Tag Archives: pole building vapor barrier

The Correct Vapor Barrier, Home Prices, as well as Why I Need an Engineer!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Framed a 12x30x8′ room in pole barn. Insulated ceiling & 1-30′ wall w/fiberglass, the outside wall will be spray foam. Do I need the vapor barrier the ceiling and the 1 wall. I will be using plywood on the ceiling and all the walls for a finish. Thank You for your time. JOHN in ELMA

DEAR JOHN: Ceilings should not have vapor barriers, the warm moist air inside your room should be allowed to rise into the dead air space above the room. You should have a vapor barrier on the inside (heated side) of the fiberglass insulated wall. As kraft (paper) faced insulation rarely is properly installed to prevent moisture from entering the wall, a layer of clear visqueen should be applied to the inside of the fiberglass insulated wall.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m looking into a building for a house. What’s the average cost for a nice building after everything is built and livable in. And is the building efficient to live in. KYLE in GETTYSBURG

DEAR KYLE: This is similar to asking for the average price of a new car – it all depends upon what you want your new home to look like and the finishes you use on the interior.

Custom Designed Gambrel Pole BuildingMy bride and I live in what we feel is a gorgeous post frame home, and we absolutely love it. Your savings will come from foundation expenses (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/), your ability to do some or all of the work yourself, and the inherent energy efficiency of post frame construction.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Need to know if a 6×6 post used in a 30×48 monitor barn with 2 feet of concrete and 1 foot of compacted 5/8 will pass for code. If not sure where can a person get plans ok without costing me $1500 from an engineer. Yakima County building permits won’t help they tell me to go to a engineer this will cost $1500. Thanks MARC in YAKIMA

Building PermitDEAR MARC: Your Building Officials are giving you the correct answer. If they were to tell you to do something structurally, it would place them in a position of liability in the event of a failure. In my humble opinion, every new building (of any sort) should be designed by a Registered Design Professional (RDP – engineer or architect).

What you have MIGHT work depending upon the snow, wind and seismic conditions as well as the height of your building and number, size and location of door and window openings (among other things).

Your best bet – invest in an engineered post frame building kit package from a reputable provider. You will be glad you did.




Steel Siding vs. Hardieboard Siding

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What’s more energy efficient when building a house with steel siding versus Hardieboard siding? QUESTIONING IN QUEBEC

DEAR QUESTIONING: Hardiepanel® is a registered trademark and product of the James Hardie Company. It has an R value of 0.34 per 1/2 inch of thickness. Steel siding panels have a negligible R value, so the Hardiepanel® would be marginally more energy efficient, however probably not enough to make a difference in the entire assembly. If the Hardiepanel® is applied over 7/16″ OSB (oriented strand board), the R value of the OSB is 0.51. For more information on Hardiepanel® please visit the James Hardie website: https://www.jameshardie.com/Products/HardiePanel-Vertical-Siding

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am moving to Lancaster, California and would love to build a Hansen Residential Pole Building. Do you all build in California or know of anyone?


DEAR LOOKING: We provide complete pole building kit packages, designed for the average person who will read directions to successfully construct themselves, everywhere in the USA. We ourselves are not contractors, however if you need one, we can assist you in locating one.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an uninsulated aluminum pole barn with ridges in the panels with horizontal 2×6’s 36in apart floor to ceiling and every 9ft or so a vertical 4×4. Would it be beneficial to do 2in rigid insulation between the 2×6’s ? What would be the proper way to attach the rigid to the metal or wood? Do I need a vapor barrier? If so – between metal and rigid? I wish I could send you a picture. BARNING IN BATH

DEAR BARNING: You (or any other person with a question) can always email photos to PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com. You can do this from most cell phones as well.

If your idea is to try to climate control your pole building, then any type of insulation is a step in the right direction. Keep in mind, the majority of your heat loss (over ¾) is vertical – you are losing it through the roof. If you do not have any insulation at the ceiling line, there would be the place to start, as well as being the best return on your investment.

Ideally you should have a housewrap between the wall insulation and the metal siding. If your siding is installed with screws, you can remove it, install the housewrap and then put the siding back on (I would recommend using longer and larger diameter screws).

If you want to attach the rigid insulation to the inside of the wall steel between the wall girts, construction adhesive could be used. You will waste a fair amount of material due to cutting, and there will be cold spots at every wall girt, so this may not be the optimum solution.

On the inside of the wall girts, rigid insulation could be attached to the wall girts with construction adhesive, nails or screws. Keep in mind, foam board insulation must be covered on the inside face with gypsum wallboard or similar non-flammable products.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

Dear Guru: How Can I Add a Vapor Barrier Now?

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: I have a question about insulating my pole barn. I recently had a 32′ x 40′ x 12′ tall building put up by a local builder. I’m doing all the finishing work including electrical. I’m using steel liner panel for the walls and ceiling. The question is that I have already put up the walls and I did NOT put any vapor barrier up first. My plan was/is to blow in fiberglass in the walls but now I’m worried about mold growth and or moisture problems in the walls. I’m in SW Michigan and plan to heat the building. So the question is…Is there any safe way to insulate without taking all the metal down? I could probably drop sheets of Tyvek or plastic down the inside of the wall and then just blow the insulation in??  MEANDERING IN MICHIGAN


DEAR MEANDERING: First of all, Tyvek or other housewraps are not vapor barriers. For more information on housewraps see: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/11/house-wrap/

Second, unless you are going to use BIBS insulation, blowing fiberglass into a wall cavity is not probably the best solution, as in time, the insulation will settle. Read more about BIBS here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/11/bibs/

Assuming you have not yet installed the interior steel liner panels, the walls can be insulated with your choice of a variety of products, then place a vapor barrier on the inside and cover with the liner panels. 

 If you’ve already put up the interior steel liners, I’d strongly advise you carefully take them off, and then follow my directions above.  You will be far happier with the result, as mold is not a pretty problem to deal with.  And yes, with steel, you need a vapor barrier.


DEAR DETERMINED: We can provide any materials needed to add onto a Hansen Pole Building. A concern of ours is people who add onto their buildings, without a proper structural design analysis being performed. In the case of original buildings which were designed by an engineer, adding on to it, without engineering, will absolve the engineer of any liability from the original design. Many building failures are the result of inadequately design additions to existing buildings, some of which cause undue stresses and loads to be imparted upon the existing structure.  I encourage you to call our home office and discuss adding this shed roof, along with getting the right materials to make it water tight.