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All Replies on ceiling storage in a pole barn...how much is too much?

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View shelly_b's profile

ceiling storage in a pole barn...how much is too much?

by shelly_b
posted 532 days ago


22 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1486 posts in 998 days


#1 posted 532 days ago

This thread is of interest to me. I have a pole barn about that size and was wondering the same thing. In mine, the trusses are 8’ apart making it even harder to store anything. The barn isn’t my shop, but could be a lot more useful if I had overhead storage.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View junebug's profile

junebug

75 posts in 909 days


#2 posted 532 days ago

really depends on your truss design. Did you have the barn put up, or was it an existing structure when you bought the property?

Most post frame trusses in my area are only designed to hold 5 or 10 pounds per square foot…. enough for drywall

View casual1carpenter's profile

casual1carpenter

353 posts in 981 days


#3 posted 532 days ago

shelly_b, You wonder if you could use the truss as attic storage but I think that you are correct to question this. Trusses are engineered which is a good thing, but, they are engineered to minimize cost weight etc with a calculated safety factor. 30’ is a long clear span and overloading could cause failure so I would propose the question to a truss manufacturer. Likely you will need some columns to lend additional support.

View crank49's profile (online now)

crank49

3249 posts in 1476 days


#4 posted 532 days ago

Can a truss be built that will span 30ft and carry additional attic load? YES

Would any builder do this if not specifically required to do so? NO

Adding sister members to the lower chord might help or it might hurt. Has to be engineered to know.

The only “non-engineered” way to add capacity for sure without risking collapse is to add posts at the points of additional loading.

-- Michael :-{| Diapers and politicians both need to be changed often; and for the same reason.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

863 posts in 2118 days


#5 posted 532 days ago

Oddly enough, I have been pondering the same thing. I wired and redid my garage shop this summer. I had already used the roof trusses for a lot of storage for long lumber, etc and had noticed some sag. In general, the research I did shows:

1. No, just sistering the trusses will not add much additional strength.
2. In my case, the trusses were 8 ft apart, also. I will have to add additional trusses to bring that down to 2 ft apart to support much load. I am also going to add extra bracing to the simple 2X6 cross-members that my garage was built with. All that they do is keep roof loading from pushing the sides of the garage out. With the span I have (18ft 2X6) load capacity is not even sufficient to support drywall ceiling.
3. When it is all said and done, I won’t get nearly the extra storage space or capacity I thought I would. We are not talking engine blocks here, just simple 1 to 2 layers of board and plywood storage.
4. There are lots of resources on the Web for these things. Do your research and run the math or you might end up with the entire thing on your head!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1014 posts in 637 days


#6 posted 531 days ago

I’m certainly not a structural engineer, but have observer some beam barn and dock constructing of recent months. If they were constructed of LVL,(Laminated Veneer Lumber), across the span they can withstand a considerable load. If not maybe some additional LVL can be scabbed to, some not all , of the spaning members of the building and give you the necessary load capacity. My neighbor just had a two boat dock built and he uses just two LVL members to support his lift systems lifting boats of 5500 and 3200 lbs while using 6 additional 2X 8 trusses I think 8 ft apart. Search LVL and there are several engineering sources to provide info of strength of spans. Weyhouser being one. Do any of you, LJ’s have further experience in this matter. I’m also interested.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1080 posts in 578 days


#7 posted 530 days ago

Pictures of your existing trusses would help identify what kind of load they were engineered to hold.

-- Who is John Galt?

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

823 posts in 623 days


#8 posted 530 days ago

I will take a picture when I get home. I beleive they are 4ft apart, and are constructed of 2×4s. Adding more trusses with LVL sounds like a great idea. We built it last spring…so I will keep researching(and looking for an engineer) and if there are any more ideas let me know!

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1590 days


#9 posted 530 days ago

You did not mention the clearance to the bottom of the beams. To eliminate the center post in one garage, we
put a lam beam down the center supported on each end by posts. If you have plenty of head room, and money
you could put a small lam beam under each truss supported on each side by posts, but with your trusses at 4’
you might have to add a support beam every 2’ to give plenty of support to a floor, or to keep wood stored up
there from bowing between trusses.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

823 posts in 623 days


#10 posted 528 days ago

Here are some pics of the roof. I beleive they are 4 ft apart…
A few big strong laminated beams sound like a good idea…I don’t know that we would have to add a support on the ends, I think just to the roof, though I am no engineer lol

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

823 posts in 623 days


#11 posted 528 days ago

And don’t mind the mess….I am working on the orginization lol.

View IrreverentJack's profile

IrreverentJack

723 posts in 1348 days


#12 posted 528 days ago

Shelly, Pole barn trusses are usually engineered to meet the specified snow load for your area and no more. If the roof is insulated or a ceiling installed, the trusses are built stronger to handle the extra weight. Putting an additional and asymmetrical load to a roof system having 2”x4” bottom cords on 4’ centers with a 30’ span and a 3-4 pitch in Western NY would be a bad idea. Might be different in your area. Talk to the builder or the folks that sold/made the trusses. -Jack

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

823 posts in 623 days


#13 posted 526 days ago

Ok, thanks:) I didn’t think they looked very strong…

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1080 posts in 578 days


#14 posted 525 days ago

I don’t see an easy way to modify the trusses to hold any real load in the way you want to use them.

