Tag Archives: roof only pole barn

Post Frame Ramadas

For the uninitiated, here is the definition of ramada from the source of all human knowledge, Wikipedia:
Park Shelter Building“In the southwestern United States, a ramada is a temporary or permanent shelter equipped with a roof but no walls, or only partially enclosed.
Ramadas have traditionally been constructed with branches or bushes by aboriginal Americans living in the region (deriving from the Spanish rama, meaning “branch”). However, the term today is also applied to permanent concrete, wooden, or steel structures used to shelter objects or people from the sun. For example, public parks in desert areas of the United States may contain ramadas with picnic tables, restrooms, water sources, etc. Since sunlight is more of an environmental hazard than wind or snow or rain in this part of the world, a roof alone provides substantial shelter. And because there are no walls in the structure, airflow is unrestricted, helping to keep the temperature below the roof substantially cooler than ambient.”

My friend and loyal reader LONNIE in COLORADO SPRINGS brought up this topic to me recently when he wrote:
“I’ve read many of your posts concerning roof only structures and the issues of not having side or endwalls so I’m wondering if a post frame building should be considered for a ramada?

I would want a shade structure as open as possible and definitely not fully walled. Is it feasible to design a post frame building with partial walls close to the roof to achieve a reasonable ramada use building?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
For those who are interested in a ramada, post frame construction is going to be the most economical design solution. At short eave height (generally 10 foot eave and under) there will be few, if any, additional costs. As the eave heights increase, there become additional issues in preventing the buckling of unsupported columns in their weak (small dimension) direction. By the use of “scabs” attached to the sides of the columns, the potential buckling issues can be overcome.

For more reading on ramadas please visit: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/ramada/.

Dear Guru: How Do I Cut into a Truss?

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 or Saturday 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:The bottom chord of a truss must be cut to allow a set of steps to rise to the loft. How best to make up for the loss of the bottom chord? LIVE FROM LA

CRESCENT DEAR LIVE: Repeat this mantra: “I will never cut into a truss without engineering”. My first recommendation would be to relocate the stairs so as to not have to cut a truss. The bottom chord of a truss is in tension (unless there is a situation from wind which would cause a stress reversal). Think of it as holding the walls together, so the top chord can do its job. Cut the bottom chord and place a load on the roof and expect it to deflect significantly, as well as probably collapse. Neither is a good answer.

It MIGHT be possible to remove a portion of the bottom chord, without a failure.  Start with a visit to the truss manufacturer. Take along as many digital photos of the trusses as possible, or the original engineer sealed truss drawings. Their engineers can tell you if what you have in mind can be done, and at a nominal cost. If it is impossible to determine who built the trusses, or they are no longer in business (over 50% of all truss manufacturers closed their doors during the Great Recession) then the only option is to hire a registered professional engineer.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am in the process of building a 24’x 48′ pavilion. I installed ten 6×6’s 12’ oc, 36 inches in the ground on 4 inch cookies. The holes are 18 inches in diameter. The holes and slab where poured at once, with a 4 inch slab. I used 2x10x12’s inside and out of the posts. 10 foot ceiling. 4/12 trusses 24′ with 2’OH spaced 24″ on center. 7/16 osb with shingles. Installed 5 foot 6×6 Y braces attached to the posts and header using 1/2 inch threadall washers and nuts. Installed wind bracing on trusses (W shape the whole length (48′) both sides.

With all this done I still have side movement. I do realize I have a large structure, which has a ceiling 10′ off the ground with no side walls. I would estimate 2-3 inch movement with me walking around on the peak of the roof. I thought about putting knee bracing to stop the side to side movement. I prefer not to put 2x material as knee bracing which would take away the look I have with the beefy material of 6×6’s as Y bracing I have.

Plus the only thing to hold them would be trusses above since I have no other side to side support material. Should I be concerned with this movement? I am waiting to install 4 inch by 12′ tongue and groove planks on the ceiling. I would think this would also help stiffen up the structure. We do get some high winds in this area. Would hate to wake up and the structure is on the ground.   Thanks.. TEETERING IN TIPP CITY 

DEAR TEETERING: You have discovered the inherent challenge of roof only (pavilion) type structures. By not having any walls, it increases the amount of force (and therefore movement) carried by the columns by a factor of four! In simplified terms – think of the 6x6s now acting as diving boards. Without knowing the loading conditions at your site, it is very possible the 6×6 columns you have selected will not be adequate to carry the wind loads in extreme conditions – which could cause your building to fail.  Before you take the step of adding knee braces – this would be a good article to read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/01/post-frame-construction-knee-braces/ My normal recommendation would be to consult with the engineer who designed your building – as he or she will be able to determine if the movement you are experiencing is within acceptable limits. The easiest way to get rid of the majority of the movement, would be to put a wall across one of both ends. This wall would then transfer the wind loads from the roof to the ground – rather than making the columns do all of the work.

Ramada – More than Just an Inn

Much of the year I am a “road warrior” – spending two weeks out of every month on planes, trains and automobiles, the next two back at home. Our youngest daughter (now a college sophomore) has threatened more than once to stop by the house when I am away and paste my photo on a milk carton in the refrigerator with the caption, “Have You Seen This Parent”?

On my journeys, an occasional haunt is Ramada® Inn, which this article has very little to do with, other than the name. This morning Eric (one of the Hansen Buildings owners) messaged me to ask, “Is a roof only building referred to as a ‘ramada’”?

Ramada, in the building sense – not the Ramada Inn sense, is a term which originated in the southwestern United States. A ramada can be either a temporary or a permanent structure, generally being just a roof, but could also be partially enclosed.

RamadaOriginally ramadas were constructed with branches or bushes by early southwest inhabitants. In modern times, it is also applied to pole barns which are used to shelter objects or people from the sun.

Many public parks in arid areas of the country may make use of ramadas to protect picnic tables, rest rooms or water sources. As sunlight is more of an environmental hazard than snow, wind or rain in these desert and near desert areas, a roof alone provides significant shelter, even if there are no walls.

In the case of public structures, I’ve designed more than just square or rectangular ramadas – as six and eight sided structures (especially in small spans) make for very attractive picnic shelters.

There are some design considerations when it comes to roof only ramadas. The challenge of designing a roof only ramada is there are no endwalls to transfer wind shear loads from the roof to the ground. This causes the columns to have to do all of the work and increases the pressure they must withstand by a factor of four! The resultant is large dimension columns and very deep holes backfilled entirely with concrete.

Building height also plays into good ramada design. The design formula for the building columns includes the square of the ramada height. Lower height ramadas are going to be far more cost effective than taller ones.

The best ramada designs have one (and ideally both) gabled endwalls covered with structural siding to the ground, over wall girts. In many cases, it is less expensive to add the endwalls to the ramada, than to construct just a roof.

Like the Ramada® Worldwide tag line, “You Do Your Thing. Leave The Rest To Us.” – this applies equally well to the design of your new post frame ramada. The Hansen Buildings tag line follows this train of thought by stating: “Your Building. Your Way.”