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To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Living in a pole barn
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TJ    Posted 02-14-2001 at 18:02:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi everybody,

We've got this 1000 sf cabin that is basically a pole barn with an interior. I want to move there full time in a hurry, but We don't have a lot of money. I'm thinking about building another bigger pole barn, and putting in an interior and insulation like the first one, then maybe connecting the 2. Is this plan flawed ? We like the cabin, and it suits us fine, but I've never seen anyone else living in "barns". Should I be worried about structural problems down the road ? This method is about half the price of a prefab job.

Taylor Lambert    Posted 02-16-2001 at 21:55:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have a freind that builds Metal buildings using treated lumber for the frames and metal chicken house rafters. He built me a 40x50 building with 18 foot sides. He showed us a house that was made from one of these shops he built to the same size. But the guy that he built it for made an upper story on the inside. The local supervisor had given him troubles about it and said the first tornado that came through would level it so they denied septic tank and power rights to the fella till it was proven acceptable. Well 3 weeks later a tornado came through and the shop survived only lossing the mailbox but the supevisors house was demolished. In short he got power and septic tank permits for the thing.

Wayne    Posted 02-16-2001 at 20:15:19       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I live in a home I built from a small (30x30), 2-storied pole barn.....and we love it. We moved in about a year ago, after making a decision to get out of the rat race. I have been "finishing" the house ever since, but it is warm, comfortable, and, as my wife put it "Most people pay a lot of money to go to a resort for a couple of weeks..we live in one!" Our place is built like we want it, and we could care less if anyone else likes it or not. There is a lot to be said for doing what makes YOU happy, rather than worrying about what "the Joneses" think.

IHank    Posted 02-16-2001 at 14:50:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
TJ- Try thinking outside the box a little bit...

Git you an RV and park it beside your rural cabin. Let the cabin and property be classed as agricultural property for tax and zoning law purposes.

Give it a try for a while and see what happens. Mebbie it will be wonderful, mebbie it will show you that you've got it wrong.

Whatever, good luck and I hope you won't need it. IHank

geo in MI    Posted 02-15-2001 at 07:15:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]


I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but shouldn't you check it out with the local authorities first? Like it or not, even in the boonies, most townships or counties have certain building codes that you have to follow if you want to get a permit of occupancy. Depending on the area, some are easy(lax), some are not--and local politics play an important part. Fellow just down the road got shut down by the sheriff for about a year because he had poured the foundation nine feet into the road right of way(which nobody knew existed)--and because all the approvals he thought he had validated three years before had expired(and in the meantime the township had changed all the ordinances). Had to go before the planning board, had to get the county road commission to sign off on the right of way, etc, etc. This could happen to you--and you can't legally move in until you get that permit. Actually, you can't really start building unless you get a permit, and the locals have unique ways of finding out.

I know, I know---it's my property and I'll do whatever I want--------Not! Checking it out before you dig could save you lots of fuss and bother down the road. If you think the dot com world was rough and tumble, wait 'till you tangle with the good ole boys in the boonies. The idea of building a pole structure and living in it is okay by me, but I don't have the say so--they do.

Hilltopper    Posted 02-14-2001 at 19:58:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
I helped build two 40x100 pole barns(for hogs) in Columbus, Ohio in 1967 and they are still being used today. Pole barns are very wind proof due to their flexibility. A brick house will protect you from projectiles but will fall down quicker in a tornado due to the weight of the brick veneer. A "real" brick wall is much stronger. As long as you don't have any creosote to stink up the house or poison the younguns', a pole house with drywall inside and a slab floor is perfectly ok. There are a lot of small businesses that use pole buildings and you cannot tell it. IMHO.!

Robert P. Schlegel    Posted 07-31-2002 at 05:49:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We live in Fairfield County, Ohio and are interested in building a Pole Barn in either Fairfield or Hocking County.

The Pole Barn will have two purposes;

1) to shelter a 35 ft RV;
a) with connections for water, septic
field and electricity.
b) This area does not necessarily need
side walls.
c) The entrance area requires a 12 ft
high clearence.
2) rooms on the side to house;
a) family room 16X18
b) kitchen 10X12
e) bedroom 10X14
If this is an item you would be interested in building please reply to the above e-mail address.
We are presently vacationing at our summer place in Northern michigan and will return to Ohio on August 3.

