Tag Archives: pressure treated posts

Floor Plans, Pressure Treated Posts, and Temperature Control

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses floor plans, pressure treated posts, and temperature control in an insulated pole barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am retiring from the Navy and moving to Knoxville TN. We are looking at land to purchase and home floor plans for our “dream” house. I have read some about pole barns and home use. My real question is can a pole barn be made to look more like a “traditional” farmhouse? These are the types of homes we like. And I have not seen many pole bars that end up looking like this. Is this or close to this possible?

Thanks, JOHN in KNOXVILLE


DEAR JOHN: You are moving to one of my favorite areas – my oldest son and his daughter lived in Maryville for many years and we built a post frame garage with an in-law apartment above it in their back yard.
Post frame (pole barn) buildings can be made to look like any type of layout, even your “traditional” farm house. As you get closer to your move, please call and discuss your project with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1(866)200-9657.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My pressure treated poles have started to rot at ground level after only five years. The barn is built on clay. Posts are six feet in the ground. I am thinking I should get to cutting the posts above the rot, stitching steel angle to the posts and then pouring a pad underneath. I’m concerned that this will mean a really big pad though, which would obviously cancel out the reason for this method of construction. Any tips or can you point me to a past forum thread please?

Many thanks, PAUL in BRIGHTON

DEAR PAUL: Your pressure treated poles are starting to rot at ground level most likely because they came from a provider who did not sell you material with an adequate level of treatment (UC-4B). Most big box stores and lumberyards sadly do not inventory properly pressure preservative treated timbers (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/).

Building upon clay only contributes to your issues, as it should have been removed prior to construction (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/post-frame-construction-on-clay-soils/).

You should engaged services of a Registered Professional Engineer who can adequately design a concrete footing adequate to support your building against wind and snow loads, while being deep enough to prevent frost heave issues. A simple angle iron will not be enough to handle uplift or overturning, however your engineer might utilize a wet set anchor such as these: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/.

This is not a place where you want to seat of your pants engineer a solution – only to end up with yet another failure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I recently put up a pole barn, 15 inches of blown in insulation in the ceiling, walls are 1.5 foam spray, then R13 bat over that. The building is 54 x 36. An insulated overhead door, walk in door, and 4 2 x 3 windows. I recently put the epoxy garage 20 x floor paint (epoxy ) on the floor. when it’s completely closed up , and you go in it, It’s very cool in normal 80 degree temps outside. it stays cool, for awhile, and nothing to shade the building. After awhile it’s not cool, after the buildings been open awhile. My guess is because no humidity is getting in the pole barn, is why it’s so cool, am I correct, and do you see any problems from what I have said? RON in DANVILLE

DEAR RON: Your building is cool when it has been closed up due to temperature of soil being roughly 55 degrees F. where it cannot be affected by direct sunlight or frost. This same temperature is transmitted through your building’s concrete floor. Once you open your building’s doors, outside and inside air temperatures will try to equalize.

 

 

Properly Treated Poles, Ceiling Loads, and Uplift Plates

Properly Treated Poles, Ceiling Loads, and Uplift Plates

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My pole barn is approximately 25 years old. My question is, does the foundation need to be treated for maintenance to prevent rotting? The wood that is underground was originally treated wood but how long does that last? The floor inside is concrete but there is no concrete around the framing which meets dirt on the outside. NORMA in CASSOPOLIS

DEAR NORMA: Despite what might be voiced by naysayers – properly pressure preservative treated lumber should, under most circumstances, last longer than you and I (or our grandchildren) will be around to see. If you are curious, excavate the top eight to 12 inches of soil around one or more of the columns and check on the condition of them. We are currently adding onto our warehouse – a 40 year old post frame building. Some of the existing columns were dug alongside and it was determined there had been no noticeable decay at all. I would suspect yours will be the same.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you strap a ceiling for drywall ceiling in a pole barn if the joists are 8 ft apart? TOM in BLAIR

DEAR TOM: I will do what I feel is some interpreting….where “joists” are the prefabricated metal connector plated wood roof trusses, and “strap” would refer to framing placed across (or more probably between) the bottom chords of the trusses.

If your trusses have been designed to support the weight of a ceiling load, then yes. Hansen Pole Buildings uses a 10 psf (pounds per square foot) design ceiling load for instances where gypsum wallboard will be applied. A five psf load might possibly be adequate with bare minimal framing and nothing ancillary hanging from the bottoms of the trusses. You would be well advised to consult with the engineer who designed your building, or the truss fabricator to insure your roof system is indeed adequate to support these loads.

