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How to Design a Pole Barn to Stand up to Strong Winds


Strong winds can cause major damage to buildings, including pole barns. A pole barn needs to be designed with wind resistance in mind in order to help it withstand the effects of the pressure.

Building codes require structures to be able to withstand 90-mile-per-hour straight-line winds, but in some areas winds can be even stronger than that. You should consider the wind patterns in your area and figure out the direction from which prevailing winds blow in your area and their strength. This information is available from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services tool and can help you in the designing of your pole barn.

Wind places pressure on the side of the building it hits. Your pole barn should be designed so that support bracing transfers the wind load from the trusses, walls, and columns on the side facing the wind to the rest of the building.

Wind that blows against a building creates “lift” when it puts upward force on the building columns. You can prevent lift by making sure the columns are anchored a minimum of four feet in the ground. If you expect extremely strong winds, you might want to dig the holes even deeper.

You should also create a column anchor. Fasten two pieces of wood to either side of the column, put the column in the hole, and fill in the hole in order to anchor it securely in the ground. You may want to fill the hole with concrete, rather than dirt or gravel.

The more columns are in the ground, the more secure the pole barn will be. Placing the girts close together will also make the structure stronger.

The steel on the sides of the building protects it from the brunt of the wind. Use screws to attach the metal sheathing because they have more than twice the pullout resistance of nails.

Nails and screws may not be strong enough to hold trusses and columns together in strong winds. Bolts can make a tighter connection.

Wind places more stress on a pole barn if the doors and windows are open because it pushes on the walls from both the inside and outside. Keep the doors latched shut when they are not being used to reduce the effects of wind on the structure.

The Pole Barn Company sells pole barn kits that can be customized for the unique needs of your region. If your area gets strong winds, prepare and protect your building by taking these tips into account when making your plans.

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