‘Tis the season for Mother Nature to wreak havoc. When spring rolls around, inclement weather can cause severe damage to pole barns.  There are a number of preventative measures you can take to reduce potential damage, as well as smart steps if your building does get hit.

For advice on how to deal with inclement weather and post-frame buildings, we reached out to two members of the Wick Buildings Service Department: Dustin Ehlers and Bob Bisinger.

Dustin handles the day-to-day management of the unit, and Bob is the estimator in field. They’ve conducted an extensive amount of repairs to buildings throughout the Wick Buildings service area — in part because not many companies perform service for these types of structures.

Why Wick Buildings Launched a Service Department

Why did Wick Buildings launch a service department? It was simple matter of supply and demand.

In the past, Wick occasionally did larger service jobs with our own crews, but only when those jobs fit between new building projects.  Our builders were usually tasked with providing service repairs on buildings that have suffered inclement damage, or perhaps simply needed some cosmetic improvements.  

The problem is our builders are so busy with new projects, it’s hard for them to pull one or two people off of a construction crew to deal with smaller repair or replacement projects. “Not many builders have dedicated service crews,” Dustin points out.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a builder with a service crew.

That’s where the service department comes into play. Dustin, Bob and the team are ready to help with all types of repairs, such as damaged doors, roofing, siding — you name it, they’ll fix it. And Midwest storms keep them plenty busy.

Preventative Tips When Inclement Weather is on the Way

Dustin and Bob run into a number of wind related damages, such as doors being blown off or siding and roofs damaged by wind or objects such as trees and hail. While you can’t stop hail or severe winds, there are two important areas you can mitigate and even prevent damage.

  1. If you know a storm is coming, make sure your doors are closed and secure. Overhead doors and slide doors should be latched using proper hardware. You don’t want that wind to get in the building. And, there’s nothing worse than a door sliding back and forth in the wind.  
  1. If you have a current problem on your building, such as a leak in an area or steel that is loose, get it repaired before inclement weather rolls through. Bad weather makes a little problem into a bigger problem.

If it flops in the wind, it needs to be addressed.

“If you see something flopping in the wind, it needs to be addressed,” Bob stressed. “It won’t get better on its own.” He notes that a lack of maintenance is typically the biggest culprit behind damage.  A problem that has been neglected for years will only get worse with inclement weather.  

Not Just Anyone Works on Pole Barns (Post-Frame Buildings)

Another reason there is high demand for service repairs for pole barns (or, more accurately, post-frame buildings) is that there are not many builders who specialize in this kind of construction project.

You need experience in working with these buildings.  When Bob visits a building that’s damaged, he knows there is more than meets the eye. “I’ll get a call from a customer who says they need a piece of trim,” Bob says.  “But in almost every instance, there is more damage.”

You need experience in working with these buildings.

You have to know what’s behind that piece of damaged steel. You have to know how it potentially impacts the entire building. And quite often, you’ll run into surprises on a repair, and you have to rely on your experience to make the right call.

5 Examples of Typical Pole Barn Repairs

The old expression “you don’t know what you don’t know” applies to the repairs Wick routinely conducts.  Here are some examples of both inclement weather repairs and restoration projects that may surprise you.

1. Ridge light repair: Better light, more durability

Many buildings have old ridge lights that are made out of fiberglass. Over time, UV rays and weather really does a number of them. They get cloudy, brittle – even fly off in the wind. The new ridge light material is made of polycarbonate; it is more durable and diffuses light much better.

2. Reskin and reroof and old barn: Feels brand new at a fraction of the costs

How would you like a new pole barn without the cost of having to build a new pole barn? Just putting on a new roof and reskinning an existing frame can make what was a run-down structure look brand new.

Too often people think that if a barn has a bad roof and siding, it’s not worth saving. That’s not the case. If the structure is still decent, these buildings can be re-skinned and re-roofed. You can save thousands on demolition and reconstruction costs.

3. Widen the door: It can be done!

It’s easy to add a door and put in windows to an existing post-frame structure. To extend a slide-door opening, you can simply take out the endwall steel, remove the existing door, then widen the space by moving the support column.

4. Repair columns: Extend the life of your structure

Some post-frame structures that were constructed poorly back in the ‘80s may have columns that are rotting from the inside out.  Columns can work like a straw, drawing moisture from the earth up through its interior and rotting the wood. This typically happens with untreated lumber.  

If you have a concrete floor, you can put the column up right alongside the existing pole and bolt it in. If the column is in ground, you can dig down until you get to the pad, and run a column alongside it.

5. Repair a truss: Side-by-side

Similar to the repair on the column, you can also do the same with a truss. If a tree has fallen and smashed the roof on a building, you can put up a truss alongside the existing one where it’s damaged.

The important point to keep in mind is that many post-frame buildings just need a facelift. There are simple repairs and tweaks that can repair long-standing problems. Don’t suffer through the chronic problems – fix them!

What Happens if you See a Problem?

When a call comes in to the Service Department from a local Wick Builder identifying a problem with a building, Wick will dispatch Bob to make an estimate of the damage. It usually takes a few days to assess the site, put the numbers together, and get back to the local Wick Builder with an estimate.  Repairs average 2-4 weeks after that point.

Our Wick Builder knows the area.

“Our local Wick Builder knows the area, the buildings and any weather issues that have occurred in the area so we will work through them to take care of repair needs,” Dustin indicated.  He also highlighted that the Wick Buildings Service Department can repair any type of post-frame building. It doesn’t just have to be a Wick!

If you have any damage from inclement weather, or would like to repair a current issue, first contact your local Wick Builder using https://wickbuildings.com/find-builder/.  They will work with the Wick Buildings Service Department to take care of your service needs.

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