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Ventilating a Pole Barn


Proper ventilation is an essential component of pole barn construction. This is especially important if the building has an enclosed attic space. Without adequate ventilation, moisture can accumulate on top of the ceiling and lead to mold and mildew under the roof sheathing and on the roof trusses. This can create health problems and can be expensive to repair.

A vented ridge is easy and inexpensive to install. This is essential if the pole barn is going to have a flat, level ceiling. If your pole barn does not have a continuous ridge vent, you should install one. Be sure air can flow freely between the attic space and the ridge. You might need to remove any sheathing (oriented strand board or plywood), vapor barriers, or other insulation directly below the ridge.

If you install a ridge vent, you will also need soffit vents. Ridge vents draw air out of a building, and that air needs to be replaced. If your pole barn has soffit vents, air will come in from outside, which is desirable. If you don’t have soffit vents, the air will come from indoors, which can lead to problems with moisture.

Newer versions of the International Building Code prohibit the use of both gable vents and ridge vents in pole barns. However, you can let air in from the outside by installing gable vents at each end of your building.

In a pole barn without enclosed vented overhangs, you might be able to add ventilation along the top of the building’s sidewalls. Drilling holes or cutting into a structural member could compromise the integrity of your pole barn, so check with an engineer or builder first.

If you are planning to build a pole barn on your property, installing adequate ventilation is essential. Taking the right steps now can help you avoid problems with condensation and mold that could be expensive and could create health problems for the people or animals that use the pole barn.

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