Progress Report 19 – 30×48′ Pole Barn build


Continuing the adventure on finishing out the shop. We painted the house to match, started hanging insulation, added more drainage, an inadequate portable air conditioner and spotted one (tiny) wild animal.

Hope you all are enjoying these posts and possibly learning some stuff. If you aren’t enjoying them then I’m not sure why you are still reading, but I will continue to write them anyways because they are cathartic for me. It gives me something to remember the details, move on in my brain to the next step, and hopefully save you all some trouble or give ideas on your projects.

The shop has been great so far. While it isn’t quite done to my liking yet, it is functional and has been a big help especially this year with the RV and boat shenanigans. Having the ability and space to bring big stuff in and work on it or process through it is great. I am over the moon grateful that I have been able to do this project both financially and physically.

Steps to building a pole barn
Borrowed the trencher from my father in law again and hogged out a trench for my three drainage tubes. The 24″ width turned out to be just perfect. This got the three tubes flat in the hole, but I still need to go pick up more dirt and finish this up.
Steps to building a pole barn
Started by picking up 20 bags of R19 Faced insulation. At Home Depot when you get 20 or more there is a bulk discount which made them the cheapest I could find.
I did some back of the napkin math and figured this would get me in the general ballpark without overshooting too much, though in hindsight it would have been better price wise to overshoot and return any extras due to the discount.
Steps to building a pole barn
Woof, I definitely had some cleaning to do before I began…
Steps to building a pole barn
Showing my finished wiring for 5.1 surround sound. I set the box up with the wires coming into it in the same layout as the shop. top left, center, top right, rear left, rear right.
Steps to building a pole barn
Cut and put up the first few pieces. This first roll from Lowes was Johns Manville R19 I didn’t end up liking it as much as the Owens Corning Pink stuff.
Steps to building a pole barn
With the way I did my cross bracing, I ended up with an alternating 48″ and 96″ piece in most cavities. These parts come out to 12′ due to me having 13′ walls with a ~1ft header at the top.
Steps to building a pole barn
More progress!

Lets talk staplers

At this point in the job is about the point that I realized this was going to be very difficult if I tried to continue with the stapler I was using. I had accidentally dropped my Craftsman stapler off the ladder earlier this year when stapling up the speaker cables and cracked the cast aluminum case to where it wasn’t usable or fixable. So I went to Walmart and bought an Arrow ‘Heavy Duty’ T50 stapler thinking they have made these just like this basically forever so they must work right?

Wrong. The Arrow stapler I bought SUCKED. So I rummaged through my dad’s tools and found another one just thinking that I got a dud. Turns out that one SUCKS too. He also had a hammer tacker but I found it difficult to hold the insulation up on the ladder and swing it at the same time. They all jam every 10th staple and I had A LOT of staples left to go. So I bit the bullet and bought a more expensive stapler and am glad I did.

Steps to building a pole barn
The stapler that saved my sanity.
Steps to building a pole barn
Here you can see the difference in how the staples are loaded. The Arrow ones get loaded from the rear into a slot with no visibility but the De-Walt stapler slides back and exposes the whole bottom while loading and you can see if any get out of line.
Steps to building a pole barn
This stapler is not magical, it does still jam occasionally but it is like every 100th staple not every 10th like the Arrow ones. Also, when the DeWalt jams, all you do is slide back the loading chamber a bit and the bent staple falls right out. In this pic you can see how the hammer is exposed when the chamber is open.
On the Arrow staplers, you have to curse at it, go grab a pair of pliers, try to rip the staple out of the tiny hole while it breaks into tiny pieces, curse at it again, then get 10 more staples in before you get to un-jam it again.
Steps to building a pole barn
Side by side comparison of the business end. I am fairly certain the Arrow staplers are going in the scrap bin when this project is done. The shiny new Arrow stapler sucks just as bad as the 30 year old one below it. In case you can’t tell, this one tool caused quite a bit of frustration for me.

Painting the house to match

It was always our dream to have the house match the shop eventually. Our house was getting to the point where it needed painted anyways, so it was time.