Robert P. Schlegel
7871 Lithopolis Rd NW
Carroll, Ohio 43112

Tel: (H) 614-834-3707 (O) 614-834-0349
Fax: 614-834-9765

Alvin    Posted 02-14-2001 at 19:43:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
You will have to remenber that ---there are some treated poles that rot off after 15 years. It happens .I know. When you have to replace one when you have it all covered up with nice panels and whatever it makes a big mess.You cannot tell when a post is new how long it will last. True ,they print it will last 50 years, the guys that build it will be dead. What ever you decide to do is your business. Just MHO

Burrhead    Posted 02-14-2001 at 20:20:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
I know that's right.

I rebuilt a deck some years ago and this deck was built with the "treated" timbers. I don't know how old it was but it was'nt anywhere near the 30 year warranty being used up.

When I went back to the lumber supply they pulled out a certification for the lumber. The "treated" part meant the wood was treated for bug and fungus resistance and had nothing to do with water or rot.

I had'nt painted or water treated the lumber because I thought that was why I had used treated to begin with.

When you buy treated lumber be sure you know what it's treated against.

Alvin    Posted 02-15-2001 at 19:20:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
These were treated to prevent rot for a pole shed builted by a large company and they used their poles treated to their specs...

Burrhead    Posted 02-16-2001 at 09:55:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
10-4 Alvin.

I meant that I myself screwed up and bought the wrong ones. I thought I was buying for rot treated and paid too much for the bug and fungus debauckle.

Burrhead    Posted 02-14-2001 at 19:24:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Back before electric and central heat and a/c became mandantory the most of the houses around here were built in 2 parts like you're talking about, and they were basically just a pair of pole barns hooked together by a common floor and roof.

They had a covered and floored gap between the 2 as a breezeway to sleep on in July, Aug, and Sept. Some folks called it a dog trot or a dog run between the 2 buildings.

The only difference in a house and barn was the house outter walls were wooden covered and had windows in them, and a barn was covered with tin and had few windows. If you watch your workmanship a pole barn is more sturdy than a bought stick built house on a pier foundation.

I don't think you have a bad idea. In fact I like it. I don't know of any structural flaws inherent to a barn as long as you follow good carpentry guides and use quality materials.

I would imagine that by you having half of the structure already that you know how to get by or comply with the building codes.

Congrads, there just aint too many people that think about building a house anymore and I applaude your ideas.

When blacksmiths went to being farriers that can't do nothing but over charge to shoe a horse for yuppie cowboys, and carpenters became building contractors specializing in presswood and recycled milk jug lumber it all went to hades in a hand basket.

MikeH-Tx    Posted 02-14-2001 at 18:56:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
TJ, there are two things to ask yourself.

1- Is this right for you? or, can you be happy here?

2- If you are strong in your opinion of #1, this one won't matter. Can you get a good return on your investment later, if you want to or have to sell?

If you don't see many (any) people living in double pole barns, the answer to #2 is probably "no." Then, you have to ask yourself, do you like this solution well enough to ignore the economics. Doing things the same as other folks generally lessen risks, but doesn't necessarily make you happy.

Is this helping?

TJ    Posted 02-14-2001 at 19:33:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]

I've thought about this a lot. Nothing would make us happier than living way out in the country. A unique building is even cooler. I don't plan on ever leaving this place once we get moved there.

Let me give you a little background. I left home after college 20 years ago and moved to the big city. Like most people that move to the big city, I was trapped in the rat race. In the last couple of years I finally made enough money in the world to buy 40 acres and this cabin back home. It's very rural, and job prospects are slim. In order for this plan to work I need to have no mortgage. It seems the thing is now bust, and I want to get home while I still have the money to do so. My kids are still young, and I'd like them to have grow up in the country. They're pretty excited about it too! If I can get a house built by this summer, we can make our move. I'm thinking at a later date I could always build a standard house and turn the downstairs of this barn into a barn, as I get back into farming.

IHank    Posted 02-14-2001 at 19:28:15       [Reply]  [Send Email]
TJ- MikeH has some real good things to think thru.

There is much you don't tell us about your motovation for the proposed move. Suggest you and your Momma Bear and your Baby Bears discuss it all at length before getting to fired up about what you describe. Could be you're marching to your own drummer, toward divorce court!

On the other hand, in another life, I can remember pleasant evenings smoking and joking and sleeping under a pair of snapped together shelter halves stretched over bamboo poles. Some years later I built a nice country home and shortly after my wife & kids decided they didn't like it out in the boonies. Like a dumb a$$ I moved us back to town...

My point here is to do an extremely intense internal family exam of what you and 'yall want as to lifestyle, before committing to anything.

I'm now alone and old, but relatively happy back at my LZ Knee rural place. Be honest with yourself, then do what you can to get others to be honest with you and everybody else. If you can't and/or they won't, recommend you drop the idea like a hot potato.

Good luck and I hope you don't need it, IHank

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