Tag Archives: UC-4B

When Concrete Contractors Try to Act Like Engineers

Reader JEFFREY in CHARLOTTE writes:

“I want to build a woodworking shop next to my driveway that drops off sharply. I don’t have the space to add fill and slope away as it would put me over the setback on the neighbor’s property line. Local concrete contractor suggested a pole barn style would work best. He suggested I sink posts at the lower grade level 4′ deep at 4′ intervals and then add tongue and groove boards to essentially create a box that I could then backfill with gravel/sand compacting in 4″ lifts. Once that was done and the building was up then I could pour a slab on top of that inside the building. I estimate the grade difference to be roughly 4′ from the driveway to the lowest point where the back wall of the building would be. My building size would be 24′ long and 22′ wide and I want an upper gable room for storage. I would like to be able to stand up inside the “attic”. What do you think of this proposal? To have foundations and poured walls put in would blow me way out of my budget.”

This is why concrete contractors are not allowed to engineer buildings (unless they have actually gone to school, passed their boards and gotten registered). As suggested, a large load is going to be placed upon your building’s columns along this wall, resulting possibly in larger columns, greater embedment depth and more concrete around columns. Throw in what you will invest in two sets of four foot high UC-4B pressure preservative treated tongue and groove lumber and you are talking some serious money.

I am always into looking for simple and affordable solutions. To me, building a concrete block retaining wall along my property line would seemingly be an excellent alternative and would not involve having to pay an engineer to design it. You could then bring in compactable fill to get to level and happily build away.

As far as your attic “storage” idea, be wary. By Building Code, light storage areas need to be designed for a 125 psf (pounds per square foot) live load. Even on a 22 foot truss span, these trusses are going to be expensive. Now you could designate this as a ‘bonus room’ and provided your Building Department buys into it, you could have a much lower live load (as little as 30 psf). You would need to remain mindful of what you were actually placing in this area, so as not to overload it and cause an unintended failure.

You will also have to deal with access. While pull down stairs are convenient they provide a very limited opening to get things into this bonus room space. Permanent stairs must be at least three feet in width and meet maximum rise and minimum run standards as well as headroom and clear space at top and bottom of run considerations. When all is said and done, they would chew up a lot of your woodworking space.

Radiant Floor Heat, Treated Posts, and “Missed” Screws

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about radiant floor heat, properly treated posts for in ground use, and how to fix screws that did not hit the framing materials.

In Floor Heat System InstallationDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am trying to make a decision on radiant floor heat. The internet has a lot of opinions from a lot of people who are trying to sell one type or the other. Where can I find unbiased information to make an educated decision between electric and hydro systems and how can you get budget estimates for each? BILLY in GOODLETTSVILLE

DEAR BILLY: I have found your best information is going to come from www.RadiantOutfitters.com 1.877.855.2537 they will give you the straight story and not try to sell you anything you do not need.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I live in Louisiana. High humidity, normally higher temps. Perfect for the termites. Am I correct in saying that the posts will be placed in the ground? No termites will eat those posts as long as the post is properly treated. How can I guarantee I am getting properly treated posts, because no company will say they have not properly treated wood? TODD in PONCHATOULA

DEAR TODD: For ease of construction and best structural integrity properly pressure preservative treated columns are best embedded into ground. To insure you are getting properly pressure preservative treated wood for structural in ground use, look for end tags on columns with UC-4B on them. UC-4A treated lumber is not adequate for structural in ground use. Pre-construction termite treatment is also an excellent preventative plan: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/pre-construction-termite-treatment/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I had a contractor build a small metal building that I plan to make my house. After he left I noticed several places where he screwed through the sheets but missed the metal c channel, leaving holes. Some of them are in the roof and some in the walls. I called him back for warranty and his crew used silicone to patch it. So later I sent him a text about it. He said he would come by so we could discuss it. It’s been a month and I still haven’t heard from him. What can I do to get this fixed and how should he go about the repair? CINDY in TYLER

DEAR CINDY: Your challenge is why I always encourage clients to require a performance bond (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/performance-bonds/). You also should have withheld final payment until a thorough inspection of your building was done, including a punch list of non-conforming issues. Some states require contractor registration, including bonding to give client’s a financial recourse against defective workmanship. Sadly for you, Texas is not one of these states.

