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Forums > Active Threads > Home and Garden > Barns Pole Barns

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poles in the ground vs concrete footings with anchor

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chrisscholz
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 104 iowa
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2004-11-22          100767


We are building a 30'x 50' pole barn with 10' open side awnings on each side next summer in Iowa. Some barns are built with the pole in the hole, set on a concrete footing at the bottom of the hole. I saw another design, where they poured a 4' concrete footing in each hole, and then set a deep anchor in the wet concrete with flanges to bolt to the pole. No rotting this way, but is it strong enough? Plan on heating to 55F in the winter. Do I need a vapor barrier or foam under the slab?

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-11-23          100779


Chris: I too grew tired of watching supposed "Lifetime Poles" rotting off at ground level after less than 20 years. In 1981 we built a 72X72 pole shed. I had a basement co. pour a footing and wall to above grade level then we fastened the poles to the top of the wall using salvage grader blades. With todays cost of concreet and labor this might not be a good option today. I can't think of any reason that concreet piers with perhaps a heavy angle iron set in the concreet to maybe 4 ft. above the pier to fasten the pole to would'nt be strong enough. Perhaps auger an 18 to 24 in diamater hole and just pour the concreet in avoiding the cost of forms. I'm far from being an engeneer, but my building is standing just fine with no rotting poles. Others may have better ideas too. Frank. ....

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bigbru
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 23 Wi
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2004-11-23          100780


Pressure treated poles will rot off? I had not heard this. I have 40x40 with concrete floor. in clay. anything to be done now other then cross fingers? ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2004-11-23          100784


BigBru: The old poles that were boiled in creosote before creosote was restriced by the Gvt. seem to never rot off. I've got an old corrgated tin shed on the farm that must have been built in the late 50's with genuine creosote poles that still don't show a sign of rot. I really don't know for sure what the preservative was that was used after that, but I put up a pole shed in 1969 using the "New" square poles with the then legal preservative, and within 20 yrs most every pole you could kick the toe of your boot thru at ground level. We were asked to build some playground equipment a few years ago at the shop, but after checking codes found that the "Green" poles and lumber were not legal to use because of arsenic in the preservative. Frank. ....

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poles in the ground vs concrete footings with anchor

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beagle
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1333 Michigan
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2004-11-23          100820


In a way, anchoring poles to the top of a footing, then framing the structure like a pole building is mixing two different construction methods. The 4' deep pole serves two puposes in a pole building; it gets the bottom bearing surface down below the frost line, and it also gives the structure lateral stability. Most pole structures use girts that the siding material is attached to. The shear transfer from the girts isn't the same as it is if the siding is attached directily to the poles, and there aren't as many. The 4' embedment of the poles helps stiffen the structure for lateral loads (wind). If you are using poles on 8' centers on top of the footings, some lateral bracing should be added to the walls to help give the building lateral stiffness.

As far as vapor barriers and insulation, there is a recent thread with a lot of discussion about this. If you are heating the building, a vapor barrier is recommnended. Insulating under the slab can be beneficial for retaining heat, but can reduce the bearing capacity of the slab based on the compressibilty of the insulation.

Any time lumber, even treated, is in direct contact with concrete, deterioration of the wood is possible. Concrete conducts water, and the lumber acts as a wick. The lumber will stay moist at the concrete almost all the time. The best thing you can do is isolate the two materials, even if you mount on top of a footing. Steel base plates with pole sockets work quite well.

Add some lateral bracing to the walls, base plates at the posts, and a vapor barrier under the slab and you'll have a good building. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-11-23          100826


That method would be strong enough. The only concern I would have is getting them set in a straight line. I would
set up a string on stakes beyond your builing corners and
use the galv.brackets Beagle referred to. They work well for 6x6 posts. I would just stick a 6" bolt through the bracket into the wet cement. Alignment is crucial.
I would also throw some 1/2 " rebar into those footings
I criss cross mine with 3-4 pieces. The last one I did I used "Elaphant feet" with sona tubes. It is a funnel shaped piece of plastic that the sona tube sets into. So that you can pour your footing and tube at the same time. The shape of them(upside down funnel) prevents frost from lifting them.If you are interested I will get the exact name of the product for you.
I am of the school of thought that foam under your slab is a good idea. One winter you may decide not to heat it,I believe this will keep the frost from getting under your slab and heaving it. The poly under your cement serves another purpose as well as the vapor barrier, it prevents
the floor from drying too fast when poured. The longer you keep it wet the harder it will get. When able I spray with a hose daily for a week.If it hot weather,get you roof on first. BTW 3500lb cement is only a few dollars more than 2500lb mix.
Good luck ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2004-11-24          100917


