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Designing pole building for easy replace of poles (rot)  RSS feed

 
Manuel Iglesias
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Hello, first forgive if this topic has been written already, I don't speak english well, so I'm not sure about my forum searching capabilities.

I'm thinking about the problem of rotting poles.

Would it be possible to design a pole building with the idea of allowing the change of poles?

Maybe extending beams, girts, and everything else, just to be able to install a second post by the old (rotten) one, holding the building time enough to replace it.
Burying a concrete tube or a barrel near the pole during construction and leaving it there could facilitate the process.

Just been able to install a second pole (without quitting the old one) would double the life of it.

Sorry for my limited vocabulary.

Best regards
Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Manu,

I am not really sure where to begin, and will be glad to help in more detail with more specific questions. I will give the basics about your questions.

First, it isn't a good idea to ever put a post in concrete or in the ground for that matter if it can be avoided. When it isn't, there are many traditional methods to prolong the posts serviceable lifespan. It must be remembered that quickly built "pole buildings" have by there nature a short viable lifespan.

Yes, there are methods for repairing posts, but his involves jacking up a structure and jointing in new wood or stone. Here are some links that may answer many of your questions.

About post and beams and stone foundations -preventing rot

Attaching round-wood posts

Scribing posts to stone

Yakisugi

Recipes for treating wood

This should help understand some of this and help with acquiring more durable method skill sets.

Regards,

j
 
Manuel Iglesias
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I think my english is not good enough for what I mean.

I've read those threads, but I was thinking in combining some of them, selection of species, wood preservatives and what I'm asking you:

Would it be possible to design a pole building with the idea of allowing the change of poles?

I mean as eventually it will rot, hopefully years from now, we could desing the building with that posibility in mind.

In my case, pole building is the most economical way, been the only feasible option.

Thanks
Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Would it be possible to design a pole building with the idea of allowing the change of poles? I mean as eventually it will rot, hopefully years from now, we could design the building with that possibility in mind. In my case, pole building is the most economical way, been the only feasible option.


I think just about anything we humans can think of can be "made to work,"... ... given enough time and effort. The question really should be, "compared to other methods is it the most logical?"

So yes, I can think of a number of ways to achieve a design that would allow post to be switched out, yet none of these are structures I would design or build over the selection of more logical and enduring methods.

Even with some of the most simplistic methods of post anchored directly in the ground (if done properly) would the need ever come to replacing the entire post. I would have to see your building site, understand all the given materials that are available, before I could give more specifics recommendation. I don't know of anywhere in the world that has wood that can be used for poles that does't also have the resources to build the structure so the posts don't decay. Trying to make something else "work" over better methods isn't something I would do or recommend to someone. I am sorry that may not be the information you need, yet in summation, it doesn't make sense to take the effort to design something a certain way that is less efficient than doing it properly in the first place...

 
Manuel Iglesias
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Hello,

Thank you for your kind replies.

That were just thougths, my intended project is to buy a piece of ground, in a semi rural area, and that will be the end of my money well, nearly.
I'm in the phase of looking for the plot and thinking about the feasibility of the idea.

So here is my question, which is the most suitable method of constructing a barn/house, one person 90% of time alone and a small budget?
if there exist something like that.

It sould be big enough to eventually make a living from the farm, so it sould hold the barn, a carpenter whorkshop, the future home (wife, son (6), daugther(4) and grandma) and a greenhouse attached for nursering and barbeques

I'm fond of woodworking (altough I haven't build houses, just furnitures), so my preference is wood, the ground is flat, good soil for plants, continental climate (south of Madrid, Spain).

As we already own a house in a small city and have a job, there is no hurry, but by legal licenses, is easier to build it big enough since the begining, even if it is empty...

Don't know if that question can be answered

Best regards.
Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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That were just thoughts, my intended project is to buy a piece of ground, in a semi rural area, and that will be the end of my money well, nearly.
I'm in the phase of looking for the plot and thinking about the feasibility of the idea.


