How wide of a drive through in a building for a tractor?

#1
Alright I have finally gotten around to doing some sketching on the layout for the new shop and equipment storage. I will likely end up with a compact tractor at some point. One side of the pole barn I will be able to drive through, large overhead doors at either end. How wide does that drive through need to be? Obviously want to be able to walk down either side of vehichles, tractors or other equipment. 12' sounds like it might be tight? Those with tractors how wide would you recommend?
 
#2
I would want three feet minimum on each side of your widest implement that is normally left on the tractor. Now depending on what is in the aisles perpendicular to the tractor drive thru space 3 ft. won't allow you to get out what you need. For example if you have a pile of twelve ft. lumber them you simply have to move the tractor and the attached wide implement out of the barn to get at the lumber and move out some pieces. However for most things one moves in and out of the barn 3 ft. is enough space to accomplish the move without moving the tractor. In the extreme winter though flexibility can be limited so I try to plan for it and get things needed out of the barn before hard winter.

I made the mistake of having exterior sliding doors on my lower barn. The snow and below zero temps we have now renders those doors virtually inoperable.
 
#3
I like the idea of 3 foot min. My 12 foot doors leave me a foot on each side when I put the mower in.
Speaking of doors the barn was built before I bought the place. One thing I would have done different is put the doors on the back side so everyone that drives by can't see what's in there when the doors are open.
 
#4
I think the 3' minimum is a good approach, the only thing is I dont own the tractor or the implements yet so its hard to know those measurents. Optimistically at some point I would also have an open sided pole shed for implements. I have the shop side of the pole barn pretty well penciled out knowing where existing equipment will go and where I need the additional space now. Obviously a guy never says, "I wish I would have built a smaller building!" :emoji_wink:However, there is a point where financial resources are better allocated for other projects. I know I will have "garage style" doors for the overheads, I am sure they are more costly than sliders but I want to make the pole barn a little more weather tight than sliders provide.
 
#5
I would want three feet minimum on each side of your widest implement that is normally left on the tractor. Now depending on what is in the aisles perpendicular to the tractor drive thru space 3 ft. won't allow you to get out what you need. For example if you have a pile of twelve ft. lumber them you simply have to move the tractor and the attached wide implement out of the barn to get at the lumber and move out some pieces. However for most things one moves in and out of the barn 3 ft. is enough space to accomplish the move without moving the tractor. In the extreme winter though flexibility can be limited so I try to plan for it and get things needed out of the barn before hard winter.

I made the mistake of having exterior sliding doors on my lower barn. The snow and below zero temps we have now renders those doors virtually inoperable.
I agree with 3' min on each side. Also look at the turn radius from your drive approach to insure you can straighten the trailer-ed equipment.
 

rocksnstumps

A good 3 year old buck
Location
NE WI
#6
Not sure what kind of tractor you are talking about but for me with a CUT tractor, I'm not thinking about the implements and how wide they are but being a CUT, I can haul it around so I think about my trailer. I back my trailer into my pole building a lot so I can use the overhead hoist to pick and load stuff. My trailer has a 7 ft wide bed to comfortably load my tractor, so would guess with fenders is maybe 9 ft wide. It's cold windy and buried in a snow drift not gonna measure it now. But with that, I would like at least a couple feet a side, so yeah 12 ft would be narrrow for me.
 
#7
Good point Bill,
Our barns are not visible from the street but still I don't like having the front door open on the barn. We did put doors on each end on both barns and for various reasons am glad that we did. On the backside we simply put one ten ft. door to save space and money. If doing it over I would have gone with twelve ft. doors on the less used back end doors (still small but good enough for the limited use we give them).

Turkey, definitely plan for leanto's off the main building. The main building roof needs to be high enough to accommodate a ten or twelve ft. leanto roof with the outside side of the roof (the low end)still being high enough for your needs. And of course siting needs to be planned in for the leanto plus as you mentioned space for backing up vehicles, loading and unloading tractor implements, etc. And if you would like to drive to the back of the barn during winter it is good to plan on having a twelve ft. wide snow bank (snow sliding off roof-metal roof assumed) just outside the leanto that you might be driving around; thus to drive to the back of the barn we need twelve ft. for the snow bank and say 16 feet for the vehicle, trailer. etc.

