The Complete Guide to Pole Barn Framing

pole barn framing
Photo: Duramacks Structures

Pole barn framing or pole building construction is an effective and affordable form of construction.

What is pole barn framing?

Pole barn framing is a type of building framing that consists of a building supported by posts or poles that are buried into the ground. Unlike a conventional stick frame building, pole barn framing doesn’t require a basement or a foundation, you just need to bury the posts and set them with concrete. Pole barn framing is typically used for a multitude of purposes from hay barns to garages. Check out our article on pole barn ideas!

pole barn framing pole barn

Pole barn framing components

Footing/Foundation

The footing of a pole barn is crucial for its structural stability, this is the base that will support the entire building. A hole is dug approximately 4 feet deep and the post is placed into the hole, secured by layers of concrete and dirt or gravel. Pole barns can also be set on concrete pads with the help of brackets.

Posts

The posts of a pole barn are comprised of pressure-treated wood that is typically anywhere from 4×4 to 8×8 in size. Bigger posts are used when buildings are larger and need more strength.

Girts

Girts are the pieces of lumber that span across the side of the pole barn framing and are laid horizontally and installed to the post perpendicular. Girts typically come in sizes of 2×4 or 2×6 and are nailed to the post.

Trusses

Trusses are the pieces of lumber or steel that make up the framing for the roof. Typically in a triangular shape, these pieces of pole barn framing are responsible for the pitch of the roof.

Purlins

The purlins of a pole barn are the pieces of lumber that are laid horizontally and secured perpendicular to the trusses, to provide structural integrity for the roof. Typically available in 2×4, 2×6, and 2×8 sizes.

Skirt Board

A skirt board, also known as a splash board, is laid across the bottom of the sides of the pole barn, against the posts and girts. Skirt boards are good in that they add some structural integrity by being attached to the building as well as keeping moisture out to prevent the posts from rotting.

Siding

The siding of a pole barn is a very important feature as this will help insulate the shed as well as greatly affect the pole barn’s appearance. When it comes to pole barn siding, you have plenty of options to choose from including, vinyl, metal, and wood. Check out our siding options here!

Roofing

Most pole barn buildings use steel for their roofing, however, you can use shingles and sheathing as well.

Fasteners

Fasteners used for pole barn framing should be corrosion-resistant. Hot dipped galvanized steel or stainless-steel fasteners are commonly used. Preferably, you’d want to use fasteners that match your siding.

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Pros and Cons of pole barn framing

Pros:

Short build time

Since you don’t need to take the time to build a basement for a foundation and all you must do is secure some posts into the ground, pole barn framing is quick compared to other construction types.

Affordability

The lack of a need for a basement also allows you to save on construction costs. Not to mention the fact that pole barn framing materials are typically cheaper than conventional stick frame building materials.

Structural integrity

Pole barn framing has been shown to provide superior structural integrity, this is because all their support comes from the posts and in turn allows all the forces applied to the structure to be transferred to the ground. Pole barns maintain their composure when exposed to heavy winds and even earthquakes!

Versatility

You can build a pole barn just about anywhere, just try not to build it where water can accumulate as this can be bad for the posts. Since there is no basement, this allows for a lot more versatility in choosing where to put your pole barn. A pole barn can also be used for many different things like garages, hay barns, storage units, or even as a house!

More space

Since pole barn framing allows the building to get all its support from the posts, so unlike a conventional stick frame building, the need for interior walls to support the building is non-existent. This means more space for you and whatever else you’d like to store in your pole barn.

Easy to insulate

The space between poles in a pole barn is greater than the space between studs in a conventional stick frame building. This makes it easier to insulate a pole barn and allows you to use the insulation of your choice from spray foam to batts.

Cons:

Lifespan

One downside to pole barn framing is the lifespan of the building. Even though a pole barn can last you from 40-60 years, this is short when you compare it to the lifespan of a conventional stick frame building which can last from 50 to hundreds of years.

Codes and regulations

When planning on building a pole barn, be sure to check with your local codes and regulations. Some places won’t allow you to build a pole barn as they don’t meet the frost level standards as well as other reasons.

At risk for rot

Pole barn framing has a lot of wooden components, when the wood is exposed to moisture it can allow for wood-eating fungus to begin growing. For a pole barn, the posts are most susceptible to wood rot, which is bad because if the posts decay enough, this can put the entire building in jeopardy.

Conclusion

So, now you know everything you need to know about pole barn framing. From the components and uses to the pros and cons, now you can see why pole barn framing is great for plenty of different uses. We hope you find this information useful in your pole barn building journey. If you liked this article, be sure to read our article on “What is a Pole Barn“, and also check out our different pole barn styles here!