Tag Archives: structural screws

Structural Screws? Pine or Spruce? and How Many Windows?

Today’s Pole Barn Guru addresses questions regarding structural screws for bearing blocks, the strength of pine vs spruce, and adding more windows than plans indicate.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How many structural screws should I use in a bearing block for supporting a 2×12 rafter? KENT in OTIS ORCHARDS

DEAR KENT: In case you were unaware, Otis Orchards and several surrounding communities were originally part of a land swindle scheme. Marketed to Easterners with picturesque names such as Otis Orchards, Veradale and Opportunity practically untillable land was sold sight unseen. Those folks were mightily disappointed to find this area as being pretty much high desert gravelly soil covered with glacial moraine!

Back to your question – this connection (as well as all connections for your building) should be detailed on engineered plans provided for your building. Actual number required will be determined by your engineer by calculating imposed wind and snow loads upon this connection, resisted by screws’ holding power. A structural screw’s load capacity will be affected by species of lumber being used as well as depth of penetration into members and direction loads are being applied.

If this has not been addressed on your plans, you need to contact either your engineer or whomever provided you with your building kit package.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Could you give me a link or tell me pros and cons of using Pine or Spruce? Half of the load of lumber I ordered is warped, bowed, not usable for purlins. I am considering spruce if it is ok for 10’ and 12’spans. Thank you CALEB in TEXAS

DEAR CALEB: I personally prefer working with SPF (Spruce) as opposed to SYP (Southern Yellow Pine). SYP tends to warp and twist very quickly and is more difficult to drive nails and screws into. SPF is stronger than SYP of an equal grade. You will want to confirm it being okay with your engineer who designed your building plans.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m wondering about the windows, if we want a lot more than you provide, how are they added in? Is it structurally sound to have walls of windows? MEGAN

DEAR MEGAN: All openings, including windows need to be considered and placed in your third-party independently engineer sealed plans provided with your post frame building kit. While you can have a large number of windows (or openings) in a wall, they do need to be accounted for.




Post Treatments, Screws vs Nails, and “What is This Called?”

Today the Pole Barn Guru discusses post treatment, the use of screws instead of nails, and what type of structure we are looking at.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you please tell me is there a blog post/article on some type of coating or treatment to put on 6×6 posts for wet holes, high water table mostly in the spring. Thank you much. I enjoy your posts. PATRICK

DEAR PATRICK: Thank you very much for your kind words. The goal is to be entertaining and informative which it sounds as if we are meeting in your eyes.

You’ll want to peruse this article first, to get the best understanding of pressure preservative treated lumber longevity: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/.

In the event you feel additional protection is needed, this is probably the best solution: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/04/plasti-sleeves/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Could one use screws instead of the 10d nails, is there a structural issue or more just cost? Thanks, JOHN in LEWISTON


DEAR JOHN: Yes, you can use screws. They will be more expensive, however in my humble opinion they are going to provide a better design solution. Hansen Pole Buildings has recently added their use as an option on our engineered plans. Read more on the proper screws here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/03/simpson-drive-screws/.


What type of porch is the front area called on the attached picture? What would I ask for when researching buildings. This is the design we are looking to build later this summer.
Thanks for any help. RENEE in GOSHEN

DEAR RENEE: It would be far easier to share the photo, than it would be to describe what you have happening.


I suppose the area in front of the main building front gable endwall could be described as an “offset reverse gable porch” (read more about reverse gable porches here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/07/reverse-gable-porch/). It does appear to have the roof peak centered upon the right sidewall, which would lend itself well during construction (makes it easier to assemble). You could describe it as such, providing the width across the front gable (not including overhangs), the length (from main building front to front gable truss, not including any overhangs), the offset and eave height (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/02/eave-height-2/).

The balance is a roof only shed, which should have the same eave height and match the reverse gable roof offset for width.

I will add, in my humble opinion, the building pictured in the photo would have been more attractive had the roof slopes be the same.