Silicone is not an approved fix for ‘shiners’ (screws through steel into air) or holes in roofing or siding. Your only approved fix is to put screws through steel cladding into a solid block of wood on inside.

Your quickest way to get action is going to be to spend a hundred dollars or so to have a construction attorney send a registered letter to your contractor, demanding satisfactory repairs within a reasonable time frame. If this builder has no real assets, chances are he will ignore it entirely, as he knows he has little to fear from losing in court. Ultimately you may need to hire yet another contractor to do your repairs.

Best of luck to you.

 

 

UC-4B Treated Columns, A Connecting Structure, and Custom Options

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about UC-4B treated columns, advice to connect a new structure to existing building, and if one can customize a monitor style building to eliminate pony wall.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are considering residential post frame construction in southeast Ohio. I’m concerned about wood posts in the ground and trying to avoid permacolumns. I asked the post frame contractor I’m talking to about UC4 treated posts in the ground, specifically UC4B. His response was that building codes changed in the last couple years and all UC4 posts are now treated at the same level, there is no more UC4A/B/C distinction. In your expert opinion, is that information correct? Should I continue discussions with this contractor or walk away? RORY in CHILLICOTHE

DEAR RORY: Your proposed building contractor is talking out of his……..(not mouth) as he obviously has no clue as to what he is talking about. Building Codes dictate UC-4B pressure treating levels for lumber to be embedded in ground structurally. You can look this up yourself at: https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2021P1/chapter-18-soils-and-foundations#IBC2021P1_Ch18_Sec1807   Go to subsection 1807.3.1

American Wood Protection Association has a detailed listing relating use categories to placement – please  to upper left on Page 3 of this document for definition and where to use UC-4B treated wood. https://awpa.com/images/standards/U1excerpt.pdf


In my humble opinion, it may behoove you to deal with a supplier who can provide you with a fully engineered post frame home to meet Building Code requirements and either erect shell yourself or hire an erector to assemble it for you.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The picture is of my existing 30x40x10 Pole Barn.  One the back side I’m planning to build an attached a 26X40X16 barn.  The peaks of the barns will in the same direction and aligned in the center.  There is no rear overhang on the existing barn, just a piece of trim like you can seen in the picture on the front side.

My question:  how do I make the connection between the roof on the existing barn and the new wall where they attach?  I can see from some of the pictures on your website that this is somewhat common, but couldn’t find any details.  

The roof on the existing barn is shingles (not steel), will that pose any problems?

If you need more pictures or any other info let me know and I’ll get it for you.

Thank you very much. JON in WAYNE

 

DEAR JON: Assuming new endwall columns for your addition can be placed directly against your existing endwall – framing will extend 1-1/2″ past these columns (effectively creating an overlap above your existing building). A piece of flashing known as sidewall, will go up your new endwall and lap onto your existing roof. Being as your existing roof has shingles, I would order Emseal expanding closures to use on underside of this flashing to seal against water infiltration. Sticky side of Emseal can be placed on flashing (inside of drip leg) and it will expand after installation to fill any irregularities. Wall steel is then applied to overlap this flashing.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is it reasonable to design a monitor style pole barn home: 1.5 stories With the central roof lines connecting into the shed roof sides, without the traditional short wall seen on most exteriors? Will I run into trouble creating head space in the central alley of the second floor? I have looked at attic trusses and mono trusses…I had thought to get an 18′ wide, alley with pony/short walls of 4′ – 5′. But it looks like the cut off is 16′ wide with a squared off 8′ tall ceiling. I suppose I could do with the more traditional look, but I want to keep a low profile, and would rather have the ceiling follow the roof line on the interior and not have it be squared off. Is this possible with a pre-built truss system?

