Tag Archives: pressure preservative treated columns

Starting from the Ground Up- UC-4B Treated Columns

Starting From the Ground Up- UC-4B Treated Columns

Decades ago, when I began training a sales staff for Momb Steel Buildings (my 1990’s post frame construction company) I developed an outline we called, “From the Ground Up”. Just as implied by its name, this training went through features and benefits of a typical post frame building, starting with ground line and working upwards.

In this and subsequent articles, features and benefits will be described relevant to a typical Hansen Pole Building kit package with double trusses placed upon widely (most commonly every 12 feet) spaced columns.

FEATURE: Structural building columns pressure preservative treated for in-ground use.

BENEFIT: Pressure preservative treated to a UC-4B rating, these columns are warranted against decay for as long as you are building owner!

WARRANTY INFORMATION HERE: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/pole-building-warranty/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/images/warrantylarge.gif

EXTENDED READING ABOUT THIS SUBJECT: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/.

WHAT OTHERS DO: Hansen Pole Buildings provides post frame building kit packages in all 50 states, so we know how difficult obtaining properly pressure preservative treated columns can be. Many local lumberyards and even big box lumber dealers inventory pressure treated columns rated for “Ground Contact” rated only to a UC-4A level of chemical retention. They can’t be used structurally in-ground according to Building Codes!

Speaking with these providers and being told ‘everyone’ in their area uses UC-4A rated columns for post frame buildings adds to frustration levels!

WHAT WE DID IN 1980: Lucas Plywood and Lumber was providing ungraded 6×6 columns pressure preservative treated to .60 pcf (pounds per cubic foot) or refusal with CCA. The catch in this was “or refusal” meant there was a lot of CCA untreatable lumber (primarily Douglas Fir) was being sent to treatment plants. Being unable to take a CCA treatment and was, for practical purposes, merely painting lumber green with chemicals!

An excellent article written by Sharon Thatcher editor of Rural Builder magazine about Pressure Treatment Beyond CCA can be viewed here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/pressure-treatment-beyond-cca/.


What is the Correct Overhang Distance?

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 am still building my pole barn. I have recently finished the roof metal and ridge cap. While looking at the construction manual for installing the soffit and roof trims I noticed a conflict of information.

On page 119 figure 16-4 shows an overhang of 2 1/4” to 2 1/2”

On page 365 figure 55-20 shows an overhang of 1 1/2” to 1 3/4”

Which is the correct overhang distance? AARON IN VIRGINIA

DEAR AARON: Actually BOTH of them are correct, and here is why. On Page 119, the overhang is from the outside edge of the eave girt BEFORE the steel siding is applied (no sidewall eave overhang situation). The steel siding is 3/4″ thick, which leaves 1-1/2″ to 1-3/4″ of overhang past the siding after it is installed. On Page 365, the overhang is beyond a fascia board (buildings with eave overhangs). The net resultant of each is the same and perfect for gutters, if they are installed.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, We purchased a Pole Barn kit from you several years ago.  When installing the roof my husband (the non-builder man) would miss the wood that he was supposed to screw the roofing screw into.  With that said we have screw holes in the roof which are really leaking.   We really need to try to plug the screw holes somehow!

What would you suggest to use to plug the holes in my metal blue roof? SHIRL

DEAR SHIRL: There is a good chance this is easier solved than imagined.

Step #1 Clearly identify where the leaks are – puddles on the floor are a good clue, as are “shiners” (screws which have obviously missed a purlin).

In most cases the “misses” will be several screws along a particular roof purlin where the purlin bowed up towards the ridge or down towards the eave past the pre-drilled holes in the roof steel. If this is the case, one person needs to carefully get up on the roof and utilizing adequate safety precautions, remove the screws from that particular purlin. From the inside, another person needs to push the purlin uphill or downhill far enough so as the screws will now hit it.

In the case of just a random miss – remove the screw, have one person hold a block of wood securely beneath the hole and run the screw back through the hole.

Screws which were not driven in straight or with the EPDM washers adequately compressed can also be a source of leaks, which can be remedied by removing reinstalling the offending screws.

In no case should caulking or other sealants be applied to a screw hole, as they will not afford a permanent fix.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru


Noticed a magazine report on treated poles and questioned our treater on their .23 treatment vs. the .60 you mentioned and they said it is equivalent, the only difference is the chemical used. Curious on your take, and if you feel these are ok to go in the ground?


DEAL JOEL: As best I can tell from the data presented, any of the treatment combinations which meet the UC-4B treating requirements should be totally adequate for structural in ground use (burying them in the ground).

For more reading on MCA pressure preservative treating: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/08/mca-micronized-copper-technology/

Here is an article I wrote for Rural Builder magazine on pressure treating, as well: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

Wood Rot and Bugs in South Carolina

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Dave Gross sent me this note recently: I have a client questioning steel versus wood. I have gone through the blogs and discussed the pros and cons with client. Her main comeback is wood rot and bugs in South Carolina.

She is a sharp cookie. 30 year business owner. Just built her 4500 SF house and was the GC on it.  She is direct and wants the truth.”

Dave was certainly right in sharing some of my articles with his client. Among these would be why wood decays to begin with: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/07/how-untreated-wood-decays/ and what the Code requirements are for pressure preservative treated wood: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/

One of the questions I posed of Dave was, did your client happen to build her house out of all pressure preservative treated wood? Of course the answer was “no”.

Wood is an inherently durable material which is resistant to most biological attack provided it remains dry. However prolonged wetting leads to a risk of decay by wood rotting fungi. Various insects also use wood as a food source.

“Dry Rot” is a term most often used to describe a particular kind of dry, cracking, rotting wood. However, dry rot occurs because of a variety of brown rot species, most notably the “true” dry rot fungus known as Serpula lacrymans. It originally got its name from the thought that it did not need water to survive and used a fermentation process to survive. Research has long since been proven untrue, and it is now called, more appropriately, “brown rot“, although the old name hangs on. Dry rot needs much less moisture than other types of wood rotting fungi–a wood moisture content of at least 28-30% — to survive.

Treated Wood StampThe solution to wood rot problems is to prevent it from ever starting – the use of properly pressure preservative treated lumber in critical areas can reduce or altogether eliminate the potential for insect and fungal decay.

And yes, Hansen Buildings uses lumber which is treated to UC4B standards for all structural in ground use.

Read more about this here:







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.