20x20 Pole Barn Project

   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project #1  


Super Member
Dec 7, 2011
Virginia USA
Kubota L3200, Deere X380, Kubota RTV-X
CHA Pole Barns of PA will be here in 2-3 weeks to build a 20x20 pole barn for us. I just got the building permit approved, and have begun site prep. Roof trusses arrived Friday. I will update this thread with progress as we go along.

Here are a couple shots of the site and grading.

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After removing about 8 trees, I stripped the top layer of soil/matter off the area with my box blade. The sub-soil was muddy in spots, due to recent rains and the tree clearing activity, so I put down a bed of #3 over the entrance area, and then on the interior of the barn floor area (about 16" inside the post line so that the gravel would not interfere with drilling posts). I also lined the edges with some concrete rubble I had (again well inside the post line). Then I brought in 16 tons of compactable fill and spread that over the gravel. I packed it with my L3200 tires, then smoothed with box blade, then drove over with my SUV, then checked level and reworked a little. We're getting some solid rain from Monday-Wednesday, so I will let that settle the fill bed a little more. Then bring in a final 8-10 tons of fill at the end of next week to build up the low end more (the goal is to have no more than 6" drop from high to low per CHA requirements). We'll make up any remaining slope with skirt boards on the outside, and then level with #78 gravel (self compacting) on the inside prior to pouring the final floor.

Here are a couple shots from the truss delivery.

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The driver dropped the bundle near our driveway entrance since I didn't have the heart to make him back 500 feet down a curvy driveway. I then carried them into the site with my tractor, 3-4 at a time, and stacked them across our driveway from the barn site. In retrospect, I probably could have forked the entire bundle in one shot, but was not able to judge the bundle weight properly and didn't want to lift a 22 foot wide load to find out if it was doable. Especially since I had to lift them 5' off the ground to clear my entrance gate posts! The trusses seem to weigh 100-120# each, since I could lift and move them individually, but again the 22 foot length makes it hard to judge.
   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project
  • Thread Starter
Here's a rendering of the barn:

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 11.24.32 AM.png

Siding will be white pine, board & batten. Roof will be architectural asphalt. Goal was to make it look similar to our home (otherwise I would have preferred metal siding and roof for cost/maintenance). I will probably stain/paint the barn classic red, but still thinking that over. I'd prefer to leave the wood raw, but carpenter bees would likely go after it. Paint hides the grain and keeps them away.
   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project
  • Thread Starter
We got several inches of rain earlier in the week, which settled down the first layer of fill pretty good, but there was some minor washout and 1-2 muddy spots. I had another 10 tons of compactable fill delivered yesterday, to be used to get to final grade, along with 8 tons of #8 gravel for top dressing.

The new load of fill was a bit damp, though it scooped and dumped fine, and raked OK when loose. I did some initial spreading and shaping with my box blade, but as the fill compacted, it began "smearing" and sticking to the box blade. So I did what I could and then made 3-4 passes to compact down with the tires, and called it done. Damp fill is certainly more finicky to work with, but it's already quite a bit more dense than dry fill, so it should have compacted OK. In case you're wondering why I rushed it, more rain is due tomorrow, and then early next week. The barn guys will be here in 7-10 days, so it was now or never.

I put a nice heavy layer of #8 gravel over the fill, which will hopefully keep erosion down and provide a non-sticky top layer to walk and drive on. I will probably rent a plate compactor and hit that top layer before we put down the final floor, just to make sure the gravel marries to the compactable fill below.

   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project #6  
What are the specs on your trusses? How tall do you plan for your walls?

I will follow this project - looks like you have a good start!
   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project
  • Thread Starter
What are the specs on your trusses? How tall do you plan for your walls?

I will follow this project - looks like you have a good start!

Boy my back is feeling it this morning!

Walls will be 10' high. Roof has an 8:12 pitch and trusses have 25-5-05 load rating.
   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project
  • Thread Starter
Materials showed up yesterday:


Crew is on rain hold; I suspect construction won't start until next Monday. I rearranged a couple stacks of materials today, to get them out puddles forming after all the rain. It's amazing how slippery lumber gets when wet...

Have one last shipment coming, of concrete mix (108 sacks) to fill post holes. Deferred that to Thursday afternoon hoping the rain has stopped by then.
   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project #9  
Looks like a nice little project. What will you be putting in it?

   / 20x20 Pole Barn Project
  • Thread Starter
Looks like a nice little project. What will you be putting in it?


Mainly my Kubota L3200 and Deere LT-150 mower, and a bunch of miscellaneous junk and yard tools (shovels, etc). I will have room for some implements (on dollies) in the future if needed.

Of course, I already think I should have gone bigger; not because of future requirements, but because of the effort needed to prepare the site and handle permits -- in retrospect it seems like a lot of trouble for just a 20x20. That was a good size to work with the location and grade, but I could have gone 28 in one dimension to get more room.