Tag Archives: treated columns

A Wood Frame Basement, Inside Dimensions, and Steel vs Wood

This week the Pole Barn Guru about building a wood frame basement with “daylight space,” the inside dimensions of a 40′ x 80′ structure, and a debate between steel vs wood construction.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’d like to build a post frame building with a daylight basement space. I’d been researching permanent wood foundations and thought I could likely do the same using the post frame method instead of stick building basement walls. If properly engineered and waterproofed according to the wood foundation folks, do you see any reason why this couldn’t or shouldn’t be done this way? The first-floor walls would be about 4 feet below grade except at the garage entry at grade. The site is level but the street slopes down to allow the grades to work out. In this condition would you use a shallow post footing or wet set a bracket? I like the idea of minimizing the concrete, especially the footings and stem walls of conventional stick framing. ROB in PORTLAND

DEAR ROB: We are actually going to be inventorying 2×6 and 2×8 #1 SYP treated to FDN requirements in just a few months – one reason being exactly for cases like yours. To minimize concrete required, once site has been graded to level, glulam columns would be embedded with a concrete bottom collar (roughly 18″ deep of concrete), with balance of hole backfilled with compactible fill to grade. Permanent wood foundation walls would then be placed between columns on top of gravel.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If I build a 40′ x 80′ pole barn as a home, what would the interior dimensions be? FRANK in STERLING

DEAR FRANK: When your new Hansen Pole Buildings’ barndominium is all framed up ready for interior finish, inside dimensions will be 39′ 0-1/2″ x 79′ 0-1/2″ assuming a single story and fairly typical climactic loads.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am building a 30X50x14 Pole building. I am stuck on a couple things. Steel vs wood and thickness of the concrete. I will be putting in radiant heat and also plan of having an auto / truck lift in the building. Another reason I am thinking of steel is an overhead chain hoist. Thank you for your help and time. ROB in BEAVER FALLS

DEAR ROB: Steel vs. wood – if this is about how your building will be structurally framed, prefabricated wood roof trusses can be engineered to support any sort of concentrated load you may be considering – we just need to know in advance how much weight and where load will be picked up from (steel frame needs this information as well – just because it is steel, does not mean one can arbitrarily hang greater loads from it). In order to achieve greatest value for your heating dollars – wood trusses allow for you to have a ceiling you can insulate above, rather than having to heat air space far above where you actually need it to be comfortable. Concrete thickness – your lift provider can advise as to what thickness of concrete will be necessary to support their equipment. Keep in mind – slab only needs to be made thicker where lift will be positioned, so it isn’t like your will have to make entire floor thicker. You can easily ‘step’ your under slab insulation down where concrete needs to be thicker.



Sourcing Treated Columns, Truss Bracing, and Insulating a Roof

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about sourcing 4pc of 4x6x18′ treated columns, truss bracing in a custom cabin, and insulating a roof on a metal pole barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking for 4pcs 4x6x18 treated ground contact. JERRY in COATESVILLE

DEAR JERRY: This one is going to be tough. Very few lumber dealers inventory pressure preservative treated 4×6 in lengths over 16′. other than in Pacific Northwest states. For a lumberyard to bring them in, they will usually be forced to have to purchase an entire unit – not very practical for them or for you. Your solution is most likely to source 6x6x18′ as they should be in stock.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Trying to figure if I need more braces or not. 18 ft cathedral with king post truss. No supporting interior walls both garage below and great room are open floor plan. So I used 5/8 plywood both sides of garage walls to help with sheer wall and racking bolted everything down and now got tongue and groove on interior upstairs so should be ok . Just would like something more but maybe this enough just as it is. I got horizontal Xs up in rafter ties. I also have collar ties in peak. But other than that everything seems good I used double 2×10 for each truss from sill to peak then double 2×6 as rafter ties. BUCK in DERBY LINE

DEAR BUCK: Every bottom chord should probably be braced at centerline, not just some of them. Short of this, I couldn’t venture a guess without reviewing an entire set of structural plans.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: After reading some opinions on some forums I am getting ready to insulate the roof of my metal pole barn. Paper backed fiberglass insulation will not stop condensation without putting plastic sheeting over top of it. How do you feel about this method? Insulation against the underside of the metal roof with plastic over the insulation. DAVE DEAR

DAVE: This should answer some of your questions https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2023/10/properly-insulating-between-roof-purlins/


Termite Barriers and Wind Speed, Hidden Fasteners, and Truss Modifications

This week the Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about termites that can destroy treated lumber in an area wind 80mph winds, if one can install a roof with hidden fasteners over trusses or if it needs an underlayment, and the possibility of modifying a truss chord in order to accommodate a overhead door operator.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have terrible subterranean termites that can destroy treated lumber. We also live in an area that sees 80 mph winds in the winter. Are your pole barns strong enough to withstand these things? DAN in FRAZIER PARK

