# Calculate the Basic Stats

Calculate The Basic Stats:
by Mike Momb, Technical Director, Hansen Pole Buildings, LLC

Basic Stats for Post-Frame
Home Floor Plans
If there is a single commonality among us humans, it is this – we are dimensionally challenged. This situation is even more so crucial when it comes to planning your new post-frame home.

planning it out with your builder:

Eave Height
Speak the same language as your builder. Eave height and
ceiling height are different. Your builder will likely measure

from pressure-treated splash plank bottom, to the intersection roofing underside at sidewall columns. This is not to be confused with ceiling height (also known as interior clear height).

How To Get An Eight-Foot Finished Ceiling
A ceiling of proper height is also critically important in
your home, as are door thresholds. There are many things your builder will take into account to bring that 8-foot finished ceiling into reality.

For discussion’s sake (and as most post-frame homes are
concrete slab on grade), it is likely that your builder will set a
“zero point” at exterior grade (pressure treated splash plank
bottom), the slab top will be at +3.5″.

To create eight-foot finished ceilings requires 8’1-1/8″ (al-
lows for 5/8″ sheetrock on ceilings). This puts us at 8’4-5/8″.

Now allow for roof system thickness. With recessed roof
purlins, 6-1/16″ for truss heel height with 2×6 top chord at
4/12 slope (provided you are using closed cell spray foam
insulation between purlins). Minimum eave height would
then be 8’10-11/16″.
If using blown-in insulation truss heel height should be
insulation R value divided by 3 plus 2″ to allow plenty of eave
to ridge air flow above insulation.
The builder will take care of the technical differentials mentioned above. The important thing for you, the consumer, to make sure you end up with in the end is a high-enough ceiling that provides proper venting function for the home and roof.

A post-frame home can be designed to include area that
have two-floors. In order to be able to run utilities (e.g.
plumbing and duct work) through second floor supports, I
highly recommend 4″ x 2″ prefabricated wood floor trusses.
Generally truss depth will be about an inch for every clear
span foot with a 12-inch minimum. Adding an arbitrarily
chosen 16″ deep floor truss and 8′ ceiling on second floor to
example in previous paragraph puts eave height at 18’4-9/16″.

Appropriately Size Spaces
Below are popular post frame home rooms and
their average square footage, in three categories
(listed as small/medium/large):
• Entry Foyer (65/89/138)
• Kitchen (193/275/423)
• Walk-In Kitchen Pantry (17/31/51)
• Great Room (487/481/680)
• Dining (148/196/281)
• Living (256/319/393)
• Family (311/355/503)
• Recreation (216/384/540)
• Entertainment/Media (140/192/280)
• Master Bedroom (231/271/411)
• Master Bathroom (115/144/210)
• Secondary Bedrooms (130/139/178)
• Other Bathrooms (93/146/313)
• Laundry (67/87/145)
• Utility/Mud Room (30/48/80)
Always allow adequate space for hallways
(same minimum width rules apply as stairs).

98 Pro Tips On: Your Post-Frame Home
4-Foot Stairs?
Stairs are an important to function well in a home. It must
be said that stairs challenge even many experienced builders.
Finished width must be no less than three feet (if planning
allows, four feet is so much nicer), and allow for drywall on
each side when determining interior framing of stair opening
width.
In most jurisdictions maximum tread rise is 7-3/4″ and
minimum run is 10″. In above example, second floor top is
9’5-7/8″, so stairs would need at least 14 treads, taking up
at least 140″ (11’8″) horizontally. At stair top and bottom a space, in travel direction, equal to stair width must be provided. Headroom along every point of finished stairs must be no less than 6’8″. This will allow most people the ability to not hit their head and allow for them to carry items comfortably
on the stairs. A little width makes moving furniture up and down between floors a bit easier.

Allow For Wall Thickness

Different providers measure their building footprints differently – some use wall girt outside at ‘call out’ while others use column outside and are three inches greater in width and length, this will need to be accounted for in room dimensions.

