Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:57 pm

Hey guys...2 years ago I helped my mother-in-law and family tear down a early 1970's vintage 60x120 Morton indoor riding arena. All of the 6x6 posts had rotted at the base and it was beginning to lean. Nobody wants the wood, so my wife and I are going to use it to build some kind of a pole barn next summer...part workshop and tool storage and part small scale livestock housing. I already have a 14x18 cement pad that was present when we bought our house...and I will simply make the footprint of the new pole barn extend beyond that pad...maybe a 26x34 with board and batten siding, a hay loft, a lean-to off the back for implements, and a metal roof.

Here's a breakdown of the materials I have available:
40 PT 6x6's....all about 12' long
25 KD doubled 2x12x16's (50 if I separate them)
30 KD doubled 2x10'x16's (60 if I separate them)
100 2x4's that average 10 or 12'

The 6x6's were preserved somehow? They don't really have that greenish PT color. I guess whatever they did in the early 70's is how these were treated...but they did rot at the surface.

I'm pretty solid with the basics...but I do have some questions about the design and loads. I was hoping somebody could help.

1) If I sink the 6x6's into the ground I gain the structural integrity of a buried timber (as opposed to setting them on concrete piers), but since these already rotted once and are 40 years old, I think I would need to protect them somehow. I thought about wrapping the lower 5' in Grace Ice and Water Shield before sinking them. Thoughts about that? How else might I prevent these timbers from rotting if I sink them?

2) If I place the 6x6's on piers, I gain the advantage of up to a 12' ceiling (as opposed to an 8' ceiling if I sink them 4' down). That would be nice for the workshop space. If I go with this option and brace the crap out of the posts do you see any reason why this wouldn't be doable.

3) Lastly, I was thinking about using the double 2x12x16's as my roof rafters. Since they are doubled, can I get away with spacing them every 2' on center, then run my 2x4 purlins across for a metal roof? I really don't want to rip them apart as they are held together by these spiral nails that are tough as hell to get out.

The wood is not punky yet, but it will be if I don't use it soon. My mother-in-law is also my neighbor, so the wood is located just down the road.

Thanks in advance guys. I apologize for the long post. I would enjoy hearing your input, suggestions, ideas, concerns, etc.

Blair

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Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:24 pm

check out garage journal.com , lots of great ideas on building , organizing and setting up your shop space.

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:03 pm

I would look into spending the money for all new posts and get yourself at least a 10' ceiling height. I my thoughts as many say is "it will never be big enough" and I can surely attest to that as I have now moved a few tractors outside so I can get more important and newer stuff inside. I too am thinking of building a shed next fall, 40' x 80' though. I figure it may take me some time to fill it. It will be all cold storage.

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:47 am

Hope you cut off the part of the 6x6 that was underground. These might not be treated at all. If not, then don't use.

Just a couple of thoughts...
Pole building sizes usually come in 8' increments. (standard board lengths) Anything less than 8' you are still paying for 8' and just cutting off the boards and trashing.

A 9' ceiling allows for a 7' garage door opening (roll-up style). If it were me I would work very hard to try to get an 8' garage door with a 10' ceiling.
Most people pour a biscuit of cement in the bottom of the hole for the post to sit on. (about 1 bag)

You should sit down at a lumberyard and have the building designed. Then substitute in the lumber you have available or use the lumber you have to build the walls or your hayloft inside the structure.

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:45 am

Rob in NH wrote:check out garage journal.com , lots of great ideas on building , organizing and setting up your shop space.


Thanks Rob....good site!

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:48 am

Jason (IL) wrote:I would look into spending the money for all new posts and get yourself at least a 10' ceiling height. I my thoughts as many say is "it will never be big enough" and I can surely attest to that as I have now moved a few tractors outside so I can get more important and newer stuff inside. I too am thinking of building a shed next fall, 40' x 80' though. I figure it may take me some time to fill it. It will be all cold storage.


