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Barn Blog

October 28, 2015

How to Brace the Posts in Your Pole Barn

The posts in your pole barn should be braced for wind resistance to keep them from swaying. This can be done with wooden X braces, steel cables, or wall sheathing. After bracing has been installed, the posts are locked in position. The posts need to be temporarily braced with one brace on each axis to keep them plumb.

The closer to the top or bottom a brace is positioned, the better it will hold. It is usually not possible to go from the top to the bottom because of clearance issues. A short brace is better than no brace at all. If your pole barn needs to undergo an inspection, ask your local building inspector what the requirements are.

The posts for your pole barn should be set in the ground and should have concrete poured in around them. Holes that are deeper and larger in diameter will hold posts better than ones that are smaller and shallower. This is especially important if you are constructing an open-sided building with very short braces, such as a pavilion.

Wooden X braces are often made from the same size wood as the posts they are bracing. You should not use nails for wooden X braces because the constant flexing of the posts will gradually work the nails loose. Use lag bolts or carriage bolts instead. An X brace is rigid by nature and can hold under compression and tension. One X brace can hold an entire wall, but you should use as many as is practical.

If wooden X braces would be too long, you can use steel cables. They work in a way similar to guy lines that hold a tent or tower. Use a minimum of 5/16-inch cable. Clips make it easy to form and secure loops. You can pre-fab cables on the ground and tighten them by using an extra-long eye bolt. This is less expensive than using turnbuckles.

Building officials do not recognize metal siding as a type of wall brace, but this can hold a wall almost as well as 7/16-inch osb. Other types of siding, such as board and batten, can hold walls, but building inspectors frown upon these practices and prefer other forms of bracing.

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