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Barn Blog

October 20, 2015

Pole Barn Foundations

If you are planning to build a pole barn, it will need some type of foundation to resist settling and uplift forces. The foundation for a pole barn typically consists of pressure-treated columns embedded into concrete back-filled holes in the ground. Other foundation options include slab on grade with brackets, perma columns, sonotubes, and bracket foundations.

You should not pour a concrete slab before constructing your pole barn. After the poles have been set and skirt board has been placed around the perimeter, this will become a form to allow you to pour your concrete foundation. If you already have a concrete slab, you can use brackets to build on top of it.

The bottom of the skirt board will be even with the bottom of the concrete floor. In most cases, concrete can be poured through the large door opening. If additional space is needed to pour concrete, some of the wall metal can be left off until after the concrete has been poured. The pole barn should be assembled soon after the poles have been set to prevent them from warping or twisting.

If you already have a foundation or slab that you want to use, the easiest and least expensive route is probably to cut holes through the concrete to embed posts in the soil. If you don’t want to do this, you can mount the pole barn to the concrete. You will need to have a building inspector certify that the concrete can support the weight of the building.

The quality and strength of a concrete floor depends more on the fill beneath it than on the thickness of the concrete. If the site is well-drained and has good compacted fill, a four-inch-thick concrete slab should be sufficient.

Concrete "cookies" are pre-cast chunks of concrete 4 to 6 inches thick and 12 to 16 inches in diameter that are put in the bottoms of holes before poles are placed in them. Cookies are generally used with total gravel, sand, or soil backfill around columns and in buildings with all but the smallest spans and lowest loading conditions. They are not large enough to distribute the weight of the building to the soil without settling.

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