Where are you specifically?

So here is my question, which is the most suitable method of constructing a barn/house, one person 90% of time alone and a small budget?
if there exist something like that.


There are hundreds (maybe thousands??) but without specifics to location and resources making a modality recommendation isn't really possible. Earth architecture is one of the most common forms (where there are trees and rocks) but locations with trees and rocks usually see some type of timber structures with wooden joints, whether bound or cut. These have been around for over ten thousand years and are probably the easiest respectively to build by one person.

It should be big enough to eventually make a living from the farm, so it should hold the barn, a carpenter workshop, the future home (wife, son (6), daughter(4) and grandma) and a greenhouse attached for nursing and barbecues.


Very achievable...

I'm fond of woodworking (although I haven't build houses, just furniture), so my preference is wood, the ground is flat, good soil for plants, continental climate (south of Madrid, Spain).


Actually furniture makers make better Timberwrights than do most general contractors. If you are someplace on the Iberian peninsula there are a huge range of vernacular strucutres to fit your needs in both wood, stone, and earth.

HÓRREOS are just one incredible example from this region.

Your idea of building a large "barn" is a great approach to getting a structure on the land. Barns and sheds do not attract the attention of folks like building a house does. Once the barn is up...what goes into the barn becomes less noticed and concerned with by others. Workshops, animals and people can all live inside barns...

As you get more details about your land and what resources you have to build with the folks here will always be glad to help you develope a plan. I do believe we may even have members here that are in your region that you may get to know in time...

Good luck and keep asking your very good questions!!

Regards,

j
 
Dale Hodgins
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Jay, your well researched and thoughtful answers on this and other subjects is greatly appreciated. You leave no stone unturned and no post unprotected. Thank you for the gift of your time and experience, particularly on matters related to traditional building methods.
 
Manuel Iglesias
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Where are you specifically?


I'm looking for a piece of ground here:
https://www.google.es/maps/place/Cuevas+Del+Real+Cortijo+De+San+Isidro/@40.0531999,-3.5704933,766m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0xd420f9954e55fff:0x3be5f0ff51fa0ff1

There are hundreds (maybe thousands??) but without specifics to location and resources making a modality recommendation isn't really possible. Earth architecture is one of the most common forms (where there are trees and rocks) but locations with trees and rocks usually see some type of timber structures with wooden joints, whether bound or cut. These have been around for over ten thousand years and are probably the easiest respectively to build by one person.


I'll have to buy all materials, it is flat agricultural land. The minimun size allow for an individual plot is 7.500 square meters, irrigation system from the nearby river, some of them also have a well.
I have no income enough for hiring labour, that's why I try to find a one-man-method. Also it must fullfil the code so the project must be revised by an arquitect (I have already talk to one, a friend of mine).

Best regards

Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Dale...I am not sure what to say...

I am humbled by your words and kindness, and if my time here at Permies has "lightened the load" for a single person than it has been well worth it. I hope I can continue to be of service. Permies has given me ten times more than I have received in providing a venue to tithe to a prouder audience than I could on my own, and improving me personally by such constructive feedback as many have been willing to "kindly" share.

Warmest of Regards, and much thank to you as well...

j
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Manu, et al,

I'll have to buy all materials, it is flat agricultural land. The minimum size allow for an individual plot is 7.500 square meters, irrigation system from the nearby river, some of them also have a well.


I work in metric so for those readers that don't 7.5 meters (~80ft2)

That doesn't seem plausible as a building limitation size even for a heavily restricted area?? Can you please explain this further?

I have no income enough for hiring labour, that's why I try to find a one-man-method. Also it must fullfil the code so the project must be revised by an arquitect (I have already talk to one, a friend of mine).


This is achievable alone. I have facilitated building for myself and others that are over 35 meter long, 20 meters tall, and 20 meters wide all built of stone and timber by one person alone...It just takes time, good planing, and patience.

