July/August 2007
Volume 50
Issue 4
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Pole Construction For Low Cost Outdoor Storage

GarageSo, where does a family find the space they need these days to store cars, bicycles, lawn & garden equipment, motorcycles and all the other stuff that seems to collect faster than we ever imagined ? Do you add on to the house or an existing garage ? Do you rent space somewhere for the stuff you use the least and hope the rest will fit in the garage space you have left ? Do you simply move the cars out to the driveway so you have room for all the other stuff

Well…depending on where you live…what you’re planning to store inside…and what your local building codes have to say about it…you might consider a low-cost, fairly quick-to-build pole-type building.

Supported by nine poles, our example can be completely floorless…or built with a gravel, brick, wood or concrete floor, as you choose. But remember that costs are optimized by eliminating foundations and fancy additions or alterations. This type of building lets you maximize the use of your materials to get the most storage space for the lowest cost. In some localities, buildings of this type aren’t even taxed!

A caution: Be aware that as with all property improvements, it’s best to check out your local codes regarding restrictions for such buildings and the permits that may be required before starting.

1: Site Preparation It’s important to note that this is a plan is designed for building on a level site. Begin by laying out the perimeter of the proposed building site with string. Use stakes to locate pole positions and be sure to double-check all corners for squareness. Depending upon your site, remove the top 4” of sod. Since little digging is required, other than for the nine post-holes, don’t remove any more sod than necessary. A small, inexpensive line level will help you be sure that all guidelines are at the same elevation.

2: Post-Holes Use a post-hole digger or power auger to dig your post-holes. Be sure to check your local codes for any depth requirements. Fill the bottom of each hole with 4” to 6” of coarse gravel and tamp it down.

3: Pole Placement To ensure the proper (and consistent) pole heights, mark each pole at the point where the layout strings should touch it. Add or delete (and re-tamp) gravel as you position each pole in its hole, then brace it in TWO DIRECTIONS, using 2 x 4’s and stakes. Backfill your holes with gravel, concrete or dirt (gravel or dirt must be tamped).

4: Splashboards Attach the splashboards to the outside of the poles. The bottom edge of the splashboard should be two to three inches below grade.

5: Top Plate & Girt Nail the pieces together to form the top plate and nailing girt. Double-check the height of all the poles and level each by adding spacers or sawing off the excess. Use 30d nails to attach the top plate girt nit to the poles.


CorniceFrame Detail | End Elevation | Front Elevation | Pole Location 1 | TrussDetail 1 | Shutter Detail

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