Tag Archives: side shed

Home Addition, Combo Building, and Moisture Barriers

This week the PBG answers reader questions about a post frame addition to a house, a combo business/residential building, and use of a vapor barrier.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We bought an older ranch house with a poorly done addition in the back. Since this dream property came with a house that prevents me building my dream barndominium, what are your thoughts on replacing this addition with a post beam constructed addition? if we pour a slab for the floor there would be about 2 or 3 steps down to the new room. it would allow for ground level indoor/ outdoor living, higher ceilings than the rest of the ranch, and give me just a bit of the open living space with exposed trusses that I’ve dreamed of. Carolyn

DEAR CAROLYN: Fully engineered post frame additions work well with pretty much any existing structural system. You also are not obligated to use steel roofing and siding, so it can be designed to match with your home. Another advantage is – you can do this sort of work yourselves, without having to hire it done!


About Hansen BuildingsDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Combination business and residential? Square footage of 7000. Can it be done? KEVIN in FLORISSANT

DEAR KEVIN: Interesting timing, as I was just going through some old family photos this week and found one of my grandfather in their grocery store from the 1930’s. My mother and grandparents lived upstairs from this store.

As for modern day combination business and residential, it can certainly be done using a fully engineered post frame building. Depending upon use classification of your business, it is likely you will be required to have at least a one hour fire separation between these dissimilar uses (really not any major thing – just a consideration).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I have a 24x50x8 pole building, concrete floor, and all metal is screwed directly to the wood framing. The purlins are spaced 2′ OC between the trusses, and I have 3.5″ closed cell rigid foam board to install between the 2×4 purlins. For the walls I have 1.5″ closed cell rigid board to install between the girts.

On the underside of the purlins after the closed cell rigid insulation is installed, I intend to install metal panels from the ridge to the walls. So, outside to inside it will be the following: Roof metal, then 2×4 purlins with 3.5″ rigid closed cell foam board in between, then metal panels installed on the interior. I will not have anything on the bottom chord of the trusses.

On the walls I plan to cut-to-fit the 1.5″ closed cell rigid foam board and install between the girts. After foam board is installed I intend to line all interior walls with painted OSB.

Question: based on the above, can I use vapor barrier (or plastic) between the interior metal and the 3.5″ foam board, and extend the vapor barrier down the walls between the foam board and the OSB? Or do you have another recommendation? COREY IN COULTERVILLE

DEAR COREY: You are far more ambitious than me, to cut and fit all those insulation boards to fit between purlins and girts. As it will be impossible to perfectly seal all of those joints between insulation and framing, it would be a good idea to install a well-sealed vapor barrier between insulation boards and steel liner panels. Keep in mind, you may end up with some humidity issues inside of your building (especially if there is no vapor barrier under your concrete floor), so you may need to have some sort of mechanical dehumidification.





Making Everything Fit Under an Attached Lean-To

Reader GEOFF in MILFORD has an often found potential challenge, he writes:

“I am looking to build a 30×40 pole barn and want to also have a covered lean to for my camper that will run the length of the barn. In order to have the lean to tall enough for the camper how tall do I need to make the peak of the barn? I need at least 11 feet of height under the roof truss to make the camper fit. My thought is that I should be able to make the barn tall enough to just extend the roof out at the same pitch to cover the lean to. But at the same time I don’t want to make the barn taller than I need to make it. 

Hope this makes sense 

Thank you”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Yours is a frequently seen dilemma – trying to fit tall things under an attached side shed (lean to). Even worse, when a future situation arises and a shed addition is needed and main building walls were just not tall enough to make everything work comfortably and not have a very low slope shed roof.

Rather than having to make your enclosed building portion significantly taller, I would recommend you approach this with an idea of it basically being a 40 foot square building, with one sidewall ‘pulled in’ 10′. If you went with say a 13 foot eave height, you could have 12 feet of interior clear height both inside, as well as under your roof only portion. This will allow for plenty of headroom both inside (where you could have a vehicle lift) and outside for your camper. With a 4:12 roof slope your overall building height would be 19’8″ under this scenario.

Most folks would take a design approach of trying to work this as a side shed. With a 13 foot eave height on the low side of a 10 foot width shed, at the same 4:12 roof slope, your eave height of enclosed portion would need to be 16’6” making overall building height 21’6”!

Glu-Lam Solution, Building Hawaii? and Riding Arenas

A Glu-Lam Solution? Buildings in Hawaii? and Riding Arenas

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I’ve come across your site many times in search for what I’m looking for in a building. One of the things I’m finding difficult is higher pitch, even just 6/12, that is wood based, without web (open), with a fairly wide span available.

Today I came across your article on box beam so I put that idea on hold. I have been interested in glu lam but I don’t want to employ an expensive architect to design it. My thought was 48, 50, or 60 foot maximum width. I have found examples the same or larger even.

Can you provide something like this?


DEAR BARRY: I’ve had challenges with finding an engineer who can make even a 40 foot side span work using the box beam concept work using dimensional lumber. I’d suggest you contact either Dale at Timber Technologies (https://www.timber-technologies.com/titan.phtml) or Duane at Gruenwald Engineered Laminates (https://gruen-wald.com/). Both of them manufacture glu-laminated columns. If there exists a design solution, one or both of them are the people who can solve it for you.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, Do you build in all 50 states? We live in Ohio and have a pole barn and love it. We were thinking about moving to Hilo, Hawaii. Can you tell me if you build in Hawaii? Thanks, AARON in CAMP RAVENNA

DEAR AARON: While Hansen Pole Buildings is not a contractor, and therefore does not construct anything for anyone anywhere, we do provide complete post frame (pole barn) building kit packages to all 50 states, including Hawaii.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are looking at having an arena constructed and would like to know if you can do a 120 x 250 clear span. JODI in HOPKINSVILLE

DEAR JODI: While a 120 x 250 clearspan can be done, it is going to prove to be phenomenally expensive (whether in wood frame or all steel). Most often clients determine clearspans of 80 feet will better meet with their pocketbooks, while still allowing for the majority of training and riding needs. One of our Building Designers will be in contact with you shortly to discuss your needs and options.