Pole Barns: The Pros, Cons, and Uses


Pole barns are a popular choice for many people looking to build a structure for agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial, or recreational use. They are cost-effective, flexible in design, quick to construct, and durable. However, they also have their limitations. In this article, we will take a closer look at what a pole barn is, the history of pole barns, the differences between pole barns and post frame buildings, the pros and cons of owning one, and the various uses for pole barns.

What is a Pole Barn?

A pole barn is a type of building that is constructed using columns or “poles” as the primary support structure. The columns are typically made of dimensional lumber that is laminated together. Any lumber that is in the ground is treated, anything above ground is not. The columns can be buried  in the ground, providing a solid foundation for the structure. The columns can also be mounted on concrete using brackets. Trusses are installed, girts and purlins are added, then the building is sheeted and trimmed in steel. 

History of Pole Barns

Pole barns have a long and storied history, with the first pole barns being built in the 1930s. They were originally developed as a cost-effective alternative to traditional barns, which were built using more expensive materials and construction methods. Over the years, pole barn design has evolved, with the addition of insulation, improved roofing materials, the use of multi-ply laminated columns, and other features that have made pole barns even more versatile and practical. Today, pole barns are one of the most popular types of outbuildings, used for a variety of purposes, including agriculture, residential living, commercial storage, and more.

Pole Barn vs Post Frame: What’s the Difference?

Pole barn and post frame building have the same exact meaning. Pole barn, pole shed, pole building, and post frame building are all synonyms. Pole barn is the oldest and most popular term to describe this method of framing. The term “post frame building” is becoming the new standard term among post frame builders. Originally, pole barns were built with round poles, hence the term, “pole building”. This term has not gone away even though the construction materials have changed. The industry has moved past using poles and now uses a column made of dimensional, laminated lumber. Many people still refer to their post frame building as a pole barn, not realizing that this is really a term of the past. Buildings are not made with poles anymore, so the correct term for today’s buildings would be a post frame building. Whether you call it a pole barn or a post frame building, we will still understand. 

Pros of a Pole Barn

The following are some of the benefits of owning a pole barn:


Pole barns can be less expensive than  stick frame buildings, making them a cost-effective option for many people.

Flexibility in Design

Pole barns can be designed to meet the specific needs of the owner, offering flexibility in terms of size, shape, and features.

Quick Construction Time

Pole barns can be constructed  more  efficiently than traditional buildings, often in a matter of weeks rather than months.

Durability and Longevity

Pole barns are built to last, often featuring treated lumber with steel exterior and other materials that are designed to withstand the elements and last for many years.

Energy Efficiency

Some pole barns are designed with energy-efficient features, such as insulation, which can help reduce energy costs and improve the overall comfort of the building.

Cons of a Pole Barn

The following are some of the drawbacks of owning a pole barn:

Limited Customization Options

While pole barns can be designed to meet the specific needs of the owner, they still can have limitations in terms of customization options. Generally these limitations are seen with the roof design. Everlast Structures provides some of the most customization options in the pole barn industry. 

Limited Insulation Options

Some pole barns are not designed with insulation, which can make them less energy-efficient and less comfortable to use in extreme weather conditions.

Uses of a Pole Barn

Pole barns can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

Agricultural Uses

Pole barns are commonly used for agricultural purposes, such as storing equipment and supplies, housing livestock, and more.

Residential Uses

Pole barns are becoming increasingly popular as residential structures, with many people using them as barndominiums.

Commercial Uses

Pole barns are a versatile option for commercial storage, offering ample space for businesses to store equipment, supplies, and more.

Industrial Uses

Pole barns are often used in industrial settings, offering a cost-effective and durable option for storage and other industrial applications.

Recreational Uses

Pole barns are also popular for recreational uses, such as man-caves  and she-sheds, offering a space for people to enjoy hobbies, pursue projects, and more.

Storage Spaces

Pole barns are also often used for storage, offering a convenient and secure option for storing vehicles, equipment, and other items.


In conclusion, pole barns offer a cost-effective, flexible, and durable option for a variety of uses. While they do have some limitations, they are still an excellent choice for many people. Whether you’re looking to build a barndominium, man-cave, commercial buildings,, or simply need a storage space, a pole barn may be the perfect solution for you.

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