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Barn Blog

February 8, 2016

How to Square and Set Posts for a Pole Barn

Pole barn posts are generally spaced 8, 9, 10, or 12 feet apart on center. When designing your pole barn, you need to consider post spacing when planning for wind loads, wall heights and lengths, and species of wood. When building a pole barn, it is important to make sure the posts are set to the correct depth and square.

After you choose the site where you want to build your pole barn and clear it of any trees, rocks, or other things that could get in the way, you need to lay out building lines and batter boards. You can mark the building lines with a taut string. This will help you locate the foundation holes, the outside of the frame, and the corners of the building. An accurate stringline is needed to mark hole locations.

Use a tape measure to measure and stake out the outer corners of your pole barn. Measure the outside of the building to the outside of the wall framing, even if you are using girts or regular stud framing. You will use this as a reference point to place the poles.

To square up the lines, measure from the left front corner of your pole barn to the right rear corner. Then measure from the right front corner to the left rear corner. When the two measurements are equal in length, that means the building is square.

Batter boards hold the string around the perimeter in place. They also allow you to remove and replace the string during excavation to make the centers of the holes precise.

Dig the holes to the depth specified in your building plans, and then place a board perpendicular to the column so the pole is suspended off the bottom of the hole. This will allow concrete to surround the pole under the column and around the pole. Place the columns with any crown or bow toward the inside of the building so it can be pulled vertical when trusses are set. After each column is braced and the building is square, you will be able to pour the concrete footing and backfill to grade.

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