The Best Strategies for Caring and Maintaining Post Frame Buildings

The Best Strategies for Caring and  Maintaining Post Frame BuildingsEvery building requires regular maintenance to retain their strength, appearance, and serviceability. Wooden buildings may need painting or stain while stone and brick gets cleaned, and metal sidings and roofing should be washed and cleared of unwanted debris. Fasteners and bolts must be checked, replaced or tightened throughout to ensure the integrity of the overall structure.

After severe storms, every building should be carefully inspected for wind or storm damage to prevent further problems from developing.

Compared to steel or other types of construction, maintaining a post-frame structure is far less extensive. Since the building utilizes fewer materials to construct and the support components are widely spaced, keeping a post-frame building in good shape is relatively easy. Repair and replacement, when needed, is a far more straightforward process than with other types of structures.

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Maintaining a Modern Post Frame Structure

Post-frame construction is an economical and flexible option for many types of buildings. Schools, civic buildings, fire stations, equestrian facilities, agricultural buildings and even homes are being built using this simplified approach. A variety of facades and unique construction approaches have yielded beautiful and long-lasting structures that complement the surrounding area.

One the numerous advantages of owning a post frame building is that ongoing maintenance is less complicated than with all other building types. Compared to steel, masonry, stick frame, and other building forms, maintenance of a correctly installed post frame structure requires less time and expense.

What is a Post Frame Building? Old vs. New Construction Methods

To fully understand how easily a modern post frame building can be maintained, it is essential to analyze just how a current post frame building is constructed.

Methods for building post frame structures have evolved and improved over recent years. Those earliest post frame buildings (otherwise known as pole barns) were created from a simplified construction method that involved placing solid treated wood beams directly into the soil and then covering with siding. This technique was typical for barns, stables, sheds and similar agricultural buildings. After a few decades, exposure to the moisture and bacteria in the soil would begin to cause deterioration at the base of the vertical wooden beams.

While those older, decayed posts may be replaced by anchoring new beams beside the old ones, a more modern method has evolved that eliminates the problem of ground exposure.

Post frame posts are now laminated columns that are pressure treated and may be protected using polyethylene sleeves, or embedded in concrete foundations to eliminate any exposure to the soil and potential decay of the supports. The life of a properly constructed post-frame building is no lengthened since wood-to-soil contact has been eliminated.

Inspect the Siding and Roofing

Ongoing inspection and cleaning are necessary for any method of construction to retain a long life and attractive appearance. Maintenance for post frame structures is minimal over the life of the structure.

No matter which type of construction you own, roof and siding should be checked regularly to ensure their integrity and to eliminate the potential for long-term damage. In areas like the Midwest, wind, rain, and snow are notable, so periodic inspecting to spot a loose fastener can save repair issues down the road.

During installation or after years of use, it’s necessary to use high-quality paint where applicable. Lower grade products may begin to chip or “chalk” after only a few years.

Keep It Clean

Washing siding at least once per year is an excellent way to keep your building looking new. Over time, dirt and grime will accumulate and tend to dull the appearance of the structure. At least annual washings can help maintain the color and vibrancy of your exterior.

Checking Ventilation and Replacing Weather Seals

As with other types of construction, weather seals should be checked regularly on all doors and windows. These tend to wear with frequent opening and closing. This process keeps energy from escaping and holds wind, snow, and rain outside where they belong. While post-frame buildings tend to be more energy efficient, keeping the building sealed up tight will yield significant savings. Slight adjustments and routine replacement of seals as needed will keep the structure clean and dry and prevent future degradation. Keep the rain and wind outside where they belong.

Carefully testing the ventilation system is also critical. Sufficient airflow is required to keep condensation from accumulating.

Insulation Inspection

Post frame buildings can provide better insulation than standard construction. The span between vertical members is wider and thicker wall cavities allow for a higher R-value. This advantage, in turn, enables post-frame structures to be more uniformly insulated thereby having fewer spaces for energy to escape. It’s a good idea to inspect the walls and ceilings occasionally for any “leaks” or drafts, particularly on cold and windy days. If insulating material needs to be supplemented, the process is relatively easy with a post frame building.

Insulation should also be checked regularly to make sure gaps do not develop that can cause energy to escape and allows you to maintain the desired temperature ranges within the building.

Winter Accumulations

During the winter, some parts of the country experience severe accumulations of ice and snow. While the post frame structure is fully capable of withstanding the weight of standard snowfall, clearing the roof of excessive amounts may be necessary. Use a broom or shovel to remove the snow while checking the gutters to make sure ice dams are not accumulating.

Maintaining a Post Frame Building: Short List

In summary, neglect can cause problems for any building. Set a schedule to regularly check every element of the structure to ensure complete integrity.

Here is the short list of what should be done:

  • Visually inspect all elements regularly
  • Keep it clean, inside and out
  • Make sure siding and roofing is secure
  • Check the insulation
  • Replace weather seals and ventilation parts when needed
  • Test doors and windows to keep them working and sealed properly
  • Remove excess ice and snow

Contact Pacemaker Buildings for More Information

To learn about the many advantages of post-frame construction over other methods, contact the experts at Pacemaker Buildings. Alternatively, if you are fortunate enough to already own one or more, feel free to ask us about any maintenance or repairs that may be needed. A properly built and maintained post frame building will last a lifetime. Keeping the building clean, tight, and properly maintained and inspected will keep problems to a minimum and continue to provide service for decades.

Post frame buildings are energy and cost efficient when they are maintained properly.

Have questions about whether a post frame building will meet your needs? Give us a call at 888.834.4448. We’re happy to answer all your questions.