Becoming popular during the depression in the 1930’s, the “pole barn” received its name due to use of old telephone poles to construct inexpensive metal or wood clad structures. Because of the scarce resources and financial difficulties of the times, pole barns became an inexpensive alternative to constructing a conventional barn. This was achieved by burying the end for the poles in the ground and attaching metal or wood to the outside walls and roof, using minimal wood framing to hold the siding in place. This reduced need for expensive foundations and frugal use of wood made pole barns a natural fit for those looking for more storage space for less money.
As technology improved, these untreated telephone poles were replaced with chemically treated, sawn post. This new style of post was more resistant to rot when placed in the ground. This dramatically increased the life span of the pole barn. Additionally, as preservation of the wood improved so did the options of size and length. Today’s pole barns are able to be much taller and longer due to laminated wood technology and the advancement of metal fasteners and hardware.
Uses of post frame construction has expanded in the past several years due to the advancement in materials technology and the reduced costs that originally prompted the employment of the post frame method in the first place. Today, pole barn techniques are used to build commercial storefronts, office buildings, residential garages and even houses. Pole barns are also a lot more visually striking then in the past. This is due to more choices and advancements in siding and roofing materials.
Even with all these advancements, pole barn construction is still a relatively less expensive alternative to conventional construction. Why? In addition to the lower cost in materials, it takes significantly less time and money to prepare the worksite. In a conventionally build project, a foundation must be dug and concrete set before the walls and roof can be constructed. It also takes less labor in general to build a pole barn style project. If the project is using metal siding and roofing an additional cost and labor savings can be realized. Metal siding and roofing takes less time to install and can also be easily replaced if damaged and is typically more durable than the alternatives. Cost savings can also be realized if the dirt floor is allowed to remain; however, typically a gravel or concrete floor is installed.
So, if you are looking to add more storage to your home, or thinking about investing a new commercial building, or even considering constructing a cost effective home… consider a post frame style building.