Tag Archives: post protectors

Building in Japan, Raising a Building, and In-Ground Use Posts

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the feasibility of building in northern Japan, the possibility of raising an existing post frame building, what the best treatment for in-ground use on columns would be, and if post protectors are needed.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m currently evaluating the feasibility of building a residential pole barn in northern Japan, and I was wondering if you have any resources, anecdotes, warnings, or recommendations as I begin my research – especially information that would be difficult to find on Youtube (I’m gobbling up everything I can find RE visas, land purchasing, etc). I’m a US citizen with a budget of $250,000 USD cash, familiar with the countryside but have never lived there. Thank you. MICK in ST. PAUL

DEAR MICK: If my Uncle Neil were still alive, we could pick his brain, as he built extensively in Japan (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/05/japan-and-hansen-pole-buildings/).

In reading through Japan’s importation requirements for lumber (https://apps.fas.usda.gov/newgainapi/api/Report/DownloadReportByFileName?fileName=Import%20Regulations%20and%20Standards%20for%20Wood%20Products_Tokyo_Japan_12-23-2019), I believe what we typically provide will be acceptable as it is all dried and heat treated. For export, we would normally deliver to Port of Tacoma, to be loaded into a container for transport.

Japan’s building code has strict limitations on deflection due to seismic forces, however we are used to engineering for Seismic Zone E in California, so unless you will be building a very tall building, or multi stories, I do not see this as being an insurmountable hurdle.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good afternoon. I have a 60′ x 120′ pole building with sand/gravel floors. The truss height is 12′. The barn was originally constructed for a riding arena and horse stable. The roof is shingled. I live in mid-Michigan.

The reason I am writing is I wondered if your company ever raises pole buildings…ideally I would like mine raised by 2′ so the ceiling height is 14′. If you don’t do that kind of work do you have anyone you recommend I contact?


DEAR MICHAEL: 12′ would have made for a very short riding arena. We are not contractors, so raising a building would be outside of our wheelhouse, and frankly – very few contractors would be willing to take on a risk such as this. You might reach out to firms specializing in building moving, as they have equipment allowing them to support entire buildings and lift them. In any case, we would strongly advise (as in definitely) any such repair to be done only to specifications designed by a Registered Professional Engineer.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the better treatment for 6×6 going into the ground or basically what is the best grade post for ground contact and should post protectors be used? BILL in CHESTER

DEAR BILL: Building Codes require any structural in ground wood to be treated to UC-4B specifications. Sadly, your big box stores and most lumberyards do not have adequately treated wood in stock and have to special order it. We would recommend using true glulaminated columns, rather than solid sawn, as they are straighter, stronger, lighter than 6×6 and each 2×6 ply has been treated completely through. Hansen Pole Buildings can provide these as part of your fully engineered building package. As for post protectors, even though properly pressure preservative treated wood should outlast anyone alive on our planet today, if it gives you a greater degree of comfort to utilize them, we can also provide them.

Rust, Washington State, and Sleeves or Protectors

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about potential for rust on a welded oil field pipe framed building, if Hansen has structures in the state of Washington, and if sleeves or post protectors are needed for post frame construction.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My barn is a welded oil field pipe frame with what we call red iron purlins, basically a metal c channel. I had concrete poured yesterday and they didn’t use any wood framing. They just used the bottom purlin as the frame. Is this going to be an issue? Thank you, sir. PJ in MADISONVILLE

DEAR PJ: I personally remain a skeptic about performance of buildings done by welding up oil field pipe. This could be a partial reason one does not find welded up oil field pipe buildings anywhere structural building permits and inspections are required. I would imagine your non-galvanized bottom girt will slowly rust away, however not much you can do about it at this point. I hope it works out better for you than I suspect it will.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What areas in Washington State do you service?

DEAR DANIEL: Hansen Pole Buildings has many buildings in all 50 states – including Alaska and Hawaii. We have provided roughly a thousand fully engineered post frame buildings to our clients in Washington State, and I would venture to guess there are multiple buildings of ours in every county.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My main question is regarding the skirt board and posts. I know it’s pressure treated but what about long term exposure to ground contact? Obviously when pouring a monolith slab for a stick frame house the wooden forms are removed afterwards. And I’m thinking that just maybe even though we are blessed with a low humidity climate, the building inspector with Yavapai County (seat- Prescott, Arizona) will question such exposure and certainly may want the posts in sleeves and skirt board removed or placed at finished concrete grade for attachment purposes ( like a bottom plate with a stick house) where there’s any chance of water or earth contact. Also with the YC Building Safety Department there’s no mention of the IBC only the IRC. I would appreciate any thoughts. STEVE in CAMP VERDE

DEAR STEVE: We have provided several fully engineered post frame buildings to our clients in Yavapai County without undue challenges.