Thanks Jason. Good advice. For the barn I've designed I need about 25 6x6's. They are about $50 to $60 a pop, so using the 12 footers I have access to is going to save me over $1000. I need to use these. But, maybe to play it safe I need to set these on piers above ground instead of sinking them. That option also allows me to easily have a 10' to 12' ceiling.

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:51 am

outdoors4evr wrote:Hope you cut off the part of the 6x6 that was underground. These might not be treated at all. If not, then don't use.

Just a couple of thoughts...
Pole building sizes usually come in 8' increments. (standard board lengths) Anything less than 8' you are still paying for 8' and just cutting off the boards and trashing.

A 9' ceiling allows for a 7' garage door opening (roll-up style). If it were me I would work very hard to try to get an 8' garage door with a 10' ceiling.
Most people pour a biscuit of cement in the bottom of the hole for the post to sit on. (about 1 bag)

You should sit down at a lumberyard and have the building designed. Then substitute in the lumber you have available or use the lumber you have to build the walls or your hayloft inside the structure.


The 6x6's that were underground did not rot. We pulled them out whole and in good condition. They rotted at the surface level where you have water, wood, and oxygen.

I like your thoughts about a nice high ceiling! For sure the way to go!

My hope is to get a frame up for free next summer...minus cement, fasteners, and etc. But I don't want to buy any wood. There's enough lumber sitting stickered up to build TWO 30x40 barns.

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:54 am

Contracted a 30' x 40' post building erected last summer. Clear span so lots of usable floor space. Some thoughts about the construction of that building. Initial price of the building, erected was $68??-. Final price was $8015- for the upgrades; wider sliding door, second sliding door, translucent panels, metal entry door.

1. Paid extra for two 12' wide sliding doors. Doors were arranged so that the building is drive through or machinery can be moved in and out from two different sides.

2. Had translucent panes installed under the eves. The panels let in a lot of light. After construction and seeing the amount of light the panels let in, installed more panels in the sliding doors.

3. Probably should have lengthened the building by another 10 feet.

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:08 pm

Blair:

Well, you know how to check stock. Anyone who can build like you can .. I have no worries about the quality of the stock you decide to use. Recycled stock is about the most economical that you can come by. I also understand the value behind it when you have limited coin to spend on the project or have material that needs to be utilized intelligently without a lot of added out of pocket cost.

There are different types of pole barns .. from stick to well .. telephone poles. I am no expert but I do have some experience in architectural design and building construction. This is just my thoughts on the questions.....

Bigschuss wrote:If I sink the 6x6's into the ground I gain the structural integrity of a buried timber (as opposed to setting them on concrete piers),


True, but as you have remarked they are 40 years old and already subjected to rot in specific areas. I don't much like putting wood into the ground at all unless it is either Hemlock, Douglas Fir or Redwood. And it is a waste of expensive material to do that. Since telephone poles are not in the mix, I would choose instead to sink piers with big foot forms and quad face saddles for the posts. Let's say you can get 10 or 12 feet out of them - gives you 10 foot ceilings. Then to maximize the stock you have I would increase the size to something that makes sense stock wise. You are thinking 34 feet .. well up it to 40 foot and that gives 4 10' section with a total of 5 posts per side. Larger than originally thought, but more efficient use of the stock. For the ends say up the dimension to 30 foot to keep uniform spacing. Then use lap or 1/2 mortise joints for the rim beam top and bottom. Notch in Y's for each section .. leave enough room for windows etc., and then infill the wall openings with 2x4 western/stick framing. I would then attach a rubber dam all the way around the building to keep moisture out and consequently reduce the potential for rot. The rubber dam can be sourced from recycled tractor trailer or larger heavy equipment inner tubes. These are typically 50mil stock and will last for at least a century :D This will give you basically post and beam construction which you are very familiar with and very little outlay for stock.