Make sure you understand how the wall thickness required
for insulation impacts your room design options.
Exterior walls with bookshelf girts will be wall column
thickness plus 1-1/2″ for girts protruding outside of columns.
With 3 or 4 ply 2×6 glulams or 6×6 columns allow 7-1/4”
plus interior sheetrock thickness. Interior 2×4 walls with 1/2″
sheetrock on each side end up 4-1/2” thick.
There are many options that impact how your wanted design will fit in with your home size. Being able to understand the factors that may impact your liveable space is likely to help you end up with a great staircase and ceiling high enough to avoid some unwanted headaches.

Space To Build Staircases Right

Ceiling

Stair Well Opening

Finished Floor

Coming Soon! Pro Tips On: Your Post-Frame Home

# Insulating an Apartment in a Steel Truss Pole Barn

Insulating an Apartment in a Steel Truss Pole Barn

First of all, thank you for having a wonderful resource put together in one place for fellow DIYers such as myself. I am currently in the process of constructing a 30x60x11 pole barn. So far I have the roof put up; metal trusses with 2×6 wood purlins, synthetic underlayment and metal R panel. I will be building a 30×24 “apartment” inside, think box inside of a building with the remainder being used as a shop. 3 sides of the apartment will be the exterior walls of the pole barn with the 4th side splitting the barn almost in half. I will have mechanical ventilation in the form of an exhaust fan cut into the side of the building sized to the 30×36 portion with an appropriately sized louver that I intend on using when necessary when working in the shop. The apartment will have HVAC.  I am looking for the best method to insulate the roof. Vented/unvented? Spray foam? Radiant barrier nailed to the bottom of the purlins? I plan to house wrap the walls and install Rockwool to insulate them but was unsure about the roof. There are so many conflicting methods out there I just want to get it right the first time. I am in a hot humid part of the south. I look forward to your thoughts on this and thank you in advance for any advice.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru advises:

Thank you for your kind words. Obviously we are somewhat self-serving as many of our blog readers understand Hansen Pole Buildings caters to those who want to DIY and realize there is a good chance we can assist them in reaching their ultimate goals, without undue road bumps and pot holes.

You have some challenges happening here (aka pot holes), in part due to your choice of roof systems. Those trusses are not designed for a ceiling and 2×6 roof purlins at this span will deflect too far to allow for sheetrock to be applied to them, or to give an adequate depth insulation cavity.

If I was in your position, I would frame in 8 or 9 foot tall walls for apartment area, with ceiling joists above. I would then use unfaced rock wool batts between ceiling joists to R-30 (Climate Zones 0 and 1) or R-49 (Zones 2 and 3). Use 5/8″ Type X sheetrock for apartment ceiling and wall between apartment and shop (personally I like 5/8″ everywhere).

Ventilate balance of building otherwise you will most probably experience condensation challenges.

# See Those Pretty Chalk Lines – Forever

See Those Pretty Chalk Lines – Forever

Disclaimer – not a photo of a Hansen Pole Building

As kids, we grew up as the last house before the street surface changed from asphalt paving to dirt. Unlike today’s children, whose parents can buy “sidewalk chalk” in a myriad of colors, we improvised.

Whenever a new home was being drywalled near us, we would scrounge for scraps of sheetrock. As creative children of five and six years old, we’d use edges of these scrap pieces to outline chalk “roads” on our street’s pavement.

Doing this manually was tedious as well as tough on our little backs, so we took things a step further. My red Radio Flyer® wagon was hitched to behind my friend Danny’s older brother’s bike. Now this Radio Flyer® was designed for lots of things, however where we were going with this experiment, was probably none of those.

I’d lay down in my Radio Flyer®’s bed on my tummy, facing rearwards. Firmly held in each hand was a piece of sheetrock scrap. With the bike’s propulsion, we could produce (what to us anyhow) seemed like miles of chalk roads in no time at all.

Similar to an Ancient Roman adage, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye”, is “It’s all fun and games until someone gets launched from a Radio Flyer® wagon and fractures a clavicle”.

