What is a Pole Building, Exactly?

Pole buildings are great for their affordability and ease of construction. But what is a pole building, exactly? Click here to find out.

Do you know what the more than 800 post frame contractors across the country know? The simple fact is that you have more building options than a conventional building with a standard concrete foundation and stick frame.

Have you considered a pole building for your next project? If you haven’t, you are missing out on an affordable building option that can give you a larger and more secure building.

Curious to know more? Well keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.


Watch a Pole Building Being Built by Sherman Pole Buildings

Pole Building Origins

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, farmers looked for more cost-effective ways of building. This resulted in the recycling of old telephone poles.

Since “telephone pole barns” was too long of a name, it was eventually shortened to “pole barn”.


Pole Barn

What Is a Pole Building?

Pole buildings use wood posts that get buried into the earth to provide support for the load of the building. These posts can be 4 to 6 feet down in the ground.

We’ve all seen the ancient Roman ruins of massive stone buildings that use columns to support the structure. A similar concept is used for pole buildings.

The main difference is that when your pole building is finished, you might not be able to distinguish it from another type of construction.

There are trusses that support the roof and transfer the weight and stress to the poles. There are wall materials that protect the building from the elements.


postframe building

How Are They Different from a Conventional Building?

A conventional stick frame building is what your typical residential home is. There is a concrete foundation that the home then gets built on top of. The foundation is what supports the home.

This is different from a pole building that may not have a conventional foundation. In most post frame buildings, the support for the weight of the home comes from the poles.


Building with skylights

What Can You Use a Pole Building For?

Don’t think that the only thing you can use a pole building for is agricultural such as a barn. There are many other uses you can use your pole building for.

How about a large garage? Thanks to their large openings, lack of interior load-bearing walls, and scalability you have the perfect space to store all of your tools and toys. You could even put your large RV in it.

Speaking of tools, how about turning your pole building into a workshop? You have the ability to store and use large equipment without being restricted.

You can turn a pole building into your home, popularly known as a “barndominium,” or just the man cave. Once finished and depending on the external materials utilized in the construction, you won’t be able to tell that it’s any different from a stick frame structure.


PoleBuilding Storage

How Long Do They Last?

You can expect your pole building to last 40 to 60 years. The useful lifetime of your building will depend on the climate and your level of care of the building.

Advantages of a Pole Building

There are a number of reasons to choose a pole building these days. While they may have started out as barns and farming structures, these days you are only limited by your imagination for the use for your pole building.

airplane hangar

Post Frame Airplane Hangars

Little to No Foundation Costs

Because there is no concrete foundation required, your construction costs attributed to the foundation will be minimal. If you chose to use stick frame construction, your foundation could be 8-15% of your total cost.

If you do decide to pour a foundation, it will be a fraction of the cost. This is because it won’t have to meet the same code requirements as a stick frame foundation.

Go Ahead, Build an Addition

It is much easier to construct a large porch or overhang off of your pole building. Thanks to the structure of the walls, you won’t have to overcome the hurdles you would if you were building off a stud wall.

Build Faster

When you don’t have to pour a concrete foundation, you don’t have to wait for the right weather, or for it to cure. Pole buildings have fewer components in general.

This means the overall build will go faster and there is less chance for damage or problems.

Open Them Up

When you use stick frame construction, you are limited in how large of door and window openings you can have. If you want really large doorways and windows, your building costs will go up to account for the headers and framing reinforcements required.

Instead, use a pole building where you can have much larger openings of much to 8 feet without any added construction costs.


pole shed

Stronger Structural Integrity

When it comes to supporting the building against wind and snow, you get a stronger building with the poles transferring the weight of the load directly into the ground.

Enjoy the Space

Remember how we mentioned the Roman ruins earlier? Ever notice how they didn’t need any interior supporting walls or columns? That’s because the arched ceilings transferred the entire weight to the load-bearing columns around the outside.

Well, the same goes for your pole building. The poles around the outside of the building bear the entire load. This means that the entire inside of your building is open.

Commercial Pole Shed Building

Post Frame Commercial Building

Where Do You Need a Pole Building?

Like many other innovations, pole buildings originated out of a necessity for a lower cost of construction. That lower cost is still an advantage today, though we have the added benefit of modern materials.

If you are looking for a building that gives you the freedom of wide open space, then a pole building is just what you need. Don’t think that you can only use your pole building as a barn.

Today they have a wide range of uses from agricultural, to residential, to commercial. Get started planning your pole building today by requesting a quote.