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Thread: Pole barn versus stick built for shop?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Pole barn versus stick built for shop?

    What are the opinions on a pole barn versus stick built for a shop? In my situation, looks don't matter much, if at all.

    My building will have a garage for a motorhome, wood shop, finishing room, and probably an area to store a tractor and other lawn/garden type stuff. The motorhome garage portion will be 60 feet long and at least 16 feet wide.

    The pole barn is probably the least expensive to build, but is it really the cheapest to operate long term if heated and cooled regularly? It seems to be me that it would be more difficult to insulate and seal a pole barn than a stick built. I would also consider a panelized building as an alternative to stick built if the price is less.

    My budget is certainly not unlimited, but I would rather spend a little more upfront if necessary than pay higher energy bills for years to come, especially with energy costs only going up.

    The building will be located near Minneapolis, Minnesota so it does get cold at times.

    Brian Elfert

  2. #2
    You may need to consider the local building codes as to what is allowed in your area. The pole building design is designed for storage space and creating just plain space under a roof and behind walls. It lacks all the traditional framing and ability to put in things like insulation, wiring, doors, windows and other ammenities you may wish to add. Adding all of these will increase the cost and you may find that it comes out even in the long run.

    One other factor, often overlooked is the fact that the poles are embedded in teh ground and will eventually rot off. Replacment will not be cheap when that happens. I have no idea how long the life expectancy for the poles would be. A conventional foundation is higher cost, but will be there almost forever if it is done right the first time.
    Lee Schierer - McKean, PA

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  3. #3
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    Sep 2006
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    Northern Illinois
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    I am not sure why you would not build two structures or one building with a walled and heated area inside. One part would be for the motorhome, tractor, and garden tools, while the second part would contain the shop and finishing areas.

    I would think you would want to try to heat the storage of the motorhome and tractor. Plus why expose the motorhome and tractor to the dust from a woodshop.
    Wood'N'Scout

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Collin County Texas
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    IMO, a pole barn/building is good for unheated storage, but not a shop.

    I suggest a steel building kit or a standard 'stick-built' building. Either type will require a concrete base/foundation. If I were doing it, I would do some serious investigation of the steel building kit/prefab.

    Talk with Tyler Howard here on the forum, he just moved from Minneapolis to the country, and might have some good ideas.

    I opinons are worth what you paid for them.
    Best Regards, Ken

  5. #5
    have you considered using SIPS for your shop area?

  6. #6
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    My motorhome is actually a bus conversion that I am slowly working on. I plan on heating/cooling the motorhome area as needed.

    I have been thinking that one building would be cheaper to build than two, but maybe not as a woodshop doesn't need 16 foot ceilings. It would be convenient for the woodshop to be next to the bus conversion as I will be working on stuff for the bus in the woodshop. I could somehow build the woodshop as an add on to motorhome garage with lower ceilings.

    Yes, I've considered SIPS which is waht I meant by a panelized building.

    Brian Elfert

  7. #7
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    Feb 2003
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    Brian, it didn't occur to me that you would be considering SIPs. Our home and my shop are 8" thick SIP panels from Premier Building Systems. If you go the SIP route, you will need a detailed set of plans for the company to cut the correct size panels. They will place the window openings, and door openings in the panels. Each panel will have raceways for electrical wiring. Roof spans are a consideration. We had to go with a stick-built roof because of the large roof span and height.

    Yes, I would use SIPs again without hesitation.
    Best Regards, Ken

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI
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    I built a 36 x 48 pole building with 12' sidewalls for my shop/storage combo unit. There is a partitioned off room 22 x 36 inside which is heated for my shop. There is 8" of insulation on the outside walls and r--13 on the partition and 10" in the ceiling, which is white pole barn steel.

    I'm not sure what was meant by not being able to have windows, plumbing, wiring, insulation, rain gutters, etc. Mine has 'em all. The exterior is vinyl sided, shutters on the windows, and is actually more energy efficient than my house!!

