Tag Archives: wood siding

Vinyl Log Siding

Vinyl Log Siding

Vinyl Log SidingPost frame buildings which use real wood log siding can cost a lot more money than other siding options and be a lot of upkeep as well. An alternative may be vinyl log siding. While it will still be fairly expensive, it will be far less than real wood.

Lots of people like the beautiful look of logs on the exterior of their pole building, but do not want to have to pay for all of the maintenance which comes along with it. Real log siding should be frequently inspected for rot, termites or other wood boring insects. Vinyl log siding is not susceptible to any of these, as vinyl is insect free, not susceptible to rot like wood and is immune to algae and other fungi which can build up on real wood siding.

Vinyl log siding also makes a great insulator when combined with the other insulation which is placed behind it. They give all of the glitz and glamour of real logs, without the troublesome problems. The siding is made of polystyrene, which is an excellent insulator. The polystyrene also makes vinyl log siding extremely resilient to denting.

The product is easily installed, but does require some handy experience.

It is available in a large variety of colors. Styles are available in cedar, pine and peeled pine. In the event of damage or remodel, replacement pieces are readily available.

Of course the idea behind post frame construction is to be maintenance free – with vinyl log siding, just hose it down once in a while. Manufacturers offer warranties up to 75 years!

The most inexpensive look will be two by six or eight inch quarter logs. Half log sizes are three inch rather than two. Either choice comes with a system which hides the fasteners from plain sight.

Vinyl may be the solution to the pole building log look – less expensive than real wood, virtually maintenance free and adds insulation.

Dear Guru: Housewrap, Concrete Brackets & Wobbly Trusses

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: Can I set my poles, or posts, on concrete rather than set in holes?  And, can I attach floor joists across the pole building to create a floor?  The planned width is 12-16′   SOMEWHERE IN SEDRO-WOOLLEY

DEAR SOMEWHERE: The answer to both of your questions is yes.

 For further reading on brackets for the columns please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/09/concrete-brackets-2/

 We design a fair number of buildings which have elevated wood floors, over “crawl spaces”. Please keep in mind, any beams or girders which are within 12 inches of exposed soil, or joists within 18 inches of exposed soil, must be appropriately pressure preservative treated to resist decay.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The instruction book is very clear about how to install roofing insulation, but silent on the correct way to install the housewrap on the walls.  I’ve used housewrap on stickbuilt walls, over the sheathing and under the siding, but never with the wrap just floating out there in space flapping between the girts.  Any tips to share about how to do this right? QUESTIONING IN CONNECTICUT.

DEAR QUESTIONING: When installing housewrap over bare studs in stick frame, or wall girts in a post frame building, run the housewrap perpendicular to the framing. In the case of a pole building –run in tightly placed strips running up the wall from the pressure treated skirt board, to either the soffit support (with enclosed overhangs) or the eave girt (with open or no overhangs).

Don’t leave the housewrap exposed to any wind.  Similar to putting the insulation on the roof with immediately putting roofing over it – do the same thing with your housewrap. Only put housewrap on as far as you can immediately cover sections with steel. On a day with little wind, you may be able to put housewrap on an entire wall before covering with siding.  On a windy day, you may have to do 3’ sections at a time to keep it all “tight” and intact.

The housewrap manufacturers typically recommend fastening to the framing with plastic capped staples or plastic capped nails long enough to penetrate the stud every 32 inches(vertically and horizontally).

 Although you will rarely find this done in the real world – ALL housewrap seams are to be taped.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Regarding knee braces; most of the comments above appear related to sheathed structures. What about their usefulness on open pavillion pole barns? Have a lot of movement in one barn and am putting braces on poles to beams and to trusses to try to alleviate this. Comments or suggestions welcome. WOBBLY

DEAR WOBBLY: Unless the roof trusses have been designed to support the loads being induced into them from the knee braces, don’t do it….a high wind could cause a catastrophic failure. Usually excessive movement in pavilions is due to one or more of the following: Columns are undersized or column holes are not completely backfilled with concrete. If you can provide the dimensions of your building, as well as some digital photos, I may be able to make some recommendations which would improve your situation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you also offer wooden pole barn designs? LONGINGLY IN LANGLEY

DEAR LONGINGLY: As all pole barns are wood framed, I will assume your question is in regards to buildings which would have wood siding. The answer is yes. Any type of siding which can be used on any other structural building frame can be used on a pole barn. Whether you are looking for sheet sidings, such as T1-11, boards or planks, any can be utilized.

 Keep in mind, wood sidings are not going to be maintenance free – they require frequent staining or painting, in order to keep from deteriorating.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a customer with an existing Hansen pole barn with a metal roof.  We would like to install solar modules on the barn, but are not sure the structure can take the additional weight and/or the wind uplift from the modules.  Where can I go for more information?  We don’t have money in the project to hire a structural engineer, so if I could find some of the original structural calculations, that would be great.  SUNNY IN SANTA CRUZ

DEAR SUNNY: Although solar panels are relatively light weight, chances are the roof structure would not be designed to adequately support any extra load over maybe a pound per square foot. If you could provide for us the information on the original purchaser of the building, we could verify the actual capacity of the roof system. Give me a call and I’d be happy to research this for you.