Thank you, I love your blog. AMY in STANWOOD

About Hansen BuildingsDEAR AMY: Thank you for your kind words. Depending upon width of side sheds, we could probably have your building engineered using rafters at attached to shed eave side columns, main columns and cantilevered over center portion. Same concept could also be done using parallel chord trusses, however they would take up more depth. In either case, you could have a vaulted ceiling to follow roof lines.

 

 

Post Brackets, Cross Bracing, and Pressure Treated Wood

This week the Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about a building set into a slope with use of post brackets, the possible use of “cross bracing” for wall girts, and understanding pressure treated wood.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I would like to build a 32′ x 48′ 2 story pole building where two of the sides of at least the lower floor are at least partially set into the hillside on the property. I envision the two sides set into the hill to be concrete foundation walls. Sort of a daylight basement. The lower floor would be a woodshop and the upper floor a two bedroom apartment. I am assuming a concrete foundation with Laminated “poles” mounted in brackets as opposed to buried. the “poles” on the two sides set into the hill would be shorter than on the other two sides. With the available space, the two story concept works better than having everything on a single story. Is this even possible? What would a ROM cost for a kit like that cost?

Thank you BILL in WEST RICHLAND

DEAR BILL: Your idea is totally possible. I have done it myself. In my case I had 12 feet of grade change across my building’s 40 foot width. I used ICFs full height on one sidewall and stepping down across rear endwall. Columns on these two walls were mounted using wet set brackets, other two walls had embedded columns. This process could also be used with poured concrete or block walls. We have also developed a system to use columns placed in a permanent wood foundation.

Attached photo is of my own building.

This is being shared with your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer who will be reaching out to you shortly.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: When using bookshelf girts is cross bracing used between posts or are the girts when blocked provide the support? WINSTON in MOULTON

DEAR WINSTON: No cross bracing is required when using bookshelf girts. Once installed (ideally blocked solid to columns at each end) and sheathing (OSB, plywood, structural panels or steel siding) is applied, your wall and girts are more than adequately supported and this assembly is fairly rigid.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I read the article regarding treated wood. I am still a little puzzled as to what treating you would use for ground contact purposes, especially the upright poles. Do you have any other articles regarding this subject or have input you could email me? Much appreciated, thank you. KELLY in VICTOR

DEAR KELLY: Pressure preservative treated wood standards can be confusing even for lumber dealers, professional builders and building inspectors. For structural building columns, all end tags should have UC-4B marked on them. UC-4B is for “Heavy Duty” use. This American Wood Preservers Association infographic might prove helpful to understanding proper uses for pressure preservative treated wood: www.awpa.com/images/standards/ResidentialInfographic2020.pdf

 

 

 

Gable Fan, Clay Soils, and Condensation Issues

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about use of a gable fan to prevent condensation, building with posts in clay soils, and addressing condensation issues in a three-stall garage.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have been reading some post on your site about gable vents. I have a 40×80 building with spray foam on the bottom of the roof, which is sheeted with plywood. The walls have rigid foam and fiberglass. Question is, would an electric gable fan help or hurt condensation in the building, and is it even necessary. Much of the building will become heated and cooled living space. STEVE in SOMERSET

DEAR STEVE: It is very possible a humidity controlled electric fan would assist in reducing condensation, however before moving forward with it, I would recommend you consult with your HVAC provider, as a properly designed heating and cooling system can be set up to provide adequate air exchanges and control humidity.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have heavy clay soil that does not drain. If I put posts in ground the bottom 2 feet will be soaked most of the year. Should I use concrete piers or will proper treated post be ok? MATT in MORRISTOWN