Thus ended our marking of chalk roads.

Growing up in a family where my Dad and Uncles were framing contractors, we found out chalk had uses other than for making “roads”.

Developed in ancient Egypt (think pyramids) “chalk boxes” are used by carpenters to mark long, straight lines on relatively flat surfaces, much farther than is practical by hand or with a straight edge. A chalk box draws a straight line by action of a taut cotton or similar string, coated with colored chalk (most often blue or red, but other colors such as yellow, white and fluorescent orange are available).

A chalk box string is laid across the surface to be marked, pulled taut, then snapped sharply, causing the string to strike the surface leaving behind a straight chalk line where the surface has been struck.

We sadly now live in an overly litigious society, so chalk box packages read like a television pharmaceutical commercial, “WARNING: TO AVOID RISK OF INJURY ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES AND OTHER APPROPRIATE SAFETY ITEMS FOR PROTECTION. FAILURE TO DO SO CAN RESULT IN BODILY INJURY.” There might be only one thing more embarrassing than being launched from a Radio Flyer®, would be to incur a debilitating chalk box accident.

Really fine chalk box packaging print adds, “CAUTION: RED, YELLOW, & FLUORESCENT CHALKS ARE PERMANENT COLORS. THERE IS NO KNOWN WAY TO REMOVE THEM.”

When it comes to using a chalk near steel roofing and siding, this following warning should have been added:

NEVER SNAP CHALK LINES ON STEEL SHEETING.

Even small moisture amounts will cause chalk dust lines (as well as any black or “lead” pencil marks) to permanently damage steel surfaces. These marks create an “electric cell”, deteriorating paint finishes. This will cause chalk lines or pencil marks to be “seen” on a building forever!

P.S. See the steel siding below the entry door? Not only did this builder make more work for himself (extra cutting and trim work), he also has created a situation where any concrete apron outside this door will have to be poured against steel siding (or be uncomfortably low).

# Insulating an Existing Post Frame Building Attic

We are in an era where climate control of brand new post frame buildings is extremely common. It is also much easier to insulate (or plan for it) at time of construction, rather than having to go back and do it afterwards.

For new post frame buildings, here is my Ultimate Guide to Post Frame Building Insulation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/post-frame-building-insulation/.

Loyal reader DAMON in SPOKANE is fortunate to have some parts of his existing post frame shop made easy for retrofit insulation. He writes:

“Hi,

First I want to say I love your web site, the information I’ve been reading is invaluable! I am located in Spokane County. I have a 24x24x10 post frame garage that was here when I purchased the house. The walls have commercial girts R19 insulation. I would like to heat this garage and use it as a woodworking shop. Right now the ceiling is open and there is no insulation. The roof is sheeted with OSB, then felt then steel roofing panels. There is no ventilation or overhangs to install soffit vents. The roof has 4:12 pitch.

I am considering one of two options. The first is to spray foam under the roof decking with closed cell foam, about 2″ which would give me about an R14. This would mean I would have to heat a larger air volume all the way up to the roof. Is this an effective method? Will the closed cell foam seal everything and hold the warm air in efficiently? I supposed I could install a couple of slow turning ceiling fans to push the warm air back down.

The second alternative is to add a ceiling. I was able to confirm that the garage was built with bottom load trusses. I could install joists and an osb ceiling and then go with a blown in insulation, maybe R38. Because there is no ventilation I was thinking of adding large appropriately sized gable vents to provide the ventilation since I do not have soffit vents nor a ridge vent.

Of the two options, is one a better consideration than the other? I know you’re probably pretty busy, I appreciate any time you have to help me with my decision.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:
Thank you very much for your kind words, hopefully you have been entertained as well as informed!

As your building was built with trusses designed to support a ceiling, I would recommend you pursue this route. You would need to add gable end vents in the upper half of each gable with a net free ventilation area of at least 139 square inches per end. Please keep in mind this is not vent dimension, but net free area only.

