Post Frame Building Design Factors To Evaluate
If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, you know your gear and equipment are as important as your skills. So whether you’re a hunter, fisherman, or camper, having a reliable shelter to store your gear and protect it from the elements is essential. That’s why you should consider a post frame building.
Post frame buildings are ideal for those who value durability, versatility, and affordability. These structures are made from wooden poles embedded in the ground to form the frame of the building. Beams, bracing, and trusses connect the posts, and walls are optional.
One of the main benefits of post-frame buildings is their durability. The wooden poles can withstand strong winds, heavy snow loads, and even earthquakes. They are also resistant to fire, insects, and rot, making them an excellent choice for areas with harsh weather conditions.
Another advantage of pole frame buildings is their versatility. They can be easily adapted for various purposes, such as storage, workshops or even living quarters. In addition, you can customize it to fit your specific needs with features such as windows, doors, insulation, and ventilation.
Pole frame buildings are also affordable compared to other types of structures. They require fewer materials and less labor to construct, making them a cost-effective solution for those on a budget. Additionally, their simple design requires minimal maintenance, saving you time and money in the long run.
The use of wooden post frame barns in America dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries when European settlers used the technique to build barns and homes on the American frontier. This building method allowed settlers to quickly and inexpensively construct buildings using readily available materials.
Today’s pole barns are becoming increasingly popular today due to their adaptability and reduced construction costs. Their versatility is apparent in the number of residential homes and commercial structures dotting my local landscape.
Planning Your Pole-Barn
When designing a post frame building, there are several factors you need to consider to ensure that your structure is durable, meets the desired function, and is built to last. Here are some critical factors you might review before digging your first hole:
Purpose – The purpose of the building will significantly influence its design. Will it be used for storage, housing livestock, a workshop, or as a residence? Your building’s intended use will determine its size, height, and layout.
Location – The building site’s terrain, soil type, and climate will influence the final design. Consider positioning the structure to take advantage of natural light and ventilation and to protect against harsh weather conditions.
Materials – Builders have several options when constructing post frame buildings, including wood, steel, or a combination. The type and quality of the material used will depend on the purpose of the building and the desired level of durability.
Roof Design – The roof design will impact the building’s structural integrity, energy efficiency, and overall appearance. Choosing your roofing material, its slope, and ventilation is part of the design process.
Insulation – Post-frame buildings can be insulated using fiberglass, spray foam, or rigid foam. The type of insulation used will depend on the desired level of energy efficiency and climate control.
Doors and Windows – The number, size, and placement of doors and windows will impact the building’s functionality, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. Position your doors and windows to take advantage of natural light and ventilation while providing adequate security.
Electrical and Plumbing – If your building is for residential or commercial purposes, you must add electrical and plumbing details to your design. The plan should include the placement of outlets, lighting fixtures, and plumbing to maximize functionality and convenience.
Building Codes – The design must comply with local building codes and regulations, which include meeting requirements for structural strength, fire resistance, and accessibility.
Post Frame Building Suppliers
Baker Metal Works & Dixie Supply has stores in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, and has metal roofing systems and trim items to meet your needs. They also specialize in providing everything needed to build your typical pole barn.
I spoke with Chris Bryan at the Troy Alabama location of Baker Metal Works & Dixie Supply about the services and products they provide for someone planning a post framed structure.
Bryan has been in sales for nearly a decade and said their roofing options include five metal panel profiles in 20 colors with 29 or 26-gauge thickness. In addition, their trim pieces are available in all 20 colors in 10′ lengths made from 26 gauge metal. By manufacturing all of their trim on-site, they can create custom pieces to fit the needs of your project.
A big plus for prospective post frame builders is that Baker Metal Works & Dixie Supply can offer advice regarding roofing or siding thickness, trim options and help you figure out how big a pole frame building you need.
Post Frame Building Kits
Based on your site location and needs, Bryan said Baker Metal Works & Dixie Supply will provide a complete kit to build the post framed building of your choosing.
“Once you determine the roof height, length, and width of your building, we can calculate the number of posts, bags of ready-mix concrete, trusses, metal panels, screws, ridge caps, and trim necessary to complete your structure,” he said.
According to Bryan, a 40×60 open barn kit with a 12′ roof is priced at $9,284.00, and they also offer an optional wall kit. Bryan said seasoned pole barn builders can assemble a 40×60′ barn in as little as one day.
Post Frame Benefits
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of post-frame buildings is their affordability. They require fewer materials and less labor than traditional buildings, making them a cost-effective solution for those on a budget. They also can lower energy costs by adding insulation for more efficient heating and cooling.
When evaluating a potential site for post frame construction, there are several factors to consider:
Soil Type and Stability
The soil must be able to support the weight of the building and any equipment or materials stored inside. Soil testing is a way to determine the soil type and its load-bearing capacity.
Drainage– The site requires proper drainage to prevent water from pooling around the building’s foundation, which can lead to erosion and damage.
Access- The site should include easy access to construction equipment and delivery vehicles.
Zoning/Building codes- Check with the local authorities to ensure the building and location conforms with zoning laws.
Foundations For Post Frame Buildings
The next step is to consider the foundation. A contractor can ensure the foundation design suits your building and site conditions. Two of the more common include:
Concrete Slab- This popular and economical option works for smaller buildings. Slabs are framed and poured directly onto the soil, and the thickness of the reinforced concrete depends on whether heavy equipment is stored inside.
Pier Foundation- This involves digging individual holes, pouring concrete footings, and installing vertical piers or columns to support the post frame structure.
The post frame building may not be the most glamorous of structures, but it gets the job done. It is a testament that the simplest solution is sometimes the best.
These buildings are the perfect choice for those who value durability, versatility, affordability, and a connection to nature. So, consider investing in a pole frame building for your next adventure, whether you’re a seasoned outdoorsman or just starting out. Its rugged yet simple design will surely become a reliable and beloved part of your landscape.
Whether you’re using it as a hunting cabin or a base camp for your next adventure, a post frame building can help you feel connected to the land and the outdoors.