Pressure preservative columns are all rated UC-4B and skirt boards (splash planks) UC-4A. This meets with AWPA described uses: (www.awpa.com/images/standards/U1excerpt.pdf Page 4). From peer reviewed research, it would appear UC-4B treated wood columns will likely outlive your grandchildren’s grandchildren. Should you have concerns, we can provide plasti-skirts to cover splash planks (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/08/plasti-skirt/) and Plasti-Sleeves for columns (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/).

While barndominiums would fall under IRC requirements, IRC defaults to IBC when it comes to non-prescriptive structural systems (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/10/what-building-code-applies-to-post-frame-construction/).



Gable Vents, Plasti-Sleeves for Posts, and Cost per Square Foot

This Monday’s questions are addressing the issues of ventilation with gable vents, the use of plasti-sleeves to protect posts, and the cost per square foot of a post frame home.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My dad has a 40 x 60 pole building. It has 18″ eaves but the soffits are non vented. The building also has no ridge vent. He has not had any moisture issues but is looking to add gable vents as a means to get rid of fumes from occasional painting and or welding. The building is open with no closed attic space. Is there any issues with adding gable vents for this purpose? BILL in COEUR d’ALENE

DEAR BILL: There should be no structural issues with adding gable vents, although they may not cure your dad’s fume issues. It may be prudent to add a powered exhaust fan.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How to protect the wooden poles when pouring cement floors—doesn’t this deteriorate the poles? Thanks. LINDA in BEAR CREEK

DEAR LINDA: Building Codes actually REQUIRE lumber in contact with concrete to be pressure preservative treated. There is no documented research to prove concrete (or one of its components – cement) deteriorates properly pressure preservative treated columns.

If you are overly concerned or unsure about this, we can provide Plasti-sleeves with your engineered post frame building package. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/


About Hansen BuildingsDEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the cost per square foot on building a Barn Home? If this isn’t feasible, then what is the cost for finishing a purchased Barn Home Kit? JOEL in COLUMBUS

DEAR JOEL: Barn homes (aka barndominiums or post frame homes) can have finished costs ranging from $50 to hundreds of dollars per square foot depending upon your individual taste and how much work you are willing to do yourself. This article will assist you in formulating a budget: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/how-much-will-my-barndominium-cost/



Hi, I Should be an Engineer

Hi, I Should Be an Engineer. Can You Tell Me What I Left Out?

Seemingly every Spring I receive an email similar to this one from JOHN in UNION DALE, who it sadly appears has not done much (if any) homework in reading my articles.

JOHN writes:

“ Hi, I have been doing a couple of months homework on making my pole barn, my plan is a 30×50. Right now my plan is using (16) 6x6x16 pole about 52 inches in the ground, the spacing between posts will be 10 ft, now I have not decided on a concrete cookie before the setting the post or gravel first has a drainage layer the set the pole and then use about 5 bags of concrete for uplift protection and the normal back fill, for the posts I got post protectors, so the wood is separated from the soil, my plan is to use double  2×12 for the top strapping with the posts notched at the top for added snow load, has far has the roof it will either be a 4/12 or 5/12 pitch my plan is using 2×6 rafters that I’m making on the ground and hoisting up by myself and they will be on 48 inch on center, my purlins are going to be 2x4s about 2ft apart and standard metal to finish it off, if you can can you please let me know if I left anything out, thanks ps I forgot to say the door opening on a non-load bearing wall will be a 12ft wide and 10ft tall, I’m thinking about putting a door  on a load bearing wall a 10ft, all doors are going to be sliding barn doors.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru Responds:

Well John, you have left out a crucial part. One no proper pole barn should be without. Plans designed and sealed by a Registered Professional Engineer specific to your building at your site. To build without them is, in my humble opinion, fool hardy and I cannot endorse your plan of attack or methods of construction without them. Outside of this – attempting to field construct your own roof trusses is not a good choice. Prefabricated trusses are truly a bargain, especially when considering risks involved should your home made trusses collapse injuring or worse killing you or a loved one. 

For last year’s related article, please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/self-designed-pole-buildings/

For extended reading on the misadventures of site built roof trusses: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/12/site-built-roof-trusses/


My now 23 year old daughter Allison sent me this meme once. I found it quite appropriate for self use when I mentioned a product in yesterday’s article which I had never written about.

From Homework Design, the makers of Plasti-Sleeve® Post Protectors is another innovation towards post frame building longevity – the Plasti-Skirt.

Plasti-Skirt enhances quality and protection for post frame buildings. Rot and decay of skirt boards (aka Splash Planks) can compromise your building structure with serious problems. Many new wood preservatives are evolving in the wake of CCA treatment being phased out for many uses. However most of the new treatment formulas are unproven long term… but plastic is. The HDPE plastic used in Homework Design products is completely resistant to moisture, organic matter, concrete, most chemicals (including wood preservatives), animal wastes, etc. Use Plasti-Skirt and Plasti-Sleeve for total protection and confidence on your new post frame buildings.

Plasti-Skirt is a heavy duty u-shaped plastic cover for skirt boards in post frame construction. With an inside measurement of 1-9/16 inches and 7-1/4 inches tall, it fits ideally over 2×8 skirt boards. Standard lengths are 8’3” and 10’3” to provide adequate overlaps between adjoining members.

