Tag Archives: construction tips for post frame buildings

How Additional Features Can Impact Snow Load on Your Post Frame Building

Red and White Post Frame home with dormer

Across the country, architects and designers pay close attention to the effect snowfall can have on a structure’s integrity, specifically the impact of snow load on your post frame building. The snow load or maximum downward force exerted by accumulated snow and ice must be pre-determined when designing any structure. In areas at a higher elevation as well as the North Central, and Upper Great Lakes regions, special care should be taken to design your post frame roof systems to deflect, not attract, snow pile up.

As with conventional construction methods, certain aesthetic features can impede the natural elimination of snow and ice. This is due to angles and traps that allow snow and ice to build up. Excessive snow accumulation that lingers for months will add substantial stress to the roof support structure. Over time, the problem can result in unnecessary permanent damage.

The effects of accumulated snow can become substantial. Each foot of snow that accumulates begins to thaw, and then refreezes can weigh up to 21 pounds per square foot. If that same foot of snow were to convert to solid ice over time, the new ice could weigh up to 57 pounds per square foot. You don’t want that on your roof.

Understanding the Potential Impact of Snow Load on Your Post Frame Building

Excessive and lingering snow and ice can affect your post frame roof structure significantly. Some of the typical symptoms are:

  • Truss members, headers and rafters bowing or bending from overhead stress
  • The roof showing signs of sagging
  • Interior drywall beginning to crack
  • Doorways, particularly sliding ones, become difficult to open and close

How Some Features Add to Snow Accumulation and Snow Load on Your Post Frame Building

Often roof additions are intended to enhance the aesthetics of the building. Although most people prefer interesting shapes and angles that break the monotony of a standard roof, these can become a problem in the winter.

Aesthetics

Attractive and stylish post frame buildings enhance the curb appeal of our property. However, here are two examples of aesthetic features that can become problematic following significant snowfalls:

  • Dormers: Windowed dormers add an interesting profile to the exterior and allow additional lighting to the interior. However, they can block wind and gravity’s ability to enable the snow to fall from a pitched roof. Over time, after trapping considerable snow and ice, both the roof and the dormers can become damaged.
  • Radical Changes in Roof Pitch: Sometimes, designers feature changes in roof pitch at various places along the roofline. These are sometimes an attempt to make the structure more visually appealing. In other instances, the rationale to alter roof pitch might be to accommodate an interior use of the building – where a higher or differently angled roof is needed.

When building with a variable roof pitch, you need to know that you could be creating crevices that become excellent snow collectors. On buildings situated in snow-prone areas, the snow may remain through the season and keep getting heavier and denser with each snowfall.

Energy-Related Accessories

While optimizing the energy usage in your post frame building is an admirable goal, be sure that your quest for efficiency does not cost you more in repairs.

For example:

  • Solar Panels: Roof-mounted solar panels can foster additional snow accumulation on your roof. More importantly, your design must also account for the added weight of the panels themselves. Before adding solar panels to an existing structure, consult a design engineer. They will calculate the potential load of the panels and any snow accumulation.
  • Appliances: If your HVAC unit is best situated on the roof of your post frame building, your design should ensure that the roof can handle the added load of the equipment as well as the maximum projected snowfall. As with the solar panels, if you are thinking of adding heating and cooling to the roof of an existing building, make sure an expert has made the necessary calculations before installing.

Understanding these common design and style choices along with their effects during snowfall will help your new post frame roof last you for years to come.

Contact Pacemaker Post Frame Buildings

If you are considering building a new post frame building in the Upper Midwest or Great Lakes regions, contact Pacemaker Post Frame Buildings in North Webster, Indiana. The professionals at Pacemaker have decades of experience supplying and building high-quality post frame buildings for multiple purposes.

With significant exposure to and experience with heavy snowfall situations, the engineering team at Pacemaker can design your post frame building to withstand all levels of snow and other load challenges.

For more information, visit the Pacemaker website, or call the Pacemaker post frame experts at +1-888-834-4448.

Flooring for Post Frame Buildings

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Flooring for your new post frame building is an important consideration.

The best flooring material for a building depends on the structure’s intended purpose, the degree of durability required for the use, and personal preferences.

Post frame buildings that house and utilize heavy equipment and vehicles, as is the case with barns or automotive repair shops, should have a hard and durable surface capable of withstanding substantial loads and the potentially damaging impact of heavy objects. This weight factor is particularly crucial for production facilities, warehouses, fire stations, automotive service and repair, and, in many cases, modern barns and agricultural structures where heavy equipment is present.

Concrete is the Most Common

Concrete is the material of choice for heavy-duty, durable flooring. For many workshops or agricultural post frame buildings, a six-inch concrete layer poured over six inches of compacted gravel. Then covered by a moisture-resistant, insulating barrier is generally sufficient. However, when heavy equipment is involved, rebar or wire mesh added in the concrete layer is warranted.

In cold climates, insulating material should completely cover the entire sand or gravel base and extend from beneath the concrete at last six inches up the adjoining walls. This insulation, combined with appropriate wall insulation, will help keep the floor warm. Additionally. many owners choose to heat the floor with hot water tubing or electrical coils embedded in the concrete.

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Note that local building codes may specify the minimum thickness and other attributes for floors.

Heavy Loads

The flooring must be strong enough to withstand substantial weight without cracking or damage. As a result, post frame building designers should calculate enough strength and reinforcement to withstand the weight of all equipment and vehicles.

When pieces of heavy machinery are stationary, the concrete flooring should be reinforced to accommodate the load. Since heavy equipment like cranes and tractors are mobile, designers must make sure the concrete surface is sturdy enough to support the weight of this machinery.

If equipment locations, sizes, or travel patterns should change in the future, the flooring must be a primary consideration.

Think about the Access Surfaces

The entry points and access surfaces outside the post frame building should be substantial as well. Moving equipment and heavy vehicles into the building requires a durable transition surface be in place.  This is not something to skimp on or neglect in your pre-planning.

When to Pour the Concrete

The best time to pour the concrete slab is after the shell and roof are in place. Pouring “under roof” also allows for heating elements to be installed. Thus, protecting them from rain or snow during the final stages of production.

Contact Pacemaker Post Frame Buildings

For nearly forty years, Pacemaker Post Frame Buildings has been a North American leader in the design, manufacture, and construction of modern post frame buildings. These structures include beautiful and highly functional agricultural, municipal, civic, equestrian, and residential structures.

To see examples of Pacemaker’s diverse portfolio of projects and learn about their unique process, visit the Pacemaker website.

For more information regarding flooring or any other aspects of modern post frame construction, call Pacemaker Post Frame Buildings at +1-888-834-4448.

Alternatively, enter your information on the brief Contact Form with any question you have. A Pacemaker professional will contact you within one business day.

 

 

What About the Cost of a Post Frame Building?

 

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The finished and long-term operating costs are two primary advantages to consider when looking at building types. Post frame buildings use less material and labor, shorter construction time, simplified site preparation that eliminates the foundation work required for other construction methods.

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