A pole barn with a simplistic gable roof design

Pole Barn Roofs Explained: Know These 5 Different Types in 2024

A pole barn with a simplistic gable roof design
A pole barn with a simplistic gable roof design.

Roofs play an essential role in structures, including pole barns. Your pole barn roof acts as the primary layer of protection against external forces like rain, wind, sleet, hail, and snow. An excellent roof can also help extend the life of your pole barn because it can prevent the development of mold and mildew that can result in wood rot. What kind of roof do you need to build a pole barn?

This article will give you a detailed explanation of the different types of roofs you can use on your pole barn. We will tell you their differences, advantages, and disadvantages to help you choose the roof type that best suits your needs. 

What is a Pole Barn Roof?

A pole barn roof is the top covering of your pole barn. As mentioned, its primary purpose is to protect the interior of your pole barn and its occupants from the elements. It can also contribute to safety and security by preventing access to your pole barn and its contents. A roof can also help improve your pole barn’s insulation because it prevents the entry of sunlight. 

How Much Does a Pole Barn Roof Cost?

An aluminum or steel roof for a pole barn can cost between $5,000 and $24,000, including labor. However, these estimates are fluid and can change depending on the current price of materials and the labor rates in your area. If you are using a pole building kit, you might not have to worry about the cost of your pole barn roof because pole barn kits often include roofs. 

What are the Different Types of Pole Barn Roofs?

There are different types of pole barn roofs you can choose from. This section will tell you about the differences between each type as well as their advantages and disadvantages. 

Gable Roof

A gable roof is a type of roof that has two sections. These sections slope downward from the ridge cap to the walls. This type of roof is characterized by at least one flat end called a gable.  


  • Inexpensive – Gable roofs are popular in pole barns because they are easy to design and build and cheaper than other roof types. 
  • Good for attics – A gable roof is an excellent choice if you need extra storage space in your pole barn. Gable roofs allow sufficient clearance, allowing you to have an attic. 
  • Can be good for air circulation – Gable roofs may have air vents installed on the gables. These vents help promote good air circulation within the pole barn. 


  • Can cause moisture build-up – The roof space created by gable roofs can be prone to moisture build-ups. This can result in the growth of mold and mildew that may pose health risks or cause damage to your belongings. 
  • Not ideal for areas that experience high winds – Contractors do not recommend gable roofs for areas that experience high winds or hurricanes. Gable roofs tend to have a slight overhang from the face of the house that may cause the roof to peel away in areas prone to high winds.

Gambrel Roof

A gambrel roof is a symmetrical two-sided with two slopes on each side. The upper slope of a gambrel roof has a shallow angle, while the lower slope has a steep angle. Gambrel roofs were popular in country houses during colonial times. A gambrel roof is multi-pitched because it has multiple peaks intersecting at different angles. 


  • Aesthetics – A gambrel roof is an excellent choice to enhance your pole barn’s aesthetics. The colonial style of a gambrel roof is more stylish than flat roofs and other modern roof designs. 
  • Lots of material choices – While most pole barn roofs use metal, you can make a gambrel roof using a wide variety of materials, including wood, asphalt, and slate. The wide selection of materials lets you select the best material according to your location. 
  • Allows more storage space – Gambrel roofs allow additional space for an extra floor or garret. For this reason, gambrel roofs are very popular among barns and sheds. They can provide additional storage without taking up any additional space.


  • Poor resistance to snow accumulation – The flat side of a gambrel roof can result in snow puddling. If you have a gambrel roof, make sure that you remove snow build-up immediately to prevent damage and ensure that the roof won’t collapse under the weight of accumulated snow. 

Hip Roof

A hip roof is characterized by four sides of the roof sloping down from the peak. A hip roof doesn’t have a flat end or a gable. A hip roof is easily distinguished because it looks like the top of a pyramid. 

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  • It is sturdy – A hip roof is self-bracing, making it one of the sturdiest options for pole barns. A hip roof’s shape requires less diagonal bracing than other roofing styles. The sturdiness of a hip roof makes it an attractive option for building in an area prone to high winds and heavy storms. 
  • It works better against the elements – The four-way slope of a hip roof allows water and snow to run off it easily, avoiding the risk of snow or water pooling. A hip roof has no flat side, offering better wind resistance. 


