Post-frame construction is an attractive and flexible option for many types of buildings. Schools, civic buildings, fire stations, equestrian facilities, agricultural buildings and even homes have been constructed in recent years using this popular approach. A variety of facades and unique construction approaches have yielded beautiful and long-lasting structures that complement the surrounding area.
Economy and flexibility of construction, ease of maintenance and sustainability are clear benefits of post-frame buildings. Easy-to-maintain materials are at the core of post-frame construction, and a well-maintained building should last a lifetime.
Post-Frame Construction Evolution
Post-frame buildings have evolved significantly in recent years. Decades ago, post-frame was a simplified construction that involved placing solid treated wood beams directly into the soil and then covered with siding. This 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.
Today the potential for post decay is gone. Post-frame posts are now laminated columns that are completely pressure treated and can also be protected using polyethylene sleeves, or embedded in concrete foundations to completely remove the exposure to the soil and potential decay of the supports. The life of a properly constructed post-frame building is no longer a challenge since wood-to-soil contact has been eliminated.
Check the Siding and Roofing
Ongoing inspection and cleaning are necessary for any type of construction to retain a long life and attractive appearance. Maintenance for post-frame structures is very low 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 where we live; wind, rain, and snow are notable, so periodic inspecting to be able to spot a loose fastener can save repair issues down the road.
During installation or after years of use, it’s important to use high-quality paint where applicable. Lower grade products may begin to chip or “chalk” after only a few years.
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 and Replacing Weather Seals and Ventilation
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 stops energy from escaping and keeps 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 produce significant savings.
Carefully testing the ventilation system is also critical. Sufficient airflow is required to keep condensation from accumulating.
Inspect the Insulation
Post-frame buildings can provide better insulation than standard construction. The span between vertical members is larger with thicker wall cavities allowing for a higher R-value. This, in turn, allows 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.
Post frame buildings are energy and cost efficient when they are maintained regularly. Have questions about whether a post frame building will meet your needs? Give us a call, we’re happy to answer all your questions.