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Post Frame enclosure using SIPs

Arena Roofs

Post frame post and truss sections work out well at 12' on center in freespans up to 120'.  Post height of up to 16' and cross tie height of up to 15' higher, make post frames very feasable for arena roof projects.  Usually the racking and cross support requirements for purlins make construction cumbersome.  Uninsulated conventional roofs create arena space that is too hot and condensation can be a problem, especially with high spirited horses in the arena.

One solution to this problem is the use of structural insulated panels as purlin, roof, ceiling and insulation.  SIPs are available in sizes up to 8' x 28'.  Their rigidity and tie down strength resolve most engineering issues for large freespan buildings and they have the added bonus of insulating the roof, allowing virtually no radiant flow.

A typical 100' x 240' arena can be completed in three weeks, ready for roof- and any roof is acceptable (metal or shingles) allowing better matching to existing buildings.   Additionally, the look of a post frame arena ceiling is more ascetically pleasing than metal, suitable for a different market.  The laminated posts and beams can be made in virtually any wood, making the frame a work of art in and of itself.

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This post frame/SIP arena was erected in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia in 2003. It is 100' x 240' (just over 1/2 acre under roof). The 4' x 12' SIPs spanned truss to truss over the trusses.


Churches need large open space for fellowship halls and sanctuaries making them highly appropriate for post frame with SIP enclosure.  Using a typical post frame post and truss section spaced 12' o.c.and freespans up to 120' building sizes up to 500' by 120' are feasable.  The use of SIPs as the roof and wall enclosure handles most wind, seismic, and other engineering conditions as well as providing a comfortable, energy efficient shell building with unlimited space use within.   Window sections can be sizeable, fully supported by the truss sections.

Masonry walls with truss sections supported longitudinally by SIPs also are an excellent option.  Again, the laminates can be of virtually any wood and connectors can be exposed or hidden (stealth) allowing for impressive, simple architecture.  Sacred space is simple to create with post frames and SIPs.

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The sanctuary on the left was built with masonry walls, truss sections and SIPs, the one on the right with stealth connected truss sections and SIPs

Pool Enclosure

Pool enclosures create special humidity problems.  Using post frame and SIP, an enclosure can be created that is static and humidity control can be acheived through conventional HVAC systems utilizing in-line dehumidification.  The laminated post frame does not delam or check and there is no humidity transfer through or into the SIP walls or roof. This stealth post frame and SIP enclosure created a beautiful pool space.

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Light Commercial

Post Frame and SIP buildings are well suited to certain types of light commercial structures.  Garden centers and retail outlets for outside products in general need to be covered in large open spaces, but usually temperature control is expected by the store patrons.  Often, metal ovens are not appropriate to the market sought.   Also, metal siding is sometimes discouraged or not allowed by community standards.   All of these circumstances are addressed by post frame buildings with SIP enclosure.

The elimination of interior columns also can be of great value.  With freespans of 120' and bulding lengths up to 500', most small to medium operations can be contained within a single building and temperature control and comfort are easy to maintain.   Any siding or roof material can be used to help the structure fit in well with the local environment.

Agricultural Buildings

Insulated barns, cool storage, food handling and sorting operations and food warehouses are all appropriate buildings and operations for postframe and SIPs.

Custom Homes

Recently, as timber frame homes have become more expensive and more popular, people have started adapting post frame technology to custom homes.  Since the feel of a post frame is similar to that of a timber frame, many buyers spurned by the more expensive timber frame industry have looked into post frame as an option.

For more information on residential post frames go to .