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  1. #1
    MMH
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    Default Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    I need to put up a detached garage/shed. It will be approximately 24x48 and be used for storing my tractor stuff, tools, and even some household items. I am in western PA if geographic location makes an impact.

    What are the pros/cons of a pole barn type of construction vs. a traditional foundation/framed building? Money is tight so initially I may not poor a slab or insulate the T1-11 walls. If no slab, I will put plenty of gravel down so I will not be on dirt. I assume that building a pole barn is cheaper, but have not put detailed costs together yet.

    Will condensation be an issue being on gravel & uninsulated? If so what will I have to do (insulate, poor slab, ???). I will not want my stuff getting wet all the time & will not want to heat the building to avoid the condensation!
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  2. #2
    LD1
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    Yes, post frame is typically cheaper to build.

    Main reason is because you dont need a backhoe to dig a footer, then pour the footer, and then a short block wall, and then build on top of that.

    Just stick the posts in the ground and go.

    It is also more of a PITA if you skip concrete now and do it later. Mainly when it comes to doors. Like overhead doors and getting a good seal at the bottom and set up right if you pour AFTER the door is installed.

    And if you start off totally uninsulated, you shouldnt notice much condensation issues. The main condensation issues occur when there are larger temp differences from inside to outside. And that usually isnt the case on an uninsulated building. But when you insulate everything, it is a bigger issue if the building is ONLY insulated and NOT climate controlled.

    And if you do concrete, use a vapor barrier underneath. The concrete will like to sweat a lot when the seasons change and the vaporbarrier seems to help.

    But as for your method of construction, you may want to consult your county/zoning department as well as your insurance company first. Just to see if there are any special requirements for one method or the other. This alone may make the decision for you.
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
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  3. #3
    Veteran Member hunterridgefarm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    I have been battling this for a year now. I know the Pole Building will be cheaper and can be constructed quicker. The frame will be more expensive due to labor cost if you hire it out. I have talked with several home builders that I have known for years and they said the frame built will be easier to insulate and wire but the pole would be cheaper. They are also considering both for their property. I know that anything made of wood in the ground will at some point rot and 40 years from now if my son decides to live at our current home after we are gone I don't want him having to deal with a pole barn that may fall down.

    I am leaning towards frame build. I can get someone to dig the footings and hire a friend to help me lay block. I would be able to do most of the construction myself which would save some dollars. It would just take me longer.

    I am interested in hearing what others think. Good luck and post pics when you start.

    David
    I suffer from MPD...Multiple Project Disorder

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    They make lots of options to keep wood out of the ground so it will last longer. If not going to insulate, go pole barn.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    I have been considering a similar project too in front of my house - though mine would be 24 x 24 carport - unattached thereby eliminating complications re planning etc.

    I am considering putting concrete piers down and placing 6" x 6" on top of the pier which extend 6" above grade - so the posts stay dry all the time. I have looked at building with using "Bigfoot" molds for the concrete bases (BF24 in my case) with 10" sona tubes attached to the form (recycled plastics). It looks to be a good system and the time saved from having to dig the bigger holes, makes the project worth while. For the larger hole to take 24" mould I figured could be accomplished by drilling four holes 12" dia, close together. Once cleared out the resulting hole would readily accept the mold. Backfill carefully and add concrete later.

    For me I think this would work well - for others I don't know. Being able to use the PHD on the tractor and get down the four feet required with the PHD and extension, makes it very workable.

    My building will be an open car port with manufactured 5/12 trusses. The construction and assembly I could do on my own over the summer months.

    Thanks
    2007 Jinma 554 tractor, FEL, 8ft Rear Blade, 73" Snowblower, 2002 3500 Dodge Ram 4x4, 1986 F250 4x4 SC 6.9 turboed diesel.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member magicheater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    Quote Originally Posted by hunterridgefarm View Post
    I know that anything made of wood in the ground will at some point rot and 40 years from now if my son decides to live at our current home after we are gone I don't want him having to deal with a pole barn that may fall down.
    I am interested in hearing what others think. Good luck and post pics when you start.David
    I salvaged some 6x6's from a pole shed my Dad built in 1968. The roof collapsed from an extreme snow load, more than 8' that year and a low pitch roof. The poles were almost like brand new but were creosote treated which I think is better than the new green stuff. my
    Working to increase the scope of the small tractor experience, one quick attach at a time.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member KennyG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    I would suggest you break down the building costs into foundation, floor, walls, roof, etc. and compare the options. If you want a tall building (12 foot or greater walls) the pole barn is probably a cost saver. A shorter building, the walls are not so important. The pole barn roof approach (trusses at 4 or 8 foot spacing, metal roof) is a lot cheaper, but you can go that route with the framed walls also.

    I would try to find a way to pour the floor at the beginning. You will never regret it if you can afford it.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Gizmo2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    I am using the Perma-Column for my pole building this year.
    Perma-Column | What are Perma-Columns
    JD 2320, 200CX FEL/61" bucket , 46 BH/16" bucket, FEL Forks, 72" Snow Blade, Landscape Rake, Ballast Box, PHD, The Wife

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    Even if you don't pour a slab right away, putting gravel down will help a lot with moisture. Soil moisture moves up through capillary action, which only works when the water is going from bigger spaces to smaller ones. The gravel creates a layer of bigger spaces over the soil's smaller ones, and short circuits the capillary action. If the water can't get to the surface of the gravel, there's not much air movement to cause evaporation, and things stay drier. Four to six inches of 3/4 clean stone should make a big difference. Note that quarry process (I think they call it 57 stone in PA) won't work for this because it's got a lot of small spaces. Top with a plastic vapor barrier when you do pour, and don't let your mason cut holes in it to drain the excess water from the concrete. If there's that much excess water, he's not pouring the concrete stiff enough.

    No matter what you do, water is your enemy here. If you can build on higher ground, do so. At the least, raise the building pad above the surrounding ground. I like the idea of the BigFoot footings and the 6x6 sill. Wood in the ground makes me nervous as you can never inspect it for rot or termites. If you go the concrete footing route, be sure to get a positive attachment between your posts and the footings to resist wind uplift. You've got to consider wind loads, which have pushed over more than one building. Check out Simpson Strong-Tie's website (strongtie.com) for details. (No, I don't work for them, but I do write for construction magazines.)

    Insulating is tough call. Very expensive. Do you really see yourself heating such a big building? That's a lot of something you'll be burning. What about enclosing a smaller shop area within the main building and insulating and heating only that?

  10. #10
    Platinum Member KennyG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pole Barn vs. Framed for Garage/Shed

    A couple of more thoughts. In the first post, you mentioned T1 siding. If you are going this way, I think framed walls are almost as cheap as poles because of the additional structure required to support the siding.

    I would plan for future insulation. Even if you only heat it up to 50 degrees when you want to work there, it makes it easy to do with a relatively small heater. If you are looking at a truss roof with metal roofing, plan for 4 foot spacing. I've seen sheds with 8 foot spacing and when you come back to finish a ceiling, you have to add all kinds of framing. With 4 foot spacing, you can use metal panels with not additional structure.

    The shop within a shed idea sounds good but doesn't work out so well unless you really have two separate buildings under one roof. I was thinking about it for my 40 x 48 but decided just to insulate the whole thing. It turned out to be cheaper than building interior walls and insulating them. I'm working on mine but intend only to heat it while I'm working.

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