Tag Archives: solar panels

Roof Loads for Solar Panels, A “Square” Building, and Post Rot

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about installing solar panels on the roof, the “squaring” of a building, and rotting of posts.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Will a Pole Barn roof be able to hold solar panels? CARMEN in ORANGEVALE

DEAR CARMEN: We can have your new post frame building engineered to support any amount of snow load, as well as any weight of solar panels, or other materials or systems you might want to either place upon, in, or hang from the roof system, and of course the building frame which supports it.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We purchased our home and it has an unfinished pole barn. I was told it was stopped due to not being square by the township. What I have found is it is 18x48x14ft tall. I would like to add on to it and finish it which would require a 12×48 lean to and the rest of the materials to finish the building is this something you would consider quoting? JAMES in CEDAR SPRINGS

DEAR JAMES: Our hope will be “square by the township” merely means prior owner neglected to acquire needed permits (rather than building as constructed happens to be out of square). Before moving forward you should be visiting your township planning and building departments to determine exactly what issues exist. It could be your unfinished pole barn has been started in a disallowed portion of your property.

Once you have cleared things up with your officials, we could provide structural plans and materials for an attached lean to (again providing it meets with your Planning Department’s requirements).

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: One of my clients sent me this reply, can you sent me a link or information to answer his question: “As I have researched pole barns many folks talk about not setting the pole in concrete due to rot from water?”

Thanks. GREGG (a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer)

DEAR GREGG: I would sure like to see scientific proof from these “many folks”. Properly pressure preservative treated columns rotting from any cause would be just another old wives’ tale (no offense meant to old wives).

Another urban myth debunked here:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/07/isolating-pole-barn-poles-from-concrete-slabs/

 

 

Dear Guru: Housewrap, Concrete Brackets & Wobbly Trusses

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 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: Can I set my poles, or posts, on concrete rather than set in holes?  And, can I attach floor joists across the pole building to create a floor?  The planned width is 12-16′   SOMEWHERE IN SEDRO-WOOLLEY

DEAR SOMEWHERE: The answer to both of your questions is yes.

 For further reading on brackets for the columns please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/

 We design a fair number of buildings which have elevated wood floors, over “crawl spaces”. Please keep in mind, any beams or girders which are within 12 inches of exposed soil, or joists within 18 inches of exposed soil, must be appropriately pressure preservative treated to resist decay.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The instruction book is very clear about how to install roofing insulation, but silent on the correct way to install the housewrap on the walls.  I’ve used housewrap on stickbuilt walls, over the sheathing and under the siding, but never with the wrap just floating out there in space flapping between the girts.  Any tips to share about how to do this right? QUESTIONING IN CONNECTICUT.

DEAR QUESTIONING: When installing housewrap over bare studs in stick frame, or wall girts in a post frame building, run the housewrap perpendicular to the framing. In the case of a pole building –run in tightly placed strips running up the wall from the pressure treated skirt board, to either the soffit support (with enclosed overhangs) or the eave girt (with open or no overhangs).

Don’t leave the housewrap exposed to any wind.  Similar to putting the insulation on the roof with immediately putting roofing over it – do the same thing with your housewrap. Only put housewrap on as far as you can immediately cover sections with steel. On a day with little wind, you may be able to put housewrap on an entire wall before covering with siding.  On a windy day, you may have to do 3’ sections at a time to keep it all “tight” and intact.

The housewrap manufacturers typically recommend fastening to the framing with plastic capped staples or plastic capped nails long enough to penetrate the stud every 32 inches(vertically and horizontally).

