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  1. #1
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    Default Building a Steel Barn

    I purchased trusses, purlins and the legs for a 30'x24' barn. I have staked the legs out, squared everything up and I have a question about leveling the legs. How do you level the tops of the legs?

    For example, the legs will sit in 2.5' concrete and I'd really like to level the tops before setting the trusses and purlins. So, what is the easiest way? I was thinking of some laser-leveler to shoot from leg-to-leg and cut off the tops, but not sure what to use.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Elite Member Duffster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    Quote Originally Posted by rmasonjr View Post
    I purchased trusses, purlins and the legs for a 30'x24' barn. I have staked the legs out, squared everything up and I have a question about leveling the legs. How do you level the tops of the legs?

    For example, the legs will sit in 2.5' concrete and I'd really like to level the tops before setting the trusses and purlins. So, what is the easiest way? I was thinking of some laser-leveler to shoot from leg-to-leg and cut off the tops, but not sure what to use.
    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
    That is the way to do it. I would use a chain saw or a skill saw and sawzall.
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  3. #3
    Advertiser kennyd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    A real cheap method is some clear tubing and some water colored with food coloring.

    Water tube level You can Google and find ,ore examples.
    KennyD
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  4. #4
    Veteran Member CCWKen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    Your eave struts need to be level across the top, not the posts. An inch or so is close enough for posts. You can mark the posts with tape at the "sink line". Match that up to the top of the forms if that's how you're setting the posts. Or you can even weld an anti-sink plate to each post at the correct level. The sink line is measured from the top so each post is the same showing out of the concrete. It's pretty hard clean-cutting posts once they're up unless you have the tools/equipment.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    @kennyd - I had thought about the water level, but thought it might be easier to get a laser and shoot across to the posts.

    @CCWKen - I have a sawzall and it cuts pretty good; while they are on the ground I can get some scaffolding or even my tractor's bucket to get me up to the top to get a clean cut. The posts are going to be set one at a time to a 2.5' depth, so I should get the same distance from the top to the top of the form.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a good self-leveling laser-shooter?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    Just wondering how you decided on the post at 2.5' deep? Most pole barns post are set at 4' and the friction of the backfill on that 4' of post has a great deal to do with the resistant against up lift forces like wind.

    MarkV

  7. #7
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    A transit is the first thing that comes to my mind. They are very usefull. I don't own one but do know a few people that do and I always borrow them when doing some building/decking/concrete work etc. If you know anyone that has one, I'd ask to bottow it.


    As to the 2.5' depth, I really cant comment other than IMO i think it should be sufficcient. Especially a steel post sed in concrete. Up here in Ohio I usually set deck posts and building posts to 36"-42". 30" clear down there I think would be good.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    @LD1 - Thanks - I'll see what I can find on google for a transit. Doing the research on this is interesting!

    @MarkV - 2.5' set in concrete is plenty to hold it. If it were just filled with dirt, then 4' would be needed...

  9. #9
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    The accuracy needed will depend a lot on what type trusses you are using and what they are sitting on.

    On my building using poultry trusses the tops needed to be pretty darn level as the truss supported to the top of the post.

    When you say a steel barn, are they all steel posts etc. or are you saying wood posts and steel skin?

    Anyway, on my building done with 6x6 posts and steel poultry trusses (30 X 36) we set the rotary laser level in the center and marked all the post with that. It was easy. Just so it is said and not overlooked and you probably realize it and I am not trying to be insulting, but anyway, set your level (or transit or whatever you use) somewhere (I picked the middle, but really anywhere is fine, some folks want to be outside so they can leave it up without it being in the way and set a benchmark. A benchmark being somewhere you can repeat too. In my case, we picked the short post and marked the benchmark on it. This mark is the one when you take the level down and then put it back in place that you set everything too again. You want to pick one and repeatedly go back to it.

    You may also want the benchmark to be something like a tree off to the side of the building so that you can reference back to it on the outside.

    From that point, mark all the posts at "level" at a convenient to access height say 4' then measure up or down as needed to set various boards and heights.

    Oh, and for cutting my 6x6 wood posts, took my worm drive circular saw and cut from 2 sides, went fine. (stood on scaffold)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Building a Steel Barn

    @AlanB - yeah, the entire shop is steel - trusses, legs (posts), purlins with galvanized tin 'skin'.
    Thats a good idea on starting at the center. I was thinking of just picking the shortest set post and shooting to all the others and cutting them off, but starting in the center might accomplish the same thing?

    I'm definitely going to fuss over it a good bit. I guess part of the fun of building it is playing with the details

    Thanks!

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