Tag Archives: pole building windows

Planning for Lighting in a New Pole Barn

Both of my post frame buildings outside of Spokane, WA have no windows on the garage/shop level. This means when inside, with doors closed, it is dark – one is forced to rely upon electricity or radar to navigate.

Reader KRISTI is preparing to build her new pole barn and had some questions about how to light up her life:

“Hi there!

I plan to have a 36’x40’ pole barn built before the cold weather hits here in Michigan and I have a couple of quick questions if you don’t mind. 

First, I will be using this building as workshop so it will definitely be insulated and heated. I’m planning to run a radiant slab heat system. My first question is regarding windows. I want to be able to see outside but more importantly, I want all the daylight I can get! That in mind, which wall would you recommend to bring in the most light? How do I frame up the interior walls around the windows? How difficult is it to add windows once the insulation and sheathing is done inside? Lastly, would you recommend using clear acrylic panels along the tops of the walls? I’m a little worried it will yellow over time & I’m not sure how I could insulate the acrylic if it’s even possible. 

The barn will be in an open area with little to no shade & will have a large garage door on the east end, and 12’ walls with a ceiling. 

Thank you in advance for any time you should spend on answering my questions! I totally understand if you are too busy to indulge me and if I could only ask one question I would ask how to frame out the interior walls for a window. 

Thanks again!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Gambrel roof pole barnTo get the most light, place windows on the south wall. Easiest way to frame your exterior walls (interior walls around windows) is to use what we refer to as commercial girts (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/). Once you have finished insulating and an interior wall covering, there will be an extreme degree of difficulty to add more windows – it is best to plan for them in advance and install at time of initial construction. This also allows for them to be incorporated into engineered building plans as increasing openings. Without engineering, can compromise the structural integrity of your building. While eave light panels are very effective for unheated buildings, in your case you would be heating much of Michigan, if you used them. Here is some more reading on light panels: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/02/acrylic/.

We will be looking forward to helping you with your new pole barn!

General Material Storage for Barndominiums

General Material Storage

I have recently signed up to join several barndominium groups on Facebook. If you are unfamiliar with this term, here is a detailed explanation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/04/the-rise-of-the-barndominium/.

Overnight I have had an ‘ah-ha’ moment where a light bulb turned on and I decided to take a plunge. I am going to write at least one book on post frame barndominiums. I posted my mission in these groups – looking for advice on what chapters would prove to be most meaningful. And I have received feedback. Lots and lots of feedback.

One of my fellow group members has suggested a chapter on how to store post frame building materials once received. In looking at how chapters appear to be laying out so far, it appears this subject may not get covered until Volume Two of my series. Of course this gives me an ability to have commercials like – “Call in next 10 minutes and we will throw in Volume Two at no charge – you just pay for shipping and handling!”

This happens to be a subject covered at length in Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual, so rather than having to wait for book publication, here is how to safely store materials.

General Material Storage

Store off ground any materials not being used within construction’s first few days (or more than a week after delivery) and cover with a tarp.

  • Some materials will be delivered in cartons. Avoid storing cartons in stacks.
  • Store cartons protected from falling materials or tools as they could damage enclosed contents.
  • Keep cartons dry. Best place to store cartons is indoors.
  • If cartons are stored outside, cover with a loose-fitting, light colored tarp, arranged to allow ventilation. This is critical, because some materials (especially vinyl) can be damaged if heat builds up around cartons.
  • Take special care storing any screws.
  • Store bolts, nuts and washers in a location where they will stay dry to avoid rust.
  • Windows, entry and overhead doors will frequently be delivered in cartons or crates. Store upright leaning against a solid surface such as a wall or workbench.

Stay tuned in for subsequent articles on how to safely store materials for your new building!

Single-Pane Windows

Single-Pane Windows

When I was first in the post frame (pole barn) building industry almost 40 years ago windows were hardly ever a chosen option, and when they were, they were always single-pane windows.


Because the buildings were probably never going to be climate controlled and the single-pane windows were cheap. And, as we found out, single-pane windows were difficult to ship and have them arrive at jobsites without breaking.

With more and more post frame buildings being climate controlled, it truly only makes sense to use double-pane windows.

I was surprised when I read this on the website of another company which provides pole barn kits: Even windows can be insulated. In an insulated pole barn, you might consider installing double pane windows.  They are more expensive than single pane, but increase energy efficiency and help keep the area climate controlled.”

It has been at least three decades since I would even have considered providing less than a double-pane window to a client.

Single-pane windows are made with a single layer of glass. They come in all of the same styles and materials double-pane windows do, but they are not as efficient at keeping out noise or seasonal temperatures. Their initial cost is less, but over time, energy bills will be higher.

Single-pane glass treatments have no insulation. When you have only one pane of glass, outside temperatures and noise will affect the inside of your post frame building more easily. However, the costs of heating or cooling down your pole building are directly related to the type of window you choose.

Double-pane windows come with two panes of glass. These panes are separated from each other by a spaced filled with air. This air traps winter’s colder temperatures or summer’s heat in between the two windows and forms a barrier which blocks the heat and cold from affecting your pole building. The energy savings over single pane windows can be as much as 24 percent in cold climates during the winter and 18 percent during the summer in hot climates. This results in lower energy costs and less noise, which can be an important consideration in high traffic areas.

These window treatments do initially cost more than single-pane windows do, since they use double the glass material, but the insulation and strength they offer can make them a much better buy. In fact, with double-pane windows you won’t have to use your air conditioner as often and your heater can be set at a lower temperature because the air temperature inside your post frame building will be more consistent.


