If you’ve always wanted to build a cabin but want to create something more interesting than a traditional one, a pole barn cabin should be on the top of your list. This type of pole building may be small but packs a punch in design and versatility. It can be an affordable build and an ideal DIY project.
This article will explain the intricacies of pole barn cabins and how to build one. We will also tell you everything you need to know about its advantages and disadvantages to decide whether a pole barn cabin should be your next construction project.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Pole Barn Cabin?
- 2 Why Build a Pole Barn Cabin?
- 3 How Much Does a Typical Pole Barn Cabin Cost?
- 4 How Does a Pole Barn Cabin Differ From Other Pole Barn Buildings?
- 5 How to Build a Pole Barn Cabin
- 6 Things to Know When Considering Building a Pole Barn Cabin
- 7 Conclusion
What is a Pole Barn Cabin?
A pole barn cabin is a cabin or cottage that relies on poles as its primary support structure. Pole barn cabins can have walls and roofs made from metal, wood, or vinyl. Although most pole barn cabins function as storage facilities or workshops, you can use a pole barn cabin as a small residential building.
Why Build a Pole Barn Cabin?
Here are some excellent reasons why you should seriously consider building a pole barn cabin:
- It doesn’t require a large lot – Cabins are small buildings, and pole barn cabins are no exception. If you have a small lot and want to build a structure, a pole barn cabin is an excellent choice for a standard home. Because it is a small structure, it won’t eat up a large section of your lot. This means you can build a pole barn cabin and still have enough exterior space for a garden, backyard, outdoor dining area, etc.
If you don’t own a lot, a pole barn cabin means that there’s no need to buy a large lot to build on. You can start with a small lot and expand it in the future. Even though pole barn cabins are usually small, you can maximize their size to make the most out of them. You can use an open floor plan to make the interior look bigger than it is. You can add a loft for additional interior space or decks to maximize exterior spaces.
- It can be cheap – Building a pole barn cabin is a great choice if you are working on a limited budget because it is cheap. For one, pole barn cabins are smaller than pole barn homes, so they use fewer materials. Because they are small, they are quick to build, so the labor expenses associated with pole barn cabins are also less compared to bigger structures. There are also many affordable pole pole barn kits in the market that you can buy. These options can help you choose a kit that fits your budget while delivering everything you want in a pole barn cabin.
- You can use it as a vacation house – Pole barn cabins make excellent vacation houses. A pole barn cabin looks great against a mountainous, lakeside, or woodland backdrop. A pole barn cabin is the right size since vacation houses are often not as extensive as full-time residential houses. Vacation houses often don’t have formal dining rooms, laundry rooms, or walk-in closets, so a small pole barn cabin should be more than enough.
- You can use it as a source of additional income – If you own land in a picturesque area or one that attracts tourists, you can earn additional income by building a pole barn cabin and turning it into a rental or Airbnb. What’s great about this idea is that you don’t need a considerable investment to make it work. You just need to make sure that your rental is comfortable for guests. In addition, you can use the pole barn cabin rental for quick family getaways when it’s unoccupied.
- You can use it as an Accessory Dwelling Unit – If you have a large lot, you can build a pole barn cabin as an accessory dwelling unit. You can use the ADU as a guest house when friends or relatives stay for the night. You can also use your pole barn cabin as an in-law unit if your parents or in-laws plan on staying with you for an extended period. If you have grown children, you can use the pole barn cabin as a studio unit to give them more privacy and independence. This is also an excellent way of helping them get started if they plan to get their own unit.
- It is quick to build – A pole barn cabin is a great project if you need a structure but are pressed for time. This structure’s small size and simplicity mean you can build it more quickly than a full-sized pole barn. This can also translate into savings because it will result in lower labor expenses if you hire a contractor to build it.
- Good for a DIY project – A pole barn cabin is a great DIY project. You can buy a pole barn cabin kit to get you started and complete the project on your own. If you haven’t done a DIY structure before, the simplicity of a pole barn cabin is a perfect way to practice your DIY skills before moving on to a more complex structure.
Why Not Build One?
- Some zoning laws prevent pole barn cabins – Counties have different zoning laws and regulations, so check with the local authorities to ensure you can build a pole barn cabin on your land. For example, if you are building in Berrien County, Michigan, a pole barn cabin might be too small for a primary residential unit because the county’s zoning ordinances require that the minimum living space of a dwelling unit should be at least 1,250 square feet. However, if you are building a pole barn cabin as an accessory dwelling unit in the same county, a pole barn cabin will be an excellent choice since an ADU should not exceed a floor area of 1,250 square feet.