DEAR MATT: Having personally built a post frame combination garage/shop/mother-in-law apartment at our son Jake’s then home near Maryville, I feel your pain when it comes to Tennessee clay soil. Properly pressure preservative treated columns are not negatively affected by ground water, however you have other factors to consider before moving ahead with your build. You’ll want to read these articles discussing them: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/post-frame-construction-on-clay-soils/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/07/barndominium-on-expansive-soils/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, We are building a 3 garage pole barn and would like to know if you suggest the following:
A. Can you spray foam insulation to house wrap and do you leave the paper under mullions if removing the paper?
B. We have sweating on our house wrap and in our bay that will be mostly finished we put insulation boards which had paper on both sides and now will have to remove that side siding to remove it.
C. Our bay 3 floor is just stone, the others are concrete. We didn’t put a vapor barrier plastic under stone, so until spring when we remove stone and do this we were thinking of laying a tarp tight on stone to hold back any moisture into the rooms for humidity and condensation. What do you suggest? LAURIE in NEW YOUR

DEAR LAURIE: While there are some installers who will spray foam to a WRB (Weather Resistant Barrier aka house wrap), we do not recommend it https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/04/spray-foam-insulation-3/

vented-closure-stripIf you are getting condensation inside of your WRB it is due to excess moisture in your building. You need to eliminate or minimize sources of water vapor (seal any concrete slabs-on-grade if a well-sealed vapor barrier was not installed beneath). Proper ventilation from eave to ridge will also help to alleviate this challenge.

Provided you can well-seal a tarp, it is certainly a better option than just leaving raw stone exposed.

 

Price Per Square Foot, Proper Post Treatment, and XPS

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about the price per square foot for a hangar, the proper post treatment for in ground use, and use of XPS insulation between steel and wall posts.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What is the approximate price per square foot for a 62 x 130 t hangar? KENNETH in PUEBLO WEST

DEAR KENNETH: Thank you for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. Your question is rather like asking what is an approximate price for a new car – what type of car?

A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer has been attempting to reach out to you to get more specifics on what you have in mind in order to get even a close price range for you.

Will this be a T hangar https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/09/airplane-t-hangar/ or a nested T? https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/09/nested-t-hangar/

What opening widths and heights will you require? Hangar doors can impact building height (and price) greatly. Sliding doors are a less expensive design solution than bi-fold or one-piece hydraulic doors, however present their own unique challenges.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have built post frame buildings on and off for 43 years. What is the industry doing to correct the problem of the post rotting off at ground line on post frame buildings? I have attempted to repair buildings in this condition that are settling into the ground. MATT in CLAREMORE

DEAR MATT: In my humble opinion, this could be resolved by having clear markings on Pressure Preservative Treated wood to not leave any doubt as to what proper use is. I have stomped my feet on this very issue for years: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/.

Over my 40 year post frame building career I have yet to see a documented case of a properly pressure preservative treated column rotting off.

 

DEAR POLE BAN GURU: Good Afternoon .

I have been exploring building a post frame home. Is using a combination of XPS and the external sheathing (~2.0 to 2.5″) and bat insulation in the bays (~R19-R26) possible. These two articles seem to me that the dew point would move inside the XPS during the MN winters and make the wall assembly much more durable. Do you think this might be correct? If so, would Post Frame construction easily adapt to this type of assembly?

https://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-controlling-cold-weather-condensation-using-insulation

https://www.buildingscience.com/documents/bareports/ba-1301-guidance-taped-sheathing-drainage-planes/view

TIM in ST. PAUL

DEAR TIM: Designed right, post frame homes are wonderful. My lovely bride and I live in an 8000 square foot post frame shouse (shop/house) not too far distant from you (we are roughly 200 miles due West).

Post frame buildings work structurally very similar to why jet airlines hold together – their ‘skin’ is holding everything together. With post frame, wind loads are transferred from building to ground through this steel roofing and siding skin.

When non-structural insulation boards (XPS) are inserted between framing and steel siding, screws holding steel would have to be exceedingly long. Screw shanks through XPS sheathing would deform (bend) under extreme wind events, causing a reduction in abilities to properly transmit loads. This could contribute to premature building system failure.

An easier solution would be to use two inches of closed cell spray foam insulation between wall girts on steel siding interior surface. This would accomplish a similar end result, without a compromise in building strength.

