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Old 02-12-2018, 06:19 PM   #1
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Major Barn Modification

What better place to ask opinions about modifying my barn than here on an RV forum. But seriously, its for my camper if it works.

My barn is 40' wide and 60' long. Clearance to the bottom of the trusses is 13'8". There is a 12'6" door right in the middle of the front and the rear of the barn. The trusses inside have no middle support. They were designed to work together, 2' on center, to hold up the roof, probably a 3-12 pitch.

Presently, I use the barn for my landscape business and its been great to have. But in less than nine years, I retire from the fire dept. so at the very most, I will be semi-retired from landscaping and just mowing a few yards on the side. But for the most part, the barn will be empty. No need for fertilizer, mowers, ice melt, etc.

It will be perfect for the camper. So perfect, I want to modify it soon. The idea of having the camper completely inside a structure where I can keep it set-up with power is an awesome thought. I have the camper now sitting underneath a lean-to on the side of the barn but that's too narrow to put out the slides. Its so tight, its hard to even get in the camper through the door.

So now, I have to find a way to make room for a garage door 14' tall in front and back. That most likely means modifying the trusses. I know modifying trusses like these is considered taboo. But my totally amateur thinking says it must be possible. My first thought is run an I-beam down the full length of the barn on both sides of the door. Use maybe two posts per I-beam for support. Then cut out that section of truss approximately 2' high and the length between the I-beams and brace what is left. The I-beams will now be handling the support of the trusses and the roof for the most part.

I Googled "modifying roof trusses" and a few pictures came up. I love this idea but not sure if this is possible.

I have contacted the engineering company who designed the barn and they said my only option was raising the walls and roof. When I threw my I-beam idea at them, they didn't respond. That obviously tells me they don't want to deal with my crazy self anymore.

Anyway, what say you folks? Pretty smart people here I have learned. I don't really like the idea of a sliding barn door because they're hard to get "powered" and it would cover up too much of the barn. I thought about a roll-up garage door but that still will need at least one or two trusses modified by the doors. They're about $6000 per door installed for 14' high. Not completely out of the picture but I still think modifying my trusses will be better in the long run.

Here are pics of the front door and another pic looking toward the back so you can see almost the entire truss design. The 10' door to the side will remain just as it is. Only the larger 12.5' doors will need to be replaced by 14' doors.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:00 PM   #2
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I will be following, I want to modify one truss in my pole barn to be able to use a lift in 2 places instead of just one. Hope you find an answer
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:44 AM   #3
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Thanks. One day, I truly believe I'll find the solution. I have nine years to get this complete but if I can do it now, even better.
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:55 AM   #4
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Is the interior height ok, except for the door(s)?
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:12 AM   #5
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Either way, it's gonna be costly. The biggest problem is the V section of the trusses running right down the middle of the area you need. Bracing and cutting the trusses seems doable and I don't think you need 2- I beams to do it. I think an engineer could design a bottomless box tunnel right down the middle. After all the new framing is in place, the old trusses could be cut out. Then add plywood too the vertical side walls for support. This "box tunnel" may need to be built out of 2 x 6.

I've actually seen this done in new construction in Florida to make a recess in the ceiling of garages for the installation of horizontal AC air handling units. The engineers made a 2 truss tunnel to provide this space above the ceiling line.

Just an old electrician who's knows some things cause I've seen a lot of things.

Run this past a truss engineer and let me know if we are BOTH off base. I'm hopeing there is one here on the forum.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:14 AM   #6
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You really need to talk to a structural engineer for mods to the trusses.

I wonder if going to an external sliding door would work without having to do major mods to the trusses. At 13’8” clearance inside, that should be plenty of height. Just may need to make the door higher depending on what you want to get in the barn.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:18 AM   #7
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Your better off raising the walls. Do a search for lifting barn. Lift it up 4ft and do a concrete foundation to support the walls. Then lower is down. Easier and more structurally sound. I lifted my garage 4 ft. But i stripped the roof reframed 4ft walls then re roofed.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:30 AM   #8
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I would think that you also need to consider whether you would destroy the structures ability to withstand lateral forces (like heavy wind) with this modification. You would need triangulation of some sort.

It might be cheaper just to build a new building for it.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:48 AM   #9
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13'8" to the trusses sounds high enough but I don't know what kind of camper you have. Our Class A motorhome was 12'4" and our present Class C is 10"6". My question is have you considered a roll-up 14' door. It might require some structural strengthening for support and it would be mounted even with the bottom of the truss line. But there is no law saying it has to be rolled all the way out to reach the floor.
As long as the apron leading to the barn is fairly flat I don't see why this wouldn't work. If you have to back uphill to get into the barn the rear of the camper will get closer and closer to the trusses until the TV gets onto the floor of the barn and it levels out.
One suggestion I have is to make the door 14' wide also. The door into our garage is 12' and I figured 8'6" MH backing through a 12' door where could there be a challenge? But a 14' wide door would be really great.
Good luck to you.
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:40 PM   #10
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I donít have near the trusses as you, mine are on 8ft spacing. I have 12ft interior sidewalls and a 10ft door. My tractor barely fits in a 10í door height wise. I looked into cutting my door opening up to the truss and making that my header for the door and actually tucking the garage door track into the truss above the bottom cord. I havenít done that yet but itís on the back of my mind as a solution to give me 12í access height.

Might be a thought. Then you arenít cutting all of your trusses, and weakening the entire length of the building. you could engineer bracing around the garage door opening above the bottom cord then.
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Old 04-05-2018, 12:09 PM   #11
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I'd go with a roll up door and just modify the first truss on each end. It'll actually be pretty easy to do that. And depending on the spacing of the trusses, you may not even need to modify them. Just inset the door so it misses it.
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Old 04-05-2018, 11:15 PM   #12
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A 12í roll-up door requires 14í sidewalls, as the rolled-up door is 24Ē around when rolled up. I just built a new custom steel pole building with a 22í wide x 12í tall Ideal roll-up 400-M door last fall for my RV & Boat. A 14í door might need more clearance. You can use the Ideal Door Designer to custom plan your size and price at the Menards website (it wont work on mobile devices for me).

I agree, you will have to raise the building entirely, build a new addition, or build a new building.
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