Looking for spacious building model with easy construction? Pole barn homes are among the most popular solutions. Unlike the old “farmhouse” barns that you often see in the country, pole barn home now comes in various styles and materials. The easy construction makes it a practical, affordable choice for people who favor substance over style.
1. What is a Pole Barn Homes?
Pole barn home is a term for the house that consists of panels, such as from aluminum or steel, but has no foundation. The entire structure is supported by beams or poles that are located strategically. A pole barn home looks a little like a traditional barn, but the high-quality one is more structurally engineered, especially the ones that are used as residential or business buildings.
While the outside of the building may look like a traditional barn, the inside is entirely open for modifications. You can create any design you want, and you have a lot of room to do that. Pole barn homes also have several upsides compared to traditional houses, such as:
Flexible for any terrains
A pole barn home is more flexible toward various terrain types than a traditionally structured home. Pole barn does not need ground leveling work, which means you can save a lot of time and money.
Cost-saving for foundations
You still need to do some works on the ground to build a pole barn home, but the cost is lower than a traditional home. Instead of excavation and concrete-filing, you only need to dig holes to place the poles that will support the structure.
Depending on where you live, a pole barn home can help you save more money from insulation. The building has fewer thermal breaks, which means you only need less insulation system for this house than traditional building.
The easy construction and spacious interior make a pole barn building very versatile. You can use it for various purposes, such as residential building, bed and breakfast, actual barn, commercial storage, workshop, store/supermarket, gym, and an even airplane hangar.
With all these benefits, there are no reasons to doubt a pole barn home’s function as a flexible, cheap, multi-purpose building.
2. Pole Barn Home Kits and Prices
Forget building a barn from scratch. Nowadays, you can buy a prefab pole barn home kit, and build it by following proper instructions. There are various kits that consist of a lot of materials, sizes, designs, and purposes. Here are some of the most common home kits based on materials.
Wood Pole Barn Kits
Wood pole barn kits are probably the ones that resemble traditional barns the most. However, unlike old barn homes from the old era, modern wood kits are made of high-quality lumbers. The frames are also made of steel, so the house can stand strong against harsh elements.
Wood pole barn kits are very popular, even the small versions, so you can expect to spend between USD7 and USD20 per square foot.
Custom DIY Pole Barn Kits
Custom DIY pole barn kits are just like any other models. However, the model is usually easy to customize, which is perfect for buyers who need specific designs for certain purposes. You can easily customize the interior and exterior, such as adding extra coat layer, installing partition walls, building tiered bleachers, and more.
Since custom pole barn kits are adjusted to the customers’ needs, expect to spend between USD45 and USD55 per square foot.
Metal Pole Barn Kits
Many people refuse to buy metal pole barn kits because they think the house will produce noises when raining. However, modern metal kits actually have the same noise level compared to other materials, such as wood, clay, or asphalt shingles. Metal pole barn kit is great if you need a house that cannot combust, split, crack, or flake.
Depending on the size, details, and location, the price may range between USD10 and USD30 per square foot.
Pole Barn Garage Kits
Pole barn garage kits are growing in popularity because they are strong, spacious, and customizable. This kit is perfect if you have vehicles with different sizes (such as a car and RV), live in areas with extreme weather, or think to replace vehicles every now and then. The cost to construct pole barn garage is cheaper than actually building it from scratch.
The garage may be small or big depending on your needs. You may need to spend between USD5 and USD20 per square foot for prefab garage.
Remember, all these prices are just rough estimations. Your pole barn homes will need extra features, such as windows, doors, insulation, partitions, wall cover/paint for the exterior, and more. Make sure to include all the additional costs into your calculator.
3. Pole Barn Home Floor Plans
Choosing pole barn home floor plans means determining the actual purposes of your building, and how much space needed to accomplish them. Here are several popular floor plan sizes available in the market.
