Eight Tips for Building a Pole Barn With a “Man Cave”

June 23, 2015

Eight Tips for Building a Pole Barn With a “Man Cave”

Many people crave a new workshop or garage, but don’t know where to turn. But what if there was a structure that could give you an awesome workshop and a private living space to hang out with friends? Read these eight tips about building a pole barn with a “man cave” attached.

Ah, the “man cave.” It’s an American cultural institution; what every man (and woman, too) dreams of: a space to 100% call his or her own.

(And which likely also has a bar.)

The “man cave” is a place of comfort. It’s where you can crack open a brew in front of the game in peace. It’s the only room where you’re allowed to keep a beer-only fridge. And you can finally have your rowdy buddies over without hearing complaints from family members.

But what does it take to make this dream come true? Follow these eight tips, put in a little bit of hard work, and you should be able to make this dream a reality.

1. Consider everything you want in your building. Man caves are typically never constructed to stand on their own. They’re usually associated with a workshop, storage building or garage.

Your man-cave area will need to be enclosed and climate controlled. If you’re attaching it to a garage or cold storage, which likely won’t be heated or air-conditioned, you need to plan accordingly.

2. Figure out your heating, cooling and plumbing needs first. Then go from there. It’s better to plan these logistics from the beginning than cobbling them together once you’re close to finishing.

For instance, if you are going to have a bar, sink, or possibly a bathroom in your man cave at some point, it’s best to decide where your electrical, pipes and drains will go up-front.  That way you don’t have to stop your project during construction to figure it out.  Or, a year or two after completion, you won’t have to cut concrete floors for drain pipes or open finished walls and ceilings to run water supply lines.

3. Anticipate future purchases and amenities when planning square footage. Do you plan to purchase a foosball or pool table next year? Leave enough open space to avail yourself more flexibility for toys you may purchase down the line.

It’s better to start with move cave space instead of cannibalizing space from your attached workshop or storage garage in the future, or having to add on to accommodate your pool table.  No one has ever said “I should have built this man cave smaller!”

4. Plan your electrical circuits before finishing off the walls. You’re probably going to want to hook up data lines, or cable/satellite TV in your cave. Make sure to check this off your to-do list before finishing walls and the ceiling.

That way, you won’t have to endure the frustration of fishing wires and cables through walls that are already up.

5. Consider what type of plumbing you need. If you’re building your man cave with a workshop in the same building — and you are into restoring or working on cars, tractors, ATVs, etc. — you could be using air-powered tools.  It’s important to think strategically about where your plumbing/pipes will go to give you convenient access to a centralized compressed air system.

And, if you plan on washing your vehicles indoors during inclement or winter weather, you’ll want to include a wash drain in your floor as well as a source for water in the wash area.

6. Ensure adequate ventilation. High air quality is essential to any living space, but you need to take extra precaution if your man cave is going to be adjacent to your workshop or garage.

Remnants of chemicals, exhaust, cleaning products and spray paints commonly linger in workshop airspace, which could travel into your attached cave. It’s dangerous. Protect yourself and make sure you’re installing a highly-effective exhaust system.  If you are going to wash vehicles indoors during cold weather, he sure to add adequate ventilation to exhaust any warm, moist air generated.

Additionally, install power ventilation in your bathroom. A window won’t always do the trick.

7. Think about how “homey” you want your cave to look. You probably don’t want your cave to resemble a barn, so plan for a more “homey” wall, like drywall and/or wood. If you choose this, order trusses to support the weight of the drywall or wood on the ceiling.

Additional tip: make sure your walls and trusses have the necessary support for that heavy, glowing Miller Lite sign you hope to hang.  You may need to add supporting structure behind the wall/ceiling for anchor points.

8. Select the right windows and doors. If you plan to make good use of your cave year round, install windows and doors with quality thermal performance, which will not let a lot of air go through.

For heated and cooled spaces consider vinyl windows, either single- or double-hung, rather than sliders.  As for doors, choose ones with a thermal break.  This keeps the door and frame from conducting heat and cold into your interior space.

As you can see, planning and constructing a man cave is a detailed effort that requires expertise. Consult your builder to ensure you don’t run into any issues when building the man cave of your dreams.

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