Once truss adequacy is confirmed your engineer can specify the size, species and grade of the material to be used as ceiling joists as well as what he or she requires as a connection between the ceiling joists and the trusses.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is used to hold the post in the concrete? galv nails pounded into the 6×6 treated post post? Rebar drilled through the post as a big nail? Galv-steel anti-lift brackets of some sort? GLENN in PORTLAND

DEAR GLENN: Hansen Pole Buildings now supplies (as a standard feature) one or more UP-Lift plates per each structural column (the required number will depend upon analysis by the Engineer of Record). It would require a significant number of large diameter nails to equal the holding power of a single UP-Lift plate.  Rebar through the column might prove to be adequate, however it does involve a significant amount of effort to drill the holes through the column, cut rebar to short lengths and seal the rebar at the edges of the column to prevent water infiltration. In any case, the ultimate responsibility for design of adequate uplift resistance should be left up to the engineer who designs your building.

For more information on UP-Lift plates read here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/up-lift-plates/


 

Life of Pressure Treated Columns

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: What is the life expectancy of the 6×6 pressure treated columns that go in ground? MIKE IN SEARCY

DEAR MIKE: If you are investing in properly pressure treated columns which are designed for structural in ground use (they will be tagged as UC-4B rated) chances are excellent no one alive on the planet today will live long enough to see them decay.

The catch – many retail lumberyards do not carry properly treated columns in inventory. For more reading on pressure treating please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/pressure-treated-lumber-3/

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We would like a building that can have a floored attic for storage, as well as being insulated for heating and cooling. From what I have been told, Henderson County’s code doesn’t allow for this kind of building unless it is ‘stick built’. Are you familiar with our county’s codes? Any help would be appreciated. DAVID IN ROBARDS

DEAR DAVID: Regardless of what or where the jurisdiction is, it would be unlawful for them to attempt to preclude a Code conforming structural system (of which post frame – pole – construction is). They can have restriction upon types of siding and/or roofing, but those need to apply towards all construction types.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are looking for a Horse barn with a 3 bedroom apartment above the barn. Have you done any of these types of building before? Do you have any pictures/layouts that we could look at? JOE IN MONTROSE

DEAR JOE: We’ve done numerous horse barns with living quarters above – both as monitor style and as full two story buildings. Keep in mind, to get three bedrooms you will need at least 1000 to 1200 square feet of space, so a monitor style will probably not give an adequate area.

Not to discourage you, but you will want to consider the added costs of going this route as opposed to constructing two individual buildings. Two floors is always going to be more expensive than one. There will be fire separation issues to solve, as the barn and living spaces will need a minimum of a one-hour fire separation, and in some jurisdictions two hours. This is probably going to mean needing outside stairs for access. You will also need to contend with having to pay more for insurance….possibly quite a bit more, and it is an every year expense. With individual structures, the house would be insured and the barn becomes a rider as an accessory building at little or no added cost.

As for pictures and layouts – everything we do is totally custom, to best meet the needs of the individual building owner. I’d recommend calling (866)200-9657 and talk with a Hansen Pole Buildings Designer who can guide you through the process, as well as providing schematic drawings to give you ideas and representations of what your finished building will be like.

Because we furnish complete pole building kit packages in all 50 states, we end up with very few photos of our completed buildings. You will find some of them in our online photo gallery.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am wrapping my overhead garage door openings with aluminum coil stock. My question is in the upper corners do I bend any extra to place under the top piece. Or bend extra to place under the verticals. NICK IN FREDERICKTOWN

DEAR NICK: The rule when doing exterior trims is to install from bottom to top, making certain each newly installed piece has a watertight seal and overlaps the previous piece. This may mean you will need to run each piece long, so the verticals can underlap the top horizontal and the horizontal can overlap the vertical.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

Dear Guru: Will a Treated Post Rot in the Ground?

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: Will the poles y’all use that are embedded in the ground rot?  How long will a pole building hold up? KENNEWICK GIRL

DEAR KENNEWICK: Will they rot? Maybe eventually, but none of us will live long enough to witness it. The probability of a properly pressure treated post rotting off is small. Small enough so over my three plus decades and 15,000 buildings of experience, I’ve never experienced it happening.  Keep in mind I said “properly treated”.  There are companies who “treat” their poles but not with the right procedure and proper depth of treatment. Make sure you are purchasing a pole building with properly treated poles!