Windows and Daylighting


 Windows are more than just a building’s eyes to the world. Properly located they can also save on your pole building’s utility bills as well as increasing comfort and productivity.

Windows  Daylighting is the use of nature’s sunshine, rather than bulbs, to light interior spaces. Many variables need to be considered to maximize the benefits. These include types of windows, their placement, location of interior spaces and control of how much light comes in. All of these factors add together to create properly lit and energy saving spaces.

 Geographical location and climate, building architecture, use and orientation are big factors in designing a successfully daylit building. Such a building is always the result of a combination of art and science, engineering and architecture.

 Windows with southern exposure let the most light in during the winter and less in the summer. North facing windows are good for daylighting as they let in natural light with little glare and little summer heat.

 East and west facing windows provide little in the way of daylighting other than in mornings and afternoons, however generally contribute glare and excess heat in summer months.

 Clear glass actually provides 140 to 200 times the light required for indoor work spaces!

 This extra light creates glare and a cave effect – where the rear of rooms appear dark compared to other surfaces. When this occurs, the blinds start being closed, lights are turned on and the electric meter begins to turn. In properly designed spaces the windows are appropriate to provide enough, but not too much light. The use of light colors on ceilings assists in defusing and adding to the effects of day light in any room.

 In most cases, electric lights, which produce a lot of heat, do not need to be used during daytime hours. Natural lighting, properly designed, produces little or no heat, provides adequate lighting of work spaces and decreases internally generated heat – resulting in the need for smaller HVAC systems, reducing upfront costs, which can be used to improve daylighting systems.

 To reduce glare, overhangs can be placed above windows, which also cuts down on summer heat gain, Inside, louvers or tinting reduce glare and can be used to properly direct light to where it is best utilized.

 Modern window technologies are also more energy efficient than the single glazed (one pane of glass) aluminum frame windows I grew up with. Low-E and gas filled double and triple pane windows insulate, while allowing in wanted light.

 And, like those Ray-Ban sunglasses, special windows are available which lighten and darken with the amount of sunlight!

 In new pole building construction, proper daylighting can be accomplished without increased construction costs and the benefits of lower lighting costs and reduced cooling costs.

 Best of all natural lighting has proven psychological benefits for the building’s occupants!

Are Your Pole Buildings Local to Me?

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:Lost my house in a wildfire in California about 10 months ago, and looking at different options for re-building. Like what have seen on your website, but that’s a lot of distance between us. Would you know of any company in Southern Calif that builds these?

I am originally from MN and will probably be there end of this month, if get a chance maybe I can stop in and discuss. Thanks. CONTEMPLATING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CONTEMPLATING: Sad to hear of the loss of your home, it has to have been devastating. Pole buildings can be a great alternative for areas which are prone to wildfires, as steel roofing and siding obviously does not burn.

We provide building kit packages in every state in the U.S., shipping from our locations which are closest to each individual site. While our pole buildings are designed for the average building owner to successfully construct their own building, our Building Designers can assist you, should you need to find a builder.

We will hope you have the opportunity to visit our offices.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I see you have the pole building kit prices listed, but I assume you need to add to that price doors and windows? Is the only way to get the cost for doors and windows to complete a custom building quote? I am looking at your 36’x48’x10′, 40’x40’x12′ and 40’x48’12’ but am curious what the additional cost would be to add doors? TRYING IN TACOMA

DEAR TRYING: As the number, size and options selected for doors and windows can cause dramatic changes in costs, the best way to get things narrowed down would be to request a quote at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/freequote.htm

Very often – the more you purchase, the less expensive per door or window it may be.

Andersen Windows in Pole Buildings

Hansen Pole Buildings is excited to be a stocking dealer of Silver Line® Windows manufactured by Andersen.

Andersen Windows, Inc. is a part of Andersen Corporation; the largest window and door manufacturer in North America. The flagship Andersen® brand is the most recognized and most used brand in the window and patio door industry.  Andersen was founded in 1903 and is privately owned. The company is known for its strong history of commitment to its business partners, employees, community and environmental stewardship.

Double Hung Pole Barn WindowSilver Line by Andersen Windows is proud to be a part of the Andersen family with a long history of standing behind their products and customers. Silver Line® windows and doors are designed with quality materials and are engineered to last for the life of your pole building. Melding competitive pricing with quality means being able to trust in getting a great value.

Silver Line products are rigorously tested to deliver years of smooth, reliable operation. Constructed with heavy duty, low maintenance vinyl (which has color consistent throughout), they make scratches virtually invisible and eliminate the need for painting. For more than 60 years Silver Line has been making reliable, quality windows and doors. They stand behind their products and beside their customers. Their network of dedicated professionals is just a phone call away if needed. These Silver Line® windows and patio doors are backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty. They make sure their products provide a lifetime of energy efficient, reliable performance.

Silver Line windows and patio doors are designed to provide uncompromising value. They achieve the ideal balance of style, performance and price, making them a preferred choice of building professionals and building owners alike. The ability to offer an extensive selection of high performance, low maintenance windows and doors at incredibly affordable prices makes choosing products from Silver Line the clear choice. Silver Line windows and doors are available in a wide range of sizes – giving the perfect fit every time. A wide array of options is offered for these windows and doors which allows a plethora of choices for pole building owners. This allows clients to always get exactly what is needed at the price which fits the budget.

Silver Line windows are designed with classic architectural details to create an attractive, energy efficient window. The colonial brick mold design, adds a touch of classic style to any pole building. The integral “J” channel allows for neat, easy trimming of exterior siding to the window. ENERGY STAR® qualified with the appropriate energy efficiency options. Limited lifetime warranty ensures the windows will perform for as long as you own your building!

Welcome Andersen Windows!