 

Floor Plans, Pressure Treated Posts, and Temperature Control

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses floor plans, pressure treated posts, and temperature control in an insulated pole barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am retiring from the Navy and moving to Knoxville TN. We are looking at land to purchase and home floor plans for our “dream” house. I have read some about pole barns and home use. My real question is can a pole barn be made to look more like a “traditional” farmhouse? These are the types of homes we like. And I have not seen many pole bars that end up looking like this. Is this or close to this possible?

Thanks, JOHN in KNOXVILLE


DEAR JOHN: You are moving to one of my favorite areas – my oldest son and his daughter lived in Maryville for many years and we built a post frame garage with an in-law apartment above it in their back yard.
Post frame (pole barn) buildings can be made to look like any type of layout, even your “traditional” farm house. As you get closer to your move, please call and discuss your project with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1(866)200-9657.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My pressure treated poles have started to rot at ground level after only five years. The barn is built on clay. Posts are six feet in the ground. I am thinking I should get to cutting the posts above the rot, stitching steel angle to the posts and then pouring a pad underneath. I’m concerned that this will mean a really big pad though, which would obviously cancel out the reason for this method of construction. Any tips or can you point me to a past forum thread please?

Many thanks, PAUL in BRIGHTON

DEAR PAUL: Your pressure treated poles are starting to rot at ground level most likely because they came from a provider who did not sell you material with an adequate level of treatment (UC-4B). Most big box stores and lumberyards sadly do not inventory properly pressure preservative treated timbers (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/).

Building upon clay only contributes to your issues, as it should have been removed prior to construction (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/post-frame-construction-on-clay-soils/).

You should engaged services of a Registered Professional Engineer who can adequately design a concrete footing adequate to support your building against wind and snow loads, while being deep enough to prevent frost heave issues. A simple angle iron will not be enough to handle uplift or overturning, however your engineer might utilize a wet set anchor such as these: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/.

This is not a place where you want to seat of your pants engineer a solution – only to end up with yet another failure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I recently put up a pole barn, 15 inches of blown in insulation in the ceiling, walls are 1.5 foam spray, then R13 bat over that. The building is 54 x 36. An insulated overhead door, walk in door, and 4 2 x 3 windows. I recently put the epoxy garage 20 x floor paint (epoxy ) on the floor. when it’s completely closed up , and you go in it, It’s very cool in normal 80 degree temps outside. it stays cool, for awhile, and nothing to shade the building. After awhile it’s not cool, after the buildings been open awhile. My guess is because no humidity is getting in the pole barn, is why it’s so cool, am I correct, and do you see any problems from what I have said? RON in DANVILLE

DEAR RON: Your building is cool when it has been closed up due to temperature of soil being roughly 55 degrees F. where it cannot be affected by direct sunlight or frost. This same temperature is transmitted through your building’s concrete floor. Once you open your building’s doors, outside and inside air temperatures will try to equalize.

 

 

Minimizing Excavation in Post Frame Buildings Part II

Minimizing Excavation In Combination With Post-Frame Frost Protected Shallow Foundations Part II

In our last thrilling episode Snidely Whiplash had tied our fair damsel in distress, Nell Fenwick, to railroad tracks.

Oops – railroad engineers are not what most of you were expecting!

Continuing with a simplified solution response to reader DAVID’s ideas regarding site preparation and Shallow Frost Protected Foundations (SFPF) for post frame buildings.

Dear David ~

Thank you for your patience. As you may know from reading this column, I tend to research everything to best of my abilities prior to writing an article or responding to questions. Areas of site preparation and concrete flatwork are ones where I have a more limited amount of personal experience, so I have been doing a plethora of reading and contacting (and discussing) with concrete experts. I also am not married to a position, as better information becomes available, I take advantage of it.

Article you reference in (1) has been updated since you last perused it. Even though many RDP (Registered Design Professionals – architects and engineers) specify sand over under slab vapor barriers, I have now become a “no sand above vapor barrier” school convert.

To follow, a summation of my thoughts in regards to this subject, with top of slab being fixed 3-1/2” above grade.