Please explain more the structure size limitation and perhaps describe the regional "barn styles."

Regards,

j
 
Manuel Iglesias
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I work in metric so for those readers that don't 7.5 meters (~80ft2)


Sorry about that, here we use the dot "." as a thousand separator, what I tried to express is that the minimun legal plot size is 7500 square meters.
The maximun legal size of a barn is 5% of the plot, so 375 square meters (if the ground is 7500).
One piece of ground I'm intrested in, has 9800 square meters, so the maximun legal barn sould not exceed 490 square meters.

I have facilitated building for myself and others that are over 35 meter long, 20 meters tall, and 20 meters wide all built of stone and timber by one person alone...It just takes time, good planing, and patience.


I have time, patience and perseverance...

In the (scarced) neighborhood people have erected (ugly) modern houses, the ancient model were like this:



Bricks and some stone for aesthetics.

But I'm afraid that is more than one person can achieve alone.

Best regards

Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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The maximun legal size of a barn is 5% of the plot, so 375 square meters (if the ground is 7500).



375 to 490 are both very respectable sizes for barns and very achievable.

Bricks and some stone for aesthetics. I have time, patience and perseverance...

In the (scarced) neighborhood people have erected (ugly) modern houses, the ancient model were like this: But I'm afraid that is more than one person can achieve alone.


The "patience" is also with yourself...

Don't look at the building...look at what it is created with. You are probably looking to much in this case at the "big picture" which is good for planning but very bad for task orientation and achievement. A 1000 mile journey starts with a single step. That stone barn is build with stone and some lime/cobb mortar...BUT only one stone or timber at a time.

Sometimes the task can be overwhelming, but you know it can be done and history shows us how and that it has been done before many times over the millenia...

I do worry that the land you acquired won't have the resources you need, as building from the land means...having land that has the resources to build with...or...you have to buy them. That leaves the project with the question of what do these stone, lime, clay and timber resources cost in the area of the project...How much can be gleaned from the land and what has to be acquired?

Regards,

j
 
R Scott
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I have a modern pole barn that was on the property when I bought it. The "poles" are three common 2x8's laminated together with ring shank nails. Joints are staggered (crude approximation of a scarf joint) but otherwise nothing special. This is one of the premium brands of building in this area, fully code approved.

Doing the same thing but with, say black locusts or similar rot proof local wood, and transition to lodgepole pine or similar easily available long wood for the above ground sections could make sense in some resource constraints, but is not ideal.

What are your wind conditions? Pole barns use poles sunk into the ground because they cannot stand against the wind on their own. They will blow away like a kite if not anchored.
 
Manuel Iglesias
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R Scott wrote:
...
What are your wind conditions? Pole barns use poles sunk into the ground because they cannot stand against the wind on their own. They will blow away like a kite if not anchored.


There is no problem with wind, here there is no tornados or similar.

Regards
Manu
 
Manuel Iglesias
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What I mean is that I can do this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5zmuRUiFwo



Nearly all by miself, so are there others methods as "easy" for one man only?

Best regards
Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Manuel,

First, yes...again...anything I have suggested in the vernacular styles can be done (have been done) by one person, though with help the work goes easier and is more enjoyed...

I must note that this video is outlining a structural type and materials that I do not support or recommend to anyone...especially for a permanent residence. This series of videos will go on to recommend barriering in the ground (or worse concrete) some toxic chemically treated wood. I don't support that even a little bit. Just in the opening comments of the video the author states having to "replace an old barn." I can almost guarantee that is was probably a "pole barn" that he was replacing and now with another same type of structure?? I am forever confused and amused why folks are failing to take care of there old barns or actually tearing down perfectly good vintage barns to build the modern and rather silly modern and lesser versions of the old vernacular barns. Modern "pole barns" will not last 500 year...They will be lucky if they last even 50 years in most ways they are built today.

