Tag Archives: polycarbonate panels; polycarbonate roof panels

Eave Lights, Building Plans, and Foundations

Today Mike answers questions about eave lights, drawing building plans, and foundation plans.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How to I attach the poly eave lights to the building frame? RUSSELL in BOISE

DEAR RUSSELL: Polycarbonate panels are best predrilled for screw fasteners using a 3/8” bit. Screw pattern for eave lights is same as for sidewall steel.

Drive #10 x 1” white screw fasteners perpendicular to light panel’s surface and tighten moderately. Fastener head and washer/gasket is to sit snugly and fully on panel’s face, without squeezing gasket and distorting washer. Over tightening will distort washer, panel and ruin gasket, causing leaking and panel damage, resulting from undue internal stresses. Tilted fastener insertion will deform washer, damage gasket, cause leakage and originate undue stresses on panel eventually leading to failure. Tighten fasteners by hand or by an adjustable torque power-screwdriver.

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m have a question related to the construction of a custom building. I see that you have some sample building plans on your web site. Do you typically produce the plans for the buildings that you construct or do you recommend that a client work with an architect to have plans drawn up before accepting a construction project? If you do recommend that clients provide plans, do you have a list of architects that you prefer to work with?

Thanks in advance, MATTHEW

DEAR MATTHEW: We (Hansen Pole Buildings and our contracted third-party engineers) produce plans for post frame building kit packages we provide. For clients who feel more comfortable working with an architect, we would recommend contracting their services for conceptual work (aesthetics, room layouts and sizes, etc.) and leave structural aspects (permit/construction plans) to our team.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you have any experience with anchoring a building to an existing slab?

I talked with you before about door options, but now have ran into the problem that the building I am going with will now sit on the anchor plates that I had installed in the slab. Just curios if you know what my best options could be for anchor bolts. Thanks. MICHAEL

DEAR MICHAEL: All steel buildings usually do not come with engineering for a foundation. You are going to have to consult with your foundation engineer and get a fix from them, as no one else can legally make this change.







Old Skylights

Back in the day I spent a year working for the now defunct Mac Truss Company in McMinnville, Oregon. Not long after I began working with them, they decided to relocate their manufacturing facilities across town to an old machine shop. All was fine and good with the move, until the fall rains began.

Fiberglass Eave LightsThe machine shop happened to have fiberglass (FRP) skylights, which had yellowed so badly they let in less light than the adjacent steel panels. One thing they DID let in – was the weather. Not only had the FRP panels turned color, they had also become brittle and cracked. It was bad enough working in a fairly dark building, even worse when the just above freezing rains came in!

For the most part, pole building suppliers and builders have recognized the inherent challenges of trying to use light panels in roofs – very rarely does one see them installed in new buildings. Which is good, as neither FRP, polycarbonate or acrylic panels are designed to withstand shear loading (weight of anything on the roof – like ice and snow) so their use not only weakens the roof diaphragm, it also creates a future failure. A failure – in my humble opinion – being when they fracture around the fasteners due to loads they were not intended to carry and begin to leak!

Another long, hot summer has ended and people with older buildings with failed skylights are beginning to look for solutions to their building’s problems. Hardly a day goes by, which does not include an email from someone trying to find replacement panels for their old fiberglass skylights. Almost always these requests are for some panel configuration which has not been used as common practice for years.

In the event you are one of these building owners, my best recommendation is to take the photographs of your panels (clearly showing the panel profile) to the contractor desk at your nearest The Home Depot® or Lowes®. If the profile is available, either should be able to find a suitable replacement.

For more reading on skylight panels: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/01/skylights/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/02/acrylic/