  • It is more complex – A hip roof has a more complex design, making it more challenging to build. This means that it will cost more to build. This type of roof is also prone to leaks because of its slope complexity. 
  • Less attic space – The design of a hip roof results in less attic space and fewer storage options. 

Shed Roof

A shed roof is a type of roof with a single slopping side. They are sometimes called skillion roofs, lean-tos, outshots, monoslopes, or catslides. 


  • It is simple – Shed roofs are easy to build, making them popular choices not just for pole barns but for residential buildings too. The simplicity of their design makes them a cheap option if you’re working on a limited budget and want to keep your pole barn cost in check. 
  • Offer great drainage – The steep slope of a shed roof gives it great drainage abilities. The single steep slope allows water and heavy snowfall to slide without accumulating. 


  • Not ideal against high winds – The single-slopped side of a shed roof makes it a poor option against high winds. The large surface area of the shed roof means it will catch the wind, which can tear it off. 


This type of roof got its name from the raised structure that runs along the ridge of the double-pitched roof, called a monitor. A monitor has its own roof that runs parallel to the main roof of the pole barn. 


  • Improved energy consumption – You can minimize the energy consumption of your pole barn with a monitor roof. This type of roof lets in daylight so the interior of your pole barn is visible without the use of artificial lights. A monitor roof is your best option if you want a pole barn that does not require an electrical system. 
  • Improved air circulation – A monitor roof helps promote air circulation so the interior of your pole barn is cool even during hot summers. This makes it an ideal roof style for horse barns due to its excellent ventilating properties. 


  • Expensive – A monitor roof has a complex design that makes it expensive to install. It also requires more maintenance than other roof types, making it more expensive.  

How to Choose a Pole Barn Roof Type

Now that you know all about the most common roof types for pole barns, it is time to decide which type you will need. Here are some factors you must consider to ensure you install the best roof type for your pole barn. 


Durability is an important factor when choosing a roof type. Make sure that you choose a roof that will last years. Aside from saving money in the long run, a durable roof can help ensure that the animals, tools, equipment, and supplies inside your pole barn are always protected. 


Some roof types are more expensive to build, so choose a type you can build without exceeding your budget. However, aside from the initial cost of installing a roof, you also need to consider the overall costs of maintaining your roof. Some roof types are cheap to install but require constant maintenance, while others are expensive but low maintenance. 


The location of your pole barn plays a critical role when choosing a roof type. For example, a lean-to might not be a good option if you are in a location that frequently experiences tornadoes because it performs poorly in high winds. If you are building in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, a roof with steep slopes might be your best option to avoid snow accumulation which might result in your pole barn collapsing. 

Building codes

You need to secure a building permit to construct a pole barn home, so check with your local building authority before choosing a roof type. For example, an average roof should support about 20 pounds of snow per square inch, but the State of Montana’s minimum roof snow load requirement is 30 pounds per square inch.  


The choice of a roofing system is critical to the success of your pole barn or post-frame building. Your roof can protect your pole barn from the elements. It can help improve ventilation and air circulation. A roof can also increase your pole barn’s durability. There are many roof types, so be sure to choose a roof structure that suits your needs and location. Remember to follow our Facebook page for more articles about pole barn lighting, pole barn trusses, and other informative pieces. 


How long does a pole barn roof take to build?

The time it takes to build a pole barn roof depends on the size and width of the pole barn. Some roof types are also more complex and take longer to build. The best thing to do is ask your contractor for a time estimate because they are the only ones who can give you a realistic timeframe. 

How long does a pole barn roof last?

Depending on the material, a pole barn roof can last from a minimum of 40 years to more than 100 years. Metal roofs last an average of around 70 years. However, ensure you properly maintain your roof to help it reach its full lifecycle. 

Can you walk on a pole barn roof?

Yes, you can walk on a pole barn roof as long as the roof is properly supported. This is the perfect opportunity to inspect your roof during construction and ensure that everything you need on your roof is up there, like cupolas, weathervanes, skylights, etc. 

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