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Pole Barns 101 Guide – All You Need to Know! (With Floorplans)

feature image of the article with huge red pole barn and green roof
Huge gambrel type post-frame barn. Image via Pixabay.com

Pole barns aren’t just used for cattle and hay anymore. Generally speaking, pole barns are the perfect solution for many needs. Pole barns come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes. For example, large pole barns are perfect for housing livestock, feed and farming equipment. In addition, they can also double as a residential home.

Other larger scale uses for pole barns include garages, aircraft hangars, businesses and churches. In addition, pole barns are great for medium sized to smaller needs. For instance, pole barns make fantastic storage areas for lawn equipment, boats and campers. Additionally, smaller pole barns create the most amazing spaces for personal use. In this case, pole barns can be used as art and craft studios, workshops and playhouses for the kids.

Plus, pole barns can be transformed into excellent man caves and beautiful she sheds! With this in mind, we have compiled all of the information you need about pole barns. Therefore, you can educate yourself on types of pole barns, how to build a pole barn, costs, trusted pole barn builders and more. Plus, you will come accross helpful links you can click on to find pole barn kits and builders near you, pole barn floor plans, or go straight to an entirely separate pole barn homes guide here. Additionally, make your life easier and use the table of contents below.

What are Pole Barns?

Pole barns can also be referred to as pole buildings, pole sheds and post barns. The definition of a pole barn is, “a farm building with no foundation and with sides consisting of corrugated steel or aluminum panels supported by poles set in the ground typically at eight-foot intervals,” according to Google’s Oxford dictionary. In short, that covers your basic pole barn description. However, as you read through this guide, you will find that pole barns have evolved a great deal over the decades.

Old abandoned wooden pole barn.
Old abandoned wooden pole barn. Image via Pixabay.com

Origins of the Pole Barn

The origins of the pole barn date back to the 1920’s. Farmers needed a more cost-effective way to build barns during the Great Depression. At that time, farming was becoming more industrialized too. Therefore, larger barns were also needed for storing tractors and equipment. So, farmers collected and used old telephone poles to frame and build their barns. As a result, farmers saved a lot of money. Hence the name “pole barn” was born and the practice of using poles for framing is still a part of barn building today.

Pole Barn Materials

Pole barns use poles or posts to create a strong foundation on which to construct a pole barn. However, not all pole barns are created equal. In addition to size and shape, pole barns can be constructed using different materials.

Metal Frame Pole Barns

Metal pole barns can be framed using metal posts or wood posts. In addition, they can also include wooden trusses and beams. At the same time, there are kits and builders who use metal framing, trusses and beams throughout the pole barn. In conclusion metal pole barns are always finished by using metal walls, roofs and trim, regardless of the framing materials.

Metal frame of a one-story pole barn building on cocncrete slab.
Metal frame of a one-story pole barn building.

Wooden Frame Pole Barns

Wooden pole barns are built primarily of wood. In other words, wooden pole barns are framed in wood, have wood trusses and beams and are finished with a wood exterior and roof which is usually shingled. Therefore, these pole barns often resemble a traditional barn; an esthetic many people enjoy.

Beautiful pole barn wooden frame at night lit by flashlights in the pitch black background.
Beautiful pole barn timber frame at night. Timber Frame flickr photo by Me in ME shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The Cost of a Regular Pole Barn

Pole barn buildings start at $4,000 for a 20X30 building and go up to $65,000 for a 60X100 industrial-use pole barn according to Home Advisor. It is important to realize that many things will affect your final cost. Some examples are where you build, the size and shape of the pole barn and what finishes you choose for inside and outside your pole barn. Additionally, the cost of a pole barn can vary due to the quality of the materials used.

Other Uses for Pole Barns

Today, pole barns are used for much more than housing farm animals and their food. For instance, pole barns are now used for garages, workshops, retail businesses, places to relax and even a combination of those. To elaborate, pole barns are perfect for opening a small business and having a home in the same space. Additionally, pole barn homes are in a league all of their own.

Red Monitor style pole barn home featuring epic metallic kitchen interior.
Monitor style pole barn used as home featuring epic interior. Image via Homenization.com

The Advantages of Pole Barns

The advantages of building a pole barn are many, especially when compared to traditionally constructed buildings. Those advantages are:

  • A pole barn is faster to build compared to framed buildings.
  • Pole buildings cost less to build when compared to traditional barns.
  • Pole barns used as barns don’t need floors. Saving you 10% -30%.
  • Pole barns are constructed to last a very long time and are sturdy.
  • Metal pole barns are lower maintenance and are resistant to damaging insects and rot.
  • Fire safety is a huge advantage as metal pole barns do not burn.
  • Pole barn plans, kits and builders are abundant and easy to find.
  • You can easily customize a pole barn.

