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Barn Blog

December 16, 2015

How to Build a Pole Barn on Rocky Soil

When constructing a pole barn, it is best to build on a site that is free of rocks and other obstructions that could get in the way. However, in some cases it is necessary to build on rocky soil. You can modify your plans to take into account the soil in your location and build a sturdy pole barn.

If your site has solid bedrock, it may be possible to pin columns to the rock. The rest of the holes can be backfilled with concrete.

If the site is rocky, you can excavate holes with a backhoe or other equipment and use sonotubes to minimize the amount of concrete required. A sonotube is placed in a hole, and concrete is filled in around it.

The sonotubes will need to be put deep enough to resist lifting caused by the friction of the earth. The earth exerts a sideways force, and friction between the earth and the posts can make the posts move. In order to avoid this, the bottom one-third of the posts must be below the frost line. For example, if the frost line is four feet deep, you will need a sonotube at least six feet long so that four feet will be above the frost line and two feet (one-third) will be below the line.

If the site where you want to build your pole barn has occasional large rocks that are difficult to excavate, you can use a jackhammer or skid loader with a ram hoe.

Another option is to use concrete piers with brackets to mount columns to the foundation. Sturdi–Wall concrete brackets are heavy-duty anchors used to connect a post frame structure to a traditional concrete foundation.

Standard Sturdi-Wall brackets are used when drill setting is preferred, and Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets are used when setting into wet concrete. Standard Sturdi-Wall brackets are not designed for moment loads that create a tendency for a post frame building to want to overturn when a force such as wind or snow is applied. Sturdi-Wall Plus brackets provide the highest-strength connection to a foundation. They require less installation time and less concrete, making them work well in pier foundations.

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