metal frame of a pole barn home

Pole Barn Framing Explained: Homeowner’s Guide in 2024

metal frame of a pole barn home
metal frame of a pole barn home

Pole buildings are one of the most simple structures, yet they can be used for a wide variety of purposes. This type of construction is typically used for barns or storage sheds for agricultural equipment. However, many people are also building pole barn homes. Due to their versatility and ease of construction, pole barns homes are becoming popular among new homeowners. They can be built relatively quickly and don’t need load-bearing walls, making them perfect for custom home designs. They can also serve as commercial buildings.

On the contrary, stick frame construction employs conventional structure-building techniques using lumber framing. They are, for the most part, constructed on-site. The term “stick-built is used to differentiate them from buildings such as prefab homes and metal buildings which are prefabricated in a factory before being delivered on-site for assembly. A wide range of materials, such as wood, steel, and concrete, can be used to build stick frame structures. These buildings can also be customized to satisfy particular aesthetic and functional demands.

This article will look into different framing techniques used in pole barn construction, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

What is Pole Barn Framing?

A pole barn is a structure supported by laminated wooden poles fixed into the ground and typically anchored by concrete. These poles support the weight of the entire building, including the roof and walls. 

 Alternative foundation types typically used in barndominiums involve using a concrete slab on grade with brackets. Perma columns and bracket options are also possible for the foundation of a pole barn home

The Components Needed to Frame a Pole Barn

Post Footing: The weight of the pole barn rests on its footing. Several different methods can be used for the footing. Typically, concrete footer pads are placed at the bottom of the hole where the post will be placed. The size and weight of the building will determine the size of the pad required. 

Posts: Posts or poles are often 4×6 wood set in the ground and on top of the post footing. They can be anywhere from 4×4 to 8×8 in size and will depend on the building’s size and weight. Usually, they are set in the ground with a minimum depth of 4’. Posts use concrete collars, treated wood cleats, steel brackets, or other anchors to hold them in place. 

Girts: Girts are pieces of wood fastened horizontally across the side of the pole barn framing. They are nailed perpendicular to the post. Like posts, they can come in various sizes depending on the building design.

Roof Trusses: Trusses are the material that makes up the framing for the roof of the pole barn. They are typically pieces of lumber that are triangular in shape, depending on the roof design. 

Purlins: These are also part of the framing structure for the roof. Purlins are the lumber that fastens the trusses together. They are nailed perpendicular to the wood trusses and are spaced uniformly throughout the roof structure.

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Roofing: There are several options for barndominium roof styles, each with advantages and disadvantages. Pole barn buildings typically use steel, but other metals, such as copper and aluminum, are available as well. Non-metal options such as shingles can also be used.

Siding: The sidings cover the exterior walls of a pole barn building. There are several options you can choose from. You can go with high-quality hardwood, or you can go with vinyl siding for a more cost-effective option. The most popular choice for pole barns is metal siding.

Fasteners: Fasteners are the restraints that hold the components in place. This includes the nails or screws holding up the frame’s sidings. Screws are recommended for pole barn construction as it has more holding power. 

Skirt Board: Skirt boards or splash boards are placed at the bottom of the siding around the pole barn. They are nailed against the girts and posts. The main purpose of skirt boards is to protect walls from damage. They act as a barrier against the knocks and scratches from people walking around the building. 

How Do You Frame a Pole Barn?

There are several different barn framing techniques. The main difference is the framing style and the foundation used. Below are some of the most common techniques used in building a pole barn. You will notice that in any framing system, the shape and look of pole barns can be exactly the same. The frame is the only difference; this feature is usually not visible once the building is completed. Below are various ways to frame a pole barn.

Post Frame Construction

This is the most simple and cost-effective way to frame a pole barn. Post-frame construction is a framing technique that involves setting vertical posts into the ground. These posts will be the main structural support for the building. They are spaced apart at regular intervals with girts fastening them together with nails to create the framework of the post frame structure.

A concrete foundation and a basement are optional, with post-frame buildings. This is why they can significantly cost less than other framing methods. Check out our Instagram page for more content on pole barn homes.

Conventional Framing 

Conventional framing or stud framing is a method that involves the use of vertical and horizontal wooden components, known as studs and plates, to comprise the framework for the building. Vertical studs are installed at regular intervals, typically 16 inches or 24 inches. They are fastened to horizontal plates at the top and bottom of the wall. The plates provide structural integrity by improving stability and evenly distributing the structure’s weight to the foundation. 

Stud walls are easier to insulate and finish the interior walls. However, they can be more expensive to build.

Rustic Oak Framing

Oak is known for its durability and strength. It is a tough hardwood and is naturally resistant to rot and pests. This makes oak an ideal choice for building materials exposed to the elements. Rustic oak framing involves using oak timber to create a frame for the pole barn. The oak timbers used in this type of framing are typically hand-crafted. This gives them a unique natural appearance. The frame is built of posts typically spaced 8 inches to 12 inches. This frame is perfect for vertical wooden sidings, which can easily be fastened to the horizontal girts.

Post & Beam Framing 

The post & beam framing technique uses vertical posts and horizontal beams to create the frame of the building. These structures are also known as timber frame barns. Unlike stud framing, which uses closely spaced posts, post & beam framing uses more widely spaced framing members, allowing for greater architectural flexibility. Like the other framing methods discussed above, post & beam construction typically uses wood. Although, other materials like steel can also be used. 

The posts are set into the ground or attached to a foundation; the beams are then placed horizontally across the top of the posts. The beams are fastened to the posts using various methods, such as steel connectors or mortise and tenon joints.

These are some of the main methods of pole barn framing. You can join our Facebook Group to get some insights from other members who may have experience with other types of framing techniques.

Tips When Framing a Pole Barn

Framing a pole barn is a crucial process in construction that requires careful planning to ensure the building is safe, reliable, and lasts for a long time. Below are some tips to keep in mind when framing a pole barn:

  • Ensure a sound foundation. A building relies on the strength of its foundation. Make sure the posts are well anchored and set in the ground. Allow the concrete to fully cure and harden before proceeding with framing. Before framing, make sure you are working on a level building site.
  • Go for high-quality materials. Choosing the highest quality materials as far as your budget allows is the best move here. This will significantly affect the end product of your building. Quality materials will ensure that the structure is safe and sturdy.
  • Use proper tools. Using the proper tools and equipment will help you do the job efficiently and ensure safety.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For prefab pole barn kits, carefully follow the instructions to ensure proper assembly and integrity of the structure.
  • Plan for electrical and plumbing. If you’re building a pole barn home, plan for electrical wiring and plumbing systems as you design the floor plan because this will involve running pipes or conduits through the frames or leaving space for them in the walls. 
  • Consider the roof design. The roof is a crucial component of any type of building. When designing the roof system, you need to consider factors like snow loads, drainage, and the risk of weather damage.
  • Mind your safety. Framing a pole barn can be risky. Be sure to follow proper safety protocols, such as wearing appropriate protective gear and equipment. Also, consider hiring a professional builder if you don’t have much experience with DIY projects. This will also ensure that your pole barn follows local building codes.


Pole barn framing is a popular construction technique with several benefits, such as cost-effectiveness, durability, and versatility. With careful planning, attention to detail, and the use of high-quality materials, a pole barn can be built to last for many years. If you are interested in unconventional housing solutions, check out our Pinterest page for content on barndominium framing, shipping container homes, and much more.

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