    My mom has a pole building that is 35 years old with no eavestroughs and the poles are SOLID!!
    Kyle in K'zoo
    Screws are kinda like knots, if you can't use the right one, use lots of 'em.
    The greatest tragedy in life is the gruesome murder of a beautiful theory by a brutal gang of facts.

  9. #9
    My pole barn is well , ancient , them poles aint going nowhere no time soon ..
    My wife ?? She's a wonderful woman , she made me a millionaire , I used to be a multimillionaire

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    I also have a 30x40x10 pole barn/building and I love it. It is well insulated and heated with a Hot Dawg forced air ceiling mount heater. I have another building that I use for a shop so only heat the pole barn to around 50 degrees in the cold Michigan Winter to keep things from freezing. It costs me approximately $30 per month for natural gas.
    Many of my friends have pole barns and I have never heard any complaints. This may be a Michigan thing because there are thousands of them here.
    In my opinion, any thing that can be done with a stick built building can be done with a pole building if it is built correctly. As far as the fear that the in ground poles will rot, plastic or metal sleeves are made that can be used to protect the in ground wood.
    David

  11. #11
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    Oct 2006
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    Some folks have brought up some good points.

    The lot I want to buy is outside of any city and county regs will allow just about anything to be built including pole barns. Realtor said something about outbuildings cannot be taller than the house, but I don't understand how farmers build barns then. If I build the outbuildings before the house then height doesn't matter. I want a one story house.

    If I go stick built, I will pay someone to draw some actual blueprints. These can be given to county and to SIPS fabricator. I assume for a pole barn that plans are included.

    I'm not sure how I will heat yet. Wood with hydronic heat is low ongoing expense, but upfront cost seems to be high. If I have water in building, I will probably want backup heat source for leaving town and such.

    Brian Elfert

  12. #12
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    Apr 2006
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    Central NY State
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    Just to throw in my .02, I built a 24 x 36 pole barn. The front 24 x 20 is unheated open garage. The back 16 x 24 is my workshop. It's wired, LP heated, insulated, sheetrocked, and has a wide plank pine floor. Talk about cozy. Anyway, you can do it, and I think it'll be alot less expensive than stick built. Also - you can have a real nice attic storage. One but of advice, make sure the builder spaces the roof trusses on centers that work well with 4 x 8 panels. Mine didn't and it was alot more work to fit the sheetrock.

    Ken

  13. #13
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    Mar 2003
    Location
    Monroe, MI
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    My shop is a pole building that was existing. Insulation was more difficult as we had to build a "ladder" to accept the 16" wide insulation. However I was able to get 6" of insulation since the poles are 6" and only used 2x4's for the "ladder". I have 12' ceilings which I consider to be too high most of the time. The lumber yard I was working with to design a building before we found this house told me that the pole building would be considerably less expensive, even including the insulation issue due to the difference in the foundation. The regular stick built building (and I assume a SIP building) would have needed full footers at 42" deep. The pole building can have just a slab. I also seriously considered a Morton building. It wasn't cheap, but not as bad as I though either and they make a good looking building and have a system for insulaton that uses large blankets of 6" fiberglass that go between each pole.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
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    472
    If I were building again, I would use typical house framing to build. The main reason is because you can add cabinets and things to the walls without having to put in supports to hold them. I have a metal building and it works fine except for hanging things on the wall. I have gone in and framed it as though it were a regular building so I could add additional insulation and also hang cabinets and tool boards.

    Eddie

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    central iowa
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    I put doors in buildings all the time but I don't recall seeing many that are big enough to hold a motor home with regular rafters, I dunno why. Tall stud walls would be 2x6 or 2x8? Insulation isn't bad if they wrap it in tyvek or whatever and you can get the ceiling tinned and blow insulation on it too, can't you? The only annoying part is tin walls or framing up for sheetrock but you pick your poison there. Heat is easy though, get the geothermal loop in and it will ease those payments just a bit....

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