My neighbor built his 70x100 30 years ago and has replaced about half his treated poles that were set in concrete. Speaking with barn builders here in SE Michigan they say the concrete causes the poles to chemically break down and rot. And since treated wood shrinks, water gets trapped between the wood and the concrete pour. The quick solution is to put the poles on a pad in the hole and backfill with the spoils. A company called FBi Buildings (www.fbibuildings.com) offers a pre-fab concrete "pole base" with an integrated, large "u" shaped bracket attached to the top, similar to the description above about a metal bracket in wet concrete only these are ready-made to drop in the hole. It seems one could even build the walls on the ground and tip them up into the bracket/pole bases though they don't show that in their publications (they show a telescopic material handler dropping the walls into the brackets from above) ....


Link:   FBi Buildings---concrete pole bases

 
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poles in the ground vs concrete footings with anchor

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denwood
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 542 Quarryville PA
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2004-11-24          100924


If you insist on putting posts in the ground, there is a company that makes a boot that fits over the pole and sticks up about 1' above grade. I believe it is made from some kind of high density poly product that they use to line landfills. I think the name is Post protector. I opted out of the wood altogether and there is not one piece in my building, Try looking at Miracle Truss or Kentucky Steel for an easy do it youself, and it looks like a pole barn, or any one of the I-beam type. I went with I-beam for cheaper cost but kept a high pitch roof so it fit with my house. Many I-beam companies try to sell you the industrial looking low pitch roofs. Sorry I don't have any pictures posted yet, I'm working on finding them. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-11-24          100936


Around here the preferred method of setting poles in the ground for buildings was to set them into stone cairns.

Basically they would dig a hole a little deeper and larger around than the pole, then put one large flat stone in the bottom of the hole and some very small stones (gravel today) on top and stand the pole on that, then backfill around the pole with small stones, gravel and sand.

The idea was to create an area of very good drainage around the pole. If the pole stays dry it won't rot.

It would never fly today, but it used to VERY common for people to dispose of their used motor oil by pouring it around the base of all the poles, it soaked into the wood and saturated the soil making them water-proof.

Best of luck. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2004-11-24          100945


This doesn't support the argument for using concrete around poles but this was the alternative I used for satisfying local building codes: I had to dig a "ratwall", "frostwall" or "footer" 8" wide x 42" deep for an 18'x32' barn with anj integrated lean-to. I suspended the poles over the perimeter trench with 2x6's and diagonal bracing. The trench was dug out wider and deeper at the poles, then concrete was poured up to the rough grade effectively locking in the poles (until they shrink). Once the foundation concrete cured, I then installed the 2x10" treated base/grade boards which worked great as a form for pouring the floor. After the floor was poured a second row of grade boards were installed with a bead of sealant between the rows. The first row of grade boards were lower on two sides than final grade and were eventually backfilled against. It worked out quite well. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-11-25          100991


Not sure if anyone else was aware of the changes in Pressure Treated lumber or if was a nationwide change?
But as of April 04' the formular was changed to reduce the arsenic content. The "New" Nature wood" (nice name) Has a few issues; You MUST use stailess or DOUBLE dipped galv. fasteners,also when flashing will contact it, that must be copper flashing. This new formular will eat aluminum and steel. I also noticed a 15 yr life on some I have bought,not 40 yrs like the old stuff. FYI
I have heard it is a matter of time before a bank will require you to test your soil around your deck of your house(when selling) with the old formular wood. I could be builing alot of deck's in the future. ....

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Ardician
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59 Evergreen, Alabama
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2004-11-28          101217


I have used the new pressure treated wood to build a privacy fence at my place. I chose the specially coated screws over stainless to save money. They have a porcelain-like coating that comes in a few different colors. Although the screws were marketed as made for the new presure treated wood, I have already noted some oxidation of the screw heads after less than six months. I also used some brass plated steel hinges of the type made for regular doors and they are already rusting. The few double-dipped galvanized screws that I used seem to be holding up a little better, but I think stainless steel, copper, solid brass or bronze fasteners and hardware must be used if you don't want to replace them. The new wood is horrible and more expensive than the old. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 677 central Maine
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2004-11-29          101220


The coated screws? Were they DECK-Mates? Greenish with a sqaure head bit driver. ....

