Pole barn questions

VikingsGuy

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I have several questions about pole barns for those who have - and maybe ever some HT contractors who build - them.

For clarity when I say pole barn, mine is 32x48 with 6x6 engineer laminent posts, 10 ft walls and engineered trusses every 8 ft oc. The posts are not in the ground but rather bolted to the concrete pad via metal U braces. The pad was poured with extra thick "footing" portion around its exterior to support the poles. The slab was insulated, but the building is not - it is just for equipment storage at our cabin and adjacent land. It is in northern MN so we get all 4 seasons to full effect.

The pad was poured in August and the structure was supposed to be built by Oct 1 - thereby beating winter weather. The steel, posts, and trusses were delivered in late Sept in expectation of an Oct 1 build. Unfortunately, for a wide range of excuses, my builder didn't show up until late February. By then the steel, posts, and trusses had spent the late fall and most of the winter tarped over and on the ground. And the concrete pad was not only covered with 4 ft of snow but under that snow (which was easily removed by a bobcat snowblower) was a full inch of rock-hard ice. During their 3-day build temps were -10 at night and +10-12 in the day. So this leads up to my questions/concerns:

1. To get through the ice to put down the post "braces" and the 2x6 base "sill" boards they used some type of ice melter granules around the periphery to break up the ice and facilitate ice clearing for installation. The pole "braces" and sill boards were attached to the concrete with expanding concrete anchor bolts.

a. Will the drilling into the concrete and tightening of the anchor bolts in the concrete be adversely affected due to installation during this cold weather?
b. Will ice melt residue hurt the steel bolts and braces over time?
c. Will the ice melt residue hurt the pressure-treated sill boards over time?
d. Will the concrete itself be compromised by the ice melt residue as my understanding is that you shouldn't put that stuff on new concrete for a full year?

2. 10% or so of the trusses and posts show some light surface black "mold"?? in spots. I assume this is due to the long period of laying at the job site but is there any reason to worry about this now that the structure is up and these boards will now be dry with plenty of airflow (no enclosed walls, insulation, or ceiling to limit airflow)?

3. Now I have 1 inch of rock-hard ice covering every inch of my 32x48 concrete floor totally encased by a finished pole barn including being bounded all around by 2x6 sill boards. At some point, this spring that is 1500 gallons of water give or take. I would prefer not to chip it away or use ice melt granules as I don't want to mar the new surface. At the same time, I don't want to create a 1" deep swimming pool to fester as the weather warms (and we aren't around to squeegee out as it melts. As the pad was new, I am not even sure after it settled that it is graded well enough for water to flow towards the front garage door. Any thoughts on a graceful way to manage this during spring thaw?

4. I am worried about kids, guests (or even me) damaging the metal wall sheets with ATVs etc. from the inside when moving them around/parking/etc. After things dry out I would like to put up some plywood on the walls to protect them. But if I am going to do that I would just frame in and insulate to minimize mice and moisture in the void between the steel and the interior plywood. If I don't plan on heating it now and don't add ceiling and attic insulation, any reason wall insulation on its own would cause condensation problems for now?


Thanks for any help/insights you can offer. Your thoughts will educate my thinking when I call the builder to haggle over the final payment in light of the less than desirable scenario I find myself in.
 

Southern Elk

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I would pump heat in it now to melt the ice and dry everything out. After that I wouldn’t worry about anything else you mentioned.

 

neffa3

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1. To get through the ice to put down the post "braces" and the 2x6 base "sill" boards they used some type of ice melter granules around the periphery to break up the ice and facilitate ice clearing for installation. The pole "braces" and sill boards were attached to the concrete with expanding concrete anchor bolts.

a. Will the drilling into the concrete and tightening of the anchor bolts in the concrete be adversely affected due to installation during this cold weather?
Almost certainly yes, but results may be negligible.
b. Will ice melt residue hurt the steel bolts and braces over time?
What kind of steel?
c. Will the ice melt residue hurt the pressure-treated sill boards over time?
Not likely
d. Will the concrete itself be compromised by the ice melt residue as my understanding is that you shouldn't put that stuff on new concrete for a full year?
Depends on the concrete and the conditions it was poured under. Normal temps after 28 days you've typically reached or exceeded the design strength.
2. 10% or so of the trusses and posts show some light surface black "mold"?? in spots. I assume this is due to the long period of laying at the job site but is there any reason to worry about this now that the structure is up and these boards will now be dry with plenty of airflow (no enclosed walls, insulation, or ceiling to limit airflow)?

3. Now I have 1 inch of rock-hard ice covering every inch of my 32x48 concrete floor totally encased by a finished pole barn including being bounded all around by 2x6 sill boards. At some point, this spring that is 1500 gallons of water give or take. I would prefer not to chip it away or use ice melt granules as I don't want to mar the new surface. At the same time, I don't want to create a 1" deep swimming pool to fester as the weather warms (and we aren't around to squeegee out as it melts. As the pad was new, I am not even sure after it settled that it is graded well enough for water to flow towards the front garage door. Any thoughts on a graceful way to manage this during spring thaw?
Heater sounds like a decent option, but if your pad was built correctly it shouldn't "settle"
 

VikingsGuy

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I would pump heat in it now to melt the ice and dry everything out. After that I wouldn’t worry about anything else you mentioned.

I have one of those (80k btu I think) - do you think it would warm the building enough in its uninsulated form to melt the floor? (as the heat will be going up).
 