Pole Barns for Sale

There are many options for buying a pole barn and finding pole barns for sale. For instance, look no further than your local hardware chain store. Menards and Home Depot have a fantastic selection of pole kits and designs. 

Additionally, you can buy pole barns directly from the manufacturer or builder. Some examples include Lester Buildings, Wick Buildings and Morton Buildings Inc. Between these 3 companies, you can build a pole barn anywhere in the United States.

Finally, you can find pole barns for sale in less obvious places. In fact, you can buy pole barns on ebay and Amazon.

Or You Can Fill in This Quick Form Below and Receive Multiple Estimates from Different Pole Barn Builders!

So, You Want a Pole Barn, What’s Next?

So, you’ve decided you want a pole barn. What’s next? 

Doing your research is the next step in buying a pole barn. Specifically, you need to decide what size pole barn you want. Plus, you must decide how you want it built and which way of building is right for you. So, what are your options?

Options for Owing a Pole Barn

You have a few options when you are choosing to build a pole barn. Further, each option has its own set of factors that affect price, building time, quality and warranty. You may choose:

  • Prebuilt pole barns
  • DIY pole barns
  • Pole barn kits
  • Pole barn builders

Prebuilt Pole Barns

Prebuilt pole barns are generally at the smaller end of the size scale. To illustrate, this type of pole barn is used as a backyard shed, children’s playhouse or a small potting shed or workshop. Despite their small size, prebuilt pole barns save you time, are reasonably priced and are delivered right to your home.

DIY Pole Barns

DIY pole barns are a great option for people who are skilled in building things. Moreover, doing it yourself allows you full control of your pole barn from start to finish. For your convenience, we wrote an extensive 7 steps guide on how to build a pole barn here if you are interested.

Advantages of Building Your Own Pole Barn

Building your own pole barn from the ground up has many advantages for you to consider.

  • First, you can move at your own pace with a DIY pole barn.
  • Second, DIY pole barns allow you to have full control of everything.
  • Third, you can save money with a DIY pole barn by upcycling materials and shopping for bargains.
  • Additionally, the entire family can be involved in building a DIY pole barn.
  • Finally, you will take a great deal of pride in knowing you built that pole barn yourself.

Pole Barn Floor Plans: Where can I find one?

You can purchase pole barn floor plans if you’re not great at designing.  In fact, you can find pole barn plans for sale on ebay, Etsy and in pole barn books sold on Amazon. Furthermore, you can save some money by looking for books at the library or finding free pole barn plans on Pinterest and here on our site.

Four pole barn renders and their sizes matching the floor plans
Click the image or here to visit the collection of pole barn floor plans of various sizes.

Things to Remember When Building DIY Pole Barns

There are some important things to remember before you build a pole barn.

  1. Check your local zoning ordinances to make sure they allow pole barns.
  2. You must obtain a building permit before you start building.
  3. Call you local utility companies to come out and mark any buried cables, water and gas lines.
  4. Contact your electric company to find out your options on running electricity to your pole barn.
  5. Make sure you choose materials for your specific area for snow load, winds and earthquakes.

Equipment You Will Need

You will need special equipment when building a DIY pole barn. First, you’ll need a bulldozer to clear your building site and level it out. Also, you will need a post hole digger or auger so you can put your poles into the ground. With this in mind, you can find a local company that leases this type of heavy equipment. Finally, you’ll need basic building tools like a hammer, power screw driver, ladders and saws.

a man with a tool belt ready to do some work.
A man ready to DIY his barn. Image via Pixabay.com

Pole Barn Kits

Pole barn kits are another option for building a pole barn. They come in an enormous variety of sizes, shapes and finishes. As a result, you will be able to find the exact pole barn to fit your needs. Furthermore, pole barn kits allow you to buy the kit and do it yourself, have a contractor build it or do a little of both.

Types of Pole Barn Kits

You can choose from many different types of pole barn kits. Notably, pole barn kits fall into 3 categories from which you can choose. Those categories are:

Residential: That includes sheds, playhouses, man caves, garages, workshops and pole barn homes.

Agricultural: Examples of agricultural pole barns are farm storage, horse barns, livestock barns, green houses and grow houses.

Commercial: Commercial pole barns are shops and retail spaces and those businesses with attached living spaces.

