The future is hard to see. But, the last couple real estate downturns lasted
at least three years. My guess is this one will take that long as well,
we're about one year in. Now, if you can guess the absolute bottom during
the next couple years, you're way to smart to be posting on this NG.
At least in this area, now is a good time for small construction projects.
Laid off construction people will work very reasonably for cash.
Do you need a larger shop? If so, anytime is a good time. If you're
just investing for the sake of it, probably not. Lots of carpenters
need work right now, so you may get a deal on labor, but all of the
materials are expensive as I've ever seen them.
Many commodities are easing in price in the SF Bay Area. I just picked up
a half a dozen sheets of prefinished birch ply at about 10-12% less than my
Or maybe it just seems that way today...
Would you even need to gut it? Last one I saw was real impressive on
the outside, but didn't even have trim on the inside. Just plain
drywall with orangepeel texture and big open rooms. It would have
made a hell of a shop, come to think of it.
But seriously, if you want to buy a new shop, and go the pole-building
route (the least expensive option if you want a big building with a
high ceiling,) most of the vendors run discounts during the winter, so
don't wait until spring to line them up. IIRC, 8-11% off in January
is not that uncommon. Stick frame isn't quite the same, as the
foundation needs to be poured when the weather is warm enough.
I do miss playing in the snow and hiking in the park when no cars can
get in the park. The quiet of a fresh snow is amazing. Summer heat is
something you get used to just like the thickening of the blood when
it is 10F outside. Building my house in the middle of the summer was
darned hot. Building my pole barn was not as bad as it was in the
summer but I was outside.
That's a big project for one guy. I've done it with a three-man crew,
but not with a shingled roof. Nice job, btw.
You forgot the best part of the snow, though- the smell of it. You
wouldn't think it smells like anything, and you forget over the summer
months, but when it comes, you remember (or at least, I can smell it)
nice shed. - would make an adequate sized workshop I think (but would
probably *still* be too small) - shame you need to put horses in it :.D
seriously - you mention 16 ft and 20ft poles. - do the 16fts go around
the outside, then there's two rows of 20ft poles down each side of a
central aisle? Is the spacing of the 20 foot poles same as the 16 foot?
What distance apart?
I guess the rafters were on 16" centres?
Hack to size. Hammer to fit. Weld to join. Grind to shape. Paint to cover.
I can't speak for Jim's, but most pole sheds have poles 10' on center.
With the freestall style he's got, the center poles are at the same
frequency, and the rafters go from the outside poles to the center
ones, and are tied together in the center with a metal strap or cactus
plate. Then, there are purlins that either nail to the top or sit in
saddles between the rafters at about 34", though that spacing is
different on every building. If you use trusses, it works the same
way, except that they have purlins on the bottom as well (about every
8') and X bracing in the first bay. The truss style ones usually have
knee bracing in the upper corner to keep the truss square to the pole
On the walls, girts are nailed to the outside of the poles about every
34", again, this is different on every building.
The roof panels are attached to the purlins, the wall panels are
attached to the girts. Windows and doors have a light rough-in,
without traditional headers and are installed after the outside
panels- and are held in place on the bottom with J-trim.
It's a fast way of building, and works okay, but it is much lighter
than a standard stick-framed building, and the standard construction
methods you'd find in (for example) a regular house are more or less
tossed out the window. The steel (or plywood) provides most of the
strength of the building- until that's on, you can twist the whole
thing with a steel cable and a come-along.
They're really good if you want high side walls and need to save some
money, or you don't want to have a foundation or need a floor. But
generally speaking, they're not as robust as regular construction.
They are good options for shops and industrial buildings as well as
barns, and not too tough for a guy to put up in a weekend or two with
a couple of helpers and some scaffolding.
I've worked the numbers several times, and at least in my area, if you
can get a foundation or slab poured cheaply, it's less expensive to
stick frame- unless you want a very large building. If you want a 80'
x 150' shop, a pole shed is the way to go. If you want one 20' x 30',
it's better to stick frame it.
I have not smelled a good snow in forever. I keep threatening in my
mind to go to the snow in the winter but it has been years. I think I
have a meeting in Seattle the seond week of March. I do not know if
they have snow in the mountains that time of year but there was talk
sking/snowboarding if the meeting was during snow season.
Yes, as Prometheus mentioned the poles are 12' centers so I could get
a fair size stall for the horse. We have Morgans which are about the
same size as an Arab depending on the bloodlines. Some have been as
big as thoroughbreds while others have been huge ponies. The 20' poles
are the same spacing and a center support for my 2x8 rafters 16" oc. I
did not want to do trusses for a few reasons. One was ease of install.
I can install the 2x8 by myself if I had to or with one helper. The
next pole barn I built was about the same size but we used trusses. We
had at least 4 guys for the trusses. One running the crane and a few
carpenters. With the trusses it was free space inside because the
trusses can span a huge area when properly engineered. Rafters can
span a huge space but it requires bigger rafters and better
engineering than I know how to do.
I agree that a stick built on a poured foundation or slab would be
less expensive. I know that it is less work once you pay the
foundation man off. Digging holes, backfilling or mixing concrete by
hand to pour around the posts, tipping posts up. All that requires a
lot of back which you work in to if you are not in a rush.
I used shingles because the last place we rented had an aluminum roof
with no insulation. That was noisy. A friend did a metal roof but they
used that bubble insulation between the roof and the purlins. That
made the roof much quieter.
And as Prometheus mentioned every building can be regionally or
project different. I have a snow load of about 2" about every 20
years. Wind load is not reguarly as high as a Kansas building might
On Sat, 28 Oct 2006 20:27:58 -0500, Prometheus
We put up a few freestalls with LVL rafters this summer, and while
they did span large distances, the LVLs were so big that the crane was
needed anyway. In those cases, the design seemed to be that way so
that the stalls had solid posts to attach the gates to in the center-
though I know so little about farming that I'm not sure that that is
correct or necessary.
Trusses do require a minimum of three guys- one working the crane, and
one on each side to seat them in the top of the poles. But it's best
to have four- so a ground guy can toss purlins up to the guys on the
There may be a regional difference with the requirements, but I think
you may have done a little extra work if you were mixing the concrete.
We'd drill the holes, then toss in a concrete cookie, set the pole and
brace it, then dump in three or four bags of dry quickcrete. At least
according to the engineers who designed the kits, the water in the
ground itself is more than enough to activate the concrete.
No argument there- it is quiter, but man, is it a lot more work!
Three guys can roof a large building in an afternoon with steel
sheets, but shingling takes a lot longer. We used some stuff called
tough roll that is basically just the old fiberglass insulation with a
thick plastic face that will quiet the roof, add some R-value, and
keep condesation from dripping on your head. It unrolls from the peak
down to the overhang on top of the purlins, and the steel holds it in
place. Saves a lot of labor- though I don't know that it's any
quieter than the shingled roof. I'd just hate to strip and reshingle
one of those monsters.
I agree with you. I probably worked too hard with the concrete mixing.
I guess dry bags would have worked good enough. I hope I have another
10 years before the first reshingle of the barn and house. I will hire
that out I suspect. I am just a computer geek now. I don't keep up
with engineered lumber which is pretty cool stuff. Making the most of
wood chips and all. I did engineered wood for the first floor of my
house. I was doing hardwood floor and I wanted really even floors
which traditional 2x lumber would be hard to achive.
The second pole barn I helped on we did the fiberglass encased in
white plastic. That was a pretty fast system. I cannot recall if it
was one or two days but it was faster than shingles.
On Sun, 29 Oct 2006 15:59:29 -0600, Prometheus
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