Steps to building a pole barn
Before shot. The painters had already caulked the house but I like this pic because it shows the pretty significant color difference. We didn’t like the color of the house and were ready for a change anyways.
Steps to building a pole barn
In preparation for the painters, I had replaced this man door with a new steel door and removed these two gutters on the sides of the breezeway so they wouldn’t paint them. These were the only two gutters that weren’t house color and I kind of liked them being white.

A small bit of drama ensues

Steps to building a pole barn
So here is where a small bit of drama ensued. The painters took a piece of the shop steel to Sherwin Williams to get it color matched then proceeded to paint the front of the house. Well, I guess it is a ‘technical’ match, but it definitely wasn’t a match by look.

The house body color came out in a cilantro-y green yet the shop looked to be more tan in color. We were dropping some pretty big $ on getting this done and didn’t want to regret it for the next 7-10 years. So the painters took the shop metal sample back to Sherwin Williams and had them run it in their paint matching computer 4 more times in which it came up with a different color each time. They said since the shop was steel / metal, it was harder to match the color.

This got us closer to the goal, we were able to paint it on the sample piece of shop tin and you literally couldn’t even see where the paint was once it dried. It was a pretty much exact match to the tin. So we hand painted a couple of spots on the house but it still looked kinda green.

Out of frustration, I reached out to the builder Farm and Home Buildings (who are freaking fantastic by the way) and our rep Dan got us actual paint colors from the metal manufacturer. I took a look at the paint color it matched up to and wouldn’t you know it, the color has green in it. It was basically the same color that Sherwin came up with. At this point we were totally lost for what to do so we asked the painting company rep to see if his Sherwin rep might be able to come by. As a confounding issue, paint is expensive and we already had 5 gallons of it mixed up that neither us or the paint company wanted to eat in cost.

The next day Bob the Sherwin Williams rep (I think he was the district manager) came out and took a look. This situation was so interesting because the metal on the shop technically matched but changed colors in different lights and looked totally different when on the house. After some discussion we got down to us just really not wanting the house to be green and would rather it be in the tan family to ‘appear’ like the shop even though it isn’t a technical exact match.

I kid you not, the guy goes “Well, Maroon will take some of the green out, but might darken it up some. You won’t want to add too much yellow, so I would put some gold into it instead which will add some tan and lighten it back up.” then continued “Stop by the store and have them add 2/32 and 1/64th of maroon and 20/32 of gold. But probably have them start with half that then check it before adding the rest.” So after he left, I went up to the store myself and brought some heavy duty white paper and a paint brush with me. I had them add half of the mixture, painted an 8×10 sample but didn’t see too much change, so I said screw it and had them add the rest. As far as I could tell from the swatch and sample painted on the house, it looked pretty good.

A couple days later, the painters were back and with some hesitation we just had them go with it. At this point we were fed up and just wanted to be done with it. Here is how it came out:

Steps to building a pole barn
After paint. It turned out the extra effort was worth it and it came out as an exact match.
Steps to building a pole barn
Closer up view. It is amazing, looks like they were both painted out of the same can.
Steps to building a pole barn
After view of the front of the house. We were exceedingly pleased with the end result!

I’ll be damned though if the color wasn’t an EXACT visual match. I personally called Bob the next day to thank him for saving our butts. He told me he had worked in a Sherwin Williams store for 22 years before he had become the district manager. His skills must have stayed pretty sharp, because he nailed it on this one. Thanks again Bob.

Back to Insulation

Steps to building a pole barn
More progress on insulation. I could generally get about 2 wall sections done per night after the kids are in bed. It is one of those things that you don’t really ‘dabble’, you are either doing it or you are not because you want to be in long sleeves, safety glasses, respirator and take a shower when done.
Steps to building a pole barn
It was my own fault, but the wall at the north end with the window in it only had 12″ on center spacing. They don’t really make weird sized insulation, so I ended up just shoving it in there anyways and it worked out fine.
For the super skinny cavities like the one in the corner though, I will have to figure something else out.
Steps to building a pole barn
Here is my insulation cutting table which has worked out pretty well.

