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How to Brace a Pole Barn


If you are building a pole barn on your property, you need to brace it for extra strength to stand up to strong winds. Several methods can be used to strengthen your pole barn.

Truss bracing is not static. You will need to consider several factors, including the truss, span, on center, height, location of large openings, and site conditions.

Your pole barn should have purlins that connect the trusses on the top chord at 24 inches on center. They can be placed closer if required by the plans because of snow loads.

Lateral bracing provides continuous bracing on the truss bottom chord. This is typically five to 10 feet on center.

If a truss is above a particular height, you will also need continuous web bracing, as shown on your truss drawings.

Sway bracing is used to “cluster” trusses and support from the top to bottom plane. It is especially important for open wall applications without siding or if there are large openings. Sway bracing is not continuous. It is used as required depending on the specific needs of the project.

Cross bracing, or X bracing, is similar to sway bracing, but it braces in a criss-cross fashion from the top chord on one side to the bottom chord on the other side. It is also known as diagonal bracing.

Wind bracing uses 2x4s to connect the post next to the corner post on the eave wall to the gable endframe truss near the center of the pole barn. Nail the 2x4 to the bottom of the top chord of the trusses.

Stub posts are used to secure trusses between posts on the truss supports. This is a sturdy and inexpensive way to keep a truss secure and plumb during construction.

A pole barn with steel siding and roofing fastened at 24 inches on center creates a diaphragm effect that makes a building strong. Using sheathing and Hardie board can also strengthen your pole barn. If you use board and batten siding, you will need much more bracing.

Corner braces are essential for a tall building. If the wall is 10 feet high and the posts are four feet in the ground, you will need less corner bracing than you would with a taller structure. Some builders do not use corner braces below 10 feet.

Girt stiffeners may be required, depending on wind speed, wall height, and post spacing. A 2x6 is fit between the truss support and nailed to each girt, truss support, and grade board.

If your pole barn is not going to have siding, it will be more susceptible to racking under extreme conditions than an enclosed building would be. You can use knee braces to support the trusses and keep them aligned. Nail a 2x6 on the notched side of the post where the truss sits so that the brace lines up with the truss and post.

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