(a) Excavate entire site to remove organic materials. Area to be excavated should be a minimum of three feet outside of actual building foot print. Depth of excavation below zero point (grade) should allow for any concrete thickness greater than a nominal four inches (3-1/2″ actual), two inches of insulation board (if desired), two to six inches of sand or sandy gravel and six to 12 inches of sub base. Assuming a nominal four inch slab, total depth of excavation should be 16 inches if doing a FPSF.

(b) Auger holes for columns, stand columns in augered holes and backfill with concrete per engineered plans.

(c) Install splash plank/skirt board, with board bottom even with grade (zero). There would be no reason to increase dimension to greater than 2×8, as vertical insulation boards prevent any concrete in a slab thickness greater than a nominal four inches to “leak” to outside world.

Side bar – 2×10 or 2×12 pressure preservative treated material will be available, however many times only via special order. If any portion were to be entirely embedded below grade, then appropriate treatment level would more probably be UC-4B – as UC-4A treatment levels are strictly for ground contact.

(d) Place vertical and horizontal insulation boards for FPSF – backfilling with sand or sandy gravel sufficiently to hold vertical insulation boards in place.

(e) Place sub-base, then base material, compacting in lifts.

(f) Place 15mil vapor barrier (make sure to run it up insides of splash planks); Under slab insulation (as desired); pex (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/08/pex-tubing/), rebar and/or mesh, and then pour the slab.

This minimizes excavation by eliminating need for a trench.

 

Properly Treated Posts, Hillside Locations, and a Post Frame Option

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about properly treated posts, building on hillside locations, and an option to build with post frame.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: According to most of the answers on the Internet, if I bury the posts for my deck they will rot away and the whole thing will come crashing down 10 or so years. What proprietary space-age technology are you using in your pole barns that deck builders don’t know about?
(yes this is a bit tongue-in-cheek) MM in MILTON

DEAR MM: How about we start with over 50% of all builders did not graduate from high school? The great majority of deck builders call in, text or email the lumber list for the next deck to their supplier of choice. I worked in or owned my own lumber yards for years and never, ever can I recall a builder specifying a level of treatment when they ordered pressure preservative treated wood.

Builder says treated, and he gets treated….probably not adequate for most applications. Any lumber placed structurally into the ground should be treated to a minimum UC-4B retention. I wrote this article for Rural Builder magazine, so it is directed specifically towards builders and suppliers, however it should make my point: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a hillside location and am looking for information on pole housing in California and their seismic ratings? ROBIN in SAN DIMAS

DEAR ROBIN: San Dimas – the town Bill and Ted made famous! Post frame (pole) buildings perform admirably on hillsides, as they can be attached to partial foundations (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/) or built on stilts (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/stilt-houses/) to compensate for grade changes.

As far as seismic design, structures are affected by earthquake in relationship to the weight of the structure. The lighter the structure, the more resistant it is to tremors! Here is a little earthquake reading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/10/a-whole-lotta-shakin-going-on/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/05/earthquake-resistant-post-frame-construction/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am in the engineering phase of our forever home in Minnetonka. I have an architect drafting my designs, and am now working with structural engineers to figure out the best way to construct it. My original plans show double stud 2×4 walls (for super insulation), and our ceiling heights are on the tall side.

An option we are considering is getting the house pole framed for the interior stud wall, and then site framing the exterior stud wall, in order to create the cavity for super insulating. I also plan to use an interior ledger system for the floor joists.

Let me know if you think this is a possibility. I can send you our current drawings for you to look at. There are obviously a lot more details to sift through than what I’ve covered in this email.

Let me know! Thanks! SONJA in MINNETONKA

DEAR SONJA: One of the great features about investing in a post frame building kit package (at least from Hansen Pole Buildings) is it includes the engineered structural plans for your new home – no need to pay an expensive structural engineer!

Installing Drywall on CeilingThere is probably a much easier way to achieve your super insulated walls – using post frame construction and ‘commercial’ bookshelf style girts, you can create a deep wall insulation cavity for one or a combination of the following: unfaced fiberglass or rock wool (best since it is not effected by moisture) batts; BIBs (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/bibs/); and/or closed cell spray foam. Between the inside of the framing and the wallboard, use high R insulation board, which creates a thermal break between and wall framing and the interior conditioned space.