I clamped a 1×12 to the table as a sacrifical surface for the knife to cut. The blue paint tape is at 48″ for the short cavities. Then when doing the long cavities, I just measure out one length, mark it with a sharpie instead of cut it and add another equal length to make 96″. The 1×12 on the top was used to smash down the insulation so I could cut it with a box cutter knife. This worked out great and sped me up since I didn’t have to get the tape measure out every time.

Parting with a neglected project

While cleaning the shop trying to make room to work on the walls, I got kinda frustrated and decided to let go of some stuff. My sister was having a garage sale and we had gotten a truck and trailer load of stuff out of the house which felt great. I needed to free up some space in the shed where there was one lurking unfinished project that had been patiently waiting for me to ‘get back to it’ for about 7 years. I decided to pull it out and put it on FB Marketplace and see what happened.

Steps to building a pole barn
You have to be a long time subscriber to remember this one!
Steps to building a pole barn
I am still fond of this project. After airing up the tires and pulling it out, I lubricated the hinges with lithium grease spray and the lid spring worked just as well as the day I built it.

I like smoked meats as much as the next person, but I don’t have the time or desire to watch meat cook for an entire day. I’ll leave that part to the BBQ restaurants so I can be in the shop instead.

Sure enough 10 minutes after listing it I had a guy blow me up saying he had been looking for just such a project. After showing up and looking at it he told me he was going to try to negotiate the price but after seeing it in person, gladly gave me full ask and I helped him load it. So this marks the end of an era but I have no regrets. The new owner was super nice and seemed pretty legit in his Ghostbusters themed excursion, so I think it has a pretty fun life ahead of it.

Steps to building a pole barn
Buh-bye old friend.

Random details

It is fun to start putting finishing touches on stuff. This is a small thing but I thought it was neat. I put a cover on the socket underneath the breezeway. This socket is wired in with the lights so it switches with the outside lights, but I thought it would be convenient to have for Christmas lights or charging my security camera. While I was shopping, I didn’t want one of the big bubble in use covers since this would be super visible. It is a white in use outdoor cover to match the tin but has a go-go-gadget expander feature for plugging in bulky plugs.

Steps to building a pole barn
Collapsed.
Steps to building a pole barn
go-go-Gadget expando mode!

Back to insulation…

Steps to building a pole barn
My dad had this mobile A/C unit, so I thought I would give it a try. It is a 12,000 BTU unit and puts out great cold air but it is like a fart in the wind in this size shop. It is really making me consider up-sizing the mini split unit I plan to eventually get to at least a 36,000 BTU.
It does however do a pretty good job at taking the humidity out though. This unit puts out a significant amount of water whenever I am running it, so I took the plug out of the drain on the unit and drilled a couple of holes in the top of that storage tub so I didn’t have to empty the tank all the time.
Steps to building a pole barn
East wall mostly done!
Steps to building a pole barn
Reloading! Bought 9 more rolls of insulation. 3 of them are unfaced for use inside the header at the top of the wall.

For those that have been reading along, I was very specific in my post Ford Expedition Custom Rear Toolbox about not wanting to lose any storage space. This trip and all the junk we hauled to the garage sale and thrift stores last week confirmed that I made the right choice to not take up too much room.

Steps to building a pole barn
East wall as it is now. If you look really closely at the top of the header, you can see I also got the main header board insulated with the unfaced batts.
Steps to building a pole barn
Getting close! I am about 3/4 done with insulation now.
Steps to building a pole barn
Random picture. Had a visitor on the sidewalk this week. This little guy was only about the size of a half dollar. I googled it and believe it to be a ‘painted turtle’. I grabbed his pic so he could be internet famous and let him carry on his merry way.
Also worthy as a symbol for how slow my progress on the shop has been.

That is all for now! I am getting really close to sheetrock but I still need to run a couple of ethernet lines just in case before I finish insulating. Next up also is finishing some of the bathroom plumbing and getting ANOTHER inspection. Oh, and I might have drug home another project… Stay tuned!

Now YOU, go outside and work on something!

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