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Barn Blog

September 21, 2015

How to Design Your Pole Barn to Protect It from Snow Loads

If you live in a region with snowy winters and you are planning to build a pole barn, you need to consider the weight of snow when designing the building. Modifying an existing building that is not designed for snow loads can be difficult and costly. You will need a structural engineer to assess the building and make recommendations, and then it will need to be retrofitted. You can save yourself a lot of time and money by doing it right in the beginning.

Prepare the building site carefully to eliminate ground table moisture that could affect the inside of your pole barn.

Create a drainage system that will allow melted snow to move away from your pole barn. This will prevent water from pooling near the building, which could cause damage.

Machine stress-rated lumber is tested by a machine to determine its strength. This will tell you the exact minimum strength of each piece of lumber and how much snow it can handle.

The weight of snow you expect to get will affect the amount of space between the purlins. The smaller the space between the purlins, the more snow they will be able to support, and the more evenly the weight of the snow will be transferred to the trusses.

The weight on the roof is transferred from the steel to the purlins, and then to the trusses and columns, and finally to the ground. Construct your pole barn with sturdy trusses made of MSR lumber with truss plates designed to support heavy snow loads. The strength of the columns should match the trusses to prevent a failure when weight is transferred.

When the wind blows, it can shift the snow on a roof and make the weight uneven. A designer and engineer should design the building taking into account the effects of wind. They should pay special attention to places where the roof lines join together, which can create uneven snow distribution.

Concrete normally requires moderate temperatures so that moisture can evaporate as it sets. Avoid installing concrete in the winter because it might not set properly. You can use additives, but that will increase the cost.

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