Southern Elk

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I have one of those (80k btu I think) - do you think it would warm the building enough in its uninsulated form to melt the floor? (as the heat will be going up.
I think it would. We use them to heat job sites and it gets pretty warm even before insulation. You could also use one of these to put heat directly on the ice, but it takes a long time. I would try the heater first.

 

KB_

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you could drill and install a drain in a few spots and drain the water that way. Doesn't even have to be a very big hole maybe an Inch? As long as you did your foundation right you shouldnt have much issue with the water draining.
 

MarvB

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“ d. Will the concrete itself be compromised by the ice melt residue as my understanding is that you shouldn't put that stuff on new concrete for a full year”

Just to let you know that we had a similar situation (note it has been 10-12 years ago) building a 40x40 shop.
The contractor put some sort of ice melt pellets all over the slab prior to work in conjunction with heaters and then used these giant squeegee looking things to rid the slab of the melted ice. By the time it was done (cleared of ice) the entire top surface of the concrete was beginning to crumble. The contractor blamed the concrete folks, they blamed the contractor use of ice melt on an as then (they said) not fully cured slab. We were caught in the middle of the shit show and had to let the court resolve it (withheld contingency funds) but it was a mess. Things may have changed in what’s used for ice melt but I’d be sure to find out if ANYTHING would void any of the “warranty” on your pour!
 

neffa3

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I suppose it will be a matter of how much was residual. But ya, that was my concern. Seemed like a half-assed way of doing it but the claimed they "do it all the time".
I'm sure you also googled the effects on concrete which is also not good.

I absolutely can't stand contractors that say that.
 

Werty

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Not all ice melt is the same, depends which type was used.

I hate to put it this way, you have to wait and see what happens. Take pictures and document, this will be your best course of action. Take pictures of everything up close.
 

grizzly_

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Do they not use ground heaters where you're at?

I'm mid-pole barn construction right now and they put down ground heaters to thaw the ground prior to drilling for the poles. They did 23 6x8 poles and it took three days to thaw out 20" of compacted frost so they could drill. The building is standing now but I'm waiting a few weeks for the weather to thaw out the floor before concrete so I don't have any heaving issues.

It seems to me you could get one of those rented and have that thawed out in nothing flat. That way you could be there to manage the water.

product-update-2-tcm45-571240.jpeg.jpg

I didn't know anybody used ice melt during construction, I guess that's something they just don't do here.
 

BrentD

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Can't speak to your ice melt issues, but once she is all nice and dry, I would check the sill bolts and tighten as needed.

As for the insulation/mouse thing, that u do know about, and insulation will not stop mice. It will even encourage them. Box them out by making those short walls mouse tight.
 

VikingsGuy

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As for the insulation/mouse thing, that u do know about, and insulation will not stop mice. It will even encourage them. Box them out by making those short walls mouse tight.
Ya, the project idea starts with, I should wrap the lower 4 feet with 1/2" plywood to protect the steel from accidents. Which then turns to - not sure they will be sufficiently rigid across 8' span so I should frame in 24" oc. Which evolves to - if I am doing all that I should just plywood the full walls while I am at it. Which turns into - I worry about leaving that big 6" air space and its propensity to collect condensation and crittters. Which turns into - I will insulate it, vapor barrier it and make sure reasonably mouse proof. Which leads to - hell might as well insulate the whole dam thing ceiling and all. Which leads to - STOP already the ceiling is way too much work at this point as I don't plan on installing or paying for heating of the thing. So I go back to just tight insulated walls. It's like buying a new truck or tractor - the "just one more thing" is the path to damnation. ;)
 

BrentD

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Ya, the project idea starts with, I should wrap the lower 4 feet with 1/2" plywood to protect the steel from accidents. Which then turns to - not sure they will be sufficiently rigid across 8' span so I should frame in 24" oc. Which evolves to - if I am doing all that I should just plywood the full walls while I am at it. Which turns into - I worry about leaving that big 6" air space and its propensity to collect condensation and crittters. Which turns into - I will insulate it, vapor barrier it and make sure reasonably mouse proof. Which leads to - hell might as well insulate the whole dam thing ceiling and all. Which leads to - STOP already the ceiling is way too much work at this point as I don't plan on installing or paying for heating of the thing. So I go back to just tight insulated walls. It's like buying a new truck or tractor - the "just one more thing" is the path to damnation. ;)
I really like your idea about damage protection and if you run it a little higher, you can add hangers for hand tools and the like and shelving. :)

But consider slats or rails, spaced maybe 6-12" vertically. Three feet up should do the trick for most dangerous drivers... No insulation, no closed space, no condensation - but you will still have mice. You will always have mice. :)
 

VikingsGuy

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I really like your idea about damage protection and if you run it a little higher, you can add hangers for hand tools and the like and shelving. :)

But consider slats or rails, spaced maybe 6-12" vertically. Three feet up should do the trick for most dangerous drivers... No insulation, no closed space, no condensation - but you will still have mice. You will always have mice. :)
Damn small mammals ;)
 

GoGriz1234

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In my experience most product companies have pretty decent Technical Divisions who are there to field questions from folks. I would make the Contractor give you the name and brand of the exact stuff he used, I might even ask for a receipt to verify, and then call the Tech Department of that brand/ Company.

On the wall insulation front, I think you are ok to insulate the walls now, without the ceiling, as heat rises and it doesn’t seem like you will be trapping a bunch of moisture in there anyway. Just my 2 cents.
 
Yeti

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