Featured image of stick build pole barn with a clipart man holding a hammer.

How to DIY Pole Barn in 7 Easy Steps (Floorplans Included)

People need pole barns for various reasons; from storage to housing animals. However, when it comes to having a pole barn built by a professional company, it can be rather expensive. That is why many people are opting to be more frugal and take on the challenge of building pole barns themselves. But, once you’ve made the decision to build a pole barn, where do you start?

Fortunately for you budding DIYers, we have compiled this helpful guide of how you can build a pole barn in 7 easy steps. So, bookmark this page, take some notes and get ready to start planning your do-it-yourself pole barn building. To navigate this guide easily use the table of contents below.

Why are They Called Pole Barns?

A pole barn is a building that uses a specific type of framing in its construction. Pole barns are built by using poles which are sunk into the ground and secured using concrete, hence the name “pole barn”. Oftentimes, pole barns don’t have floors but use the ground itself, as seen in most livestock barns. However, with people expanding their uses for pole barns, most are constructed using concrete slabs.

Red gambrel-type pole barn in snow covered field and blue sky.
Red gambrel-type pole barn in winter. Image via Pixabay.com

The exterior of pole barns usually consist of pre-cut, pre-painted sheets of metal which are easy to install. This makes building a pole barn easier and less time consuming than standard barns. However, because of the expanding uses of today’s pole barn buildings, some are finished using wood or vinyl siding.

Curious about the difference between a Pole Barn and a Metal Building Home? Then check out our Metal Homes vs Pole Barns article!

3 Types of Pole Barn Buildings

People today are finding more uses for the standard pole barn than just for storage or keeping livestock. They are using them for playhouses, workshops and garages, among other things. If you’d like to dig deeper into their types and modern uses we prepared the ultimate pole barns 101 guide.

Living in a so-called pole barn home has become increasingly popular, but that alone needs a guide on its own since basically, it’s a house you’d have to DIY. But, if you’d like to learn more about that we have an extensive guide on pole barn homes and their prefab kits. Thus, we won’t cover them below.

The following are 3 types of regular pole barn buildings available for a variety of applications:

Pole Barn Sheds

Pole barn sheds are the smaller version of a full-on pole barn. These smaller pole barns are often referred to as sheds, yard barns and mini-barns. With sizes ranging from 4’ X 6’ to as large as 14’ X 20’ or even more, these little pole barns are perfect for smaller-scale storage purposes. Additionally, these pole sheds are the right size for smaller man caves, she sheds and children’s playhouses as well as potting sheds, small workshops and even tiny houses.

Red garden shed with white doors and gardening tools hooked on the side.
The smallest version of a pole barn is a simple garden shed! Image via Pixabay.com

Pole barn sheds are available, pre-built and ready to be delivered to your home. But, for the do-it-yourself builder, you can save money by constructing it yourself. Your options for building are either by planning (you can grab free shed plans here) and buying your materials from a local depo or by buying a pole shed kit like this awesome 12′ x 16′ beast from Amazon or a smaller sized 7.5′ x 9′ steel-reinforced weather resistant kit.

Skip to our 7 steps for building a pole barn below to get started if that’s what you are after.

Pole Barn Garages

Pole barn garages are becoming the go-to method for building a roomy space to store vehicles and other items. They are particularly appealing to those who either don’t have a garage with their home or have a garage too small to fit their growing need for space. But you must know how to calculate the space you require and want first, before deciding how large of a pole barn garage to build.

Here’re a few floorplan examples you can try to bounce off:

For more tips on building a pole barn garage, we have gathered all of the pertinent information you will need to get started in this article.

Monstrous three-door post frame garage with metal siding erected by Peak Steel Contractors.
Monstrous three-door pole garage with metal siding erected by Peak Steel Contractors. Image via Trulia.com

Amish Pole Barns

Contrary to popular belief, Amish pole barns are more than just a pole barn style. These type of pole barns are constructed in a post and beam style but using timber. The timber is joined together using wood-peg, mortise and tenon joint construction, among others. In laymen’s terms, the joints are fit together like puzzle pieces and held in place with wooden pegs.

