This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the addition of a basement to an existing pole barn, the possibility of modifying an existing gambrel style horse barn, and the connection of a house and garage.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am considering building a partial basement under my existing Pole Barn Building (agricultural). There is currently even no slab there. I spoke to different contractors and got very different answers related to the maximum size of the basement. I learnt already that I need to step far away from the existing walls for safe slope excavation, but would love to hear your opinion if I can start digging 1:1 starting just from the wall, or need to maintain some additional horizontal distance before sloping. The building is 44’x60′, posts embed is 5′, and I would love to have 25’x45′ basement there. The worry which the most reasonable contractor has is that when excavating 1:1 starting from the wall edge, it may be not enough soil left to keep posts in place. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, ADAM in ROCHESTER
DEAR ADAM: Rather than reliance upon any contractor, I would recommend you contact an expert. Google search for “Geotechnical Engineers near Rochester, MN”. There are several listed. They should be able to visit your building site and develop an approach to safely maximize your proposed partial basement space, without compromising structural integrity of your existing building, based upon actual soils at your site. Any other approach is going to merely be a guess.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I have a gambrel barn on the property I’m buying and am trying to figure out my options to configure it for my horses. I’m trying to find a structural engineer with some availability but in the meantime I wanted to ask for your opinion.It’s roughly 24′ x 32′. The side columns are spaced about 6′ and the ends have ~10′ door openings. I attempted to sketch it. I’d like to understand why the 4 center columns are clustered in the middle of the barn at 12′ from the ends and 6′ from the sides (the existing modular stalls are 12×12, not sure which came first). Is that normal spacing for a smaller building or gambrel style buildings? I’m guessing they are structural, but is there a chance they are just holding up the hay loft? Unfortunately I haven’t been up there yet to see what the trusses or rafters look like. Thanks for your insight! PAULA in WALDOBORO
DEAR PAULA: Taking an educated guess here – if columns are 6′ from each 32′ sidewall, then (without looking at your actual roof system) I would surmise they support not only loft, but also reach up to connect with pitch break of your gambrel roof. Even if they are only supporting building’s loft – they are then structural and should not be removed without review from a Registered Professional Engineer.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Planning to build a post frame house with an attached garage. Garage will sit perpendicular to the house, this giving me two different roof lines. My question is in where the endwall of the house and the sidewall of the garage meet. What does the endwall truss of the house attach to? I don’t believe the answer is having columns for the endwall and the sidewall. I assume they share a common column. Does the end truss run along the sidewall columns of the garage and I have to block beneath the truss for support? I have searched and searched for this online but have turned up empty handed. NUNTER in NASHVILLE
DEAR HUNTER: I will assume eave height of your garage is greater than eave height of house. Endwall truss of house will then be attached to face of sidewall columns of garage. In most instances, this truss can be designed with vertical webs to coincide with locations of columns other than at truss heels, allowing for adequate nailing to resist gravity loads. It may be necessary to have bearing blocks below truss heels, however all of these connections and required nails will be outlined on your engineer sealed structural building plans.
Should you be considering ordering a building from a provider other than Hansen Pole Buildings, make sure they are accounting for added weight of snow sliding off garage roof onto house, as well as unbalanced drift loads on each side of ridge lines (both of these are frequently overlooked by most providers).