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retro-fit a pole barn

 
Marianne Cicala
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A bit frustrated here - asked the closest certified perma-designer (she doesn't know about construction) for a recommendation for a cob/bale instructor. She gave me the name of her teacher in up-state NY who I contacted and in short order got a response that he'd be happy to come down and hold a week-long class on cob.....for $6,000.00 + travel & lodging. That's not an option so I need some direction please. We have pretty good construction knowledge as we've rennovated a dozen run-down homes and built our home here.
Plenty of clay on the land, straw is easy to come-by for either bale or cob structures and a big stack of windows. 1st things first - would it make sense to
put in the subfloor & joist, which is what I'm thinking. Pole barn is approx 15' X 30'
thanks for any directions.
M
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K Nelfson
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Around here (MN) ag buildings can be built if you own >10 acres and swear up and down that it is not for human occupation. So I don't know if you'll get in trouble for this retrofit...
 
Marianne Cicala
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In rural southern va, things are very relaxed. Not a problem.
 
Robert Ray
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What are you going to use as the foundation? That would probably influence on whether I were to put in joists and subfloor first and give a connection point for the joists.
 
Marianne Cicala
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First thought was to dig a footing and block/stone; however, the ceiling heighth would be too decreased to have a traditional foundation so more of a mini crawlspace with central pillar support in each bay.
 
Robert Ray
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Zone 7 b so probably not a real problem with frost heave. I'd think about pouring footings and foundation at the same time in a narrow, bale width, monolithic pour. Bale infill walls could be put up easily in a weekend.
 
Marianne Cicala
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that would work!! - 18" footing would be all needed here. Not a fan of slab foundations, so I didn't think about it, but in this application, it would be fast and actually far better than any other floor/surface.
thank you very much!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Hey Robert -
now considering the monolithic pour with a "footing" almost 10" above ground with a bale width - with all the rain this season, it's obvious there needs to be a higher footing to avoid rot etc. Would you suggest pushing in vertical rebar on the footings to use as support for the first several courses of bails? seems to make sense to be to have the rods solidly in place as anchors for the bales?
thanks for any input
 
Robert Ray
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The mechanical connection between bales and footing is important. I would put rebar into the footing to pierce the first course. Then pin each course to the the one below with 36 inch pieces pieces of rebar. The top course might need a different connection perhaps all thread and a deadman to keep it tight. Metal banding, like what they use to secure loads to a pallet, plastic banding used for the same purpose might also be an option. Since it is up high just floating might be ok but I think I would like to secure the course somehow. It gets tough once you get close to the top and have stuff in the way
From looking at the picture picture my only other concern, if you get a lot of rain, is perhaps a need to extend the eaves a bit.
 
Marianne Cicala
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what I planned to do was to leave the roof on until we get within a couple of courses to the roof line, then find a week-end of no rain, take off the metal roof, finish the bales and put a new roof on with a MUCh bigger overhand, probably 3'+. Kicking around a layer of ply then sips then tin with overhang. Sound about right to you?

thank you for your input - I was hoping I was on the right page. I'll probably set the rebar when we frame up the footing as I'll be screening mid was also since it's so tall.

really, really appreciate it.
M
 
Robert Ray
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It will make it a lot easier without the overhead obstruction when you get to the final courses, good luck.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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