Your building’s roof trusses probably do not have raised “energy heels” so it would be most practical to use closed cell spray foam insulation along two feet closest to each eave sidewall (applied to top side of ceiling finish). I would recommend you blow a minimum of R-49 across the balance of the attic area as this will meet minimum recommended attic insulation levels from www.energystar.gov. Your spray foam applicator can make recommendations for the thickness of his or her product.

Also, please consider using 5/8″ Type X sheetrock for your ceiling. It will be less expensive than OSB and provides some degree of fire resistance.

# How Not to Sheetrock Your Barndominium

How Not To Sheetrock Your Barndominium

Gypsum wallboard (aka Sheetrock or drywall) is used as wall and ceiling covering of choice for nearly every barndominium, shouse (shop/house) or post frame home. It affords a plethora of advantages over other interior finishes – for many, it is about cost savings. For others it is fire protection or a desire for sound deadening.

For shop areas, I see too many (in my opinion) using steel liner panels as an interior finish – usually in a misguided belief they will be a less expensive solution. Rarely is this true and liner panels are not without their own issues, as I have expounded upon previously: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/08/steel-liner-panels/

Drywall can be installed quickly. My first summer out of high school I worked for B & M Inland Wallboard as a laborer primarily doing taping and texturing.  My boss, Joe Borg, was several things – reasonably priced (material and labor for standard homes ran 50 cents per square foot of sheetrock – hung, taped and textured with 5/8” on ceilings and firewalls, ½” elsewhere), quick (his hanging crews would do 2000 square feet of rock per man, per day for a nickel a square foot) and a fanatic about quality.

Sheetrock back then (40 plus years ago) was even more of a bargain than today, roughly 1/3rd cost. Even then, I saw some jobs not far removed from what is pictured above! When I was Sales Manager for Coeur d’Alene Truss, we did a truss job for a contractor, Joe Michielli, directly across the street from a rival truss company’s sales person. Following up, to see how everything went, Joe was busily and proudly hanging drywall. Little pieces of drywall – as Joe was bound and determined to not have any scraps larger than a foot square. I can’t even fathom how he ever managed to tape and texture it!

(As a seven degrees of separation thing, in 2017 Hansen Pole Buildings provided a post frame building kit package in Laramie, Wyoming to Joe’s son!)

There are methods of hanging, taping and texturing drywall to get a finished product my boss Joe Borg would have been proud of. And post frame buildings are perfect for this, as you can read here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/11-reasons-post-frame-commercial-girted-walls-are-best-for-drywall/.

# 11 Reasons Post Frame Commercial Girted Walls Are Best for Drywall

11 Ways Post Frame Commercial Girted Walls are Best for Drywall

Call it what you want, drywall, gypsum wallboard even Sheetrock® (registered brand of www.usg.com) and most English speaking adults know what you are talking about. In post frame (pole) building construction, wall girts (horizontal version of studs) are placed in bookshelf fashion, resisting wind loads and providing framework to attach sheathing and/or siding to exterior and a material like drywall on interior. Learn more about commercial bookshelf girts here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/commercial-girts-what-are-they/.

It turns out horizontal framing lends itself well to vertical application of Sheetrock® and here is why (horizontal being used to describe drywall run long direction left and right):

1 – Defective Seam – Horizontal rows needing more than one drywall panel creates (instead of avoids) butt-joint humps, which are not flat and are a twice (minimum) effort defect. Outlet and switch cover-plates, window and door trim, baseboards, pictures, mirrors and cabinets don’t sit flat. Using any “butt-joint product” erases all “claimed” benefits of Horizontal!

2 – Unsupported Seam –Light switch and countertop electrical boxes within a horizontal seam equals more weakness and butt-joint doubled, minimum, efforts.

3 – Structural Defect – Horizontal only reinforces a vertical studwall height of 4’ or less, a full-height studwall’s top-plate is never connected to the bottom plate. As in and due to #2 above, Frictional Contact is minimized (instead of maximized by Vertical).