Yellow pole barn horse stable with green rood.
Huge post-frame horse barn. Image via Pixabay.com

Pole Barn Kit Prices

Pole barn kit prices can vary wildly depending on the size of your pole barn, the quality of the materials in your kit and from whom you buy a kit. For example, this Lakewood 12X24 pole barn kit is $10, 828.72 at Home Depot. Another example would be this 36X20X12 metal barn that sells for $9,399.00 from Big Buildings Direct. Finally, at Hansen Pole Buildings, you can buy a 60X120X16 pole barn kit starting at $50,800.00. 

Another key point to remember is what is included in your pole barn kit. Not all kits are created equal. For instance, at Pole Barns Direct you can buy a 24X32X10 pole barn kit for $8,500. The kit includes everything you need to build the structure plus one garage door and 1 regular door. By contrast, you can purchase a medium sized pole barn measuring 30X40X10 for $12,000. In comparison, this kit includes all of your building materials plus wainscot finishing, a garage door, man door, 4 windows and a cupola.

Regardless of where you purchase your pole barn kit, it’s extremely important to note what materials are included.

Materials Included in a Pole Barn Kit

Materials that are included in a pole barn kit include your poles, trusses, all connectors and fasteners, the walls, roof, doors and windows. If you are building on a concrete slab, look for kits that include the fasteners made for slabs.

Additionally, most pole barn kits are customizable. At APB Pole Barns, every pole barn kit they sell is customizable, right down to the size of the pole barn you need. That includes upgraded windows, different exterior finishes, the type of roof you’d like and more. As a result, your pole barn is only limited by your imagination.

a man with a helmet measuring timber post frame construction.
Construct your timber frame barn kit. Image via stock.adobe.com

Choosing Your Colors

Choosing your colors is one of the easiest and most fun parts of buying your pole barn kit. Obviously, you will want your pole barn to match your home. Therefore, you can choose the color of the walls and the roof you prefer. Then, you can choose a contrasting trim color and what color you would like the doors. Most importantly, every piece of your pole barn kit comes pre-painted and with a fade warranty.

Places to Buy a Pole Barn Kit

There are many places to buy a pole barn kit. As mentioned earlier, you can purchase pole barn kits at large retailers such as Home Depot and Menards. Additionally, you can buy pole barn kits near you or order a kit directly from the manufacturer. For example, APB sells directly to the consumer and will deliver your pole barn kit anywhere in the country, including Florida. Better yet, their prices include delivery. Another great place to purchase a pole barn kit is Lester Builders. As you can see by their map, they deliver to states like Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Colorado. Finally, if you are looking for pole barn kits in Texas, Oregon or anywhere in the western United states, Parker Buildings has pole barn kits you can customize.

Popular sizes of pole barn kits are designed as small, medium and large buildings. Pole barn sizes are usually standard, unless you decide to design a custom size.

Small Sized Pole Barns

Small pole barns are used for backyard storage, gardening sheds and children’s playhouses. Some popular sizes are:

  • 12X16
  • 12X20
  • 12X24

Medium Sized Pole Barns

Medium pole barns are used for a variety of different things and include garages, workshops, small barns and storage spaces. Some popular medium size pole barns are:

  • 20X30
  • 24X36
  • 30X30
  • 30X40
  • 30X50

Large Sized Pole Barns

When it comes to large pole barn sizes, the sky is the limit. These huge spaces are perfect for horse barns, farm equipment storage, businesses, pole barn homes and combination business and living space. Some popular sizes of large pole barns are:

  • 40X60
  • 40X80
  • 50X100
  • 60X80
  • 60X100

Pole Barn Builders

If you have decided you are just not the DIY type, it’s time to look toward pole barn builders. Pole barn builders do everything you need from planning the size of your pole barn to putting on the finishing touches. However, how do you find a pole barn builder you trust?

First, ask friends and relatives for suggestions and referrals. Then, check those builders with the Better Business Bureau and read online reviews. Secondly, look for trusted pole barn builders on websites like ours. We have compiled a great list of trust pole barn builders you can choose from. Finally, if you’re someone who is looking to have an authentic pole barn raised, then have a look at this article where we list top Amish post frame barn builders.

Amish crew working on a wooden frame pole barn with over ten men sitting on the roof frame.
Amish crew working on a wooden frame pole barn.

Advantages of Using a Pole Barn Builder

When you buy a pole barn, there are several advantages to using a pole barn builder.