So in closing, you can build what you need to, yet I suggest not reinventing any wheels and go with what is already well understood, with a very long and enduring track record of performance.

Regards,

j
 
Manuel Iglesias
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I'm sorry I didn't make myself understood properly.

I know poles will rot, concrete will speed up the procces and of course don't like poisonig the land.


So the ground part is bad.

My idea was that the way the upper section is built, is something that fits me.

That's why I mention it.

Regards.

Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Manuel,

I get that, and can assure you I and others here are with you in spirit and with the best advice we can offer.

What happens more often than I care to think about...is folks come here (or to me offline) seeking advice about something they want to achieve. Unfortunately, too often, they also have very hardened ideas about what they "can and can't do" or what they "think" they "should or shouldn't do." These "seekers" also seem to have many times more "concept questions" with too much agenda surrounding them that are anchored by "but," "if," and "it should work this way," secondary questions...

I have tried over the years to "boil and render" all this information down into the clearest and fastest replies I can but still often fail to impart the understanding that I know is needed. That is my failure as teacher/facilitator...not the person like yourself asking the question. So with that I will keep trying to be as clear as I can, even if I need to restate things a different way.

Bottom line...humans have been building single family domestic and agricultural architecture in your region from natural materials for about 10,000 or more years. It was done with not complex machinery, tools, or electricity, and many of these structure still exists today...or at least the roads between them and their foundations. Pick one or two local historic vernacular styles and follow them as closely as you can. This will probably yield the most enduring structure you could possibly build. I will fill in the blanks about them where I am able...

Regards,

j
 
Manuel Iglesias
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:
Bottom line...humans have been building single family domestic and agricultural architecture in your region from natural materials for about 10,000 or more years. It was done with not complex machinery, tools, or electricity, and many of these structure still exists today...or at least the roads between them and their foundations. Pick one or two local historic vernacular styles and follow them as closely as you can. This will probably yield the most enduring structure you could possibly build. I will fill in the blanks about them where I am able...

Regards,

j


Thanks for the answers.

Well, I'm only trying to find the most suitable method for me, maybe it sounds selffish, but that's why I keep in searching, even if I think I've already found something good enough.

There is no standing building with 10000 years and the most traditional, and so easy to get license is something like I've sown before, here another example:



And I think it is harder for me to build, and those bricks are expensive.

Thank you for your time.

Regards
Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Manu,

...humans have been building single family domestic and agricultural architecture in your region from natural materials for about 10,000 or more years...


I believe the quote references the age of methods in your region, et al, and others as well. I would also note that throughout your region and many areas like it, there are foundations to such structures that are well over 2000 years old and many actual standing structures that are still in use today over 500 to 1000 years old. The point is all the very old structures standing are built in traditional and very natural modalities. Further many of these could be very effectively constructed by "one person," which is what the original query had been, as quoted again below.

Manu wrote:...which is the most suitable method of constructing a barn/house, one person 90% of time alone and a small budget?


I am sure there could be countless forms outside this scope that "maybe" considered outside the scope of this, never the less I referenced in my third posting a form called "Horreos" that are grain and ag storage buildings that have and are used as residences as well. There are also numerous adobe styles from this region that are applicable to your request as well, literally build from the clay soils of the property they are constructed on...

Spanish Adobe Architecture

So perhaps the challenge isn't the method, yet rather your interest in the method or your confidence that these methods work. I can't really address or help with either of those concerns..., but will be glad to discuss details about them and their very long and well proven track record.

Let me know if I can answer specifics.

j
 
Manuel Iglesias
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:

So perhaps the challenge isn't the method, yet rather your interest in the method or your confidence that these methods work. I can't really address or help with either of those concerns..., but will be glad to discuss details about them and their very long and well proven track record.

Let me know if I can answer specifics.
j


Ok, thank you very much for the interest.