Wooden joinery pieces such as joints, tenons, wood-pegs.
An example of wood joinery craft and various pieces of it. Image via Britannica.com

Though some Amish pole barn builders use more modern fasteners, a true Amish pole barn is constructed old-school style. If your idea of the perfect pole barn is Amish style, you can refer to our full article on Amish pole barns for information, tips, builders, kits, and more.

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Ready to Build Your Pole Barn? Here’s How You Can Do It!

We love to feature pole barns built by our community members. Here you will find pole barn buildings constructed by people, just like you, that will spur your imagination and provide ideas and useful pole barn building tips for your own project.

Before we get started with the 7 steps, watch this DIYer below who built his own pole barn chicken coop from scratch (not from a kit). His and many more examples you can find online are inspiring and show that you can do it yourself too!

A timelapse of one man who built a custom chicken coop pole barn by himself

Step #1 Location, Location, Location

Before you begin to conceptualize your pole building, you must decide the location on which you are going to build. Some things you’ll want to ask yourself when choosing the perfect spot to build your pole barn are:

  • How large of an area do I need?
  • How close do I want my pole barn in proximity to my home?
  • Do I have easy access to utility hook-ups if installing electricity, heat or water?
  • How much time and effort will I have to put in to clearing the land and leveling the ground?
  • Is the area easily accessible to bring in equipment and building supplies?
Engineering papers rolled on the table with a pen, eraser and ruler by the side.
It all starts with a pen and paper. Image via Pixabay.com

Step #2 Know Your Zoning, Codes and Laws

Building any type of structure nearly always requires permits from your state, county and even neighborhood association. These guidelines will dictate the design and location of your pole building. Therefore, it’s crucial to check these 3 requirements and gather all permits necessary to build your pole barn.


Zoning laws pertain only to the land itself and what can be built on that land. For example, zoning laws dictate how many buildings can be constructed on a parcel of land along with the size of the building and type of building. You can find your local zoning laws by contacting your city and county land assessor or zoning department.

Building Codes

Building codes pertain to the structure itself and are requirements that must be met for a building to be considered safe. For instance, building codes include building sizes and shapes snow loads, wind strength, earthquake safety and other guidelines that are exclusive to the municipality in which you are building. Once your pole barn is designed, using your local codes, you can then apply for a building permit.

Stamp with finger on plan of the house floorplan background.
Know your area and its building codes. Image via stock.adobe.com

Covenant Rules

Covenant rules apply only to small towns and neighborhood associations. These rules are set and determine what type of structure, if any, you can build on your property. Additionally, there can be guidelines for size, types of materials used and color of your pole building. Contact your HOA or town hall for these rules and ordinances.

Step #3 Designing Your Pole Barn Building

Designing your pole barn building is one of the most exciting parts of the process. By this step, you already know the purpose of your pole building as well as an estimated size. However, if you need a bit of help in determining the size of your pole building, here are some popular uses and sizes for pole buildings.

Pole Barn TypesPopular UsesDimensions
Small Sized Pole Barns, Pole Sheds, Mini BarnsBackyard storage, gardening sheds, children’s playhouses and she-sheds12X16, 12X20, 12X24
Medium Sized Pole Barns, Pole Barn Garages, Pole Barn Shops, Pole Barn HomesGarages, workshops, small barns, storage spaces and tiny homes20X30, 24X36, 30X30, 30X40, 30X50
Large Sized Pole Barns, Pole Barn Garages, Pole Barn Stables, Pole Barn HomesHorse and livestock barns, farm equipment storage, businesses, custom homes and combination businesses with living spaces40X60, 40X80, 50X100, 60X80, 60X100
The table shows different types of pole barns, their uses, and approximate ranges of dimensions.

Once you have chosen the size of the pole building you would like to build, you can now concentrate on the interior with pole barn floor plans. It is during this step that you’ll map out areas for vehicles, storage, work space and other details.

Step #4 Estimating Your Cost and Supply Needs

The next step in building your pole barn is to estimate your cost and the supplies you will need for your build. It’s a good idea to find a local building or lumber supply store that can assist you in determining what you’ll need to comply with your local building codes and engineering requirements. In addition, there are many pole barn estimator tools online, but we won’t list them here due to conflicts of interest.

