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Pole barn build questions


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Looking at putting up a 60x80x16H heated shop.  Any pointers out there from guys who have been through the process?  I'm going to have concrete and propane tube heat on the ceiling and a wood burner.  I know there will be people saying go floor heat.  My FIL has it and it is nice, but he is in his shop for his business every day, I won't be so I don't see the need to keep it heated 24/7.  Have gotten some quotes from local builders and national ones.  Some have been $50k apart.  Some have 4ft on center trusses, some have 8ft notched into the posts.  I'm going with perma-columns instead of wood in the ground.  Doesn't add much cost at all compared to the entire project.  Going to have two 16x14H overheads and some windows.  Going to have them put the ceiling in but I will finish everything else myself.  I want to compare the bids apples to apples so I've been asking questions on the truss size and type of lumber and have been getting a mixed bag of info back, mostly each one claiming that their product is superior.  Any insights would be appreciated.

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Agree, go bigger on the doors. 
Consider insulating the slab and installing tubing so that you can go floor heat in the future. 
Tube heaters are good to turn on when you need them but don’t heat under objects. Like under a truck, it will be cold working under a truck until the entire room gets warmed up. 

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The in floor heat is very nice.

I have never talked with a guy that said he built to big a shop.

The standard is to take the size you want, and double it.

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1 hour ago, Wisconsin Ron said:

Is snow loading an issue in your area? It is something we have to consider in our area when planning pole buildings. Not very often but every few years some of the weaker ones collapse.

you mean like 2 years ago when there must have been a dozen building collapses within about 10 miles of me

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3 hours ago, Diesel Doctor said:

I have never talked with a guy that said he built to big a shop.

The standard is to take the size you want, and double it.

This comes up every time someone talks about buildings or shops.  And I agree that it's true.  But you also need to live within your means.  When I built my shed I would have loved to make it twice as big.  But I decided having something now was better than waiting my life away until I could afford a bigger shop.

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1 hour ago, IH Forever said:

This comes up every time someone talks about buildings or shops.  And I agree that it's true.  But you also need to live within your means.  When I built my shed I would have loved to make it twice as big.  But I decided having something now was better than waiting my life away until I could afford a bigger shop.

I agree with this. I'd make as many adaptions for it to be expandable as possible. I'd go with a bigger door if possible. We have a 50" long x 60' wide shop with a 14x14 door and a 14x22' door and one man door. I wish I would have put a 36' door on it now .   

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Keep the ideas coming, kind of working on a new shop myself.

Bitty, I couldn't agree more. A man needs to live within his means! I would love to have a 60x80 shop but can not justify the cost. Mine will (hopefully) be 48'x56' with 24' of cold storage on the North end. Got one estimate for this last November, other builders around here don't seem like they are interested in my money??? Morton guy came out and looked at the site, talked quite awhile. Said he would get me a quote, that was about two months ago. Never seen a thing.

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We are floating around the idea of converting our heifer barn into a shop in a few years if we can afford to. It would need the roofing replaced, insulation added , new siding as it's curtain sides above the 4' concrete knee walls and then a huge door on both ends. It's 80x120 or technically 44x120 with a 16' truss added to the east side and 20' truss added to the west side. Think the center trusses are about 20-22' up to the bottom so we could get a nice high and wide bifold door for the combine to fit in easily. Biggest benefit is the sprayer could be unfolded inside to work on....

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My wife told to build the shop of my dreams after I bought her her dad home.  I told thanks but not going to happen.  I figured out how I was going to use it and went with size that meets that.  I am planning on heating it with in floor heating so up graded insulation package.  One other thing to check is your county building permits requirement.  if had gone any bigger would have required the building and soils to all be engineered.  The engineering for the building would add 3000 to 5000 dollars to building cost.  Would have had to do soil boring and soil classification to design site.  I used to work for consulting engineering firm and minimum cost for that is another 5000 dollars.  When we did site preparation, I did compaction testing and know that what I have would work for interstate highway.  One advantage of working for company that builds roads.  I also was frustrated with Morton; they did not get back to me until after they seen that I had pulled building permit.  Last piece of free advice is to think of yourself being the general contractor. Make list of all the steps required and then build spreadsheet to create budget.  Here is example of my list.  Building, building permit, floor insulation, heating system, grading and site preparation, concrete floor, electrical, and driveway. Hope this helps.

