Tag Archives: shop house

Pneumatic Vacuum Elevators for Barndominiums

Thank you to my friend John Lyle who encouraged me to write about elevators.

As a child, I was fascinated by going through bank drive thrus with our mother as she made bank deposits.

Why?

Because Mother could fill up a clear plastic cylinder with her deposit, push a button and it was whisked away to a voice somewhere inside! It wouldn’t be long and whoosh – cylinder would reappear, Mother removed her deposit receipt and away we went.

Obviously it took very little to entertain and amaze me.

When my lovely bride and I were planning our shop/house barndominium 16 years ago, our living space would be 20 feet above grade. This means stairs and lots of them. Even using residential maximum rise of 7-3/4” this 20 feet of climb results in a total of 30 stairs.

Now this is great for cardio training, however my lovely bride told me in no uncertain terms was she going to haul groceries up all of those stairs!

My wife did our elevator shopping and found a somewhat affordable option – a pneumatic elevator! My childhood fascination was loving this solution! Our choice then was a 37” diameter unit, good for two persons (up close and personal albeit) and a capacity of 450 pounds.



This elevator was all well and good, until my bride was in an accident five plus years ago leaving her as a paraplegic. (read more here https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/10/when-life-changes-in-the-blink-of-an-eye/). In order to get her from garage/shop level to living spaces, using our pneumatic elevator,  it entailed us investing in an airline aisle wheelchair.  I would physically pick her up from her manual chair, rotate 90 degrees and plant her on this aisle chair, then strap her on. All of this was a tight squeeze through the elevator door and she had to poke a button over her shoulder to get it to rise. Meanwhile, I would race upstairs to reverse transfer processes and get her into her power chair.


Eventually, we added a full sized elevator (story for another day).

Now PVE® (www.vacuumelevators.com) does provide a wheelchair accessible version with a 52-11/16” diameter. Downside is capacity is only 525 pounds and my wife’s power chair weighs in at close to 400 pounds without her!

Some things we found out in this process…..

These units are very fragile when being shipped. At factory, a ‘tipping indicator’ is placed on each crate, as handling direction is crucial. Somewhere along its journey, one of our crates was tipped and someone tried to remove the indicator and relocate it to hide what had occurred (and yes, there was damage).

Our builder had provided dimensions to the elevator company from top of garage/shop slab to top of living area floor. He must have been having a tape measuring challenged day – as our elevator stops about two inches too high.

Elevators must be run regularly. If it goes more than a few weeks without being used, it loses its ability to suction and takes some time and effort to get it operational again.

Considering a multi-story barndominium? If so, these pneumatic elevators might be a wise upfront investment. If we were to do it again from scratch, I would have opted for a wheelchair accessible unit.

A Shouse, Eliminating Condensation, and Building Trusses

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the design of a shouse (shop house), a resolutions for condensation, and building trusses.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi – We are looking into pole barn buildings however we’re clueless on where to start and how big we actually need it to be. My husband has an HVAC business so we would need the garage/shop to be big enough for at least 3 bays plus a small shop and storage. 4 Bedrooms and at least 3 baths, ideally we’d like to have an open floor plan below and the bedrooms be in a loft type. What would you recommend?

Thank you! STEPHANIE in BELLE VERNON

DEAR STEPHANIE: Thank you for reaching out to me. In order for you to end up with an ideal dream solution, it will take some homework:

Plan tips – consider these factors:

Direction of access (you don’t want to have to drive around your house to get to garage doors)

‘Curb appeal’ – what will people see as they drive up?

Any views?

North-south alignment – place no or few windows on north wall, lots on south wall
Overhang on south wall to shade windows from mid-day summer sun If your AC bill is far greater than your heating bill, reverse this and omit or minimize north overhangs.

Slope of site

Work from inside out – do not try to fit what you need within a pre-ordained box just because someone said using a “standard” size might be cheaper. Differences in dimensions from “standard” are pennies per square foot, not dollars.

Use links in this article to assist with determining needed spaces, sizes and how to get expertly crafted floor plans and elevation drawings https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/10/show-me-your-barndominium-plans-please/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I had seen a post mentioning your Gable vents. I have a pole barn with 12″ lapped steel siding and would like to install Gable vents on the ends to help with condensation.  Barn is 40×60. MIKE in MINNEAPOLIS

 


DEAR MIKE:
If you have a steel roof with nothing on underside to create a thermal break, and are getting condensation you should have two inches of closed cell spray foam applied to it.

For a 40×60 building you would need to have eight square feet total of net free ventilation with at least half of it located in top half of your attic. This amounts to 576 square inches of net free ventilation area in each endwall. Please contact Materials@HansenPoleBuildings.com to request a price quote, provided steel ribs are no greater than 3/4″ tall (they will need this information on net free area and your zip code).

 

Ceiling Loaded TrussesDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have posts for a pole barn set 15 of how should I build truss for this set up? DANIEL in SNYDER

 

DEAR DANIEL: You should contact your nearby prefabricated wood truss manufacturer and order from them. Do not attempt to build them on your own.