Designing a barn/out-building for my off-grid place. Essentially this is an open structure (think of sticks with a roof), but part of which is a shed. The problem is, the longer poles will need to be about 22 feet, which longer than the lumber generally sold (16 ft). So I thought that I might make built-up poles from 2x4s. Here is a basic picture of what I am thinking.

Now of course I will have bracing along one entire wall, and all around near the tops. But bracing is not the issue. I want to focus on making sure these posts are a halfway decent idea.

If it's better and safer I can probably go with the fancy purpose-built posts, but I would really rather save the money by doing things on my own if I can.

enter image description here

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    Is the frost heave code depth requirement 3 feet in your area ? – Alaska Man Jun 1 '20 at 17:29
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    That's a common strategy even for commercial buildings, but for that length you should be using 2x6. Even 12' pole sheds use the equivalent of 6x6 posts. – isherwood Jun 1 '20 at 18:16
  • @AlaskaMan actually this is north central texas, frost depth is like 8-10 inches here ... I'm not so much worried about the frost heave as I am the uplift from the strong storms we get. – Kerry Thomas Jun 1 '20 at 18:35
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    My pole barn uses 8x8” bottom of truss Is 14’ although I do have a 60’ span. – Ed Beal Jun 1 '20 at 21:31
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    The illustrated overlap (or stagger) at the joint is too short, and it should NOT be the same on each side. All three joints should stagger (each from the other two) with significant offset. (commonly 1.5 to 2 feet) or it makes for a significant weak spot where the post can be snapped. – Ecnerwal Jun 1 '20 at 23:23

To partially reiterate my comment, that's a common strategy even for commercial buildings, but for that length you should be using 2x6. So the answer is "yes".

However, the specifics are important. Adequate lap, joint scatter, and fastener type and schedule are all critical factors in your success.

  • Yeah I was planning on using 16 footers with an 8ft lap, and hot dip ring shank galvanized 3" nails at 8" intervals, about 1.5 " in from the edge – Kerry Thomas Jun 1 '20 at 22:22

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