  • You get to customize the pole barn you want.
  • A builder designs your pole barn and creates the blueprints.
  • Pole barn builders are familiar with zoning laws and codes.
  • Your builder obtains all building permits.
  • A pole barn builder prepares your site and builds your pole barn from the ground up.
  • Builders have their own contractors that handle hooking up your utilities.
  • Pole barn builders offer warranties on their materials as well as their workmanship.
  • You are saved any frustrations or headaches from doing all of the work yourself.

Pole Barn Floor Plans

Pole barns are usually used for storage of some sort. However, these versatile spaces are now used for much more. As a result, you will likely want to look at pole barn floor plans to design the space you desire. Some pole barn floor plan examples are:

Pole Barn Sheds (The Smallest)

Pole barn sheds are small and perfect for backyard storage, gardening sheds or even a playhouse for a child. Popular sizes are 12X16, 12X20, and 12X24you can find free plans and their layouts here. As for the inside, you can find all sorts of ideas for designing the inside of your pole barn shed here. Ultimately, the shed that has more than a usual interior to it is known as she shed. But enough about them, let’s move on to the real deal – actual pole barns.

Medium Sized Pole Barn Floor Plans

This size pole barn is much more versatile than the shed size. For example, they can be used as workshops, garages and small stables. The most popular sizes for a medium pole barn are 24X36, 30X30, 30X40, 30X50 and the most popular, 30X60. Therefore, you have more open space to work with. One idea for utilizing a medium-sized pole barn is to build a workshop. You can find floor plans and layouts online. Secondly, you could use this size pole barn as a small stable. Other ideas for this size pole barn are garages, a barndominium home or you can combine the two and build a garage, barn or workshop with a loft apartment above.

40 by 30 red and white pole barn garage render
Medium size 40 X 30 pole barn garage. Plans are available here.

Large Sized Pole Barn Floor Plans

Large-sized pole barns can be used for just about anything that requires open space. These larger pole barns are often used for business purposes. However, there are many uses for folks who want to get creative with this enormous, blank canvas. For instance, this 40X60 shop and barndominium home combination is absolutely stunning. Another example is this multi-sized home and horse barn combination that is creative and beautiful. Finally, these spacious pole barns allow for so much creativity, this pole building was raised not for the cows either but purposed into wedding venue business for example.

Huge grey 120 by 60 pole barn with a garage and shop
Huge 120 X 60 pole barn garage and shop. Plans are available here.

Browsing Around for Pole Barn Floorplans? Find your next garage, workshop, stable, barndominium!

Frequently Asked Questions

How are pole barns insulated?

Pole barns are insulated in 1 or 2 of 3 different ways. The first is spray foam insulation, which is included in many pole barn kits. The spray insulation is applied while wet. As the liquid dries, it expands to fill any gap, crevice or hole, therefore, it keeps cold and hot air out while stabilizing indoor temperatures.

A second option for insulation is a bubble foil application. To elaborate, this newer insulation is installed in the roof and walls of the pole barn. It works by reflecting heat, stabilizing indoor temperatures and preventing condensation from forming. Finally, the most cost-efficient way to insulate a pole barn is by using batt insulation. To demonstrate, batt insulation is placed between the exterior and interior walls to keep the outside temperature changes from affecting indoor comfort. Additionally, batt insulation is often used along with spray foam insulation.

A step-by-step tutorial on how to insulate a pole barn building.

How can I finance a pole barn?

Depending on how you are using your new pole barn will dictate where you should look for financing. For instance, if you are building your pole barn for storage purposes, you may be able to finance through your current lender. However, if you are building your pole barn for a business or a business and a home combination, you will want to try your local banks first. Additionally, you can find several lenders online that specifically finance post frame buildings. Finally, look to the company from which you are purchasing your pole barn. Expressly, because many of these companies offer in-house financing.

Why do pole barn kit prices vary so much? 

Pole barn kit prices vary for several reasons. For one, look carefully at the pole barn kit parts list. The reason being is that some pole barn kits offer every single part you’ll need to build your pole building. However, others may not include more than a simple shell and fasteners. Another reason for price variation is that some pole barn kits are purchased directly from the manufacturer. As a result, you’re not paying for an affiliate or salesperson’s commission. Finally, pole barn kit prices can vary because of the quality of building materials, shipping and delivery fees and the size of the pole barn itself.

Finally, What’s Your Pole Barn Style?

You’ve just devoured a great deal of information on pole barns. In other words, you now know the basics of pole barns and can move forward with your plans. But, what’s your pole barn style? Are you looking to create a beautiful tiny home? Or, are you ready to open your first retail store complete with spacious living quarters? Either way, be confident and enjoy the process of building your dream pole barn.

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.