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Pole Barn Prices: How Much Does It Cost to Build One in 2023?

Symbolic house made from one hundred dollars isolated on white background
Symbolic house made from one hundred dollars isolated on white background

Preparing an accurate budget is key to successfully building a pole barn. With an accurate budget, you can ensure your structure has all the required features. An accurate budget can also help ensure you won’t encounter delays due to financial constraints while building your pole barn. So, how much does it cost to build a pole barn?

This article will look into the cost of building a pole barn. We will discuss the various factors that affect a pole barn’s cost. We will also give you some tips on saving while building your pole barn so you can make the most out of your budget. 

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pole Barn?

The national average cost of a pole barn is around $27,000. You can build a small and simple pole barn for as little as $7,000, but you will need to construct the pole barn yourself. A larger, more complex pole barn can cost around $120,000 or more. According to estimates, building a pole barn costs between $11 and $20 per square foot. These estimates include the cost of building materials and labor.

Factors that Affect a Pole Barn’s Price 

Let us now discuss in detail the various factors that affect pole barn prices. This section will help you understand how each factor influences pricing so you can reduce building expenses if needed.  

Size

Size is one of the most important factors to consider when determining a pole barn’s cost. The larger the pole building is, the more building materials you need to complete it. A large pole barn also takes longer to build, requiring more manpower and higher labor costs. However, estimating costs using a pole barn size is not absolute. A small yet complex pole barn will cost more than a large but simple one.  

Purpose

How you intend to use your pole barn also affects costs. This is because some purposes may require more building materials. For example, a pole barn that works as a garage or a storage facility will be simpler to build, so it won’t be too expensive. 

However, a pole barn that will function as a residence will be more expensive because it is more complicated to build. A residential pole barn will need heated living areas, bathrooms, a kitchen, and sleeping quarters. A residential pole barn will also have more complex finishing touches, making it more expensive. 

Type of Foundation

A foundation is critical to a pole barn because it reinforces the structure’s structural integrity. If you want your pole barn to last, you will need a strong foundation. The type of foundation you will choose will affect your pole barn’s overall cost. 

This is a popular choice among contractors because of its affordability. It also offers stability to pole barns structures, making them ideal for storage or utility buildings. This type of foundation is characterized by a 6×6 treated post installed on top of a concrete cookie base. The base is pre-formed, at least six inches thick, and has a twelve to sixteen inches diameter. This type of foundation uses crushed rock or drainable soil to ensure the post won’t rot.

6×6 post set in poured concrete

As its name implies, concrete is poured to anchor a treated 6×6 post. There is a risk of the post decomposing when moisture gets trapped between the concrete and the post, so this process needs to be done carefully.

Wet-set bracket

This foundation got its name from the fact that the post bracket system needs to be set, with a welded rebar, while the concrete is still curing. A wet-set system is popular because it provides the strongest connection to foundations.

Perma-column

This type of foundation uses a pre-cast concrete column. Uplift anchors are then bolted to the pre-cast post at the base of the Perma-Column. Because this foundation type elevates wood out of the ground, eliminating the risk of wood rot.

Materials

The type of materials you will use in building your pole barn will also affect overall costs. However, aside from affecting costs, your choice of building materials also affects the durability and lifecycle of your pole barn. 

For example, wood and aluminum are the most common sidings for pole buildings. Choosing the right pole barn siding is crucial because it helps protect your pole barn against the elements. Most builders favor aluminum siding because it is durable and performs well against extreme weather conditions. However, aluminum siding is expensive. If you want an affordable option, consider using wood siding. The downside is that it won’t last as long as metal siding. 

Discuss with your contractor your various building material options so you can choose the ones that will best serve your needs. 

Labor

Labor expenses are a big ticket item because they can eat a large chunk of your budget. Expect to pay between $5 and $10 per square foot for labor. However, these are just estimates and can vary depending on the prevailing labor rates in your area. Labor costs can also be higher if you build a complex pole barn because it takes more skill and time to complete. Labor rates can also depend on your builder’s qualifications since veteran pole barn builders may charge more than less-experienced ones. 

Location

The cost of building a pole barn can vary depending on your location. For one, the cost of building materials may be higher in some locations. This can be because of the existing inflation rate in an area or the lack of suppliers. Labor rates can also be higher in one location. 

If you don’t have land to build your pole building, your location also plays a key role because land costs vary from state to state. Land is often pricier in areas near commercial centers, tourist destinations, or suburban areas. 

Site

The location and condition of your site are other factors you need to consider. Before you begin construction, you need to ensure the site is suitable for building. Clear the site of rocks, weeds, tree stumps, and other debris. You can do this yourself or hire a contractor to help you if you need to clear a large swathe of land. 

It is also important that you make sure that the site is level. An uneven site is unsuitable for building as it can compromise the structural integrity of your pole barn. Hire a contractor to haul in fill, and level the construction site. Leveling a site costs between $1,200 and $4,300. 