While most new generation pressure treating chemical formulations are no longer (or minimally) corrosive to steel trims and siding, Plasti-Skirt does provide a positive barrier between treated lumber and steel trims and siding.

Skirt boards are largely overlooked as being a key structural component of post frame buildings, however they are essential to the proper transfer of wind shear loads to the wall columns and thence into the ground. Plasti-Skirts protect the vital skirt board from ground contact, decay, concrete, moisture, etc.

Quick to install, Plasti-Skirt cuts easily with snips, saw, or knife.

Concerned about premature skirt board decay? Or maybe it is termites you fear? If so Plasti-Skirts might just be the answer you were in search of!

Pressure Treated Lumber

Preserving Wood Columns Beyond Code Requirements

The Building Codes (IBC – International Building Code and IRC – International Residential Code) specify minimum requirements for pressure treated lumber used to structurally support buildings.

My previous dissertations on pressure treating are available for your reading pleasure here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/05/building-code-3/

Pressure Treated PostsHansen Pole Buildings Designer Kelly brought to me the question (posed by one of his clients) about the available (and feasibility) of the utilization of greater levels of preservative treatment chemicals for wooden columns embedded in the ground.

Higher levels of pressure preservative treating are available for pressure treated lumber. However they are going to be done by special order at the pressure treating plant. Special orders come with “special” (read – higher, sometimes MUCH higher) pricing, as well as extended periods for delivery of product.

The reality is, if the Code requirements will last the useable lifespan of the building or more, an increase in the treating levels is probably not the best investment of a building owner’s hard earned funds.

If one is skeptical (or even unbelieving) about the ability of properly treated pressure preservative columns to last when embedded in the ground, there are some alternatives.

Plasti-sleeves® https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/ or Post Protectors™ can be placed over the in-ground portion of pressure preservative treated columns to isolate the wood from contact with the surrounding soils.

Carrying the argument even further, columns can be removed from ground contact completely! Engineered brackets are available which allow columns to be mounted to foundations, or even concrete piers which are poured into the ground: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/.

Also available, are patented pre-cast concrete short columns with brackets on top, which can be placed into previously augured holes and the wood columns are then attached to the brackets.

The end game is, there is a design solution available to fit every future building owner’s level of comfort and pocket book when it comes to pressure treated lumber.


Hansen Buildings is always looking for new products or techniques which could be incorporated into our pole buildings to offer clients a better product. One resource we utilize is to monitor websites of others who provide post frame buildings, whether constructed or DIY (Do-It-Yourself) building kits.

In checking out one of these sites, I found this offering:

post shieldPostShield protects your barn’s posts against rotting with a layer of modified asphalt. A durable film layer protects the asphalt. The specialty-formulated adhesive self-seals around nails, crews and other punctures. For a very small investment, PostShield can add years to the life of your pole barn!”

Sounded pretty exciting to me, so I wanted to know more! Going to the PostShield website I found:

PostShield, is a UV impregnated PVC ‘sleeve’ that makes installation, replacement and repair of 4×4 wood posts simpler, faster and safer. It extends the life of posts used for signs, fences, retaining walls…anywhere a 4×4 wood post is used. PostShield is being used by homeowners, fencing contractors, State DOT’s, Parks & Recreation Departments and CalTrans. 

PostShield helps prevent decay and extends the life of wooden posts by creating a barrier between wood and dirt, draining water and venting moisture.

Post replacement becomes quick and easy and you will no longer need to dig out old concrete. Simply pull the old post out of the existing PostShield and slide a new one in. PostShield is a simple, cost effective solution for prolonging the life of wooden posts.”

In reading further on the Post Shield website, it turns out they are ONLY available in one size – to fit a 4×4. Now, other than perhaps for an entry door post, I would hope no one is offering post frame buildings with 4×4 columns!

Apparently the PostShield patent covers a myriad of sizes, however if sizes to fit typical pole building post sizes were made available, for use in pole barns, I see some potential structural concerns.

“The design of the PostShield allows the post to “breathe”. Specially designed ribs on the interior surfaces, the ones that come into contact with the wood 4×4, allow moisture to evaporate away from the post.”

PostShields are placed into concrete in a hole. The idea is to be able to slide a post into the PostShield, with fasteners at the top – into the post, being the only thing resisting wind uplift. It would require a significantly large number of substantially sized fasteners to be able to resist the uplift forces generated by a building of any significant size.


The idea here for a pole building – is that there is a binding value (which can be calculated by the way) between the concrete and earth, and then between the concrete to the post, to create the foundation….and hold the pole building in the ground.  I may offend a few here, but I have to say it…putting a plastic sleeve around a post so it “easily slips out” is like putting a post condom on it.  Talk about negating why you are putting poles in the ground in the first place….to create the foundation.  I have the same opinion of sono tubes – but that’s another day and another blog.

My real issue – why even mention a product as being available, if it is not applicable to the end use?