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The first thing to consider is where the water going ? 
If the barn isn’t 18 to 24 inches above grade ( or code) , It will someday flood and freeze the doors shut ,you won’t be able to get in it for example . 
Every building I ve ever had issues with is because of poor water management away from the building . You can ignored this suggestion if you want. 

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This might get long, but here’s what I did, and things I should have done different! My dad and I build a 60x96x18 shop, and a 12x30 lean too, which is office, and bathroom/mechanical room, back in 2017.  26B07FFA-7141-42FE-AD3C-FA1F07B18EA3.thumb.jpeg.738d1e8974929dac567e46b48e2ba8ae.jpeg2D6E401E-2C68-4474-B963-72D84E3CBA2B.thumb.jpeg.a8a436583d628eb52ed54940bc027aa3.jpeg0693F99A-65C0-416D-83E9-7E53F5271EFF.thumb.jpeg.aa7732dd4f9af6ad0f465d9a845c377b.jpeg3E0133A0-8887-4F6C-9617-D387E3439E26.thumb.jpeg.cf7559f20822740c1c5bd96a47353748.jpeg88A5F92B-F3CE-4FD8-8F67-60023CE430CE.thumb.jpeg.328cba675cf63aa0cce853505b4fe9fe.jpeg
 

I went with one 16x16 door, one 32x16 door, and on the side wall a 14x16.  In floor heat, tankless lp boiler, a floor drain in the center.  10 windows in the shop, 3 in the office, 4 rows of 4, LED lights, and spaced perfectly, so I can add more if I need more light, they are a 3’x3’ lights.  1 service door to the shop, 1 door to the office, see the 4th picture.  It is insulated very well, and I can not recall the R value numbers at this time, I think R 25 in the walls, with vapor barrier, and R 49 in ceiling, also with vapor barrier.  Don’t hold me to those numbers being exact. You can ask me any questions you want, I know I missed some details! 
 

Now these are things I should have done different.  The floor drain being in the center, doesn’t work so well with 3 trucks and trailers parked in it, the center truck is directly over the floor drain.  So when greasing, the truck has to be moved forward and back to get away from the drain.  Should have put 2 smaller drains in, between the trucks, or put the drain along the back wall, and away from the main area of the floor.  I’m satisfied with the in floor heat, but I should have also put in the overhead tube heater for recovery, still could I guess?! I also have a large mini split in the shop for A/C, it’s fine, but I should have put in central air, and that could have also been used as a recovery heat source with a furnace. 
Should have priced it 20 tall versus 18, should have priced it 72 wide versus 60, just to see the cost difference.  My brother went from 18 tall, to 20 tall on his shop for only $3000 more, and that’s on a 80x112!  
I definitely should have went 16 wide on the lean to portion, and 40 long versus 30! Should not have done the awning portion, 1 pole lifts in the winter, and broke apart the sheet rock in my office, and it’s a snow trap in the winter, and corn leaf catch in the fall.  
I did not put the in floor tubes in sand, and then do concrete, to have the extra heat storage capacity with the sand.  I should have insulted the perimeter 48 inches down, not 16 inches like was recommended by the concrete guy. 
Should have put another service door by the sidewall door, but I was looking out for break in access points! 
I definitely should have done a septic system, not a holding tank! 
There are other things if I think long enough, but the last thing I can think of, the lean to roof line against the shop wall, should have been up higher, and then opened up inside the shop, to use the space above the office as storage, just to have less stuff along the walls.  
If you want more pictures, current pictures, let me know, and like I said above, any other questions, let me know, I’ll help where, or how I can! But like everyone says, and it’s the truth, once you build it, and your in it, you’ll wish it was bigger!!!!