Step #5 Purchasing your Supplies or a Kit

When it comes time for purchasing your supplies, there are two ways you can go about it. First, if you used a cost estimator or designed your pole building with the help of a building supply company, you can easily purchase everything you need in one place.

Early stages of wooden pole barn frame erection in winter time.
The early process of post-frame erection by our FB group member Cody. Image via Barndominium Living Community

Secondly, you have the option of purchasing a pole building kit from a variety of builders and companies online or locally. These kits come pre designed and have everything you need to build your pole barn including blue prints and instructions. For example, Home Depot and Amazon has awesome pre-built kits you can purchase or select one of these prefab pole barn kit sellers near you.

Finally, depending on where you purchase your pole barn kit or building supplies, you can have them delivered to your home or, if you have a truck, you can pick them up yourself.

Step #6 Prepping Your Pole Barn Site

The next step is to prep the land on which you are going to construct your pole building. You’ll need various equipment in order to do this properly and grade the land to be flat. Tools and equipment to consider are:

  • Chain and hand saws for cutting trees and shrubs
  • Shovels and pick axes for removing large rocks and roots
  • A tractor or small excavator to grade the land and remove topsoil

If you are don’t have these tools available, you can find equipment rental services nearby or you can hire a professional excavator to prep your land for you.

Step #7 Ready, Set, Build Your Pole Barn!

Your land is ready, you’ve designed your pole barn and purchased the materials or a kit. So, now it’s time to start building your pole barn. If you are using a pole barn kit, you have easy to follow instructions (or at least we hope you do). But if you’re building your pole barn completely from scratch, you can find step-by-step tutorials online and through videos on Youtube.

The basic steps are:

  1. Dig your post holes, set the posts with concrete and be sure they are level
  2. Construct your pole barn framing with roof support beams, trusses and additional support boards
  3. Add your roof
  4. Install your siding & insulation if needed
  5. Add your windows and doors

This short video gives you an easy-to-follow tutorial that may help in building your pole barn.

If however, You Decided That Building a Pole Barn by Yourself Isn’t an Option, Then Fill In This Quick Form Below and Professional Builders Will Give You a Call & Estimates!

Freaquently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How much does it cost to build a pole barn?

The cost to build a pole barn will vary depending on the size of the building, the materials you use and the finishes you choose. According to Home Advisor, a DIY pole barn with range in cost from $5-$15 per square foot. Using a cost estimator, as mentioned above, will provide you with a more precise overall cost.

How can I save money and build a pole barn cheap?

The best way to save money on your DIY pole barn is by comparing prices from building supply stores, shopping weekly circulars, and upcycling by utilizing reclaimed lumber, trusses, doors and windows.

How can I build sliding barn doors on my pole barn?

If you are planning to build your pole barn using a kit, many give you the option of using a sliding door as opposed to an overhead door. In addition, if you used a building planner at your local building supply store, you will find all the materials you need there. Finally, you can search for DIY barn door projects or videos for step by step instructions and materials lists.

Can I use metal trusses on my pole barn?

Yes, you can use metal trusses on your pole barn framing! However, unless you are skilled at working with metal and welding, you may want to purchase metal trusses from an outlet or order your pole barn kit from a company that gives you the option of using metal trusses. 

Wrapping it Up

Building a DIY pole barn is an exciting project to undertake. We hope that our pole barn building tips and our 7-step guide will help you find your pole barn style as well as plan and build your DIY pole building. If you’re looking for even more inspiration and ideas for your pole building and even pole barn homes, aka: barndominiums, join our Barndominium Living Facebook group. We also invite you to follow our Facebook page with lots of inspirational posts of pole barn workshops, garages, homes, builder reviews and much more! Also, on the go take a look at our Pinterest boards and give us a follow! Prime your mind with dream boards and manifest that pole barn building into your life!


Written by Metal-Building-Homes.com

We strive to deliver informational and inspirational content for unconventional homes. From barndominiums to steel-framed modular homes, this is the place to browse if you're looking into untraditional housing options.