DEAR DAN: Every Hansen Pole Building is fully engineered to meet or exceed your jurisdiction’s minimum design wind speed requirements (in Ventura county Vult = 100 mph). When wind is a client concern, we always recommend designing to higher than minimum design wind speeds. In many instances, added investments are minimal. Most important is designing to correct wind exposure for your particular site. Most other providers sell Exposure B rated buildings, when many sites are actually Exposure C. For extended reading on wind exposure, please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2022/06/wind-exposure-and-confusion-part-iii/ While our buildings come with any pressure preservative treated wood at or above Building Code requirements. Regardless of structural building system in areas prone to subterranean termites treat prepared soil with a termiticide barrier at a rate of one gallon of chemical solution per every 10 square feet.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I want hidden fastener steel roof, do I need to sheath the roof or can I install over trusses. Also, how far apart are your trusses for residential pole barn homes? JAY in MILWAUKEE

DEAR JAY: Hidden fastener steel should only be installed over solid sheathing as it has no shear value to be able to transfer wind loads from roof to endwalls. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/08/standing-seam-steel/

In most instances, our fully engineered post-frame barndominiums are designed with a pair of trusses directly aligned with columns every 12 feet.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Would it be possible to install a 1/8- 1/4 ‘’ steel plate C-shaped with a “tail” extending from back side to tie a bottom chord and king post together and then cut out a 6’’ section to allow for a garage door opener install. GABE in SIMCOE

DEAR GABE: Maybe, however no truss should ever be cut or modified unless done with an engineer certified repair. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/07/cutting-trusses/



Porches, Post Savers, and Airplane Hangars

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the “least expensive” option for porches, the performance or ground contact poles when using a “Postsaver” and discussion of options for an airplane hangar.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Which is least expensive: house and porches under one roof or house under one roof and porches under lean to roofs? KEVIN in SENATOBIA

DEAR KEVIN: Obviously way too many variables to determine least expensive choice for all situations. Personally I would put house and porches under one roofline, regardless of price point. Reason number one is my line of sight out of windows would not be blocked by low porch eaves. Secondly, it eliminates a pitch break on roof. Pitch breaks take extra work and materials in order to be constructed to eliminate a leak point (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/11/pitch-breaks/).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I see some products out there like Postsaver™ that use a tar lined plastic that heat shrinks to the post. Do these products help or hinder the performance and longevity of a standard ground contact pressure treated pole? BRIAN in OLYMPIA

DEAR BRIAN: In order for wood to decay it requires a food source (wood), moisture, oxygen and right temperature. Postsaver and other sleeves are designed to separate wood from surrounding earth (or concrete). Neither earth nor concrete are causing premature decay (see previously listed requirements). I have yet to see any peer reviewed studies on any of these products, as to if they actually perform as advertised. In theory, if they were absolutely sealed at top and bottom, I suppose they could eliminate sources of oxygen, hence no decay (it is why posts do not rot roughly eight or more inches below ground surface – lack of oxygen). An open ended sleeve would not prevent ground water from wicking up wood grains by capillary action (no matter how tightly sealed), however this is a non-issue if oxygen is not present.

When all is said and done, order UC-4B rated pressure preservative treated wood and it should outlast anyone alive today. If a sleeve makes you sleep better, then by all means make an investment in them.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I would like to build a wooden hangar for my nx carbon cub. Its wingspan is 34′ 6″ and height 8 ft and 25′ in length. I’d like to put it at the end of my private strip at ranch. it would only be used May to October because i have a modern steel hangar in Kalispell so no snow load or heat issues can any monitor style building be built without interior supports that would obstruct wings? A single slope design probably doesn’t work a say 36 or 38 foot door. I’d like to use to use four door section on rollers. What would you recommend? Happy to talk by phone, best if you text me and suggest time to discuss. WILLIAM in SEELEY LAKE

DEAR WILLIAM: Even though you are only using this hangar from May to October, snow is an issue as you probably do not want to come back in Spring and find it flattened. Your exact ground snow load (Pg) can be found from your site’s latitude and longitude at www.snowload.montana.edu/calculate. Based strictly upon Seeley Lake, Pg is roughly 80 psf (pounds per square foot).

Yes, we can use clearspan monitor trusses to eliminate any interior columns.

Four rolling (sliding doors) would entail an overall building width of 54′ in order to make a 36′ opening work. They would have to be mounted on double tracks, so are less than ideal for sealing down and over time you will grow to hate them. We’d recommend using a Schweiss or similar brand hangar door. You will be glad you did and building width on a 36′ opening could be roughly 42′.

One of our Building Designers will be reaching out to you to discuss further.

Permit Problem, OSB Wall Sheathing, and a Flat Roof Slope

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about a permit problem for building the reader would now need a permit for, whether or not OSB wall sheathing is necessary for an addition, and if a 12′ peak to 10′ eave will appear flat.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I built a pole barn in 2020 without a permit. I sank the posts (6″ x 6″ red fir) in the ground 4′. However, I did not use concrete under the poles or around the poles. Since the ground is quite rocky here I just sunk the poles in the ground. Prior to inserting the poles in the ground I burned the poles with a torch and then painted 3 coats of asphalt paint on them for treatment.
I am now wanting the building to be a commercial building and need to go through the permit process with my county. I don’t think how I built it is to code and wondering if you have any ideas on how to make it right after the fact? Build a foundation under slab and tie the poles to it?
Any recommendations are welcome. Attached are my drawings. MICHAEL in EL RITO

Building PermitDEAR MICHAEL: As you have realized, your immediate challenge is your columns, their lack of adequate treatment for structural in ground use, and a missing foundation system.

