Tag Archives: uneven ground

Additions, Notching Posts, and Stem Walls

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about adding to an existing pole barn, the possibility of notching girts into posts, and use of a stem wall on an uneven site.

Hansen Buildings TaglineDEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing 36x36x12 pole barn and would like to do an additional 36-48 roof only build off the back. I used the Oregon ready build plans for my existing barn, built in 2019. My 2 over head doors are on the end wall. I was told by my county official that the ready build plans cannot be added onto because they are stand-alone buildings, but maybe with engineering they could be. Do I need to consider building a separate barn 12′ behind mine or can I possibly get it engineered to be attached? Thank you. CLAYTON in SCAPPOOSE

DEAR CLAYTON: Your county official is correct in stating your existing pole barn is a stand-alone building. It is likely we could engineer and provide your proposed extension, however it may require some modifications to your existing building. A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you to further discuss your building needs.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If a DIYer had all the time in the world to build a post frame, could the posts be notched for the girts? MARK in KNOXVILLE

DEAR MARK: My lovely bride and I spent a fair amount of time in Knoxville as our oldest son got his Master’s degree at U.T., lived in Maryville and taught high school at Lenoir City. His youngest sister, used to play summer basketball for Pat Summit (she has a piece of championship basketball court signed by Pat for being best player one year). Beautiful area!

Could and should are not necessarily the same. Sound engineering practice limits notch depths in columns to 1/6th of direction being notched, without requiring more complex engineering review. On a 6×6 (actual dimensions 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″) this would allow notches to be only 7/8″ deep for an externally mounted girts, or if one was doing bookshelf girts, 7/16″ deep on both sides of column. With externally mounted girts, this could pose challenges with aligning other wall framing members such as splash planks, door headers, etc. For bookshelf girts, nail or screw connections would have to be angled, reducing lateral strength of this connection so as to require extra fasteners.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My site is not level. Can you build in a stem wall? CHRIS in SEQUIM

DEAR CHRIS: You can either excavate and have a stem wall on the formerly high side, or have a stem wall on the low side and fill. Stem wall can be poured concrete, ICFs or concrete block with wet set brackets, or we can incorporate a Permanent Wood Foundation wall between columns. A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer will be reaching out to you for more information about your new post frame building.

 

 

Uneven Ground, Greatest Strength, and Post Spacing

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about building a pole barn on uneven ground, if spray foam adds the greatest strength, and post spacing for a roof only porch.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We were potentially looking to build. We were investigating our options and I came across pole barns. My potential issue is the land I would be potentially building on. Its on a hillside and not exactly flat. Is this an issue with pole barns? As most of the photos of homes are on flat ground. LESLEY in HAZARD

DEAR LESLEY: Fully engineered post frame (pole barn) buildings can be adapted to fit most any ground surface – from pancake flat to steeply sloped. Many design solutions are possible: cutting into hillside (will require a retaining wall outside of building perimeter or a foundation of concrete, block, ICFs, or pressure preservative treated wood); a combination of cutting and filling; filling to bring site up to highest grade (this is most common and minimize possible affects of exterior surface water infiltration) or as a stilt house.

Here is how I personally solved 12 feet of grade change for my own shop/house: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What would give pole barn the greatest strength- closed cell exterior walls or under roof?

Due to cost would closed cell under metal roof and open cell on all walls provide much additional structural support?

Would close cell all but price prohibitive so looking at next best option.

CAM in DANVILLE

DEAR CAM: In order to insure your post frame (pole barn) building has its greatest structural integrity, it should be fully engineered (not just trusses) to meet or exceed Code mandated design wind speeds and Exposure for your site. While closed cell spray foam insulation will make any surface it is directly applied to more rigid, I would not rely upon it as a structural solution.

Your site is located in Climate zone 5A. 2018 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) requirements for residential energy efficiency specific R-49 for ceilings, R-20 for walls. For cost effectiveness you could do a Weather Resistant Barrier in your walls between framing and steel siding, then fill balance of wall cavity with kraft faced fiberglass R-21 batts. For your roof, order trusses with 18 inch energy heels designed to support a ceiling and blow in 16 inches of fiberglass on top of your ceiling. Control condensation with a well-sealed Reflective Radiant Barrier (least expensive for materials but more work) or an Integral Condensation Control applied directly to roof steel when roll formed (slightly more for materials, but easily installed). Provide adequate ventilation with intakes through vented sidewall soffits and exhaust at ridge.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I build a 24×24 gabled roof over my deck using only four posts? RON in TRUMANN

DEAR RON: It might be possible, but may not be practical as you are going to need to have 24′ long lumber for either purlins, or truss carriers. Chances of being able to acquire either, without purchasing full unit quantities, will be slim. We would typically recommend using 6 columns, spaced every 12′ along eave sides.

 

 

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