By the way, Spain is not a uniform area in that way. There is 17 regions, with diferent laws, and even every village can alter some urban laws.
The "horreo" was used mostly in Galicia (from where I came) and Asturias. They do not allow (code approved) such a building here in Madrid, and as far as I've seen, the only "livable" are from Asturias, as they are square and allow some space, but of course not for a barn/house/whorkshop.

I don't aggree with its residential use, at least, I haven't seen them out of rural little room hotels (not real living families) and always only for aesthetics or keeping the traditional way, but impractical nor cheap as house, as they are design for aireation purposes (those are very wet climates, they store grain in them and must stay dry in very wet conditions).

When we rebuild my grandfather's (in Galicia), we used the tractor with the front loader to move the granite stones, some of 2 meters long and 30 cm wide. Not a one man job.

This is my grandma's one, smaller than the one we rebuild, but you get the idea:



If you mean build in stone (as the horreos in Galicia) it would be feasible (tough expensive) in the north of Madrid, where the mountains are granitic, and there are quarries, but here, there is no question ($$$) nor skill labor.

Of course, adobe is an option, but as you state before, I feel more comfortable with wood, and also there would be a nigthmare to get an arquitect to design it (mandatory) and to code approve it (they even demolish it if you don't) and I think more time consuming.

Local arquitects are not used to it (I don't know of a new adobe building since I was born) and so they overbuild everything "just in case".

Arround here, and I mean in this "code region" they only would consider traditional what I have sown before, and is made with solid bricks, even they call it "the traditional way", and what they consider the most logical method (and there is some truth in it, as it is the most spread and known, so help is easy to get) is concrete slabs, bricks, plaster, maybe steel pillars. Not very environmental friendly, nor cheap and not very "one-man job".

They consider me an "odd bug" trying to make strange things instead the way they sould

Best regards and thanks you for your invaluable time.
Manu
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Manu,

Spain is not a uniform area in that way. There is 17 regions, with diferent laws, and even every village can alter some urban laws.


This is true for most regions of the world, and I do understand that. My "recommendations are "guidance" advice to a "biome type" in the generic. Planning for a specific building site is always best, while following vernacular archetypes and typologies wherever possible.

As for the "Horreos," this is a "baseline" elemental design matrix as much as anything else. It has a stone foundation, and a timber frame above. There isn't much to disagree with there as this is one of the oldest building forms in the world today, with living examples over 2000 years old still in service. I would even suggest that the larger forms of Horreos could more than accommodate a young family, and if several were built in a series as a connected compound would not only render a very functional form in living space, but one with a great deal of general aesthetic appeal, though the latter is a subjective perspective of the viewer.

As for cost, that is a relative matter on whether there is wood in a region and if one builds it themselves or has it built. I design, build and teach timber framing (et al systems) so do not view these as overly challenging and with only slight modification to design, are very functional, aesthetically pleasing and rather easy to build. Timber framing is still today a dominant form of building around the globe, in hand with "earth based" vernacular architecture.

When we rebuild my grandfather's (in Galicia), we used the tractor with the front loader to move the granite stones, some of 2 meters long and 30 cm wide. Not a one man job.


Hmmm......unless more than one person was driving the tractor...I do believe this was still a "one man job." Since I do such tasks as a part of my living, I would respectfully suggest this is more about "ability" and "confidence" than...not being able to do it. In job is going to require tools. A tractor is but a tool. I would also recommend that with these old stone versions (like the wood ones as well) it is much better to "dismantle them," clean them, restore damaged portions and reassemble them than it is to risk moving them in their entirety. Again...a one man job. I (et al) have move huge structures all by my self...so I know it can be done, as those that taught me did it...

I can respect "lack of confidence" yet can not support holding on to this or anchoring a mind set in "I can't do that" as a reason not to do what has already been done many times before. Yes, stone "can be" a very expensive material if you don't have your own, yet if you do, or it is in close proximity...then it is a very viable building material.