There is only one outside leanto between the two barns here and more would have been better; outside leanto's are cheap and very useful space. We planned our barn heights so more leanto's can be built on if we choose. And it was a good thing we did because we ended up adding a sunroom leanto along one side of the barn. On a door opening we had two side by side interior sliding doors (built by Morton) on a barn on a previous property and they were just as tight as the two over heads that I have on the one barn that we live in. Actually the interior sliders were tighter as they were. For the barn we live in we make the garage style doors weather tight each winter with insulation tape and adjusting the door for no play and no winter opening without some work. The sliders were a lot less money than the overheads as you figured but there is a space downside to them. If outside of course there is the snow/ice problem as mentioned and when inside they tie up a huge amount of valuable wall space where shelving could be. Neither overhead nor sliders are perfect options for our winter conditions of heating the barn. If not heating then it's overhead doors for us-no question. And of course overhead doors function best when not frozen to the ground or cement (a two ft. roof over hang works for us on that mostly).

Turkey, I'm assuming you get some wicked cold weather in your area as do we here. One thing that we did that has helped keep it warm here is we faced a long side of the barn south(of course it doesn't heat it but it helps). It gets us the most amount of sun on the building in the winter and the most amount of exposure to the south breezes.
 

rocksnstumps

A good 3 year old buck
Location
NE WI
#8
Being up north, which way the main doors face would be an easy choice as long as the answer is south. Really helps with light and some sun during colder months when I open up and do stuff, weld, whatever. My shop built by someone else and I guess the old mans when I was a kid are that way and maybe not planned but I do like it that way. I live in a rural area, not much traffic and gawker concerns.
 
#9
I will be running the long side of my building east and west. My garage doors open to the south at my current house and the snow drifts the deepest right in front of my doors. Besides I want to take advantage of the natural light in the shop portion which will be along the long side with southerly facing windows. At this point I will likely have trusses built so that I have storage in the area above the shop portion and possibly even living quarters until the house is built. Plan on doing the majority of the house construction myself, so it would seem most logical to be living and working (the normal day job) on the same site while building the house. I plan on putting a small lean to addition on the east end. That will serve as an outside skinning area and work area for other outdoor projects. Hoping to be able to plant some more cold sensitive fruit trees along the south side of the building as well (peaches, cherries) where I can use the some of the natural reflective heat off the building and make tarping a little easier for late spring frosts.
 

rocksnstumps

A good 3 year old buck
Location
NE WI
#10
I could see the east west thing if spending the bucks and having a nicer building with a bunch of windows. A lot of the polebarns/machine sheds I see and what I have have some transluscent fiberglass panels up on the ridgeline or high on the walls. Not much for windows and works ok to see but not much for getting direct sun and not as warm of course.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
#11
Alright I have finally gotten around to doing some sketching on the layout for the new shop and equipment storage. I will likely end up with a compact tractor at some point. One side of the pole barn I will be able to drive through, large overhead doors at either end. How wide does that drive through need to be? Obviously want to be able to walk down either side of vehichles, tractors or other equipment. 12' sounds like it might be tight? Those with tractors how wide would you recommend?
I'd say it depends on your implement size. My widest implement is a woods RM990 which is about 8' wide that I use with my DK45. Our drive through barn is 20'x30' with 10' doors. I'm careful and I have no real problem getting it in or out, but I'd be more comfortable if we had 12' doors.

Thanks,

Jack
 
#12
I built a 50 x 88 a little over a year ago. A couple random thoughts you might find useful:

I put a clear ridge cap on the building. It REALLY lets the light in, much more than I would have thought.

Try your best to put overhead doors on gable ends, snow falls off of a metal roof everyday making clean up a PITA. I added a gable on one side of the shed just to keep snow away from the overhead door.

I did all of my electrical exposed in EMT, it's already proven useful to be able to add/move things as you go.

I put 12' doors in and I'm satisfied. Pulling the 10' disc in is a little tight, but doors use up valuable wall space. 90% of my use is much more narrow than 12'.

Good luck, should be a fun project!

-John
 
#14
HA! That door probably cost more than what the entire building would cost!:emoji_smiley:

One of the local big farmers just put up a new equipment "shed" I hear it is 250' x 80'. Has heated floors, a wash bay, a climate controlled office, etccc. All I know for sure is in this flat land you can see that "shed" from miles away! Our local FFA kids took the tour.
 

Booner21

A good 3 year old buck
#15
I just did 12x12 doors with a 3/4 ton truck and flatbed trailer/boats don't go any smaller you will always be up against 1 side. I have 2 12ft doors side by side with 3 ft in between and can pull 2 boats and a trailer in and out without moving everything around.

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