- Financing may be challenging – You might have difficulty obtaining a loan for building a pole barn cabin because most housing loans are geared towards traditional stick-built homes. However, this doesn’t mean you have zero chances of securing a loan for your pole barn cabin. Ensure you communicate with the loan officer what you are trying to build.
Try applying at different banks or financing institutions to increase your chances. This will also give you a better chance of securing a loan with better rates. Another option is to apply for a personal loan to finance your pole barn cabin. Since a pole barn cabin is cheap to build, a personal loan might be enough to cover your expenses.
How Much Does a Typical Pole Barn Cabin Cost?
The construction costs of building a pole barn cabin depend on its size. The cost estimate for a small pole barn cabin is between $7,000 and $75,000, while a large pole barn cabin costs around $100,000. These estimates can change depending on the prevailing inflation and labor rates. Check out our sample floor plans to inspire you when designing your pole barn cabin.
The cost of a pole barn cabin also depends on your location because the cost of building materials can vary per area. The location also affects labor expenses, so it is a factor you need to consider if hiring a contractor to build your cabin. Contact a builder and ask for a free quote for a better idea of how much your pole barn home or cabin will cost.
How Does a Pole Barn Cabin Differ From Other Pole Barn Buildings?
A pole barn cabin is different from the other types of pole barn buildings because it is primarily used as a vacation home. Pole barn structures are known for their flexibility and can function as storage facilities, sheds, workshops, or garages. If you envision yourself using the pole barn cabin during a specific season, design and insulate it to make it habitable during the season you want to use it. However, if you want to be able to use the pole barn cabin anytime, design and insulate it like you would do any residential building.
How to Build a Pole Barn Cabin
Here is a quick run-through of the building process for this type of construction project:
Design and Permits
Determine the design and layout of your pole barn cabin and obtain any necessary permits and approvals from local authorities. Visit our Instagram account for design ideas to make your pole barn cabin stand out.
Site Preparation and Foundation
Clear the construction site and level the ground. Excavate if needed and create a stable foundation or footing for the cabin.
Install the pole frame, which serves as the primary support for the walls and roof of the cabin.
Exterior and Interior Finishing
Construct the walls and roof, install doors and windows, and complete the exterior finishing. Proceed with insulation, interior finishing, and the installation of electrical and plumbing systems.
Utilities and Final Touches
Connect utilities such as electricity, plumbing, and HVAC systems. Complete any remaining finishing touches, such as painting, flooring, and landscaping.
Things to Know When Considering Building a Pole Barn Cabin
Here are some things you need to keep in mind if you’re planning to build a pole barn cabin.
Pole barn cabins typically don’t have basements
Post-frame construction, like pole barn cabins, is not ideal for having basements since you need to pour concrete for the basement walls. Sure, you can insist on having a basement for your pole barn cabin, but it will result in expensive foundation work.
Carefully consider the building materials you will use. Remember that the materials you will use may dictate the longevity and durability of your pole barn cabin. Your choice of building materials will also affect the overall construction cost. You can build a wooden pole barn cabin or one with a metal frame. Lastly, your choice of building materials will affect the kits you can buy if you plan on using a pole barn kit.
Siding and roof
Carefully choose the type of pole barn siding and roof you will use. Aside from aesthetics, you need to consider the weather in the area where you are building. For example, a gable-style pole barn roof is an attractive option for areas that experience much snow since it prevents snow accumulation. Adding a cupola to a metal roof will help promote air circulation and improve the energy efficiency of your cabin. You can also go for a shingled roof or add dormers. If you don’t know which materials to use for the exterior walls or sidings, consult a pole barn builder in your area.
DIY or contractor?
While pole barn kits are easy to assemble, you need the skills and tools to build them. If you are unsure whether you can successfully complete your pole barn cabin, there is no harm in hiring a professional pole barn cabin builder. Remember that one of your primary concerns is your safety, so you must build a high-quality pole barn cabin.
A pole barn is an ingenious way of building a vacation or log cabin that stands out. It is easy to build and cheaper than traditional vacation homes. You can use a pole barn cabin as an in-law unit or a practice home for your children before they move out. You can also turn it into a rental to augment your income. If needed, you can build it on your own to save money on labor expenses. It is also an excellent practice to build before tackling full-size buildings.