Think about the way a tree anchors itself in the ground. Branching out from the pole-like trunk is a protective canopy (or ceiling). This anchor-and-canopy-design is similar to pole barn or post-frame construction. A simple matter of physics and perfectly cut pieces can mimic this feat of nature.
Modern pole barn post-frame construction is a solution for a wide range of buildings, from agricultural, residential to commercial needs. Plus, it’s affordable, versatile, and easy to construct.
What Exactly Is a Pole Barn?
The name “pole barn” comes from these buildings namesake, structural and load-bearing poles. Specifically, wooden poles or beams that builders drive deep into the ground to support the roof, walls, and subsequent construction. That means no load-bearing walls and no need for an underlying foundation.
Why do we call it a pole barn?
Also known as pole framing, this 1930s building technique is a simpler and quicker method to construct shelters for agricultural purposes. Unsurprisingly, these buildings often used as barns for housing animals or storing farm equipment.
The first poles used were recycled telephone poles, such as those we often see dotting rural roadsides.
Pole Barn Framing or Post-frame Construction: Structure and Process
A pole barn is better defined by the type of construction method employed: post-frame construction. With modern engineering and technology, the method of construction for this type of structure has expanded and evolved from the limitations of utility poles.
It’s not so common to see telephone poles in the modern construction process. Instead, builders rely on wood posts or timbers to build their foundation for the pole barn construction. These purposefully designed and engineered posts can bear enormous weight and withstand natural wear from weather or time.
Builders bury these thick, heavy, and long-lasting posts or poles about 4-6 feet into the ground, anchor them to a concrete slab, or both.
In other words, they are rooted to bear the weight of the structure. This is the crucial step in establishing the foundation in the pole barn framing method.
Once the posts are secured, there are many options. You can even choose a wall-less structure, as walls are not necessary for the structure to stabilize. There is a wide range of architectural features that post-frame construction supports. You can personalize interior and exterior finishes, choose various roofing options and customized details. Depending on your use, you may want to add in some type of flooring option or leave the natural earth floor as your base.
Are pole barn structures cheaper to build?
Without a doubt, pole barn or post-frame frame construction is less expensive. Here are the two main reasons:
Fewer materials and wood:
Pole barn structures rely on the power of the single post system to bear the burden. What is the benefit? Essentially, that means that there is less overall framing for walls or structural support. So, using high-quality load-bearing material in the roof and post beams minimizes the necessity for excess wood or other material costs.
No foundation required:
A foundation can take up a large portion of a construction project. Since pole barn framing doesn’t rely on the foundation for structural purposes, it gives the builder more liberty with what type of flooring to employ.
If you are looking to build a low-cost barn, for example, you wouldn’t have to spend a dime on the foundation. You can simply use the underlying terrain.
Pole Barn or Post-Frame Buildings
With “barn” in the name, it can be hard to imagine using this type of structure for anything else.
It’s important to know that “pole barn” was simply the first way to refer to this type of structure. Now, with modern technology, we can employ the original methodology with upgraded materials and engineering practices to build a wide variety of highly customizable and durable structures.
What Kind of Pole Barn Framing Structure Can I Build?
- Carports / Covered picnic areas
- Storage facilities or Garages
- Workshops or Man-caves
- Professional auto-repair shops
- Equestrian / horse-riding arenas
- Industrial warehouses
What are the Benefits?
While knowing what a pole barn is and knowing what kind of buildings you can build is helpful, what do we want to know? We want to know what are the specific advantages of this type of building. Here are our top reasons pole barn buildings are worth considering:
- Less Expensive – Fewer materials needed and quicker construction
- No Foundation Required – No site prep or need for a flat foundation.
- Flexibility for Door and Window Sizes – Structural weight distributes in the posts or poles, so door and windows sizes can be customized for optimal airflow or sized for extra-large equipment
- Large Open Spaces – Since there is no load-bearing wall, spaces can be large and open.
- Adaptability – From inside to out, the range of options is endless. Features include attics, barn doors, skylights, and much, much more.
Which Type of Post Frame Building Do You Choose?
If post-frame construction seems like a good fit for your next project, remember the sky’s the limit! Contact Sheaffer Construction Today!