Bigschuss wrote:I was thinking about using the double 2x12x16's as my roof rafters. Since they are doubled, can I get away with spacing them every 2' on center, then run my 2x4 purlins across for a metal roof?


Simple answer has to be yes. The maximum unsupported horizontal span for a single 2x12 of SPF is 12'-9". A doubled 2x12 would be at least an additional 75% .. so probably 20 foot max that is with the snow load taken into account. Check here - Maximum Span Calculator for Wood Joists & Rafters. Use the 2x4's for purlins at 24" OC and add the steel roof.

You will have a very stable pole barn done in a somewhat traditional way maximizing your stock usage and keeping your additional costs down. You may end up with sufficient stock left over from the main building for the lean to's etc which I would do in the same manner.

See my New Home For My Cubs thread to see how I built my pole barn using almost all recycled stock.

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:12 am

Rudi wrote:Blair:

Well, you know how to check stock. Anyone who can build like you can .. I have no worries about the quality of the stock you decide to use. Recycled stock is about the most economical that you can come by. I also understand the value behind it when you have limited coin to spend on the project or have material that needs to be utilized intelligently without a lot of added out of pocket cost.

There are different types of pole barns .. from stick to well .. telephone poles. I am no expert but I do have some experience in architectural design and building construction. This is just my thoughts on the questions.....

Bigschuss wrote:If I sink the 6x6's into the ground I gain the structural integrity of a buried timber (as opposed to setting them on concrete piers),


True, but as you have remarked they are 40 years old and already subjected to rot in specific areas. I don't much like putting wood into the ground at all unless it is either Hemlock, Douglas Fir or Redwood. And it is a waste of expensive material to do that. Since telephone poles are not in the mix, I would choose instead to sink piers with big foot forms and quad face saddles for the posts. Let's say you can get 10 or 12 feet out of them - gives you 10 foot ceilings. Then to maximize the stock you have I would increase the size to something that makes sense stock wise. You are thinking 34 feet .. well up it to 40 foot and that gives 4 10' section with a total of 5 posts per side. Larger than originally thought, but more efficient use of the stock. For the ends say up the dimension to 30 foot to keep uniform spacing. Then use lap or 1/2 mortise joints for the rim beam top and bottom. Notch in Y's for each section .. leave enough room for windows etc., and then infill the wall openings with 2x4 western/stick framing. I would then attach a rubber dam all the way around the building to keep moisture out and consequently reduce the potential for rot. The rubber dam can be sourced from recycled tractor trailer or larger heavy equipment inner tubes. These are typically 50mil stock and will last for at least a century :D This will give you basically post and beam construction which you are very familiar with and very little outlay for stock.


Bigschuss wrote:I was thinking about using the double 2x12x16's as my roof rafters. Since they are doubled, can I get away with spacing them every 2' on center, then run my 2x4 purlins across for a metal roof?


Simple answer has to be yes. The maximum unsupported horizontal span for a single 2x12 of SPF is 12'-9". A doubled 2x12 would be at least an additional 75% .. so probably 20 foot max that is with the snow load taken into account. Check here - Maximum Span Calculator for Wood Joists & Rafters. Use the 2x4's for purlins at 24" OC and add the steel roof.

You will have a very stable pole barn done in a somewhat traditional way maximizing your stock usage and keeping your additional costs down. You may end up with sufficient stock left over from the main building for the lean to's etc which I would do in the same manner.

See my New Home For My Cubs thread to see how I built my pole barn using almost all recycled stock.


Thanks Rudi. Great stuff. I enjoyed your thread about your pole barn. Thanks so much for taking the time to write.

Blair

Re: Building a Pole Barn Next Summer - Need Some Advice

Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:47 pm

Blair, AH, to be young again..... :lol:What a project.... No advice needed from me....You've got some great replies...70's stuff was probably creosote used for preservation....( I was a lineman for 35 years)...Didn't stop the poles from rotting as you say right at the surface....Take care...See you at Cecils....Dave