Tag Archives: two-story

Footers, Building Over Old Pool, and Home Made Glu-Lams

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about need for a “footer,” building over an old pool, and the efficacy or viability of building ones own glulaminated posts.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: You have most likely answered this question before. I don’t seem to be able to find it.

I am thinking about building a post frame home. Building department says if I put the post into the ground I do not need a footer for the floor slab. We have cold winters where ground may freeze. Will I have a problem with the slab moving? JOHN

DEAR JOHN: Congratulations for considering a post frame home as your solution. They make for wonderful homes (I live in one).

Your Building Department is correct in saying you do not need to have a “footer” for a thickened slab in a post frame building. However it will stand a great possibility of moving without taking some precautions.

Proper site preparation is a key to success – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/site-preparation/.

If you are going to do radiant in floor heat (strongly recommended) you will need to provide a layer of insulation under your slab. Most jurisdictions have requirements for all homes to meet minimum energy saving requirements, this includes insulating around your building’s perimeter:


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a unique building situation. I have an in-ground 18′ by 36′ rectangular swimming pool with the shallow end being 14′ long by 18′ wide with a depth of 4 feet, and the deep end 22′ long by 18′ wide with an average depth of 6 feet. I want to drain the pool and then build a structure of 22′ by 40′ to cover the area previously occupied by the pool. I do not want to demolish the pool, unless I have to.

Floor PlanWhen completed, the new building would be two stories (8′-10′ of it will be below the foundation of my existing house, with a finished basement with a 9′ floor to ceiling height, and a second floor as the main living floor with a cathedral ceiling whose peak will run the 40′ length of the new addition. Will a pole barn structure work for me? If so, will your company draw up the plans and engineer the project so that I can get it approved by my City Building Department? DENNIS in SEASIDE


DEAR DENNIS: I am not a Geotechnical Engineer, but I imagine at the least your Building Department will require the filling of your existing pool to be designed by one. You will want to be discussing with the city. Once it has been adequately filled and compacted your site becomes just like any other one. I will assume your ‘basement’ reference is in comparison to your existing home’s grade. Yes, a pole barn (post frame) structure will work for you. We have a program set up with an independent floor plan expert to take care of your interior spaces: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q and we provide the structural engineering to go with your building.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: For a pole barn is it ok to make laminated poles from say 4 2x6s screwed and glued, ground contact treated? CHRIS in CUSHING

DEAR CHRIS: Ultimately your answer will need to come from whatever engineer you have hired to design your building.

Unless those ground contact treated 2×6 are UC-4B rated, they should not be used in ground to begin with. Here is my take on your idea: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/01/making-glulam-columns/




Pros and Cons of Two-Story Pole Buildings

Custom Designed Gambrel Pole BuildingBuilding a two-story or multi-story pole barn is an ambitious project, and if you’re considering such an undertaking, be sure you know both the advantages of stacking space and the issues that come with it.

Think about some of these common pros and cons related to the construction of two-story pole buildings, and remember: the higher you go, the harder it will be to finish the project.


Pros of Building Two Stories

Multi-story pole buildings are not without their benefits, especially for those who prefer the outside over the inside.

Lots of Building, Lots of Land
You still get double the square footage of your first story, but you get to preserve the land that would ordinarily fall to the extra space needed for the second story on the first level. With the extra space, you can build new sheds, create lush gardening spaces, or just stretch your legs on your expansive plot of land.

Superior Fire Safety
Your building will be doubly protected by fire because it has to align with building code. You’ll need a one-hour fire separation between stories to keep your building legal, which may be bothersome, but will keep you, your family, and whatever items you have stored safer.

More Aesthetic Options
The extra height on your building opens your pole barn up to a world of new looks.

  • Gambrel roofs have room to stretch and sway with a second story.
  • Monitor roofs take on a new purpose in multi-story buildings.
  • Fit custom building designs into multi-story plans for ultimate personalization.

You can even restructure lean-tos with added support to double as porches and so much more. Adding a second story is your chance to get creative – just make sure you factor your creative ideas into plans before construction begins.

Gambrel Concessions Building


Cons of Multi-Level Pole Barns

Pole buildings with two or more stories have their shortcomings, too, especially when you start factoring in logistics.

More Expensive than a Single Level
It’s most likely considerably cheaper to build a pole barn with the same total square footage on a single level than it is to build a multi-story building. Without the need for additional structural support, fire safety considerations, and efforts to match additional buildings codes, you can stretch your budget even further on a single story than you can on two.

Accessibility Issues
You’ll of course need to build stairs, which can end up inside or outside, but if you yourself are or live with those who are disabled (or if you have or plan on having children), you’ll also have to construct handicap access to and from your second story. It can prove to be a challenge both spatially and financially to provide universal accessibility.

Height Restrictions
This may burst your bubble: you may not even be able to begin your pole barn project if your local planning department can’t give you the OK to break ground. Building codes differ from area to area, so make sure to visit your planning department before you consult with the pole building experts.

Two Stories or One?
It’s best not to make compromises when laying down plans for a pole building, even when considering whether to build one or two stories. The largest expense is simply deciding to build a barn of any size, so when the decision comes down to square footage, be sure to maximize every time. It’s easier to find a use for unused space than it is to add on to a pole barn.

The largest considerations will be, as usual, time and money. You’ll have to spend more time and effort ensuring your plans and building are up to code, safe, and accessible, and you’ll have to make room in your budget to account for those efforts. If you’re ready and willing to spend some extra resources, opt for the second story.