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Preserve & Protect: Pole Barn Tips

Preventative Measures, Considerations, Repairs & Maintenance

If you're a frugal being or just find maintenance stressful, you've probably been enticed by the Repairs Procrastinator voice in your head. Although this powerful expressionist can be rather persuasive, it is vital to remain unimpressionable - and here's why...


1. "Year-Round" Maintenance

While spending money for regular maintenance may seem tedious, you will be delighted when your pole barn's life is extended and you prevent smaller problems from becoming major issues. Small problems, such as occasional leaks, unsealed doors or windows, and dents in the siding, can grow over time into serious structural damage. Because these smaller problems are fairly easy and inexpensive to repair, it is vital to take care of these issues before they turn into larger, more costly (not to mention time-consuming) structural complications.

Mend the Roof Before it Rains quote

2. "Spring Cleaning" Repairs

As we push into the warmer months, it becomes a little easier to want to do some, "Spring Cleaning." Here are a few updates to consider repairing when your motivation starts to kick in this Spring!

  1. Sagging or Cracked Trusses

    1. Obviously, trusses contribute greatly to the overall structural integrity of your build; damage to the trusses can cause roof failure which can potentially result in total building failure. It's not uncommon to see sagging or cracked trusses as a result of improper snow load calculations or an abundant amount of snow in an area that does not typically see much accumulation. Consult a professional engineer or post frame company with a specialized team when considering truss repairs.

  2. Punctured Steel

    1. Have you ever experienced a forklift, snow plow, car/truck or maybe even a tree puncturing your steel panels? These unfortunate events can lead to water damage, rust or informal invitations to unwanted inhabitants into your building. Luckily, the repairs to this are reasonably inexpensive, and only the damaged steel will need replacing!

  3. Broken or Damaged Gutters

    1. When the weight of snow or ice becomes too intense for your gutters, you may experience damage or even complete breakage. If your gutters are not functioning properly, the improper water flow may lead to damage to your pole barn. You may even experience rot issues with regards to your trusses or columns. Once rot takes over completely, truss or column failure (and even building failure, eventually) is inevitable. Because we often see many showers in the Spring months, it's important to get this problem fixed sooner rather than later.

Other considerable repairs to look into are sliding door and track damage as well as walk door or overhead door seals. These repairs are especially important to consider upon damage to ensure less monetary need as the issues progress. For more information on Spring repairs, read FBi Buildings', 5 Common Spring Pole Barn Repairs blog article.

spring vibe

3. "Not-So-Winter-Wonderland" Considerations

The dreaded winters, especially in the midwest, can cause a lot of stress on pole barns. And while we are not able to control the weather, we can control how we prepare and respond to the stubborn winters our builds endure.

  1. Prevent Ice Dams

    1. Ice dams form when the snow on a pole barn’s roof begins to melt, causing water to build up and re-freeze along the roof’s margins. Ice dams can break gutters, lift roofing and can cause water to back up and leak into pole buildings. And when water gets into a building, the damage escalates; this can result in wet insulation, peeling paint, warped wood, stained and sagging ceilings and more.

    2. According to Bill Maschmeier of The Pro-Line Building Company, ice dams occur when the ice in the center of the roof melts before the ice on the roof’s margins, and the most effective way to prevent ice dams is to ensure that the entire roof remains cold. Because of how the inside of the building is heated, ice tends to melt in the center of the roof. The Pro-Line Building Company suggests attic bypasses, attic insulation, and roof and soffit ventilation can aid in a consistent roof temperature and prevent ice dams.

  2. Manage Snow Load

    1. It doesn't take a genius to realize the greater the snow accumulation, the more stress/weight there is on your pole barn. Of course, it's necessary to determine your build's snow load needs based on building codes in your region, but what about when an unusually large snowstorm occurs or you experience extended snow buildup? Snow buildup can not only damage your building's structural integrity, but it can also cause a roof avalanche - damaging gutters, landscaping, and people on its way down.

    2. "The simplest way to protect pole barns from snow buildup is to periodically use a roof rake to remove excessive snow. The aim of a roof rake is not to remove all snow—just enough to protect the structure of the building. Since the roof and the area surrounding the barn will be extremely slick following a snow storm, people should be extremely cautious when removing snow. Additionally, snow bars attached directly to the barn’s roof can prevent snow avalanches from sliding off the building too quickly and damaging the gutters," Maschmeier advises.

      1. For those interested in utilizing a roof rake, the Avalanche Snow Rake is a tool worth considering: Click Here to Learn More

  3. Design for Snow Load

    1. Of course, you should always design your build with snow load building codes in mind - but remember, building codes change over time, so an older pole barn may need to be reinforced when it no longer correlates to current legal standards and the changing environment.

    2. Purlins, trusses, truss carriers, posts, and footers are important for withstanding heavy snow loads. You can use these tools strategically to assist your build during heavy snow storms. Maschmeier provides recommendations accordingly, "Specifically, the pole barn should use machine-stressed lumber, effective truss construction, appropriate purlin spacing, and a drainage system that moves melted snow away from the barn. While reinforcing a pole barn is possible, it is often expensive, time consuming, and complicated, so pole barns should be built to withstand even severe snow storms."

winter, snowy image of building

No matter what time of year it is, you should always consider the maintenance needs of your post frame structure. In order to preserve and protect your building, it is essential to minimize your large problems by repairing minimal issues as you discover them - you may even save yourself time and money while aiding in your building's longevity!


*Avalanche Snow Rake: Watch Below or View on YouTube


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