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What Is A Pole Barn?

Most people are familiar with the what a barn is, but pole barns are actually the most common type of barn. Learn exaclty what makes a pole barn differnt from other structures.

Red pole barn with black accents near a lake, blue sky, white,fluffy clouds. green grass, bare winter trees

A pole barn is a permanent structure made with post frame construction techniques.

Adding a new structure to your property can help give you more storage, give your animals a home, or even give you a place to practice a hobby. Pole barns are excellent additions to any homestead because they are easy to build, require little preparation to the land, and offer safety and security for up to 20 years.

A pole barn is a permanent post frame structure. Several pole barn styles have many sizes and types, but all pole barns are made with post frame construction. This post frame building style consists of long poles set deep into the ground to support further framing construction. Because the poles carry the structure’s load, it is not necessary to pour an expensive concrete foundation system to support the barn. Pole barns are typically made with wood and metal and have galvanized roofing. Pole barns can be small, but the average size pole barn is 20 x 30 feet. Common uses for a pole barn include a detached garage, workshop, barn, or even a house.

Adding a pole barn is a great way to cheaply and quickly increase the amount of usable interior space on your property. Pole barns continue to be popular because of the several benefits of this type of construction. The affordable and numerous applications make the pole barn an all-purpose design.

Why Should I Build a Pole Barn?

Dark gray horse stable pole barn with white trim, black roof, natural wood poles and fence, green country field, cloudy skies

Pole barns are cost-effective, easy to build, and come in several sizes and styles.

Post construction style buildings have been in existence for centuries, but the pole barn style we know today came to life during the 1930s, following the great depression. Farmers looked for the most affordable ways to build a barn to house animals and turned to recycled building materials, like telephone poles. The telephone pole created an affordable foundation option that was strong, durable, and sturdy. Soon, American pole barns dotted the western landscape.

Today, pole barns continue to be popular because of the numerous associated benefits. Most prominently, a typical expensive concrete foundation system is not required with a pole barn. The poles are simply dug into the ground without needing to level the building site. With no need for concrete, the pole barns are quick and easy to construct, many taking form in just a matter of days.

The pole barns use inexpensive but durable materials. Plus, because of the post construction, these barns are better insulated with fewer thermal breaks along the walls. There is plenty of ventilation between the poles for those who leave the walls uninsulated.

Pole barns are attractive because of the range of available sizes. Smaller pole barn may only measure 10 x 20 feet or be as large as 90 x 200 feet, with every size in between. To optimize pricing and construction labor costs, most pole barns will average about 20 x 30 feet.

These structures are simple in their construction which helps aid their relatively low cost and fast production time. Most poles are made of wood, which gives them durability and a strong structure. Depending on your use and preference, the sides can be wrapped with metal or wood.

Although roofs are usually made with galvanized steel, some people use traditional asphalt shingles. If you live in an area with significant snowfall, be sure to choose a pole barn style and material that is rated for heavy snow loads. Pole barns will typically last between 15 and 20 years with these traditional construction materials.

Pink sunset sky, bare metal pole barn structure,men working on construction

Pole barns are easy to build and are available in DIY packages starting at about $5,000.

The overall price of your pole barn will largely depend on the size. Assume $15 to $30 per square foot for construction. There are available pole barn kits that provide the necessary materials. These DIY packages are a great way to save some money and are available for about $5,000 for small barn options. With a bit of elbow grease and a few friends, you can quickly erect a small pole barn in a few days. If you choose to hire a professional for installation, assume an additional $5 to $10 per square foot. Added features and materials, like electricity, concrete slab, and upgraded roofing materials will significantly increase the overall price.

Because a pole barn is a permanent structure, it is usually necessary to get a permit before starting construction. Regulation and code vary by area, though, so be sure to check your local municipality for necessary permitting. Some sites will let you forgo permitting if the structure is small enough.

How Long Does It Take To Assemble a Pole Barn?

Silver, metal frame of large pole barn, dirt ground, gray cloudy sky

Small pole barns can be constructed in just two days.

