Tag Archives: Residence

Convert to Residence, Insulation, and Truss Spans

Today’s Pole Barn Guru addresses reader questions about building upgrades to convert to a residential use, how to best insulate a monitor style building, and the possibility of trusses spanning 40′ to eliminate interior posts in a shop/storage building.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We bought a pole barn with no insulation, just studs and metal siding. We added faced batting insulation. But now we are thinking of making it a residential building. Do we need to remove the siding and put OSB and a vapor barrier house wrap on it? How do we refit this for a residence? KIMBERLY in COLUMBUS

DEAR KIMBERLY: No you do not have to add OSB and a Weather Resistant Barrier to your exterior walls.
Most pole barns are not designed to support wind and snow loads to extents required for residential applications – you should invest in services of a Registered Professional Engineer who can do a physical examination of your pole barn to determine structural adequacy and provide solutions for upgrades to make it safe for you to live in.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: This has been covered 1 million times but I wanted to reach out directly! I’m in North Carolina. I have a 30×50 pole barn with a 20×50 lean to off both sides. The lean tos are accessible from inside the main shop. So imagine one large open space. Lean to walls are 10’ rising to 14’. Main shop is 16’ rising to about 22’ at the peak. I have bubble wrap foil under the metal on the roof. Open 2×6 ceiling. 2×6 walls with nothing on them but metal. I will add interior wall coverings probably in the form of 7/16 osb. Concrete has vapor barrier.

Buildings with loftsNow, I’ve been told to do closed cell insulation on my walls 1” thick. I wanted an opinion on whether to go every inch of the walls top to bottom all the way to the roof? Would I benefit from the insulation at all by just going to the 10’ mark (my lowest wall height) because that’s as high as my interior osb is going anyway. I guess what I am asking is it any benefit to insulate closed cell up to 10’ mark from the floor and then just bubble foil the main shop above 10’ to give a finished look? THOMAS in PLEASANT HILL

DEAR THOMAS: Unless you are planning on some degree of climate control in your building, there would be no real reason to make an investment into closed cell spray foam. If controlling interior temperature is a goal, then spend your money on insulation in your roof/ceiling where over ¾ of your heat loss/gain is coming from, before spending money on wall insulation.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are looking to build a 40×90 pole barn, with 1/3rd being used for storage and 2/3rds for a vehicle maintenance. Both will be heated and storage cooled. Concrete floor, shingled roof, insulated, vertical metal siding, no windows, 5 overhead doors on the same side. Can you span the trusses from wall to wall and provide the above with no center columns? Thank you, ROD in CLEVELAND

DEAR ROD: Prefabricated metal connector plated wood trusses allow for some tremendous clearspan opportunities. We provide fully engineered post frame buildings with clearspans up to (and in some instances beyond) 80 feet. Your 40 foot width can quite easily be accommodated without any interior columns. One of our Building Designers will be reaching out to you Monday to further discuss your building needs.


Connecting Structures, Help with Connections, and a New Home

Today’s Pole Barn Guru answers questions about connecting structures, connections for a DIY project, and help with information to build a new home.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the easiest way to connect 30x50x16 to 30x50x16? JACK in CARDWELL

DEAR JACK: Connected end-to-end will be easiest. Your overall “new building” will need to be evaluated by an engineer for structural integrity as a unit, unless a wall of adequate strength remains between these two sections. When you create a long, narrow, tall building wind shear loads can create some structural challenges.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have made a deposit to Steel Commander for a 40X100 residential structure. What would be the cost for you to supply me a full detail of all the connection points? We plan on assembling the building ourselves as I have a background in welding and fabricating and pretty confident we can successfully do this……………..your thoughts? DAVE in OXFORD

DEAR DAVE: In my humble opinion, any building supplier who is not providing complete step-by-step installation instructions, knowing they are selling to a DIYer, is doing a terrible disservice. My expertise is in post frame buildings, so I am afraid I won’t be much help.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My wife and I are in the market for a new home and we were considering a pole barn house but don’t know where to begin, Any information would be greatly appreciated, thanks. SHAWN

DEAR SHAWN: This article has numerous links in it and should prove helpful in getting you started on your exciting new journey! https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/10/show-me-your-barndominium-plans-please/


Converting a Pole Barn to a Residence

Converting a Barn to a Residence
Reader MARK in PORTLAND writes:
“I have a pole barn structure that was converted to a residence without a permit. The slab is 4″ thick with a 4×4 skirt edge around the perimeter. Since the foundation is a pole (pier) system, does the slab edge (non-load bearing) need a thickened lip to extend below the frost line (18″ here)?”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru pole responds:
slab edge insulationWell Mark, as I am sure you are finding out, an entire plethora of issues now exists from the conversion being done without proper permits. Your slab issue just being one of many.
Homes are now required (in most jurisdictions) to meet with energy code requirements. This means you are going to (at the least) have to be adding some insulation below the finished grade of your building. This will eliminate the need to have a thickened slab around the perimeter of your building – which would not only prove to be an added expense, but also a royal pain to install.
I’d approach this challenge with the Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation method, which you can read more about here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/11/frost-protected-shallow-foundations/.
It may take having a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) on board in order to plead your case to the local permitting authorities, who could very well make your immediate future a miserable one should they become angered in regards to the change of use without a permit.
Your building itself could very well pose some other challenges. Most often these come from walls not stiff enough (from a deflection standpoint) to prevent the cracking of any gypsum wallboard surfaces. This is an area which can be looked into by the RDP you are going to hire (please nod your head yes).
Chances are excellent the roof trusses in your building are not designed to support a ceiling load, so you are probably looking at needing an engineered truss repair.
The siding should probably be removed and reinstalled with a housewrap underneath. In the event a dead attic space has been created, the attic area needs to be adequately ventilated to prevent condensation. You can find out more about adequate attic ventilation here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/ventilation-blows/.