It’s already starting to feel like winter. And while the official first day of the season may be a few weeks away, the frosty weather of the holidays is arriving now. If you live in an area where it’s second nature to prepare your property for the cold, you’ll want to include protecting your pole barn for winter in your plans.

Read on to learn tips for preparing your pole barn for the winter!

Clean the Gutters

Like winterizing a home, preparing a pole barn for winter must include clearing away the gutters. These critical parts of any building help clear moisture away without dropping it right at the footing of your barn. When winter hits, gutters that are clogged or full of debris can turn into major sources of ice damming.

An ice dam isn’t just a nuisance – it can lead to real damage to your barn! These dams will build up over time, growing larger and larger, putting heavy strain on the gutter system and potentially leading to permanent damage.

Clogged gutters will also lead to water pooling along the upper areas of the barn. Water will continue to pool until it finds somewhere to go – and that may be into a gap or damaged spot of your roofing, depending on how well you’ve cared for it or how old the barn is. Moisture inside any building can be a problem, so it’s the last thing you want to deal with. Especially when the solution is just a short time spent clearing away your gutters!

Inspect Your Insulation

Pole barns that get a lot of use in the winter should have some degree of insulation. Everything from animal barns to hobby shops or mancaves are going to need heavy insulation to fight against the winter chill, especially if you live farther north!

Insulation may feel sometimes more like an art than a science. Even newer pole barns may experience areas where insulation needs reinforcing. You can do basic tests around your pole barn by feeling for areas that seem to be letting in the cold – or you could potentially invest in a tool like an infrared thermometer that lets you see exactly where your barn may be leaking heat.

Even if your barn is just for storage, insulation is useful to fight against moisture and keep your stored items safe from temperature damage. Not everything can handle the bitter cold, from equipment to basic goods – a little insulation can save you a lot of stress down the road!

Ensure You Have Adequate Ventilation

Ventilation is something every pole barn owner should consider, but it’s especially important for barns that house horses or livestock. This applies throughout the whole year, but ventilation in the winter is a unique challenge to solve and the health of anything inside the pole barn depends on it.

The list of issues related to poor ventilation include:

  • Bacteria
  • Moisture
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Ammonia

These can cause everything from minor coughs to life-threatening illnesses in people or animals. Stagnant air is a major source of common health problems, and the winter can make it especially bad because homeowners are likely to seal up their barns, preventing the natural flow of air from sources like windows or open doors.

In addition to the living creatures in your barn, the pole barn itself can suffer damage, especially from moisture:

Wood – Damaged by constant exposure to moisture, rot can set in anywhere moisture is allowed to settle

Metal – Corrosion to your metal siding is avoidable, but if moist air, or air with animal waste is allowed to rest inside the barn, it’s a likely problem you’ll face, even if only after a while

Feed – Animal feed like hay won’t be sustainable in a high-moisture environment, with issues like mold

Maintain the Surrounding Landscape

Winter can take a toll on the landscaping around your property and pole barn specifically. Shrubs, trees and anything else you’ve grown around your barn can turn into potential damage if left to chance.

Without leafy trees or thick bushes, branches become a hazard that can do damage over the course of the winter. Wind forces can constantly press these against your barn, leading to unsightly scratches; more importantly, they could rip away the protective layer of waterproof paint!

Once moisture can find a foothold behind the chipped-away paint, it’s just a mater of time before corrosion and rust begins its cycle.

The easiest way to avoid it is to do some precautionary pruning. You don’t need to go crazy – just take a look at the most likely offenders from the growth around your barn and do your best to keep it a safe distance away.

Have Plumbing? Make Sure It’s Protected

Not all pole barns have plumbing, but if you’re preparing a pole barn for winter and did run water lines or other plumbing, it’s critical to protect them. Unlike a home, you may not be in your pole barn throughout the day. This means it won’t necessarily be getting the constant heating your home would. Once the temperature begins to drop, exposed plumbing or thinly insulated lines become a major risk!

A single burst pipe can do a lot of damage, especially if you aren’t heading to your pole barn every day. Just a few hours can cost you thousands in repairs and lost property but imagine the costs of several days of running water leaking into your barn!

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Do you have questions about pole barns? Call our knowledgeable staff at (937) 547-9100. If you’re ready to build your pole barn, lock in a quote with DIY Pole Barns using our Instant Quote tool! 

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