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Country Discussion Topics
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Pole barn construction
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TnT    Posted 10-13-2004 at 04:24:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I'm about to begin construction on a pole barn here in North West Texas, Wichita Falls. I have 6" by 6" beams 16 foot long and I'm going to set them 4 feet in the ground. Do I need to concrete them in place or will tamping the earth back in place be sufficient? If I need to concrete, how much per pole? Thanks for the input.


ken mcdonnell    Posted 11-30-2005 at 17:07:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We are Pole Builders & I would be happy to answer any questions. www.postprotector.com or 877-966-8768


Hal/WA    Posted 10-13-2004 at 22:54:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
You might want to check with the building code people, if you live in an area that is fussy about code complaince. In Spokane County, where I live, they require quite a bit of concrete around pole barn poles, which raises the cost of a building a bunch. A friend of mine has built over 100 pole buildings. In this county, he used concrete around the poles, but in Idaho, he never did. He says none of the buildings he put up have ever had a problem with wind or settling, but he predicts that the poles used in the buildings in Idaho will last longer than the ones with concrete around them.

I could see using concrete around the poles if I lived in an area that is subject to extremely high winds or if the soil was so light and loose that it would not compact and settle properly. But my ground is very stony with some big rocks in quite a bit of clay. It packs very solidly. But the building codes people won't budge--they demand a concrete backfill.

I am thinking about building another pole building on my property. To dig the post holes in my ground 4 feet deep, often they end up 4 feet wide because of the larger rocks I encounter. I hope to get some of those Sonotubes to use as forms around the posts. Concrete is expensive, and while I am resigned to using some around the posts, I don't want to have to spend more money than is absolutely necessary.

Good luck with your building!


Rowdy Yates    Posted 10-13-2004 at 09:45:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
As some of the others have said.......putting concrete around the posts will rot them out. Concrete in the bottom is all that is required and needed.


EngineerJoyce    Posted 10-13-2004 at 07:30:21       [Reply]  [Send Email]
If your soil is sand or silt, something loose, then you will need to backfill the hole with concrete to keep the poles from twisting in the ground and the barn from leaning. And the diameter of this hole must be at least 12", but preferably 18" (depends on the width of your barn). This could be offset somewhat by using knee braces and lateral braces. But this bracing gets in the way of your clearance.

Other reasons for backfilling with concrete versus just tamping include: resistance from uplift pressure and resistance from being pressed further into the ground. Uplift pressure comes from high winds, and must only be greater than the holding power of the nails/bolts holding the trusses to the posts - post pull-out resistance again depends on your soil.

Wood posts can rot off when encased in concrete in the ground, but the reason is the retention of localized moisture, not the concrete itself. If the base of the hole has loose gravel (like clean #8's or #57's) then the pole and encasing concrete will be allowed to drain. In addition, if the area or soil has a tendency to hold moisture, it would be advisable to bury a tile drain around the footer of the structure (at the base of the poles).


BOSS    Posted 10-13-2004 at 17:05:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
you forgot to also try to get the 060 pressure treated 6x6s.


Joel    Posted 10-13-2004 at 07:00:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
I poured some in the bottom of the hole, set the pole, and then poured the rest of the bag around the pole. Didn't add water in Alabama.

Take a pencil and press it down into the ground. Now put a quarter on the ground, put the pencil on the quarter, and try to press that into the ground. Can't be done.

I think that is what the plug of concrete is for. Increase the size of the base to help keep the pole from sinking.


Red Dave    Posted 10-13-2004 at 05:49:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Around here the recomendation from builders is to not put concrete around the poles. Set the pole on a concrete plug at the bottom of the hole and fill around it with dirt only.
They say the concrete around the post will hold moisture and cause it to rot.


mojo    Posted 10-13-2004 at 04:36:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here's what I'd do.
Make your hole about a foot deeper than the depth you want the pole set. Fill that extra depth with gravel. Set your pole and some dirt, then pour in a bag of quikcrete. Here's where regional difference may come into play. Around here the ground has enough moisture that you don't need to add water, after a week it is set up. But northwest Texas might be alittle drier so you might want to add water. Fill another 6" and tamp,(that's whats nice about not adding water, tamping is easier) and repeat til you run out of hole.
Good Luck!
mojo
mdw


Steve from TN    Posted 10-13-2004 at 04:33:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
I used one bag per pole. Here, where there is ample moisture in the ground, you don't even have to mix it with water; probably in W. TX you do.


mojo    Posted 10-13-2004 at 04:38:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
I see we share the same thoughts of Texas' soil!LOL
mojo
mdw


Michele in VA    Posted 10-13-2004 at 10:59:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Is this the same way you're supposed to do horse fence
posts? I've only installed split rail posts and i don't
remember using concrete, but just digging holes in the
dirt.
Now I have 100 or so posts to reposition throughout my
property and I'm freaking.




Buddy    Posted 10-13-2004 at 15:23:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Michele,where in Va are you located? I am in Va too . Newtown, Va.


Rowdy Yates    Posted 10-13-2004 at 14:32:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've never used any concrete for fence posts. If they are leaning, concrete in the bottom wouldn't help any, putting it around the post would help. Although sounds as if you may not be burying them deep enough. The deeper you bury it, the better it will stand. Just think about electric and telephone poles. A 50' pole has to be buried 7' at a minimum.


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