I often encounter a "desire" to build by many folks, yet when any step becomes a little bit difficult or cumbersome in anyway, the reasons not to do it start to come out. I seems to be a "cultural infliction" of modern humans??

Wood, adobe, stone, or whatever...All are going to be consuming time in one form or another. If is a dance of balance between what you have in the way of money and what you have in the way of resource. The often "up hill battle" that it seems some of us have to contend with around what others around us..."think"...we should do or is "best practice," usually is counter to what history has proven to be a better system.

I can't speak to your specific area and its rules, yet know several architects in Spain and know of many natural builders as well, so if share more specifics of location and the restrictions "you think there are," I might be able to be of more assistance.

Regards,

j
 
Manuel Iglesias
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:
I would even suggest that the larger forms of Horreos could more than accommodate a young family, and if several were built in a series as a connected compound would not only render a very functional form in living space,...


I think that idea is because you are not living here, IMHO there is no point in build an horreo outside Galicia or Asturias, and even less one bigger than the 99% of them, but that's only my opinion.

Hmmm......unless more than one person was driving the tractor...I do believe this was still a "one man job." Since I do such tasks as a part of my living, I would respectfully suggest this is more about "ability" and "confidence" than...not being able to do it. In job is going to require tools. A tractor is but a tool. I would also recommend that with these old stone versions (like the wood ones as well) it is much better to "dismantle them," clean them, restore damaged portions and reassemble them than it is to risk moving them in their entirety. Again...a one man job. I (et al) have move huge structures all by my self...so I know it can be done, as those that taught me did it...


Well, here I sould have given more information. I don't have a tractor, and as writen in the first post, I have very few money, so no big machines.
As for restore the old horreo, that's was the way we did, we didn't move it, did I suggest it? in that way, sorry for my poor english.
But that was not a one man job, as I would call it if you need a tractor.

I can't speak to your specific area and its rules, yet know several architects in Spain and know of many natural builders as well, so if share more specifics of location and the restrictions "you think there are," I might be able to be of more assistance.


I've put a google maps link in the previous posts, so that is the exact location.
Aranjuez, Madrid, Spain.
A natural arquitect with experience in this region would be most usefull to me, thanks in advance.

Regards,

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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O.k. lets not fixate on the details of a Horreos and focus on the aspect that they are an applicable...Timber Framing System...to just about any region in the world when they follow a vernacular form for that region...

I make great effort not to provide folks my "opinion." on subjects I post. I try to give sound logical designs in traditional natural building systems which have centuries to millennia of logic and empirical evidence behind them. So lets not compare "opinions" with actual and achievable examples of what folks live in and have lived in for millenia.

If larger tools can not be bought, they may be rented or borrowed. If this too is not an option, that does not stop the building process, it just slows it down. Builders, and their structures, as I have suggested thus far did not have "modern tooling" to get them built.

I will reach out to the few architects in your region I have corresponded with and see if they will post here. If you email me, I can send you there link information.

Regards,

j
 
Slava On
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Location: Virginia, 7b zone
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I am interested in your comments and critique on the idea of using plastic corrugated drain pipes to encase the round logs that need to be buried.
These pipes come in a variety of large diameters and can protect the wood from any moisture and contact with earth or stone for many years.

Thank you.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Slava,

Actually the use (or addition) of plastic around wood is not recommend under any circumstances in my experience. If designing a "post in ground" or "direct embedment" post system for a structure...stone and gravel drainage, proper (natural/traditional) wood treatment and/or the correct species of wood is all that is needed for this process. Plastics trap moisture and inhibit drying and good drainage in such an application as described. Most clay soils have the structural integrity to hold a shape while digging a "post hole" or better "trench." Then proper stone and gravel back-filling for good drainage is al that is really required for such a system. The employment of good roof over hangs also will help mitigate the soils directly around a structure from becoming overly saturated in many cases, as well, plus the proper placement on the building sit and landscape drainage designs additionally aid the issues of sub-grade moisture.

Regards,

j
 
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