I do see adding lvl’s across at each post to create a joist system for storage. Would even be able to deck portions of it. You have full beams, it appears, on to of the posts that the trusses are set on, you could set the lvls in hangers, knotch for the roof, and end up storing alot. A knotch, and an angle cut would keep you from reducing the height of the shop that much and land your joist ties even with the truss ties for easy decking.

If you are interested I can do a hand drawing, and give an idea how tall and wide the lvls would need to be.

I have laid engineer designed “hanging floor trusses” in a similar type of space, but I think lvls would be cheaper.

-- Who is John Galt?

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

823 posts in 623 days


#15 posted 525 days ago

joeyinsouthaustin-a drawing would be great, thank you! i agree, i think this is the only way to have overhead storage without damaging the roof. thank you:)

View junebug's profile

junebug

75 posts in 909 days


#16 posted 525 days ago

its not as simple as Joey makes it seem. How much weight are you planning on putting up there? If there is a concentrated load in one spot, you will have to worry about the bearing condition for the LVL’s (were the headers between the posts designed to hold the extra weight of the LVL’s and their load?).

It was suggested that you notch with top of the LVL’s to follow the roof slope. This is all fine and good, up to a certain point. Remove too much of the LVL over the bearing and the beam will be severely compromised.

I would suggest either a free standing storage rack, or get an engineer in your area involved

View wunderaa's profile

wunderaa

178 posts in 708 days


#17 posted 525 days ago

Although I can understand the desire to utilize the space, I would go no further without consulting a Civil – Structural PE (Professional Engineer). Without engineered, stamped drawings from a professional engineer I wouldn’t touch it.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1080 posts in 578 days


#18 posted 525 days ago

wundraa I agree that caution is very important in any overhead storage situation….but I think that there is no harm in tapping into the experience on this forum. I will say that I am not an engineer. I am a contractor who has worked with many engineers, and in situations very similar to this, and as noted in my profile, I have worked in small shops and know the value of being able to squeeze life out of every inch.

That said it will be a much easier conversation if said engineer is presented with a proposal, drawings, and information about the existing structure. shelly_b that would be your due diligence to find out. These are the important things I see about how your barn is constructed. A good set of pallet rack shelving, or cantilever rack can be found cheap and store a lot safely, as junebug points out. However going up preserves floor space, and is useful for longer term bulk storage. As far as that plan it looks like there is little standing in the way of adding posts (because of how open the walls are) or adding beams (either as headers or joists) to make this possible. There is always going to be the problem that you will have to store items between the segments of the existing trusses, and that can be a pain in the aspen (tree :) That said if the space is that valuable, this is how I would approach an engineer with it.

(sorry, I can’t convince the computers to not flip this drawing on its side)
You will have to consider if the post and header system is strong enough. After that you could just hang joists with hangers. The purpose of the notch is to raise the bottom of the beam to conserve head space. Lvls can be laminated like headers to further reduce the size. If you aim for the top to be in line with the top of the truss chord, than the ties (the 2x material nailed flat at the top of the chord, and would be required by the engineer to resist spreading and tipping) would all be in plane. You will likely be told that you will need at least 2 foot centers, so I would consider only doing half or a part (like a loft). I would have quite a debate myself about the idea of threading long material up into that space, and if it was really usable or not. Unless you have a gable door, like a hayloft, then material could be loaded in a straight shot.
Good luck!

-- Who is John Galt?

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1080 posts in 578 days


#19 posted 525 days ago

btw… noticing the height of the barn, the joist system would give structure to hang storage from as well. Have don this a lot in previous small shop

-- Who is John Galt?

View junebug's profile

junebug

75 posts in 909 days


#20 posted 524 days ago

you’ll have to figure just how valuable your floor space is as well. With a 30’ span, you are looking at a big LVL. Assuming a 20 live load (typical attic loading), I’d say (2) 1 3/4”x14” @ 24” o.c. (again, please consult an engineer for final design). Each LVL (need 2 per span) costs $150 locally…. thats going to add up fast. For instance, a 12’ deep loft would require 14 LVL’s. Thats $2100 plus tax just for the LVLs. Would still need 3/4” plywood and hardware as well

View IrreverentJack's profile

IrreverentJack

723 posts in 1348 days


#21 posted 524 days ago

I think pallet racks might be a good idea too. If you look for a while a used set up will will pop up for a good price. -Jack

View shelly_b's profile

shelly_b

823 posts in 623 days


#22 posted 524 days ago

Thank you joey:) My plan for the overhead storage is to put things that we rarely need(possibly never again, but I have trouble getting rid of thing), up there. I really appreciate you taking the time to draw a picture for me, and it looks like a very good design. And junebug, you’re right, I do not want to spend a ton of money on this:) I will give pallet racks a look also


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