What is a Pole Barn?

what is a pole barn

You have likely heard the term “pole barn” before. What exactly is a pole barn, anyway? Learn the essential facts here about what a pole barn is, the benefits of a pole barn, and different types of pole barns that are available for your building solutions.

An Introduction to the Pole Barn

pole barn mid construction

The traditional pole barn is a post-frame construction option that has been around for centuries. This method provides a fast way of putting up reliable, sturdy structures. As a highly engineered solution, post-frame construction combines adaptability and efficiency.

A pole building uses posts, buried a couple of feet into the ground, as the framing member. The posts are the foundation of the entire structure, which is far less time-consuming and expensive to prepare than other construction options.

Pole Barn History

The term “pole barns” has been in use since the 1930s. The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression disrupted the economy so much that farmers had to develop a technique to transform the most-cost efficient materials (recycled telephone poles) into new structures. Telephone pole barns were eventually shortened to “pole barns,” ushering the era of American pole barns.

Over the years, pole barns have evolved and adapted with advances in technology and materials. Nowadays, they are not only used for agricultural purposes, but also for residential and commercial uses, such as garages, workshops, and even homes. Their popularity continues to grow due to their versatility and affordability.

Today, there are several other terms that mean the same thing as “pole barn” such as “post frame building” or “pole building.”

What are Pole Barns and Why Are They So Popular?

pole barn being constructed

We’ve covered that a pole barn is a type of post-frame construction that utilizes wooden poles or posts as the main structural support. The walls for the pole barn are typically made of metal panels, wood siding, or other materials. The roof of the pole barn can be either gable or shed style, and can also be constructed with various types of roofing materials.

Pole barns have become increasingly popular due to their many advantages. They are cost-effective, as they require fewer materials and labor compared to traditional buildings. The post frame construction method is also less complicated and can be completed in a shorter amount of time.

Moreover, pole barns offer flexibility in design and customization, allowing for various sizes and layouts to suit specific needs. They are also highly durable, with the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. Additionally, their open floor plan makes it easier to maneuver large equipment or vehicles.

Benefits of a Pole Barn

An easier foundation. 

exterior of post frame carport with dirt foundation

A difficult yet critical part of putting up a new building is the foundation. Establishing one might be expensive while it requires a significant amount of preparation time. Fortunately, you can put up a pole barn without investing as much in foundation work.

You can construct a pole barn on dirt, gravel, or unleveled ground. Since deep-set poles support the new structure, you don’t even need to create a level concrete foundation to start construction. All you require is concrete in each foot to set the poles.

This lack of a strict concrete foundation requirement means you can build the pole barn anywhere. Your homestead might have a section that is not suitable for covering in concrete or perfectly level.

Building a Pole Barn is very cost effective. 

exterior of pole barn garage with lean to

Pole barns offer significant advantages to overall costs compared to traditional construction methods. Their simple design requires fewer materials, which directly translates into lower construction costs. The bare-bone structure, consisting of poles, roofing, and siding, eliminates the need for a conventional foundation, further reducing the cost. Moreover, the building process is less labor-intensive, meaning lower labor costs and a faster construction timeline, which can also contribute to overall cost savings.

Despite their affordability, pole barns do not compromise on durability and functionality. They are known for their robustness, able to withstand harsh weather conditions and provide reliable shelter for years. This means compared to traditional building structures, a pole barn require less frequent repairs and replacements than many traditional structures, leading to lower long-term maintenance costs. Furthermore, the adaptability of pole barns allows for easy and cost-effective modifications or expansions, should your needs change over time.

[ Curious about the overall costs of a pole barn? Check out this article: How Much Does a Pole Barn Cost to Build? ]

Building a Pole Barn requires less labor and time to construct. 

interior of pole barn garage

Contractors or DIYers like pole barn construction because of their design. Building a pole barn yourself saves you precious work hours while getting a new hobby shop or garage much sooner. If you prefer using a team of professionals, you save on labor costs thanks to the reduced construction time.

[ Before you consider building a pole barn on your own, we encourage you to check out our article, “Can I Build My Own Pole Barn Garage.” ]

The straightforward construction process not only makes pole barns quicker to set-up but also allows for greater flexibility in scheduling the build. In most cases, the faster construction timeline does not compromise the quality or stability of the barn.

Furthermore, should there be a need for modifications or expansions on the pole barn framing in the future, these can also be undertaken with less labor than would be required for a conventional building. This aspect of pole barns is particularly beneficial for those on a tight budget or timeline, as it allows for a functional, durable structure to be erected with minimal manpower.