My last thought, you said you weren’t doing in floor heat because you won’t be in it everyday.  The temp is set at 55* in our shop, and I’m not in it everyday either.  I would definitely do in floor, set it at 48-50* and have the tube heater for the quick comfort factor when you are in the building, that way your floor doesn’t crack from no heat, and the floor will have a little warmth for when you do have to work close to the floor!

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4 hours ago, Takn4aFool said:

you mean like 2 years ago when there must have been a dozen building collapses within about 10 miles of me

Yep. I hate seeing that happen to people. Usually the trusses are bare minimum heft and spacing is maxed out also. I don't know how snow works in original posters area. Just want them to keep it in mind when planning a build. Probably get away with it but all it takes is the one freak snow situation to come and bring it down. 

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We built a hay storage shed last year, thought we would go 60x104x20 with 16' lean to. When it came down to it, to go 80x102x20 was only $9K more. We don't have the extra row of poles to deal with or anything, plus full height all the way across. 

I would say to look at all options, we had a local builder put the building up in July, Morton would only go 72 wide, didn't want to go 20' high and told us November as they had a neighbors shed right around the corner to do first. They didn't finish the neighbors shed until March, ours wouldn't have been standing or usable last winter and they were around $20k more. We got the asphalt floor done in October last year also which meant it had time to cure before  putting hay on it this summer, it would have been a nightmare to try to get that all done for hay storage if the building didn't get started until spring.   Super satisfied with the building and builder.

Good luck with your project, we all like pictures when too. 

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I just signed on a building contract for a new workshop.  As mentioned above, could have gone 2x bigger, but not within my means, and better to have it to use now as opposed to wishing it away for another x number of years when it will be even more expensive to build.

 

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Here's a different recommendation.

For a shop build it as small and nice as possible. Climate control it. Then build a big storage building. 

I built a big nice Insulated shop but no storage building. My shop has become the storage building.

Seriously think about the location. I built mine near my crop acres for convenience. It's just above the 500 year flood elevation and almost got flooded a few years back.

I want another shop near my house now...

And a big storage building!

Thx-Ace 

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12 hours ago, twood1954 said:

I also recommend putting vapor barrier, insulation. and plex in the floor.  The vapor barrier and insulation will help the floor not to sweat.  You only get one change to do anything in floor.  Have fun with your project.  

I agree.  I have a main area and an insulated room in the back.  Back room has a dehumidifier that is turned on 24/7 (comes on to maintain 55%).  Had mold prior to that as the room is insulated to heck but the floor has no moister barrier.  Is cheap insulation.  Main room floor will rust tools left on it a long time also.  

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Just priced out a 40x60x16 at $115,000.  That was insulated and finished with metal inside.  No electric, lights, etc.  I plan to add a bathroom,  shower,  and laundry for my yucky stuff.  When working on the house we ran the sewer half way there and water will come from another building over.  

I'm just a little guy and don't know that I can spring for the $115000.  Looking at a quonset hut for more cold storage rather then a bigger shop.  Was going to so a thread on then at some point.  We have 5 buildings on the wish/dream list.  I guess we are nuts.

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My dad put up a shop back in 2016.  54x64 tube heat.  Tube heat works just fine.   In floor is great, I have it in my basement.   But…. You should have a secondary heat source for recovery time.   2” foam insulation is expensive! I get it if money is no object.    Size wise everyone says make it twice as big,  but is it a working shop or just heated storage at that point??   2’ eaves are a must here in Minnesota for me.  I agree on a bigger roll up door.   Pics of dads when we had first project in it, neighbors digger broke in half.  Vapor barrier under cement is a must.  

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Go at least 18' tall. I made mine 16' when I built in 2008. 16' ceiling is not very nice for a loft if you add one.

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19 hours ago, Wisconsin Ron said:

Is snow loading an issue in your area? It is something we have to consider in our area when planning pole buildings. Not very often but every few years some of the weaker ones collapse.

It's not just pole barns when snow load is not considered correctly. This is at the Washington Dulles airport!

Hangar collapse.jpg

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