 Although you will rarely find this done in the real world – ALL housewrap seams are to be taped.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Regarding knee braces; most of the comments above appear related to sheathed structures. What about their usefulness on open pavillion pole barns? Have a lot of movement in one barn and am putting braces on poles to beams and to trusses to try to alleviate this. Comments or suggestions welcome. WOBBLY

DEAR WOBBLY: Unless the roof trusses have been designed to support the loads being induced into them from the knee braces, don’t do it….a high wind could cause a catastrophic failure. Usually excessive movement in pavilions is due to one or more of the following: Columns are undersized or column holes are not completely backfilled with concrete. If you can provide the dimensions of your building, as well as some digital photos, I may be able to make some recommendations which would improve your situation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you also offer wooden pole barn designs? LONGINGLY IN LANGLEY

DEAR LONGINGLY: As all pole barns are wood framed, I will assume your question is in regards to buildings which would have wood siding. The answer is yes. Any type of siding which can be used on any other structural building frame can be used on a pole barn. Whether you are looking for sheet sidings, such as T1-11, boards or planks, any can be utilized.

 Keep in mind, wood sidings are not going to be maintenance free – they require frequent staining or painting, in order to keep from deteriorating.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a customer with an existing Hansen pole barn with a metal roof.  We would like to install solar modules on the barn, but are not sure the structure can take the additional weight and/or the wind uplift from the modules.  Where can I go for more information?  We don’t have money in the project to hire a structural engineer, so if I could find some of the original structural calculations, that would be great.  SUNNY IN SANTA CRUZ

DEAR SUNNY: Although solar panels are relatively light weight, chances are the roof structure would not be designed to adequately support any extra load over maybe a pound per square foot. If you could provide for us the information on the original purchaser of the building, we could verify the actual capacity of the roof system. Give me a call and I’d be happy to research this for you.

 

Solar Panels with Metal Roofing

With the latest technological advancements, innovations, and commercially viable implementation of thin-film solar roofing technology, we can now benefit from solar roofing products which offer revolutionary simplicity. Thin-film solar panels are light-weight, easy to install and can last a long time, requiring no penetrations to your roof.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. One of the latest technological innovations the integration of solar roofing panel laminates with steel roofing by the use of a peel and stick method.

Mess-free, light-weight and long lasting, this energy efficient roofing solution pays for itself.

Thin film solar roofing panels are light-weight and easy to install. They are made to fit standard steel roofing panels. Thin-film PV solar panels do not require any penetrations to the roof, and can be easily attached to steel panels using a revolutionary peel and stick method.

Crystalline solar panels can generate twice the amount of electricity of the thin-film solar panels. They are, however, bulkier and use a special mounting system, which requires roof penetrations. The only exception is a steel roof. You can attach a solar panel holding brackets to the raised ribs of the steel roof.

Thin-Film PV solar panels are designed to integrate seamlessly with a steel roof. They have a very low profile, which can be a significant architectural factor. They can generate electricity even on cloudy days, in the absence of direct sunlight.

Unlike the ubiquitous asphalt shingle roofs, modern steel roofing systems are made to last and can be considered permanent. They are manufactured using a significant proportion of recycled metal content, and are fully recyclable themselves, hence qualifying as sustainable green building materials.

When a steel roof is installed by a trained professional, it will last for many decades, and thus can be a permanent platform for a solar roofing system whether it’s crystalline or a thin film PV solar.

Steel roofs combined with renewable energy technologies can create a perfect combination of light-weight, long-lasting and affordable solution for Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water systems.

There are numerous benefits to having a steel roof combined with Solar PV panels, and other renewable energy technologies. Longevity, durability, and cost savings which add up over time are just a few.

When comparing shingles and steel roofing you should also consider a steel roof will help save our landfills from getting more old roofing shingles, petroleum based products, being dumped there every time an old asphalt shingle roof gets replaced.

Steel roofing provides a permanent and energy efficient roofing solution which can generate electricity when integrated with solar roofing panels, and various other solar technologies such as solar hot water systems.  If you are considering solar roofing panels, think steel roofing for your optimal combination.  Still thinking asphalt shingles with solar panels?  See my blog from yesterday and hopefully it will give you pause to reconsider.