Post Frame Buildings » How to Build a Pole Barn » Squaring Building Lines

Squaring Building Lines

Typical post spacing is 8,9, 10, and 12 foot on center, with some spacings requiring more cuts than others. Post spacing is one criteria to consider when engineering for wind loads, wall heights and lengths, and species of wood used.

Bury the Posts or Pour Piers
There is great debate regarding burying poles in the ground versus pouring piers due to the potential for rotting. While building piers prevents rotting, it also reduces the structural integrity obtained by burying the pole deep in the ground.

UC4B pressure treated posts that are buried in the ground properly will last an incredibly long time and preserves the structural strength of the building. Many treatment facilities provide 50 year - lifetime warranty on their treated foundation products, including warranty below the water table! Foundation posts treated to UC4B (typical foundation requirements) and UC4C (marine & unusual soil characteristics) are posts that will not be damaged by concrete embedment or otherwise.

pole barn string line
Site Preparation
The first thing to do after locating the site and determining the placement of the building is to lay out building lines and batter boards. The building lines are marked by a taut string which will locate the foundation holes, the outside of the pole frame, and the building corners.

Batter boards hold the string in place and allow removal and replacement of the string during excavation to ensure the center of the hole is precise.

First use a tape measure and stake out the outer corner of the pole building. The outside of the building should always be measured to the outside of the wall framing regardless of usage of girts or regular stud framing. The placement of the poles will then be located from this reference point to the outside corners.

To square up the building lines measure from left front corner to right rear corner. Then measure from right front corner to left rear corner. The building is square when these two measurements are equal length. See the diagram below for reference.

squaring building lines


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