We’d be pleased to assist you in your project.

 

 

 

 

Splashwood

Splashwood™

Reader MIKE in ORLANDO writes:

“Dear Pole Barn Guru,

I bought a 38×42 Pole Barn kit from a reputable supplier. The posts are 8″ x 8″ – but do not have the AWPA markings that you describe in your Blog. These posts have a tag stapled to the end that says “SPLASHWOOD, Saltwater Splash Use Only, .80 PCF, Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA-C), Southern Wood Preserving, Inc,.” and a paragraph of cautions and Consumer Information. I tried to look up this info to see if these posts are AWPA UC4B equivalent but could not find any info on-line.
Are these post acceptable for my Pole Barn construction?
Thanks.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Splashwood™ happens to be a registered trademark and brand of Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc., and was filed December 30, 2004. Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc., is based in Abbeville, Alabama and was founded in 1970. It has 15 plants located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas with annual revenue of a billion U.S. Dollars.

Pressure-treated wood is treated to various retention levels which are intended to protect the wood for particular applications. Retention levels indicate the amount of preservative retained in the wood in a specific assay zone. In North America, retention is expressed in pounds per cubic foot (pcf).

Retention levels or treating quality procedures are marked on pressure treated wood. The AWPA (American Wood-Preservers’ Association) outlines retention levels required for various applications.

Retention varies with depth in the wood, so preservative penetration also affects wood longevity. In species with large amounts of sapwood, such as southern and red pine, the preservative must penetrate 2.5 inches or 85% of the sapwood to meet standards.  In western species which are predominately heartwood, the wood is incised to ensure a treated shell, and any cut surfaces should be field-treated with a preservative containing at least 2% copper (read more about cut ends of treated lumber here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/09/pressure-treated-lumber-2/).

To meet the Code required standard of UC-4B for structural timbers, takes a retention of 0.60 pcf with CCA. The pressure treatment of your columns exceeds the minimum requirements.

 

Concerns of a Post Frame Building Kit Shopper

Hopefully most, if not all, of my loyal readers are those who have concerns when it comes to investing in a new post frame building (I do know some of you just enjoy my slightly skewed sense of humor, or find my writings otherwise entertaining). For those of you who are avid kit shoppers, I try to give honest advice to any question posed to me.

Reader TRAVIS writes:

“Hello, I’m shopping around potential kit purchases and have a few questions. 

First off I’m planning to finish the interior, are the long spans between trusses you design able to handle the dead weight of drywall ceilings? 

One of my main concerns is column rot as my area is fairly wet. What type of treatment is used on the columns, where do you source them from, and do you ever recommend concrete permacolumns? 

Is it possible to use half scissor trusses and half regular to gain extra height in only certain areas? 

Thank you any help is appreciated.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru gives advice:

Yes, we are able to design roof systems to support virtually any dead weight – including gypsum wallboard (drywall). Whether a Hansen Pole Building, or not, it is just a matter of the proper loads being applied in the engineering design phase of the truss process, then (if the trusses are spaced over two feet on center) using appropriate framing between the bottom chords of the trusses to support the loads without undue deflection.

If you intend to insulate above the ceiling, make sure to ask for the trusses to be designed with a raised heel at least two inches higher than the depth of the ceiling insulation, to allow for full thickness of the insulation above the sidewalls. Normally this has little effect upon the price of the trusses, however the building must be made taller to provide the same interior clear height.

All Hansen Pole Buildings’ structural columns (supporting roof loads) are pressure preservative treated to a minimum UC-4B specification, which is the requirement per the IBC (International Building Code). Even under extreme conditions, these columns should more than adequately support your building not only for your lifespan, but also your grandchildren’s. The longevity of properly pressure preservative treated lumber has been well documented in scientific testing.

We’ve had clients use concrete permacolumns – if your concern is properly pressure preservative treated wood not being adequate for your situation, a less expensive (and easier to build) alternative would be to pour the column holes full of concrete and utilize wet set brackets.