4 – Seam Deception…4’x8′ Panels – Example 1: 48” tall by 102” long wall, Horizontal = 48” (technically) and it’s a 24” wide butt-joint or a minimum of doubling 48″ (Vertical = the same, generously, 96” but they’re easy 6” wide joints). Example 2: 96” tall by 102” long wall, Horizontal = 222” with 50% being 24” wide butts (Vertical = 192” of 6” wide easy joints, yes less)…in a Kitchen Horizontal = 100% of 24” wide butts (Vertical = 0%). Yes, Horizontal does taper area twice (minimum) in order to hide its butts, so very minimally just another 24” was added and #5 below was not factored into Horizontal’s monumental fraud.

5 – Self-Defeating Angles – Horizontal only uses one of a panel’s tapered edges and puts other taper at ceiling corner and baseboard creating (instead of avoiding like Vertical) a twisted angle having to be shimmed or additionally mudded. This too, instantly erases all “claimed” benefits of Horizontal by doubling seam amount, patching itself to equal Vertical!

6 – Unfriendly Seams – Horizontal celebrates chest height seams and pretends there’s no 24”-wide floor to ceiling butt-joint and ever present baseboard bevel of unfinished work. (Vertical has easy joints and top is screwed, taped and mudded later with ceiling corner and baseboard spots can also be done separately).

7 – Unsafe Installation – Horizontal needs two people for a safe installation and panel is airborne, literally creating chances to cause injury (Vertical easily tilts-up with just one person). Using a panel lifter is not even as easy and safe as Vertical’s tilt-up.

8 – Additional Waste – When correctly covering a knee wall, half wall, tub front, column or soffit by first removing both tapered edges, Horizontal can’t use these tapers elsewhere (Vertical can and does). And, Horizontal wastes four times as much mud on their completely unnecessary butt-joints and baseboard bevels…if ever done.

9 – Destructive Ignorance – Foundation and Framing crews go to great pains to make everything flat, level, plumb and square. Horizontal destroys those efforts with their defective humps and baseboard bevels (Vertical keeps this perfection).

10 – Costly Slow Complication – Horizontals depend upon pricey special muds and even messy tape or taping tools wasting mud. Taping tools still require a second step of knifing tape and muds require a mixing step. This is more expense, more time, more tools and equipment and more water…for an inferior job! Vertical’s superior with cheapest ready-mix bucket muds and dry self-adhesive tape. Again, Vertical’s seam treatment is just for looks.

11 – Fire Rating Fail – Most Single-ply or Single-layer drywall for Commercial Work is required to be installed vertically, to obtain drywall’s actual fire rating.

Post frame construction and vertical application of drywall –  faster overall and immensely better in every way.

# More Post Frame Ultimateness!

I am not even certain “ultimateness” is a word, if not, it should be!

In yesterday’s article I left you with a cliff hanger. Today I will talk you down. We disclosed one solve yesterday, today’s is even bigger.

“Can my building’s trusses support a ceiling?”

This lament gets answered over-and-over in my every Monday, “Ask the Pole Barn Guru” column. Traditionally pole barns were farm buildings. Rarely did anyone ever finish an interior, or live in one. Due to this, pole barn trusses are most often designed to support minimal weight from bottom chords. Sometimes this design loading is as little as ½ psf (pounds per square foot), but more often one psf.

Now one psf happens to be wonderful for things like minimal wiring and lighting. What happens when one wants to install a ceiling? Whoops.

Part of “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” includes us doing our best to assist clients in avoiding scenarios they will regret forever. An inability to support an initially unplanned-for ceiling would be way high on this list.

Most commonly ceilings are 5/8-inch thick gypsum wallboard (sheetrock). This is my ceiling material of choice, both for low investment outlay, as well as Type X providing some degree of fire resistance. Drywall is not light, roughly 2.3 psf. It also has to be supported by something other than widely spaced trusses. Ceiling joists (most often 2×6 every two feet) will add nearly a pound per square foot. Blown in insulation is relatively lightweight, even R-60 will add only 1.13 psf.