Compared to stick frame construction, a pole barn is much easier to assemble and can be completed in a shorter amount of time. Plus, several of the pieces for the pole barn can be prefabricated, further shortening construction time. With no need to level or prepare the site in advance, a pole barn can be constructed in just a matter of days. Because these barns are so easy to build, labor charges are much more affordable if you hire contractors to assemble the pole barn.

For a small barn that measures about 24 x 24 feet, assume the barn can be completed in 2 to 5 days. A medium-sized barn that measures 40 x 60 feet can be completed in 3 to 7 days, while a large barn measuring 50 x 80 feet will take between 5 and 12 days to complete construction.

What Can I Use a Pole Barn For?

One of the main features that attract people to a pole barn is the varied uses for this structure. Pole barns are easy to assemble and leave a virtual blank canvass for their final use. People have found some pretty creative uses for their pole barn and, due to the low cost, often are the preferred construction type for auxiliary structures.


White pole barn, black roof, two large garage door openings in the woods, surrounded by tall green trees

Pole barns can be fitted with garage doors to make a cheap, easy garage structure.

Several people choose to build a pole barn garage. Pole bars are quite large and can be fitted with functioning garage doors. Plus, pole buildings are usually tall and deep, which means they can house unconventional vehicles that are hard to fit into a garage. A pole building is an excellent option if you are looking for a place to accommodate your RV or a boat and trailer.

Horse Stables

Horse stable made of metal, natural wood and black wrought iron, sliding barn doors

It is easy to add internal stables to a pole barn.

Erecting a barn is costly, but creating a horse stable with a pole building is cost-effective. Pole barns have limitless size options and can be fitted with added insulation to keep your horses warm through the colder months. Plus, it is possible to run electricity and water to a pole barn to give your horses lighting and proper heating. Add integral horse stalls and big doors to turn a pole barn into a fully-functioning horse stable.


Inside large pole barn workshop, worktables, tools, large windows above letting in natural light, concrete floor

A pole building can become practical workshops for woodworkers, artists, or musicians.

Many hobbyists have extensive equipment that needs a dedicated room. Adding a pole barn to function as a workshop is the perfect option. Many people choose to use their pole building workshop as a crafting room, a music room, or an art studio. With their post frame construction method, you could have a new workshop in just a matter of days.


Beautiful french doors and large windows, lots of natural light, gray with white trim den, dark hardwood floors, green decorative tree, brown leather couch

Pole barns can be finished to create the perfect hideaway or den.

Using your pole barn to hide away from everyone and everything is the ideal use for this auxiliary structure. A pole barn, when appropriately outfitted, can be the perfect place to escape. Fit your pole barn with the proper insulation, electricity, and lighting to really make the ideal man cave or she-shed. Consider turning your pole barn into an entertainment room with a pool table, ping pong table, or a built-in fun bar.


Pole barn home in the country, red tile roof, red ploes and doors, worn wooden slates across front, white trimmed windows, brick pavers for long, wide driveway, green grass, bkue sky

Transform your pole barn into a spacious home with increased cost-effective square footage.

With the ongoing trend of chic farmhouse style, a pole barn can be fitted into a functioning home. Often called “barndominiums” or “shomes” a pole barn home can be completely customized to become the house of your dreams. Pole barns have limitless combinations in size, style, material, and design. It is possible to add multiple floors to a pole barn home or create a fun loft space. A pole barn home gives you the option to have a large square footage footprint for a minimal price.


Pole barns, popular post frame buildings, have several benefits and are popular with homeowners around the world. These post frame structures offer fast assembly times, sturdy construction, and cost-effective materials to create a lasting, multi-purpose structure. Pole barns can be used to house animals, function as a workshop, an additional garage, or even be outfitted to be a fully-functioning home. Sizes, styles, and designs vary greatly, giving builders complete control over how they envision their permanent structure. Pole barns can be assembled in a matter of days and last for up to 20 years.