Post Frame Buildings offer better insulation. 

interior of pole barn general store

Pole barns are often associated with being simple, bare-bone structures. However, they can also be designed with better insulation to provide a comfortable living or working space. By adding insulation between the roofing and siding materials, pole barns can maintain a more consistent temperature throughout the year. This makes them suitable for use as workshops, storage facilities, or even homes.

The insulation in pole barns also helps reduce energy costs, as it provides better temperature control and reduces the need for heating or cooling systems. This aspect makes them environmentally friendly, as well as cost-effective in the long run. Additionally, proper insulation can also prevent condensation build-up, which can lead to damage or corrosion of materials over time.

Different Types of Pole Frame Buildings Available

three men looking at blue prints

Pole buildings come in various types, each designed to serve a specific purpose. Agricultural pole barns, the most common type, are used for farming applications. They provide shelter for livestock and storage for farming equipment. Pole barn homes, on the other hand, are increasingly popular for their adaptability. They can be used as homes, garages, or workshops.

Commercial pole buildings are becoming a preferred choice for businesses due to their cost-effectiveness and customizable layout. These can be used for warehouses, retail stores, or office buildings. Lastly, equestrian pole barns are designed specifically for horse enthusiasts. They offer spaces for stabling, riding, and storing horse-related equipment.

Each type has its unique features and benefits. The choice depends on your needs, budget, and personal preferences. Here at Keystone Construction, our most popular types of pole barns are residential buildings like barndominiums, commercial buildings like office spaces, barns and farm buildings, equestrian stables, and garages.

Residential Buildings – Shomes and Barndominiums

exterior of post frame barndominium

Keystone Construction brings you the best of residential post-frame construction for your perfect barndominium home. Why do our customers choose pole barn homes? For their unbeatable flexibility, versatility, affordability, and longevity. Secure a home that not only looks impressive but also delivers superior functionality and durability, standing the test of time.

What sets us apart is our commitment to quality and attention to detail. Our pole barn house construction boasts maintenance-free exteriors and robust construction. We offer exterior shells to fit all budgets, and with our unique clear span truss system, you can enjoy unparalleled design flexibility. Thanks to the non-load-bearing interior walls, you can customize the floor plans for your pole barn house to suit your family’s needs perfectly.

Related reading: Pole Barn vs. Barndominium >

Commercial Buildings

exterior of commercial post frame office building

Commercial post-frame construction is an excellent option for a variety of commercial building types including office buildings, commercial warehouses, manufacturing, retail, clinics, sports facilities, etc. Post-frame buildings cost less to build, cost less to maintain, and can be customized to meet your unique needs and desires. We use steel roofing and siding. Curious what your custom building would look like with a metal roof? Use the Building Creator to customize colors and options.

Barns, Farm Buildings, and Agricultural Buildings

exterior of barn

Post frame buildings have long been a popular choice for farmers, providing an efficient and cost-effective solution for various agricultural needs. From storing equipment and supplies to housing livestock, pole barns offer numerous benefits for farm owners.

Moreover, the affordability of pole barn buildings makes them a practical choice for farms with tight budgets. Building a post frame building is quicker and requires less labor than traditional structures, making it an ideal option for farmers looking to save both time and money.

Equestrian Stables and Buildings

interior of horse stable

If you work with horses for a living or enjoy having them as a hobby, you understand how important it is to have the right building for them. With equestrian post-frame construction, we build horse barns, riding arenas, stables, horse stalls, and more. Whether you are looking to protect your animals from the elements, have a place to store equipment and feed, or have a place to ride or train them, we can find the right building that is not only functional but looks beautiful and meets your needs.

Garages and Workshops

pole barn garage

One of the main advantages of using a pole barn as a garage is the cost-effectiveness. As mentioned earlier, pole barn buildings are more affordable to construct than traditional garages. They also require less maintenance and repairs in the long run. Additionally, since pole barns do not have a traditional foundation, they can be built on uneven or sloping terrain without the need for costly excavation work.

Pole barn garages are also highly customizable. They can be designed to fit any size or shape, providing ample space for multiple vehicles, storage, and even a workshop area. The open floor plan of a pole barn can allow for easy maneuvering of larger vehicles such as RVs or boats, making them an ideal option for those with recreational vehicles.

Is a Pole Barn the right choice for you?

While pole barns offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to consider whether they are the right choice for your specific needs and requirements. This decision should be based on factors such as budget, timeline, building purpose, and location.

If you are on a tight budget or looking for a cost-effective solution for storage or shelter needs, then a pole barn may be the right choice for you. Additionally, if time is of the essence and you need a quick and efficient building process, then a pole barn can be a suitable option.

So, is a pole barn the right choice for your next building project?


Try our building creator to visualize your project.

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