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Does a Pole Barn Need a Foundation?

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Does a Pole Barn Need a Foundation?


A pole barn does not require a foundation like those used in other types of buildings. The columns will be embedded in concrete backfilled holes to support the weight of the building.

It is better to pour a concrete slab after a pole barn has been built. After the poles have been set in the holes, a skirt board is placed around the perimeter of the building to create a form to pour the concrete slab. The bottom of the skirt board will be even with the bottom of the floor in your pole barn.

Concrete can be poured through the main door of the pole barn. If you or your contractor needs more access to pour concrete for the floor, you can leave some of the metal wall panels off the building until after you have poured the concrete slab.

A pole barn can also be constructed on top of an existing concrete slab. In that case, the easiest way is to cut holes through the concrete to embed the poles in the soil.

If you would prefer not to make holes in the concrete slab, you might be able to use brackets to mount the pole barn to the slab. A building inspector will need to certify that the concrete slab would be able to support the weight of the building. You might also need to hire an engineer to inspect the site to figure out whether it would be feasible to mount the pole building on top of the concrete slab. You would need to pay a building inspector and/or engineer to make these determinations.

The strength of a concrete slab in a pole barn depends on the fill underneath it. If a site is well-drained and has good compacted fill, a four-inch-thick slab is generally sufficient.

Concrete “cookies” are pre-cast chunks of concrete 4 to 6 inches thick and 12 to 16 inches in diameter that can be put in the bottoms of the holes underneath the poles. Cookies are generally used if the backfill is all gravel, sand, or soil and are used in the smallest spans and lowest loading conditions. In other cases, they are not large enough to distribute the weight of the pole barn and are not recommended.

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