Hansen Pole Buildings has taken it upon ourselves to use a minimum of FIVE (5) psf for roof truss bottom chord design load on all spans up to and including 40 feet. This decision results in a capacity of 500 to 1000% more than most other post frame building kit providers, as well as post frame contractors!

Want to enjoy “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™” yourself? Dial 1(866)200-9657 and speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today!

P.S. This has nothing to do with post frame buildings. For those who are counting (I know of at least one), this is blog article #1666 (oh, no three sixes)! Our youngest daughter happened to have attended a Jesuit high school, and she was so pleased when she got her first cell phone while there and her number’s last four digits were……6666! So Allison, this blog is dedicated to you!

# Gypsum Board on Walls

If it is weird, strange or otherwise just bizarre, when it comes to pole buildings, chances are it will eventually come across my desk. Otherwise I would have run out of material to write articles about a long, long time ago.

And it is rewarding to know I’ve got lots of loyal readers – like my friend Vincent….when technology failed last week and an article wasn’t up right away one day last week, he let me know how saddened he was, as he reads them every day at lunch!!

Back to the otherworldly….

We have clients who are constructing two fairly good sized buildings for the growing of green leafy substances which are entirely legal (although highly regulated) in two states currently – Colorado and Washington. The buildings were ordered with framing to support steel wall liner panels, so evenly spaced up the walls, the girts are every 34-1/8 inches on center. All well and good, for steel.

However, the clients have now determined they would like to have gypsum board drywall (aka sheetrock) on the inside of the exterior walls. It appears this decision may be due in part to their Building Official deciding the Building Occupancy Classification F-1 structures are somehow not allowed to have steel liner panels over insulation….we’re awaiting the section of the Code (2012 International Building Code) which would have this stipulation, as currently we have been unable to find it.

The determiner on whether gypsum board will work in any given application is going to be deflection.

“IBC 1604.3 Serviceability. Structural systems and members thereof shall be designed to have adequate stiffness to limit deflections and lateral drift.”

IBC TABLE 1604.3 DEFLECTION LIMITS addresses the allowable deflection as “l” – the distance being spanned divided by a given unit of acceptable deflection. For exterior walls with flexible finish (such as gypsum drywall) under a wind load, this limitation is l/120. And from Footnote “f” of the table, “The wind load is permitted to be taken as 0.42 times the “component and cladding” loads for the purpose of determining deflection limits herein.

The Vult design wind speed for this structure is 110 mph (miles per hour). The net lateral pressures on the walls are greatest in Surface 1E (near the corners) of 17.697 psf (pounds per square foot), with a components and cladding wind pressure of -19.6 psf. 19.6 psf X 0.42 = 8.232 psf.

I called the good folks at USG (United States Gypsum – www.usg.com) to get their take on whether their 5/8” thick Sheetrock™ would span the 34-1/8” on center spacing of the wood framing without undue deflection. Being it was late on a Friday afternoon, the feedback was limited in its scope, however, they did email me the “Gypsum Association Properties of Gypsum Board”, which turns out to have some useful information. On Page 3 of 5 of the document copyrighted by the Gypsum Association is a table for “Negative Wind Load Resistance”. For ½” thickness over wood framing at 16 inches on center the allowable load is 80 psf, for 5/8”130 psf.

Allowable deflection is based upon the span^4. This makes the deflection at 2.84375 feet (34-1/8”) 20.692 times the deflection of 1.333 feet (16”). Using 130 psf / 20.692 results in a maximum psf of 6.28 which is less than the calculated 8.232, so 5/8” gypsum drywall would not be an adequate design solution. Under these load conditions, the maximum span of the 5/8” gypsum drywall would be 31.9”.

What about ½” drywall over 24 inch on center supports? The deflection at 24 inches on center is 5.0625 times the deflection at 16 inches. 80 / 5.0625 = 15.8 psf, which would prove adequate given these loads.