 As to the lifespan of a pole building, unless hit with an unexpected natural disaster, or the building is purposefully torn down, as long as proper maintenance of the siding and roofing is done, there would be no reason to not have the building standing hundreds of years from now.

 See also my blog about a properly treated post:

 https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Where are you located? Anonymous in Arizona

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Browns Valley, MN.

 And where is Browns Valley, MN? This is probably one of the most often asked questions from our clients. By road, Browns Valley is 107 miles south of Fargo, ND; 209 miles west of Minneapolis, MN; 173 miles north of Sioux Falls, SD and 1596 miles east of Portland, OR.

 If you were to place a map of North America on a dart board, and threw a “bulls-eye”, you’d probably hit Browns Valley!

 Hansen Pole Buildings’ offices and warehouse is located on the South Dakota side of Lake Traverse (of course everyone knows Lake Traverse is the southernmost point of the Hudson Bay watershed and on the continental divide where supposedly if a raindrop fell on the bulls-eye – it would divide and go three different directions!). Yes, we are really in the state of South Dakota. Like many rural border towns, our mail is delivered from the nearest post office, which just happens to be in Minnesota.

 We are an internet based company, which means it doesn’t really matter “where we are”, as we design and sell buildings in all 50 states, including shipping to Alaska and Hawaii.  Since most of our products do not ship from our home office but from locations often within 25 to 100 miles of anyone’s building site – shipping is included in the price of every custom designed building kit. 

So to better answer the question “where are you”?  Everywhere!

DEAR POLE BUILDING GURU: I already have a perfect concrete slab which is 40 X 70.  (a previous building burned down) Does this present any issues for a new pole barn?  It was a quonset hut.  The old footings will be removed, as they weren’t that good to begin with. Darwin in Dayton, MN

DEAR DARWIN: AS long as you are not relying upon the old concrete slab to support the weight of a new building, it should be fine. Concrete is one of the best fire-resistant products found in building construction. However, intensive heat affects the strength of concrete.

 I normally would recommend to building the new building larger than your existing slab. Allow enough room around the perimeter to allow for easy digging of holes – say 44 feet by 74 feet or larger. A narrow strip of concrete can then be poured between the existing slab and the new pole building skirt board.

 If you do not want to go larger, it is possible to use a concrete saw to cut out portions of the slab where the building columns will be located. Again, allow for easy digging of holes, by making the cutouts six to 12 inches larger than the diameter of the hole to be bored.

Dear Pole Barn Guru: Will Poles Rot?

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. 

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Will the poles y’all use that are embedded in the ground rot?  How long will a pole building hold up? KENNEWICK GIRL

DEAR KENNEWICK: Will they rot? Maybe eventually, but none of us will live long enough to witness it. The probability of a properly pressure treated post rotting off is small. Small enough so over my three plus decades and 15,000 buildings of experience, I’ve never experienced it happening.  Keep in mind I said “properly treated”.  There are companies who “treat” their poles but not with the right procedure and proper depth of treatment. Make sure you are purchasing a pole building with properly treated poles!

 As to the lifespan of a pole building, unless hit with an unexpected natural disaster, or the building is purposefully torn down, as long as proper maintenance of the siding and roofing is done, there would be no reason to not have the building standing hundreds of years from now.

 See also my blog about a properly treated post:

  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am looking for alternatives to the standard hex head and separate washer pole building steel screw.  I have been told that Hansen Buildings has some new ideas.  Is there anywhere on the net I can research these (or other good fasteners), or do I have to contact a Hansen salesman?  I have already found Atlas International, btw.  Thanks JIM in ROCHESTER

DEAR JIM: Without knowing exactly what your objection is to the fairly industry standard screws, it is difficult to properly address the concerns you may be having. I’ve seen many alternative screws, however have yet to hear raving reports back as to ease of installation or satisfactory performance.

 Generally people who are looking for an alternative have had issues with either the neoprene rubber gasket decaying (resulting in leaks), the paint chipping off from the screw heads, or the screws themselves rusting.

 Years ago we went to using a screw which offers the ease of installation of the standard ¼” hex head – but with many improvements. Featuring EPDM gaskets, powder coating, and JS500 plating, the manufacturer guarantees these screws will outlive the steel they are attaching.

