BeamOnPostThe plan was for the construction crew to start working on our barn the week after Thanksgiving, but that didn’t fly because the week of Thanksgiving, we had a nutty snowstorm. That, combined with the holiday, stalled lumber deliveries that whole week, leaving the next week backlogged. On Monday all the floor joist lumber arrived, but lo, the beams weren’t there, so there was nothing to hang the floor joists from. The beams showed up Wednesday, so work finally began again a week after Thanksgiving.

BeamsOur loft is an extraordinary thing. We had portions of it engineered to handle the case where it were stuffed it floor-to-ceiling with hay. With a 9:12 pitch roof, that’s a lot of hay. It’s been interesting to see what the design engineer came up with to accommodate this request.

It starts with 4×6” treated vertical posts sandwiched on to the main building posts, fastened with lag bolts. The main floor beams sit on the tops of these, so that weight is transferred down to the ground and is not encumbering the main structure very much. It’s almost as if the loft is being built “within” the pole building, and stands on its own merit, merely being “tied” to the pole building poles to bind the whole thing together.

To get the heavy beams up and in place, the carpenters fashioned a little “jig” that went on the front of their skidsteer fork attachment. The beam nestled into the jig, they could raise it up and get it close to position, then just nudge it into place.Jig

The beams are glue-lam, big sandwiches of 2×4’s and 2×6’s. Each one comes wrapped in its own plastic package. These were a very expensive part of the building.


The beams are secured to the posts with big metal straps. Straps

The required roll of strapping material reportedly cost about a thousand dollars. Ouch!Strapping

The secondary posts and the big beams went up in a couple of days. BeamsDone

And then, it was time for floor joists. About four hundred floor joists. And eight hundred hangers. Oof. The heavier floor section has 2×12” joists, the lighter section, 2×8” boards.LumberPile

He specified them to be 12” on center, so they are quite close together compared to a typical floor. Joists

The joists went up in another two days, at least the tacking-them-in-with-toenailing part. But now, there are hangers. The engineer specified “full shear” nailing on the hangers, something neither we nor the builders have ever witnessed. You know how joist hangers have a lot of different nail holes in them, and convention says maybe you use about three or five of them on each side and call it good?

HangersThis time, it was clearly specified: use all of the nail holes. The bigger hangers each take forty nails! It’s not very feasible to use a framing nail gun for this, the aim to get the nails in the holes is too hard. So they are chugging along with a little palm nailer and a lot of old fashioned hammer use. And nailing… and nailing… and nailing… It looks to me like it’s going to wind up to be a good four or five man-days of just nailing joist hangers (though they are on the home stretch now). Next will be OSB sheeting on the loft, then on to the girts on the sides of the building.