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poles in the ground vs concrete footings with anchor

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chrisscholz
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 104 iowa
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2004-12-12          102148


If you want the best, how about using Insulated concrete forms for the 42" footings. This will keep the slab (that you pour later) from getting cold and sweating if you heat the shed. You could attach your brackets to the wet concrete footing, and then just add the poles. Save money by not needing treated lumber and you have your rat wall. A good idea?
....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2004-12-12          102150


Around here, Code says any wood contacting concrete has to be treated, so there would have to be at least a 2-by section under the post. I wrestled with bracket idea, but then decided sinking the poles in the wet concrete was the best way to go. Reason: from a structural standpoint the sunken poles offered much more rigidity on their own individual merit and even more as a unit. Poles in brackets would require a lot of side wall bracing not only in the corners but all along the side wall, not to mention diagonally in a horizontal plane where the trusses sit (as in conventional building practices). Also the mid sections of either eave wall would allow the trusses to pivot at the tops of the mid-wall posts---a good wind would push in the sides of the wall and not necessarily the corners. FBi Buildings in my second to last post uses a "system" of creating a mortise-and-tendon joint where the truss meets the post to make it rigid. I once seen a 3-story barn strictly used for hay storage that had to overcome this problem--they used crisscross diagonal bracing made of 1" round bars connecting in the very center of the barn's usable area--not practical for a pole building! ....

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poles in the ground vs concrete footings with anchor

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Ardician
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59 Evergreen, Alabama
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2004-12-13          102157


Grinder: I don't remember the brand name, but your description is dead-on, except my screws had the new phillips/squaredrive combination. ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2004-12-13          102169


I have a tree stand that has been in the woods with just spoils around it for more than 13 years now. Yes its 16' tall and 8x8 and has made it thru a few tornados that took out 50 acres of my 160 and many more storms w/winds in excess of 70mph. I am a firm believer in no cement around the poles. As for sand and gravel/pea or other around the poles. By me anyway that would only make the water around the pole worse for the water does not drain in the clay/rocky soil. Anything that would be like a hole with sand/gravel in it would just suck up any water and then hold it like a basin.
The new treated wood I have used is great. Here is a statement describing it.

KDAT lumber is lumber that has been kiln-dried after treatment. Pressure treatment involves impregnating wood with preservative chemicals. As it dries after treatment, lumber often shrinks, cups, and warps. But if pressure-treated lumber is dried before it’s installed, it will undergo only limited dimensional changes. KDAT lumber has been dried and “pre-shrunk” to prevent substantial shrinkage, cupping, or warping. It’s dried in a controlled environment at the treatment plant—not after it has already been built into place and become part of a structure
Also be careful which quality you buy, the cheapest is not the best and just because it says green treat does not mean it can be used under ground, or even as a ground contact. There is AC2 end use-above ground! Then a AC2 perma wood ground contact also a marine grade below surface.
A non-arsenic treated wood imho is the best for everyone around its use. Remember this
Just because it say's Green Treated does not mean it can contact the ground. Do your home work on which treated method and quality you use. The dollar more a board for the better product will go a long way in the life of your project. Also any fasteners used underground NEED to be stainless, and buy a quality stainless screw. Read up on it before you buy. here again just because it is stainless dont mean it wont rust or corrode. usually the cheaper screws (stainless) are NOT a deal. If in dought ask! If still in dought buy the spendy ones more times than not you will be buying the best.
LAST THING
Very important, keep your tags from the ENDS OF THE TREATED WOOD. ALso if you feel real ambitious take a picture of all your wood with the tags on (while in a pile) and then take a pic of your completed project with a dtaed reciept and a news paper (with the date showing on it)all in the same pic.
Keep your tags for the wood?// WHY??? because that is your warrenty in most cases. You will have to contact the company for your warrenty if you need it in a few years and you will also have to prove that is what you used and when. (IE: that is why you take picture's, it is not definate proof that is what you used but it is enough for the company NOT to fight you.
3 things to remember
1. Check your application and buy the right treated
lumber for your project.
2. Keep your tags and proof of buiding with it.
3. Wrap the outside of your ground contact lumber in areas where the ground heaves with a product that will move with the ground and not want to pull on your poles (like tar paper or styro-foam. ....

