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Pole Barns | Their History And Benefits

By Edited Aug 16, 2015 0 1

What Is A Pole Barn?

hors barn pole building
Basically a roof on top of a series of poles. They generally come in a rectangular shape with a gabled roof - sometimes the roof is also hooped. The poles make up the outside barrier of the barn, and generally there are no outside walls. Studs are used in traditional framing construction. In pole building development, the posts provide a shell frame for the building.

Storage is the main purpose of pole barns (also known as pole buildings). Considering the name, "pole barns" are best used in agricultural settings for storage of goods like hay or livestock.

There are two major advantages to building a pole barn over other agricultural storage building options:
  1. Low co$t
  2. Large amount of storage in easily accessible areas

The History of Pole Barns

agricultural pole buildings
In the 1930s, there was an abundance of telephone poles in rural areas of the US. Steel sheeting also became readily available. It was during this decade that post frame construction really started. Post frame construction drastically reduced the cost and materials needed to build a barn. Pole barns also became a "green" alternative in barn construction because they reused objects like telephone poles for columns.

After World War II, the poles began receiving chemical treatments to fight breakdown. The chemical treatments led to an increase in the life of buildings. Following decades saw the development of trusses connected by metal plates led to extended roofs for pole buildings, as long as 100-feet. Pole buildings and post frame construction got taller in the 1970's and 1980's when wooden posts were replaced with laminated posts.

Pole Barn Design Benefits

commercial pole building
Pole barns really aren't that difficult to design and build.
  1. Poles support the metal roof and act as the outside walls.
  2. Walls are normally built with 6×8 posts, spaced 8-feet to 12-feet apart.
  3. Girt systems of lumber connect the walls. The lumber is spaced 2-feet apart.
  4. A barn storing hay may lack exterior walls. In comparison, a barn hosting cows or pigs would have a low wall.


Feb 22, 2010 7:10am
Thank you for a very good description of this technical issue (you made something boring very interesting)
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