Board and Batten Siding

Do a Google search for board and batten siding images, and what usually comes up are old leaning barns. Board and batten has often been associated with the term “rustic” as well.

Board and Batten BarnTypical “old tyme” board and batten was created by installing 1” (or even 5/4”) x12” planks vertically over horizontal wall framing (girts). The seams between each 1×12 are then covered by a vertical 1 inch thick board (the batten), running in width anywhere from 1-1/2” to 5-1/2”. In some cases, widths of battens are staggered on alternate seams, to create a less standardized look.

My neighbor to the east (our second home in Washington) has a summer cabin built using board and batten siding for exterior walls. Taken to an extreme, this cabin has no stud walls, the boards are attached to the floor and ceiling only. Yes, I know…pretty scary considering today’s framing designs. The inside of these walls look remarkably like the outside. Obviously this particular design left no wall cavity for things like electrical or insulation, but when built in the 1930’s, those features were not a consideration.

Buildings need to have the ability to withstand shear loads – in simple terms, keeping the building from “racking” (straining or stretching) due to either wind or seismic loads. As Google images brings up a plethora of “old leaning barns”, it leads one to believe the board and batten system may be less than effective in resisting these loads.  Not so…if you “do it right”.

For years, I’ve made several recommendations to those who insisted upon getting the board and batten look.

The most popular is the use of sheets (panels) of rough faced (no grooves) T1-11 or cement based siding, instead of the boards. Either is going to prove far less expensive and affords the ability to structurally withstand most shear loads.

For those who just “must have boards”, my opinion is to install them over either osb (oriented strand board) or cdx plywood to give the best end result.

I’ve also had standing seam steel used over sheathing which creates the same look as board and batten siding, and with greater durability.

Never have I recommended the use of board and batten siding placed directly over wall girts…or walls with housewrap. I just have never felt this was a good structural solution.

Late in 2011, Hansen Pole Buildings had a builder insist upon using 1×6 cedar boards with 1×3 cedar battens as the structural sheathing for a pole barn. The International Building Codes do allow for the use of one inch thick boards placed diagonally as structural sheathing in Chapter 23; however make no mention of the adequacy of boards placed at 90 degrees to the underlying framing. From research I found “Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings” by ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) has a value for shear in this application.

In Table 8-2 Default Expected Strength Values for Wood Diaphragms, “Single Straight Sheathing is given an expected strength of 120 plf. It might be interesting to note, this is only 20% of the value of a single layer placed diagonally.

As a matter of installation, end joints of adjacent boards should be separated by at least one joist space and there should be at least two boards between joints on the same support. The boards should be nailed with three 8d common nails to each supporting member.

While I do not necessarily support this method of siding installation as the best possible structural solution, the numbers can be run to verify… it does indeed work.


One of the Hansen Buildings team members happens to have more than some expertise in the lumber industry. Recently, he had a client ask him about T1-11 as siding, and he shared his response with me. What he wrote was so well done, I felt compelled to share it. Here it is:

I will share what I know of T1-11 along with a few opinions – hopefully in a way that you can tell the difference.

First… where I’m coming from.

I got a 4 year BS degree in Wood Products Engineering because of my interest in wood and woodworking.  There I learned everything about wood from cellular structure, glues, structural engineering, and engineered products such as LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber), Glulam Beams and various types of plywoods, OSB and their manufacture and use.

T1-11 is what it is – a cost efficient sheathing and siding.  You can count on one supplier’s T1-11 being pretty much the same as another because its construction and “grade” (quality) is third-party checked by an industry association: the APA (American Plywood Association).

The glues used in the construction are appropriate for its use as a siding, and the durability of the panel and ability to handle moisture has more to do with the quality of the lamelles – or veneers within the panels – than the specific glue used.  The veneers used for T1-11 are appropriate.

The one big opinion I have gathered over the years about wood and various wood products is simply this:  Wood belongs indoors.

The T1-11 will do a good job for you, but you will need to paint it and keep it painted.  I’ve seen 200-year old white pine log fencing (not a durable specie) still in great shape at a historic Shaker Village in New Hampshire, but it has been repainted almost every year.  Your T1-11 won’t have to be painted every year, but if properly maintained, it will last and last.

“If” is the problem, though.  Everybody seems busier and busier these days, so the big downside of T1-11 is you are committing your time in the future.  Cement siding will also require repainting, though it’s not as critical.  “Vinyl is final” is a cute expression, but you will have to power wash from time to time to keep it looking good – and not everybody likes the look of vinyl siding.

As we discussed, steel is the best way to go in my opinion, but if not allowed, you have to settle for one of the second-best options.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself – and this came from someone with both the degree…and the experience with T1-11.  My advice: choose carefully- it’s your building, but be sure you are looking down the road at maintenance.  As I get older, how to keep something looking or functioning “like new” becomes more of my guide in purchasing than overall aesthetics of what it looks like “brand new”.