Insulation

Insulating a pole barn can make it suitable for use all year round. Insulation is especially critical if you intend to use a pole barn structure as your residence. Fiberglass is a common type of insulating material. Aside from being cheap, it is easy to install. It is mold- and mildew-resistant, ideal for pole barns in moist and damp locations. Fiberglass insulation can also help reduce noise, making it a perfect choice for building a residential pole barn. 

Spray foam insulation is another popular option but is more expensive than fiberglass. Although it can be expensive, it is water-resistant and easy to install. It also has a high R-value, making it ideal in areas that are extremely hot during summers and bitingly cold during winters. 

Roofing

Roofing is a vital component of any pole barn structure. The amount of money you need to spend on roofing depends on the size of the pole barn and the type of material you will use. When it comes to pole barn buildings, steel and aluminum are the most common options when it comes to roofing materials. 

If you use a DIY pole barn kit, you might not have to worry about roofing because most kits include the pole barn framing and roof. However, it is still up to you if you want to improve your pole barn roof to make it more functional or improve its aesthetics. 

Electricity

The need to install an electrical system in a pole barn building depends on how you will use it. For example, you don’t need an electrical system if your pole barn is for storing farm equipment, tools, and supplies, and you will only access it during the day. However, you need to equip your pole barn with an electrical system and outlets if you will use it as your residence, workshop, or office. An electrical system is also crucial if you have products that you need to store at specific temperatures to prevent spoilage. Depending on your location, the installation cost of an electrical system might be between $1,000 and $3,000. 

Drainage

Contractors can charge between $45 and $150 per hour to install a drainage and plumbing system in a pole barn. Note that this is the cost for simple piping and water access. A plumbing system may not be needed if your pole barn is for storing farm tools and equipment, but it can be helpful if you need to clean them before storing them. If you are building a pole barn home, a plumbing and drainage system is necessary because it is required to secure a building permit. 

What are Tips to Save on Pole Barn Costs? 

There is no reason why you should spend more in building a pole barn home, so we’re here to give you some tips on saving on pole barn costs. 

Get quotes from several builders

Although it can be tempting to sign up the first pole barn builder you can get your hands on, it is prudent to get quotes from several builders. This allows you to analyze what each builder can offer and the total cost they are quoting so you can go with the builder offering the best possible deal. Don’t be afraid to hire a pole barn builder from another county or out of state if needed. 

Aside from the total cost of pole barn construction, check for other services included in the quote, like obtaining permits or the installation of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. You should also take a closer look at the warranty and guarantee the builder offers. 

Use a pole barn kit

As mentioned, the labor costs associated with building a pole barn can be staggering. Labor expenses can take up 20% – 40% of an average pole barn cost. One thing you can do to reduce labor expenses is to buy a pole barn kit. This can bring down labor costs because the contractor just needs to install the kit and take care of the finishing touches. Pole barn building kits can also help reduce construction time, making them ideal if you want your pole barn completed quickly. If you have the necessary skills, you can order a pole barn building kit and handle the construction yourself. This will result in huge savings since you don’t have to worry about labor expenses. 

Choose your materials wisely

One of the best ways to reduce the cost of a pole building is by choosing your building materials wisely. Explore cheaper alternatives instead of using the same materials that everybody else is using. For example, for pole barn lighting fixtures, LED lights might cost more initially, but they can help reduce energy costs, so you are saving in the long run. Incandescent bulbs are cheaper to buy and install but use more electricity. 

Aesthetics versus savings

Although we all want beautiful pole barns, beauty often comes with a steep price tag. If you are working on a budget, cosmetic additions should be last on your list. For example, wainscoting can make your pole barn look more attractive, but it doesn’t make it more functional. If you want to save money, go for a single-color pole barn. You can always add a touch of color in the future when you have the budget for touch-ups. 

You should also carefully plan the placement of your windows. Although you want your windows to compliment the style of your pole barn, your priority is placing windows to increase natural light intake. The abundance of natural lighting can make a pole building look larger and contribute to electrical savings since you can minimize the use of artificial lighting. 

Balance your wants and needs

There are some must-haves in a pole barn that you should prioritize when building. For example, if you are building a pole barn for housing livestock, ensure you have a drainage and plumbing system since these are critical to feeding your animals and cleaning their stalls. Even if you are partial to installing a garage door in your pole barn, a sliding door is a more practical option. Laminate flooring is a top choice for pole barns acting as residential buildings, but a polished concrete floor is a cheaper alternative and can help save money. 

Is the Cost of Building a Pole Barn Worth It?

Yes, building a pole barn is worth the cost. A pole barn is a cheap alternative if you need a building to house farm animals or store equipment and tools. There are many materials you can choose from to build a pole barn within your budget. 

Final Thoughts

Pole barns have evolved from just being horse barns and storage for farm machinery, supplies, and tools. You can build a cheap custom pole barn and use it as a residence, office, or garage. With the help of the tips we discussed in this article, you can build a cheap yet functional pole barn to serve your needs. Remember to follow our Facebook page for other articles about barndominiums, shouses, shipping container homes, and other unconventional and fantastic building solutions.