All You Need to Know About Pole Barn vs Stick Built Buildings

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Do you ever experience decisions that keep you awake at night? One such decision may be what kind of structure you would like built on your property. Deciding between a pole barn and stick-built construction may not be easy. This is a big investment, after all!

If you spend a significant amount of money on this building project, you will want the resources and information to make an informed decision. We’ve put together a list of advantages and disadvantages of pole barn vs stick built construction to help you make the choice that’s right for you.

Are you looking for pole barns in State College, PA, or pole barns in Columbia, PA? Check out our Areas We Serve Pages and see all the places we can build you a pole barn.

Pole Barn vs Stick Built: Stick Built

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When deciding between pole barns and stick-built buildings, it’s important to know the clear difference between the two. Stick-built buildings are made with 2 x 4 or 2 x 6-dimensional lumber, known as sticks, to frame the structure. This method is known as stick framing.

First, a foundation is built followed by a wooden frame. This frame forms the structure of the building, and other components are attached, like windows, doors, and roofing. In addition to wood, other materials like metal fasteners and connectors are used to give the building a strong structure. Insulation is added to improve energy efficiency and comfort for the residents. Stick-built buildings are commonly used for residential homes and low-rise commercial structures.

To learn more about stick-built structures, check out this article.

Advantages of Stick Built

Design Flexibility

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Because stick-built construction is a traditional building method, it offers a lot of room for variety. They are built on-site, and changes can be made throughout construction. You can work with your builder to change the floor plan, room sizes, and other features you want to customize. You can choose from a wide variety of building materials, finishes, and design elements to create a home or building that is uniquely your own.

Better Insulation

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Insulation is something to consider in the discussion of pole barns vs. stick-built structures. The latter tend to have better insulation than pole barns because pole barns are often not constructed to be insulated in the first place. The framing members are spaced relatively close together, and there are fewer opportunities for air to flow in and out of the building. This can make for a more comfortable living environment.


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Stick-built structures tend to be durable, considering that they are made with high-quality lumber and engineered wood products designed explicitly for construction. These materials are treated to withstand moisture, pests, and decay. A good stick-built structure will be designed to withstand elements like wind and rain and, with proper maintenance, can last a very long time.

Disadvantages of Stick Built

Time and Labor

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Of course, there are disadvantages to knowing about when deciding on pole barn vs stick built buildings. One disadvantage of stick-built structures is that they require longer construction time and more manual labor. This includes cutting and installing framing members, insulation, and other applications. This type of construction also requires more onsight planning and coordination. Furthermore, stick-built structures can be more time-consuming to construct because they require a greater degree of precision and attention to detail.

Higher Cost

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Along with increased construction time, stick built structures tend to be more expensive. For starters, increased labor time means increased costs as well. Lumber and other materials used in this type of construction may also tend to be more expensive than concrete or steel. Stick built construction also requires a stable and level foundation, which may increase site preparation work such as excavating and grading.

Pole Barn vs Stick Built: Pole Barns

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When choosing between pole barn vs stick built structures, it’s good to have a basic knowledge of both of them. Pole Barns are usually constructed using a simple design called pole barn framing. Large poles are embedded in the ground to provide structural support. The poles support the roof and walls, and the exterior walls are made of metal siding. The roof is often covered with metal sheeting or shingles. It can be easy to confuse pole buildings and timber frame buildings. The difference between the two can be seen by reading this timber framing blog.

Pole barns can also be customized to accommodate large doors or windows for natural light and ventilation.

If you would like more information on pole barns, our blog has everything you need to know.

Advantages of Pole Barns

Cost Effective

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Cost is important to consider, of course, when discussing pole barns vs. stick-built buildings. Because pole barns are built with fewer materials and labor hours, they tend to be more cost-effective. They are faster to construct and simpler to build. Pole barns are made with poles or steel posts set into the ground as the foundation and roof trusses to support the roof. They are simply made with metal paneling and wooden siding and, therefore, save on materials.

They are also more energy efficient. The large posts or poles provide a certain amount of insulation, and the metal roof reflects the sun, resulting in less need for air conditioning. This may help lower energy bills over time.

Check out our blog on Pole Barn Prices for more information on pricing.

Quick Construction Time

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There are several ways pole barns can reduce construction time. First, they have a simpler design than stick-built buildings, which simplifies the construction process. Unlike stick-built buildings, pole barns don’t require a concrete foundation, and the posts can be set directly into the ground, which can also help move the process along quickly. Lastly, pole barns are designed using prefabricated components, such as wall panels, which reduces the amount of on-site work.

Low Maintenance

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Pole barns tend to be more low maintenance than stick built structures. Firstly, they are made from materials that are naturally resistant to rot and decay, like steel. This can reduce the need for repairs and maintenance. Pole barns have fewer joints and connections because they are built with a simpler design. This means there are fewer areas to leak or develop issues over time. Because pole barns are built with posts set directly into the ground, they tend to have better natural drainage and moisture-related problems.

To learn more about the advantages of pole barns, take a look at this article.

Disadvantages of Pole Barns

Limited Design Options

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Though pole barns have a strong support system and construction method, this may leave less room for design creativity. The spacing between the posts and their size can limit design options because changing them may hurt the building’s structural integrity. Though the roof design is simple and efficient, and variations are possible, it is true that the roof design options are generally more limited than those of a stick-built structure.

Less Insulation

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Another disadvantage of pole barns is less insulation. The simple design of pole barns with the post and beam method tends to make it more difficult to add insulation and may require additional work. Because they are also created with fewer materials than stick built buildings, there are fewer layers of insulation that can be added. Because pole barns are often used for workshops or agricultural buildings, temperature control may not be as necessary. This means that insulation is not often a top priority for pole barn owners, especially when it’s not a residential application.

If you are interested in insulating a pole barn, check out our blog on Pole Barn Insulation.

Now that you have an idea of the benefits and the cons of pole barns vs stick buildings, you should be equipped to make a decision about the type of building you want.

Pole Barns With Extreme Pole Buildings

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If you have come to the conclusion that a pole barn is the right choice for you, we are happy to inform you that Extreme Pole Buildings provides various pole barn styles for agricultural, commercial, or residential applications.

Our pole barns are constructed using wooden posts to support the foundation and framework. The post holes are generally done with concrete, though we offer several different methods. The posts carry the weight of the structure, whereas, in most buildings, the foundation does.

If you are looking to get a pole barn on your property, look no further. We can design your dream pole barn to make it last a lifetime.