It is possible to mix any combination of scissored and flat bottom chord trusses throughout your new post frame building to gain extra height or for aesthetic purposes.

 

 

Properly Pressure Treated Lumber

Trying to Buy Properly Pressure Preservative Treated Lumber

Reader ZACH in BLACK CREEK has been challenged trying to buy properly pressure preservative treated lumber. He writes:

“Hello, I would like to get your opinion on 2×6 grade board. I read the article you wrote about lumber pressure treatment. I have been looking around for .20pcf or higher treated grade board. Called my local lumberyards but can’t get a solid answer besides it meets ground contact spec. Im about ready to give up and buy Menards since they have in stock AC2 .15pcf. I will be pouring an apron in front of building so I wanted a higher treated board. I live near Green Bay, WI but have a trucker in family. What recommendation can you give me? I attached the Menards info also.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru 

I know Hansen Pole Buildings’ lumber wizardress Justine hears this story from unknowing and/or uneducated lumberyards all over America. At least I hope it is they do not know, rather than they do not care – which would be even worse.

Only pressure preservative treated lumber which is treated to a minimum UC-4B rating is suitable to be buried in the ground. AC2 is Micronized Copper Azole (MCA) and in order to be rated for burial in the ground, it would require a treatment level of 0.31 pcf (pounds per cubic foot) minimum. I really don’t just make this stuff up, here is the proof from the AWPA (American Wood Protection Association): https://www.awpa.com/references/homeowner.asp.

MCA treated to .15 pcf is rated only for contact with the ground, it is not designed for burial in the ground. There is a distinct possibility this product will not give you the lifespan you desire.

My recommendation – stop in at the ProDesk at your local The Home Depot® there in Green Bay (I have been to both of them – good folks at each location) and they can special order what you are looking for. Make sure to specify you want MCA to a minimum of 0.31 and get it in writing on the paperwork when you order. You will have to wait awhile to get it, so be patient.

Also – if this is to be a grade board/splash plank on a post frame building, you truly should be using at least a 2×8, as a 2×6 only gives you 7/8″ of lumber to attach the bottom of your wall steel to given the drip edge of your base trim at four inches above grade.

 

 

 

 

The Mark on Pressure Preservative Treated Lumber

Interpreting the Mark on Pressure Preservative Treated Lumber

Pressure preservative treated lumber is a mystery to most consumers, builders and even building officials. Certainly all of the above parties understand the need for pressure preservative treated lumber when it is embedded in or in contact with the ground or concrete, or in locations where there is a high probability of untreated lumber decaying.

Where the mystery comes into play is not knowing if the pressure preservative treated we are buying is actually adequate for the intended use.

Every piece of pressure preservative treated lumber is required to be either stamped or tagged with the information shown in the box above, although the format may vary slightly. Here is the secret to understanding this quality mark:

  • Is the identifying symbol, logo or name of the agency which accredits the producer – (the producer being the pressure preservative treating plant).
  • Is the applicable American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) standard and Use Category. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT ONE. For lumber to be embedded in the ground and used structurally it must be treated to a UC-4B standard. For more on this subject, what I believe may be one of my best articles ever is here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/.
  • The year of treatment if required by AWPA Standard/Use Category.
  • The preservation used, which may be abbreviated.
  • The preservative retention. In the “olden days”, the standard for treating was “.60” which everyone knew was CCA treated for structural in ground use. More reading on the post-CCA world here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/pressure-treatment-beyond-cca/
  • The exposure category (e.g. Above Ground, Ground Contact, etc.). This really confuses too many people as both UC-4A and UC-4B say Ground Contact.
  • The company name and location of home office; or company name and number; or company number.
  • If applicable, moisture content after treatment. This is crucial to the glue laminated column manufacturers as the glue laminating process relies upon very low moisture content lumber.
  • If applicable, length, and/or class.

Just because lumber is pressure preservative treated, does not make it all the same. Learn to watch for the level of treatment on every piece of lumber. You will be glad you did.