is left natural with a clear-coat sealant to prevent rot and insect infestation.

Typically the siding is cut from more decay resistant species, such as white oak, cypress and white or red cedar. Pine is also used, but is not as resistant to decay.

During the milling process, the logs are sawn to result in planks with one natural rounded surface and the other side flat. Typical thicknesses are 1-3/8” and 2-1/2” with widths of 5-1/4”, 7” and 9”. The edges and ends are tongue and grooved to provide a tight installed fit. This type of siding does require regular ongoing maintenance, including re-caulking to prevent moisture damage and resealing to prevent rot decay.

The advantages of split log siding are there is no need to paint or stain; it looks authentic (because it is cut from actual logs) and it is ecologically friendly – wood being a totally renewable resource. It also is going to provide a better insulated wall system than full log walls, as it can be applied to fully insulated walls behind the split logs.

Split log siding on post frame buildings is not without disadvantages. It is very well the most expensive siding, with costs per lineal foot running from two to six dollars. This cost does not include installation, treatments, sealers or caulking. It also has a high degree of difficulty in installation, and may require an experienced professional, rather than a do it yourselfer.

Want the most authentic log look possible for your new pole building, split logs might be the answer!

Vinyl Log Siding

Vinyl Log Siding

Vinyl Log SidingPost frame buildings which use real wood log siding can cost a lot more money than other siding options and be a lot of upkeep as well. An alternative may be vinyl log siding. While it will still be fairly expensive, it will be far less than real wood.

Lots of people like the beautiful look of logs on the exterior of their pole building, but do not want to have to pay for all of the maintenance which comes along with it. Real log siding should be frequently inspected for rot, termites or other wood boring insects. Vinyl log siding is not susceptible to any of these, as vinyl is insect free, not susceptible to rot like wood and is immune to algae and other fungi which can build up on real wood siding.

Vinyl log siding also makes a great insulator when combined with the other insulation which is placed behind it. They give all of the glitz and glamour of real logs, without the troublesome problems. The siding is made of polystyrene, which is an excellent insulator. The polystyrene also makes vinyl log siding extremely resilient to denting.

The product is easily installed, but does require some handy experience.

It is available in a large variety of colors. Styles are available in cedar, pine and peeled pine. In the event of damage or remodel, replacement pieces are readily available.

Of course the idea behind post frame construction is to be maintenance free – with vinyl log siding, just hose it down once in a while. Manufacturers offer warranties up to 75 years!

The most inexpensive look will be two by six or eight inch quarter logs. Half log sizes are three inch rather than two. Either choice comes with a system which hides the fasteners from plain sight.

Vinyl may be the solution to the pole building log look – less expensive than real wood, virtually maintenance free and adds insulation.