Your solution is going to involve hiring a Registered Professional Engineer, experienced in post frame construction and registered in New Mexico, to review your ‘as built’ situation and approve appropriate fixes throughout your structure. I am copying him with this response and will forward your drawings to him as well.

Most likely solution will be for your untreated building columns to be cut off an inch above any existing (or future) concrete slab. Concrete piers can be poured beneath each column (once remaining embedded column has been removed) adequate in dimensions to prevent uplift, overturning and settlement. Code Approved wet set brackets can then be placed in each pier and bolted to column.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Have a 32’wide by 30’long pole barn garage heated and insulated going to add on for storage only. It will have a concrete floor with vapor barrier and 2 inches of rigid foam. The walls and ceiling will be steel. There will be a 1 foot overhang all the way around to match the existing building, and one garage door at the rear of the building. The eves will be vented along with a rig vent. My question is that normal I would have used OSB for roof and sidewalls cost is an issue, what are your suggestions for the underside of the steel in both the walls and roof? ERIC in IRONS

DEAR ERIC: Provided your addition is properly engineered, there should be no structural reason to sheath your walls or roof with OSB or plywood. Order your roof steel with an Integral Condensation Control factory applied and between wall framing and siding place a Weather Resistant Barrier (Tyvek or similar).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am wanting to build a single slope pole barn. The highest point would be 12 feet and the lowest 10 feet. Is that enough height difference to create a slope or will the roof appear to be flat? ZOE in LAREDO

DEAR ZOE: It will depend upon how wide your building will be. If 12 feet wide, it may appear okay, if wider, it is going to start to look flat. One thing to keep in mind, most steel paint warranties are void on roof slopes of less than 3/12. Side lap sealants are also required for steel roofing on slopes under 3/12, adding to investment and complexity.

What is the Correct Overhang Distance?

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: I am still building my pole barn. I have recently finished the roof metal and ridge cap. While looking at the construction manual for installing the soffit and roof trims I noticed a conflict of information.

On page 119 figure 16-4 shows an overhang of 2 1/4” to 2 1/2”

On page 365 figure 55-20 shows an overhang of 1 1/2” to 1 3/4”

Which is the correct overhang distance? AARON IN VIRGINIA

DEAR AARON: Actually BOTH of them are correct, and here is why. On Page 119, the overhang is from the outside edge of the eave girt BEFORE the steel siding is applied (no sidewall eave overhang situation). The steel siding is 3/4″ thick, which leaves 1-1/2″ to 1-3/4″ of overhang past the siding after it is installed. On Page 365, the overhang is beyond a fascia board (buildings with eave overhangs). The net resultant of each is the same and perfect for gutters, if they are installed.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, We purchased a Pole Barn kit from you several years ago.  When installing the roof my husband (the non-builder man) would miss the wood that he was supposed to screw the roofing screw into.  With that said we have screw holes in the roof which are really leaking.   We really need to try to plug the screw holes somehow!

What would you suggest to use to plug the holes in my metal blue roof? SHIRL

DEAR SHIRL: There is a good chance this is easier solved than imagined.

Step #1 Clearly identify where the leaks are – puddles on the floor are a good clue, as are “shiners” (screws which have obviously missed a purlin).

In most cases the “misses” will be several screws along a particular roof purlin where the purlin bowed up towards the ridge or down towards the eave past the pre-drilled holes in the roof steel. If this is the case, one person needs to carefully get up on the roof and utilizing adequate safety precautions, remove the screws from that particular purlin. From the inside, another person needs to push the purlin uphill or downhill far enough so as the screws will now hit it.

In the case of just a random miss – remove the screw, have one person hold a block of wood securely beneath the hole and run the screw back through the hole.

Screws which were not driven in straight or with the EPDM washers adequately compressed can also be a source of leaks, which can be remedied by removing reinstalling the offending screws.

In no case should caulking or other sealants be applied to a screw hole, as they will not afford a permanent fix.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru


Noticed a magazine report on treated poles and questioned our treater on their .23 treatment vs. the .60 you mentioned and they said it is equivalent, the only difference is the chemical used. Curious on your take, and if you feel these are ok to go in the ground?


DEAL JOEL: As best I can tell from the data presented, any of the treatment combinations which meet the UC-4B treating requirements should be totally adequate for structural in ground use (burying them in the ground).

For more reading on MCA pressure preservative treating: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/08/mca-micronized-copper-technology/

Here is an article I wrote for Rural Builder magazine on pressure treating, as well: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/

Mike the Pole Barn Guru