This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the “how many sheets” of tin, and the cost of steel roof panels, what type of girt style or posts Mike would prefer, and the efficacy of Eastern Red Cedar for use as posts for a pole barn.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m thinking about building and pole barn 24×32 and 10ft height. I was wondering how many sheets of tin I will need and how much I will need for the roof. If you know how much money would it be? SCOUT in BEAR LAKE
DEAR SCOUT: As steel panels are three feet in width, you may want to consider walls being a multiple of three to maximize material efficiency and minimize waste. 24′ x 36′ would be an example. When you invest in a fully engineered post frame (pole barn) building kit package, all of the steel panels will be calculated for you and displayed on a layout sheet on your building plans. We also ensure you are provided with all trims and closure strips to properly seal your building, as well as using screws with EPDM washers – long enough to not pull out in wind events, and of a larger diameter to prevent screw slotting over time. By use of EPDM for washers (rather than rubber) they come with a manufacturer’s warranty backing up their performance to outlast your steel panels. We do not provide steel panels only.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Sorry for so many questions. Which type of girts do you prefer / recommend? Standard, bookshelf or commercial? Do codes typically allow you to build your own 6×6 laminated posts, or do you have to order them from a manufacturer? DAVID in DECATUR
DEAR DAVID: I would prefer you ask me questions, rather than regret later on not having asked. My #1 goal is to assist you from making decisions you will later be sorry you made – whether you invest in a new Hansen Pole Building or not.
If you think you will ever insulate your building’s walls and want a smooth finished interior surface, then commercial girts are an absolute best solution (I have used them on my own personal buildings).
There are many versions of ‘laminated’ columns. My personal preference is true factory built glu-lam columns, they have a tremendous strength to weight ratio, are light weight to work with, very straight and are a fully engineered product. You can field build columns, however their assembly (nailing patterns and any splices) should be designed by your building’s engineer for structural adequacy.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an overabundance of Eastern Red Cedar on my property. Most of them are just about fence post size but quite a few are 10″ or more. Our ground is super rocky and we have very little sapwood the middle is almost totally red. Can I use these for posts in my pole Barn if I cut off the sapwood or mount them above the concrete slab. ROGER in IRONDALE
DEAR ROGER: Untreated Cedar, left exposed to weather in above ground situations probably has an expected lifespan of roughly 10 years (https://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/bridges/documents/tdbp/decayres.pdf) and Mother Earth News places life expectancy of Red Cedar in ground at 15-20 years. While you may have better results, it is not something I would or could recommend when properly pressure preservative treated columns are readily available and will outlast any of our lifetimes.
Above ground, Cedars are far weaker in design capacity than commonly used structural species such as Southern Pine. Add to this, Building Codes require lumber used for structural purposes to be grade stamped.
Best use is probably for short lived fence posts.