 More information on these “Diaphragm” screws is available at: https://www.lelandindustries.com/productpdfs/page%2001.pdf

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am constructing a pole barn with treated, round poles.  It is not clear to me however, the best method to attach roofing girts to the poles.  I have seen pictures in books of “circular spike grids” that attach to both the poles and girts, but none of the building supply places carry these here.  Do I have to notch out the poles or can I just use lag bolts or carriage bolts? Thanks! MISPLACED IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR MISPLACED: You have just discovered one of the many reasons to not construct pole buildings using round poles – they are difficult to build with. By the time you project is completed, you will have chewed up enough extra time, energy and effort to have made paying for dimensional posts (4×6, 6×6, etc.) a bargain.

 Back to the problem at hand…flat to flat is going to give the most solid connection. I’d recommend cutting the posts to give flat surfaces at all connections. Assuming the posts are treated with preservative chemicals, be sure to wear all appropriate safety gear when cutting.

 Unless countersunk (adding more time and effort) lags or carriage bolts have heads which will protrude and cause problems when it is time to install siding.

                                                                                                                  

Nailed-Up Glulam Columns

Glulam Columns

Recently one of the clients of Hansen Pole Buildings asked us to compare our building, to one being quoted by another supplier.

One of the “features” of the other providers building was building glulam columns which were built out of three 2×6’s which were both glued and nailed.

Whilst our client believed these to be a true glu-laminated column (and the other supplier promoted them as such), this is not at all the case.

These particular columns are constructed with pressure preservative treated lowers, finger jointed on to a non-treated upper. So far, so good – the finger joint is far superior to columns which are butt end spliced either with no reinforcement, or with a steel plate at the splice. A successful finger joint is the most difficult part of the glulam column process, and these people have it down.

The manufacturer then spreads construction adhesive on the faces of each ply and uses a through fastener (stainless steel wire) to keep the plies together.

Therein lies, “the rub”. In concept the construction adhesive reduces the potential “slip” between the plies, making the column stiffer in the weak axis.

The reality is, construction adhesive is still only construction adhesive, and the potential for slippage between the members still exists.

In a true glu-laminated column, after laminating lowers to uppers with the same finger jointing process, each ply is face sanded. Fully water-resistant phenol-resorcinol adhesive is then applied, and the assembly is pressed together and cured in a temperature controlled environment.

The finished glulam column truly becomes a solid piece of timber. It resists warp, twist and cup far better than the construction adhesive and mechanically fastened column (as there is no potential for movement between the plies) and it is less flexible in the weak (skinny) direction as it is impossible to have between ply slippage.

I realize many consumers would not know the difference, but in my experience – a little research and a few “hard questions” gets the answers you may need to make your final decision.  My beef here is the company probably doesn’t know the difference, and is purporting them to be something….they are not.

Plasti-Sleeves®

For clients who are concerned about column rot, decay or insect attack of pressure preservative treated wood columns there are some solutions.

One of them is a product patented in 1994 by Homework Design, Inc., called Plasti-sleeve®.

Now in use in tens of thousands of buildings nationwide, Plasti-sleeves® are the original wood column protection beyond just pressure preservative chemical treatments. The Plasti-sleeve® completely covers the embedded portion of the columns with a molded plastic sleeve. The sleeve has an enclosed bottom and is designed to fit columns cleanly while still offering ventilation. The clean fit means construction methods do not have to be altered to fit other framing members.

We all know plastic will last indefinitely underground.

Plasti-sleeves® are manufactured only from a high quality HDPE plastic. This material has an in-ground decay resistance measured not in years, but in centuries!

Due to what most feel were unfounded concerns regarding CCA pressure treating chemicals, numerous new chemical combinations have entered the marketplace. Based upon their chemical composition, they should perform admirably, however they do not have the decades of successful results like CCA had. Whatever the preservative formulation may be, plastic is as close to a forever solution as possible when it comes to wood column foundations.

The makers of Plasti-sleeve® have also developed an economical version dubbed the “short sleeve”. The short sleeve is available for use on the same popular column dimensions as the Plasti-sleeve®, however it is only 22” long, so it protects the potential decay area only.

Unsure at all of pressure preservative treated wood in the ground? Then Plasti-sleeves® may be the answer for your new pole building.

Want to learn more?  Check out their website: https://www.plasti-sleeve.com/