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3 Effective Ways to Repair a Rotted Pole Barn Column

September 25th, 2023 | 11 min. read

Cori Lane

Cori Lane

Cori grew up on her family's small grain and livestock operation in Northwest Indiana. In 2018, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Marian University Indianapolis. Having shown beef cattle for 12 years at the county, state, and national levels, Cori chose to pursue a career in agriculture. Today, she serves as the Marketing Content Creator on the FBi team. In her free time, Cori enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, listening to live music, and traveling.

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Pole barn columns, also known as posts, are the backbone of your post-frame building. They bear the weight of the entire roof system (including purlins and trusses) and ensure all structural loads (such as snow and wind) are transferred to the foundation.

In other words, posts play a significant role in your pole barn’s structural integrity. However, it’s common to encounter rotted wood in older post-frame buildings dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.

Fun Fact: In the 1970s, pole barn columns were soaked in creosote. This carcinogenic chemical made solid posts less susceptible to rot. Eventually, the post-frame construction industry transitioned to safer wood preservatives, and creosote was discontinued because of its harmful effects.

The good news is that you can easily fix this type of damage. This article discusses three effective ways to repair a rotted pole barn column.

Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Repairs & Renovations Blog

Why Do Pole Barn Columns Rot?

First, rot is a form of decay activated by moisture and fungi growth. Fungi grow in damp conditions, so you don’t have to worry about spores forming on dry wood.

Moreover, softwood lumber must be continuously wet for fungi to germinate. An ideal environment is any wooden post-frame building component with a moisture content of 20% (or higher) that can’t dry out quickly. Spring and winter are optimal for wood-eating fungi (e.g., rain and melted ice/snow).

The key to preventing rotted pole barn columns is to be proactive with your post-frame building design. Please watch this short YouTube video to learn more about laminated posts, Perma-Columns, and bracket-to-concrete.

3 Effective Ways to Repair a Rotted Pole Barn Column

As a post-frame builder with 65+ years of experience, we’ve repaired our fair share of rotted pole barn columns. Ultimately, the right solution will depend on the flooring type and budget for your construction project.

1) Sister a Laminated Post Next to the Rotted Pole Barn Column

Sister a Laminated Post to a Rotted Pole Barn ColumnAs stated above, decay in post-frame construction occurs at ground level (within 4” of the topsoil), where oxygen mixes with moisture. 

The first solution is to sister an 8’ laminated post next to the rotted pole barn column. The idea is that all structural loads will transfer from the decaying post to the new one.

A Repair & Renovation construction crew will start excavating a 4’ hole for the stub. They must dig adjacent to the rotted wood to sit the 3-ply treated column atop the existing concrete pad. The initial 3’ will be drilled using a two-man auger, and the remaining 1’ will be cleared with a post-hole digger.

Then, the top 4’ of the laminated post will be sistered to the original pole barn column with bolts.


2) Reinforce the Rotted Pole Barn Column with a Bracket-to-Concrete

Bracket to Concrete Pole Barn Column RepairThe second solution is reinforcing the rotted pole barn column with a bracket-to-concrete. This straightforward remedy can only be used in post-frame buildings with existing concrete floors.

A Repair & Renovation construction crew will screw this black powder-coated bracket into the laminated column and anchor it to the concrete foundation with heavy-duty bolts. 

No extra work is required because the decay remains below ground level. The idea is that all structural loads will pass through the bracketed post onto the concrete slab instead of the footing.


3) Replaced the Rotted Pole Barn Column with a Pre-Cast Concrete Post

Replace Rotted Pole Barn Post with Perma-ColumnThe third solution is to replace the rotted post with a Perma-Column. This pre-cast concrete post represents the evolution of pole barn construction. 

This sustainable solution can withstand rot because no wood goes into the ground. They’re sized to fit any laminated column or solid post.

Moreover, Perma-Columns include microfibers for shock resistance and durability. Microsilica enhances compressive strength and erosion resistance. A corrosion inhibitor protects the rebar reinforcement and brackets from rust.

A Repair & Renovation construction crew will locate the rotted pole barn column. The existing metal panels and skirt board will be detached. A two-man auger will dig down right beside the decaying post.

Furthermore, a bottle jack and support beam brace the pole barn truss while the field employees cut the rotted column off at ground level. Using a shovel, they will clear the bottom of the hole to create a level base for the pre-cast concrete pad.

The existing post will be measured and cut to the desired clearance for the Perma-Column. The steel siding and skirt board can be re-installed once the pre-cast concrete post is positioned with bolts and screws.

Editor’s Note: Perma-Columns are available in several models varying in length. We recommend downloading their “Rotted Post Repair Guide” for more information about this pole barn repair.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Rotted Pole Barn Column?

Each post-frame builder will have a different cost for repairing rotted pole barn columns. And no two post-frame buildings are the same. At FBi Buildings, the starting price is $500 minimum per pole (with at least six poles).

As mentioned above, the type of pole barn flooring will influence your post-frame building repair costs. Are your pole barn columns embedded in a dirt, gravel, or concrete pad? For example, our field employees must cut the concrete to replace a rotted post.

Prospective customers must also consider the building material, equipment rental, and labor costs of this pole barn repair.

Are You Ready to Repair Your Rotted Pole Barn Columns?

Now that you understand this post-frame building repair, you can start replacing your rotted pole barn columns!

If you have any questions, our Repair & Renovation specialists can inspect your existing post-frame building. Best of all, it doesn’t matter who built the original pole barn! Our dedicated team has the knowledge, resources, and manpower to extend any post-frame building’s useful life or reconfigure it for a new purpose.

Whenever you’re ready, please call our office at (800) 552-2981 to request a free pole barn repair and renovation quote.

Additional Resources:

The Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Repairs & Renovations

Pole Barn Repair Quote_FBi Buildings

Do you have more questions about rotted pole barn columns not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contact FBi Buildings at 800.552.2981 or click here to email us. If you’re ready to get a price, click here to request a quote, and our Customer Engagement Team will help you determine the next steps of your project.