How To Frame a Pole Building

A pole building is one of the simplest building construction projects that you can quickly. The simple building has many uses. It can be used as an extension of a house, as a garage, as a tool shed or a workshop, as a store, a warehouse or a barn. It can also be used as a temporary shelter or as a school building. It involves simple construction planning just like the stick houses made by children. There will be several evenly spaced poles driven to the ground and supported by horizontal nailers or girt. Framing a pole building is easy when you have all the requirements down pat and all the materials are available. Here are the instructions.

  • Check the design of your pole building and mark the area to be covered on the ground. Mark where the corner posts will be erected. Use spray paint to mark the areas where you will dig holes for the posts. It is important that the poles are lined up evenly. Drive a stake to the ground where the first corner post will be located and run building string up to the next corner, place another stake, fix the string around a nail. Do the same all around the perimeter of the pole building. It may be easier for you to find the straight lines using a laser.
  • The posts between each corner post for the sidewalls should be placed at even intervals of eight to ten inches. Mark the places with spray paint. The posts for the end walls are done normally to account for doors (front and back, if the building design is like that).
  • The next step is to dig the holes where the poles will be erected. Use a post hole digger for a cleaner hole. Follow the instructions in your building code. If you leave in the northern climate your holes should be from forty-two inches to forty-eight inches deep to account for the frost heave. Twenty-inch deep holes are substantial for areas where there is no frost heave and the soil has high weight bearing capacity. If you live in Florida and other areas where high winds occur during part of the year, you should dig holes at least seventy-two inches deep.
  • You should be using pressure treated posts for your building. Southern Yellow Pine, Douglas fir and hemlock are some of the better wood choices for the poles. Nail uplift cleats to two sides of the end of the post that will be embedded. Determine the thickness of the concrete footing for the posts. It depends on the pounds per square foot (PSF) that the soil will bear. Check your building code and your building blue print for the concrete footer thickness. Allow the concrete footer to dry before putting the posts in.
  • Start putting the poles into the hole, adding two braces in opposite directions to steady the poles and keep them upright. Fill the holes with gravel and dirt backfill two-thirds of the way. Concrete mix is used by some builders for this part. Fill the rest with heavily compacted dirt. Remove the braces when everything is done.
  • Set the mold around the perimeter of the pole building in readiness for the concrete flooring. Lay the iron grids for the flooring and pour the concrete mix and spread it over the floor evenly. Allow the flooring to dry before you move to the next step.
  • Nail treated grade board around the base of the poles. Grade boards are also called splash boards or skirt boards. There are 2x6 or 2x8 pieces of lumber that are treated for ground contact but should not be embedded on the ground. Drive a nail to the base of a corner post as close to the concrete flooring as possible. Attach the end of construction string to the nail. Move to the next corner post and do the same. Make sure that you are keeping a straight line. Do this all around the perimeter of the pole building.
  • Attach 2x12 truss carriers around the top end of the poles, making sure that you are keeping a straight line. Saw off the uneven ends of the poles.
  • From the top of the grade board, measure twenty-four inches upwards. Mark the place. This will be your guide for the girt or horizontal nailing boards that will go around the outside of the poles to frame the building. Nail 2x6 boards on the mark and measure for the next set. This will be done for the two sides and the end wall at the back if you are not placing another door there. Mark the places for the window opening as you do not need to place nailing boards there. Mark the place for the front door before you nail the nailing boards. Make sure that you follow a straight line around the building.

You have just finished framing a pole building. These instructions assume that you have checked your local building code, checking soil samples for soil bearing capacity, frost heave depth and other engineering requirements.


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