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How to Design a Pole Barn to Prevent Roof Leaks

A leaky roof can be frustrating and can also cause damage to whatever you have stored inside your pole barn. If you are planning to construct a pole barn on your property, here are some tips on how to design and build the roof to minimize your chance of leaks.

Valleys in a roof allow water to accumulate and ice to form, which can lead to leaks. Try to avoid valleys when designing your pole barn’s roof. A complicated roof with valleys is typically more expensive than a simple gabled roof, and many people also believe it looks less attractive.

Dormers and skylights in a pole barn are likely to leak. It is best to avoid them when designing your building.

Some people choose single-slope roofs because they believe they will be less expensive, but they generally are not. A single-slope roof also creates a lot of “dead air” space and can be difficult to vent.

It is better to have an unconditioned vented attic than an insulated roof. Purlins in a sloped roof are usually not deep enough to hold a thick layer of insulation. It is easier and less expensive to add insulation to the attic floor. If the space between the purlins in the roof is uninsulated, it will be easier to identify the source of any leaks. It is also easier to air seal a flat ceiling than a vaulted one. If you use roof sheathing and it gets damp, it will dry out faster if it faces an attic than if it is part of a cathedral ceiling.

The best roof type for a cold climate is a simple gable because it is easy to vent. A roof with intersecting planes can be difficult to frame, keep watertight, and vent, and there are many places where ice can accumulate. In a hot climate, a hipped roof is a better choice because it can provide shade on all four sides of the pole barn. Generous overhangs are a good idea in any climate.

A pole barn should have a roof with a consistent slope from the roof to the eave. If the roof changes from a steep to a shallow pitch, snow can accumulate and cause leaks.

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