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Woodie
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 104 Michigan lower
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2004-12-15          102315


back to the thread earlier about rotting treated posts.Add my2cents of..encounters. Alot of variables come into play, I've witnessed the extremes one post rotted at the grade level in 18 years anda neighbor who reworked part of his barn -posts 30yrsold looked like the day they were placed.Both were in sand/'road gravel' fill. We figure its the post(wood) itself and actual treatment received and the environment they end up in- pH of soil, drainage,freeze/thaw etc. Ifigure it's a gamble any direction -post, concrete, steel all have pros/cons and $$$ tied to them. Along with what purpose and duration were using them from lowly/quikie toolshed to "taj mahal" showpalace ....

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paulss
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 60 Lavaca County, TX
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2004-12-15          102320


While I was looking at some info on pole barns a while back, one of the builders had an option of a heavy plastic form that the post fit tightly into and then the whole thing was put in the ground with 4-6 inches of the plastic form left above grade. Has anyone heard about these and if they work? ....

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denwood
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 542 Quarryville PA
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2004-12-16          102350


paulss, Post Protector I believe, I mentioned them in my earlier post on page one. If I had gone with wood, I would have almost certainly gone with them on whatever building I put up. ....

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Gypsy
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2005-11-05          118982



Have a look at this Boys, what Yah think

Gypsy ....


Link:   

Click Here


 
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sloancon
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 16 North Carolina
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2005-11-07          119091


In N.C. we are required to have the pier below the frost line in case of heaving. Also have to have 1 inch rigid insulation 2' around the perimeter with a 6 mil vapor barrier. New trated lumber must use galvanized bolts and fasteners only. Also required to have Y bracing on posts
1/3 the length of post down from top on both sides. If you have a transit shoot the tops of the piers and you want have to notch or cut posts from a ladder. ....

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wildbill34
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 27 Kalamazoo, MI
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2005-11-26          119881


Actually I built one this summer. What I did was to drill 18" holes every 8', then pour the slab to include filling the holes then added achor bolts and finished building as a stick built garage. I have to concern over woodrot not termites eating the wood. Termites will eat the pressure treated wood we have today. Been in the pest control business over 20 years now and I see it all the time. Wood that supposedly would not be damaged by the termites. Anytime to have wood in contact with the soil, you are prone to termites.

Anyways, pouring the slab as a monolithic with the 18" holes is more than enough support for the size building you are putting up. Make sure you check with the local building authorities to make sure they are ok with it.

Lastly, by building mine this way I didn't incur more cost, it actually saved me a little. Especially where lumber cost are right now. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2005-11-27          119899


If you can find any unused containers of Chlorodane (no longer manufactured) and treat the wood and area with it; that would be ideal but otherwise soaking the timbers in diesel fuel for a week or two and the area around the timber in the ground pretty well keeps the termites away. The EPA folks and enviromental advocates won't like it but it works. Just don't get carried away with the diesel fuel around the post part. ;O) ....

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Slimpickens
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 2 Ohio
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2016-02-06          194466


My home is a 24' by 32'pole barn converted garage. I bought it 3 years ago. I believe the age of this structure is about 10 years old. The poles are every 8 feet apart. The back fill that was once in place against the bottom backer boards has long since washed away and all backer boards rotted away.Causing the gravel and sand that was under the poured concrete floor to wash out from under the edges. Hence....severely cracked concrete running through the interior because of lack of support. Believe it or not, that is not my biggest problem at hand. I am concerned about the poles lasting as long as I plan on living here...which hopefully will be 20+ years.(retired). I had a mason over to look at the structure and asked what I could do to correct my problems. He said he would put a block foundation around perimeter and that should keep the rest of the gravel under the poured slab in place..but offered no advice for the poles or what to do with the uneven and cracked floors. Any suggestions about poles would be appreciated. I was thinking of cutting them at ground level and removing old concrete in holes and replacing with new concrete up to a level above ground and then using brackets to connect poles to concrete. Would this work?? Or should I have mason do this as he lays a block foundation?? Or should I think about just selling the place??? I had hoped to make this my final home(sits on 7 wooded acres of privacy) and was going to start working on remodeling....but am not sure if I should invest if I cannot fix floor and secure poles. PS...I am no Rockefellar...money is tight. ....

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joyce1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 33
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2016-02-06          194467


Are the poles rotting now? Are they UC-4B rated for in ground contact? If so they should last a very long long time. ....

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