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Old 09-08-2010, 09:30 PM   #1
bobby5
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Default building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Im having a 30x40 pole barn built in the next month and had a question. Where im building the pole barn it isnt level its about 3 or 4 feet off level at one end of it. I know with a stick built garage they would just block it up and back fill gravel. What do you do with a pole barn. A couple people told me they have longer poles at that end and use treated boards and then backfill it with gravel. I really dont want any boards showing. What is the neatest and cleanest looking way to go about this?

Thanks
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Backfill it with dirt and taper it away from the building.
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

I filled and graded level my site before setting posts,but it was only about 18" low in one corner. Remember that the post footings must rest on virgin (undisturbed) soil , not fill of any kind. The distance below grade that the footing sets may pass thru compacted fill,but if it rests on virgin soil,you are good.Grade it back about 10 ft or so at a min slope of 1/12 from the underside edge of your floor surface. Better yet ,dig a moat all around the slab about 12" deep and 15' out. Fill it with a 50/50 mix of peastone and drain rock ,then grade that back as outlined above, This is what I am doing,but iVe fallen behind the fight. Got the moat dug last fall,but still no stone! Snakes and frogs like it though.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

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Grade it back about 10 ft or so at a min slope of 1/12 from the underside edge of your floor surface. Better yet ,dig a moat all around the slab about 12" deep and 15' out. Fill it with a 50/50 mix of peastone and drain rock ,then grade that back as outlined above, .
I concur mostly. I dug out about 6-8' extra around the back of the building which was up against the bank. In my old building I put in a retaining wall that was 2 or 3 2x12's high with rock and drain pipe. On the top of the slope I planted ivy to help retain the soil. Had a built in dog run.

The new shop I have tapered back a bit more like Turbomax and will not be using the retaining wall. I still have the rock and drain tile.

How far you have to dig back and what slope will be somewhat determined by soil type that you have to work with.

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Old 09-09-2010, 02:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

On the backside of mine, it was about 2' off. I simply dug all the posts in to match each other, with the backside only needing to be dug 2' instead of 4'. I then backfilled evenly and voila, everything was "dug" 4' deep.

Sounds like all you need to do is set the posts up on their concrete pads and backfill.
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

After reading the answers I think there are two trains of thought going here. One is to excavate the high ground to get a level building spot, and the other is to build up the low spot with fill. So Bobby can you clear up your question a bit? Are you excavating or filling? In my county poles are required to be 4' below grade, which is undisturbed soil, not fill. I failed an inspection on the holes and Kev442 would have failed here also. I'm not saying Kev is wrong, just this county's code.

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Last edited by larry_g; 09-09-2010 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

I agree with back filling and using longer poles to reach undisturbed ground. I had to fill one corner about a foot or so and just used one longer post on the corner. Then sloped the ground away from the building.
Where are you located?
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Fill the low side half way and cut the high side half way, instant level lot.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

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Originally Posted by trbomax View Post
Remember that the post footings must rest on virgin (undisturbed) soil , not fill of any kind.
That's why I was suggesting backfilling after the poles are set. He didn't indicate that he was on a slope (i.e. that there is ANY high ground that he can cut into) so I didn't recommend doing any cutting. Depending on the room you have, a lot of times there isn't enough and when you cut and fill, you end up with two retaining walls, one above and one below, and that adds a lot of expense. I like the 1/12 taper away from the building if you have the room.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

I just did this with my 30x40 pole barn. I took the top layer of dirt off. Then took measurements as to where the bottom of the shop floor would be when I built it up. I didnt go down because I wanted to make sure it was above grade for water runoff. I'm not on a slope, but there is a slight flow of water, and it would have been right at the shop. So I built it up.

I called the pole barn company and told them my measurements, and they just made the poles longer. They came out, and set the poles in virgin ground with no fill dirt. The city did their inspection of the poles, and I proceded.

I then built up the area for concrete with gravel. 4 truckloads worth. It was alot. After that was compacted, concrete was poured. It was poured with a turn-down edge. They allowed a layer of concrete to flow down the sides of the built up area. This not only contains the gravel, but cleans it up nicely and looks like a built wall. And then the pole barn crew came and put the steel siding on the shop.

This did put my shop up about 18-20 inches at the farthest point. So I had to build a driveway and concrete it before I could use it at all. Since I wanted that, I was okay with it. But keep that in mind if you build up, can you get in it when it's done?
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

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Originally Posted by larry_g View Post
After reading the answers I think there are two trains of thought going here. One is to excavate the high ground to get a level building spot, and the other is to build up the low spot with fill. So Bobby can you clear up your question a bit? Are you excavating or filling? In my county poles are required to be 4' below grade, which is undisturbed soil, not fill. I failed an inspection on the holes and Kev442 would have failed here also. I'm not saying Kev is wrong, just this county's code.

lg
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The reason I was able to do this is because the backfill is called "pit run" around here. When it solidifies, it is akin to concrete, much stronger than the regular mush they call soil around here.
I also watered it and drove on it to compact it prior to concrete, no concrete settling in my future!
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

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Originally Posted by Kev442 View Post
The reason I was able to do this is because the backfill is called "pit run" around here. When it solidifies, it is akin to concrete, much stronger than the regular mush they call soil around here.
I also watered it and drove on it to compact it prior to concrete, no concrete settling in my future!
I wish that I could have gotten away with that. Here they inspect the holes and the bottom of the hole has to be 4' below undisturbed soil. It doesnt matter if the fill and concrete surround the pole above grade. Hopefully the OP will understand what is required in his jurisdiction before he makes a mistake like I did.

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Old 09-12-2010, 09:28 PM   #13
bobby5
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

I just took a transit and measured to see how off level i was. The back corner is 5' low. Is a pole barn doable with it being this low?
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Every thing is doable. Just depends on how much work you want to put out.

How much land are you dealing with here anyway? I asks this because a 1 acre plot is different then a 10 acre plot. 10 acres just move the dirt until it's level. With 1 acre your going to have to move some dirt in and build retaining walls.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:21 AM   #15
Shadowdog500
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Talk to the people building the pole barn and find out how they want the site prepared. When I signed the contract to have my Morton building put up, they had very specific instructions on how I was to prepare the site, and even provided me a book that told exactly what needed to be done for a bunch of situations.

Im sure your manufacturer has something similar.

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Old 09-13-2010, 08:32 AM   #16
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Whether you build a pole structure or one on a foundation, 5 feet of site slope will have
to be addressed with fill. Either one can be done. Site size and setbacks will affect
possible outcomes. Just don't set the building too low to save on fill and construction
cost, only to have water running in your door after completion.
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Ok. I have a question to add. My husband and I did this too, however we have already built the barn. NOW we have to fix the problem. We were unaware of all of this and though it would be okay to built it like so.
The builder built the barn and the tin was place to the bottom purlin, which is level BUT 19- 25 inches off the ground in some places. So for looks sake my husband and I attached more tin to the bottom. Now we need to somehow get the inside more level to build a storage room.
I had some suggest placing cinder blocks around the inside perimeter and then filling those with rebar and concrete. (make a barrier to hold in the gravel) Then back filling with gravel etc.
We would also have to build a ramp to get into the barn.
How does this sound and what about laying the blocks on unlevel ground? Is this going to work or cause more problems.
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Old 01-07-2012, 02:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: building pole barn on unlevel ground?

Mine was no where near 5ft but more like 6 to 8 inchs lower in one corner, we filled the ground way before i built and let a bunch of natural rains pack the ground, when it came time to build i was almost dead on the money, worst case was some areas had more crete here or there in my 30x80.
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