Tennessee Pole Barns
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Tennessee Pole Barns
Tennessee pole barns are purpose-built structures that are easy and inexpensive to erect, yet sturdy and resistant to severe weather. TN pole barns can be used for stabling horses, housing farm animals, storing hay and farm equipment, and storing cars, boats, and recreational equipment. The same style of construction that Tennessee pole barns are based on can also be used to construct summer homes and even year-around houses and commercial buildings.
The first TN pole barns were built in the 1930s. They got their name from the telephone polls that farmers used as structural supports. The polls were stuck into the ground at regular intervals around the edges of the barns, and double top plates made of 2x lumber were often through-bolted to the tops of the poles. The roofs of these Tennessee pole barns were supported on the top plates or by the poles. That’s all there is to the most basic TN pole barns; they consist of support poles, a roof, and diagonal bracing to prevent racking.
However, most Tennessee pole barns require walls to keep out the weather and to secure the contents. Once the poles and the roof are erected, then girts can be added to support the siding. Girts are run horizontally and secured to the poles. They are often 1x lumber, but they may also be metal. TN pole barns are usually completed by the addition of metal, vinyl or wood siding that is secured to the girts. If animals are being kept inside, then often interior girts and siding are added to resist the jostling of the animals and prevent them from damaging the exterior walls of the Tennessee pole barns.
Traditionally, TN pole barns had wood structures and wood or metal siding. However, today’s Tennessee pole barns may be supported by lumber, engineered wood such as LVLs or PSLs, or metal poles. Most TN pole barns use pre-fab wood trusses with metal connectors as the roof structure, although some have traditionally framed shed roofs or gabled roofs. While the structural poles supporting Tennessee pole barns were originally plain wood posts embedded in the ground, today they are always treated to resist rot, at the very least. More commonly, they are supported by tube-style concrete footings, which will not deteriorate when exposed to damp earth. Most modern TN pole barns consist of tube footings, structural poles, top plates, trusses, roof sheathing and shingles, girts, diagonal bracing, and siding on the outside.
Tennessee pole barns are defined by their structural system. They don’t need continuous wall foundations, because the walls are supported by the poles. Some even rely on the bottoms of the poles and the friction between the soil and the poles to support their weight, and do not use footings at all. This simplifies construction and lowers costs. That’s why TN pole barns are being adopted for non-traditional uses. Your local big box stores or strip malls may basically be Tennessee pole barns. Your new cottage, garage or workshop could be built sturdily and inexpensively with this type of construction. With their simple structure and quick and easy construction, TN pole barns are a great choice for both outbuildings and more durable structures.
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