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Country Discussion Topics
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Pole Building ?
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James Apple    Posted 06-21-2004 at 12:36:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Will the poles last longer if they are fully embedded in conrete vs a conrete collar and dirt backfill ?

Thanks in advance

- Jim

ken mcdonnell    Posted 11-30-2005 at 15:21:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Concrete encasement will promote decay long term. Check out

screaminghollow    Posted 06-21-2004 at 19:58:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
It definitely depends on a lot of things. Your climate, size of overhang, the type of wood, drainage, treatment etc.
I've taken notice that many barns with overhangs, are suported by verticle posts set on concrete or stone pillar bases about two feet high.
I have run into some locust fence posts set in dirt. The last fence posts placed before I moved here were set by old man keener, who had a stroke in 1962. Those posts are some wore away, but solid as a rock in the ground. I was in a hurry to set a post and used a 5x6 piece of oak. It rotted off at ground level in 8 yrs, even though I coated the part below ground with roofing cement. Poplar isn't worth a hoot when in contact with the ground, but I used some seasoned barked poplar saplings as fence rails 5 yrs ago, and they have held up so far, but I know they'll fail in another year or two.
Pressure treated seems to hold up prettywell. I insisted on a two foot overhang around the barn roof, and I think things are less humid in the barn. I also have goos drainage away from the barn. During the first year, the drainage kept the water laying next to the barn wall and puddles would well up on the dirt floor after a heavy rain. Graded differently and that changed totally.

Jim(MO)    Posted 06-21-2004 at 13:53:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
I dunno, but I been told that that wooden posts, whether in fences or barns will last longer surrounded by dirt. Water drains away better. A problem with concrete is as the wood shrinks it leaves a void for moisture to enter but it can't drain away. This not only leaves the post standing in water it leads to freezing and thawing which increases the gap which lets in more water and ......... I suppose regular attention with a silicon sealer would help just as setting the posts on a gravel pad would help with draining.

There's a 140 year old barn in the neighborhood that's as square and strong as the day it was built. Even the posts in the open loafing area that get rained on are original. The posts are native white oak and must have been properly seasoned. No concrete, or nails, in that barn.

Burrhead    Posted 06-21-2004 at 12:49:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
they won't last as long if they are in contact with concrete.

EngineerJoyce    Posted 06-21-2004 at 14:05:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Important points on pole barns:

1. Roof supports posts (poles) must be properly anchored to prevent sinking in wet dirt, uplift from strong winds, and bending from straight line winds.

2. The buried portion of the poles need adequate drainage and drying (thus the anchorage dilemna)

3. Use only hardwoods or pressure treated lumber anywhere it is in contact with soil (or gravel or concrete or sand...) for rot protection and termite resistance.

and 4. Use screws or spiral/ring shank nails and always use hot dipped galvanized on anything that contacts the treated lumber.

Now, looking at points 1 and 2, it seems mutually exclusive to obtain good drainage and provide proper anchorage. I've seen this handled a couple of ways in tight clay soils. A tile drain can be laid just outside the post perimeter of the barn with a positive outlet away from the barn to drain off any water that collects around the foot of the poles. Set the bottom of the posts on 6" of #8 or #57 rock (not traffic bound, you want to avoid the fines) then backfill around the post with either concrete for taller buildings or tamped earth for smaller, well braced structures. Make sure all surface water drains away from the structure and that no water is dumped just beside a post.

Above ALL: Have a coffee shop conversation with a local construction builder, and ask your neighbors what they have and what has worked for them. So many things are locally different.

eg    Posted 06-21-2004 at 13:29:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
burrhead, i would think that being in direct
contact with dirt, it would draw moisture faster
than it would if it would be incased in concrete.
but thats me thinking again and that often gets
me in trouble.LOL!

Burrhead    Posted 06-21-2004 at 14:14:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
eg that's what I thought too til my tractor shed post rotted away at ground level.

I have some in the ground now that have been there 25+ years and still going strong. The ones I put in in concrete had rotted away after about 12-14 years. All of the poles came out of the same pile and were cresote treated.

eg    Posted 06-21-2004 at 12:48:26       [Reply]  [No Email]

i would think concrete, anyway that is what i

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