40×60 Pole Barn Plan
40×60 is a popular size for a spacious house or small store with storage space. You can build a two-story, three-bedroom house with two bathrooms. Depending on the layout, you can also add a spacious garage that can store up to two cars. This is also an ideal plan to create a spacious kitchen and separate dining room.
30×40 Pole Barn Plan
This plan is perfect for a small family house or holiday home. You can make a two-bedroom house with one bathroom, and you can build either one-story or two-story building. However, there is usually very limited space for garage, so you must consider an extension if you want to keep a car.
30×30 Pole Barn Plan
This compact floor plan is perfect for a small office building, backyard cottage, holiday cabin, or a house for a single occupant. You can build one bathroom and get adequate space for the seating area, desk, and little storage room. You also will need an extension if you want to add a garage. The small, prefab kit is definitely a cheaper option than building one from scratch.
30×60 Pole Barn Plan
This floor plan is perfect for a narrow lot. You can build a two-story building, with three bedrooms and two small bathrooms. This plan also allows a dining room, peninsula-style eating bar or table, and a mud room after the front door. The extension is necessary to create a garage.
40×80 Pole Barn Plan
This spacious plan is perfect for a diner, medium-sized business office, commercial stores (such as grocery store or bookstore), and coffee shop. For a residential building, you can build a one-story or two-story house, with four bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms. There is additional space for one garage, so it is great if you start a family and plan to grow the members.
24×24 Pole Barn Plan
This floor plan can give you a two-story house with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a modest garage. You still get extra space for kitchen and small dining room, living room, and a small storage space. This is a perfect floor plan for a small family or office.
30×50 Pole Barn Plan
This floor plan can give you two bedrooms and two bathrooms, or three bedrooms and a bathroom. There is extra space for garage, small dining room, kitchen, and living room as well. This is a great plan for the medium-sized family, holiday villa, or small business office.
Two-Story Pole Barn Plan
Building two-story pole barn is relatively easy, because there is a lot of space at the upper part of the structure, and you can also get extra space for loft storage. There are various sizes of plan you can choose to build a two-story pole barn house. For the smaller plan, such as 24×24 or 30×30, two-story structure is ideal if you have a narrow plot because you can get extra vertical space.
4. How to Build a Pole Barn Home
Building a pole barn is relatively easier than traditional building, but you need to understand the principles to create strong construction. You must also make sure that the area is suitable for a pole barn home. Here is what you need to know about constructing a pole barn.
Pole Barn Construction and Preparation
There are several important aspects to note before and when building a pole barn building.
Pole barn building is more adaptable than traditional house regarding of terrain. While flat land is definitely the best, you can construct a pole barn home in a slightly irregular or sloped land. Also, since you need to embed a pole in the soil, sandy or gravelly soil types are usually better than clay.
Pole is the most important part of a pole barn building. Regular treatment is the key to keep the pole strong and straight, so choose materials that can receive treatment well. Generally, sapwood is a more ideal lumber option than heartwood, because sapwood is easier to treat. The same thing applies to laminated wood, compared to solid sawn lumber pole.
Cost to Build a Pole Barn
There are several factors that affect your spending for building a pole barn. You must consider material price (or prefab kit), manpower, equipment, insurance (for the building and the workers), permit and license, shipping costs, the size of the building, system installation (electricity, plumbing, telephone, gas), and contractor service if you use one.
Regardless of these factors, building a pole barn usually requires US$3-5 per square foot. The cost will increase if you have additional specifications, such as building a metal barn house, or ordering customized pole barn kit. To find out the best calculations, you should inquire about price quote from your contractor or prefab pole barn kit manufacturer.
Many websites about pole barn home actually have online “calculator”, which you can use to calculate the costs based on your own specifications. This calculator will ask you the details about your pole barn (the floor plan size, materials, levels, specific features, extensions, and more). The result will be the closest to the exact money you must spend.
Pole Barn Insulation
Pole barn homes have several common insulation types. They are:
This insulation type is generally cheap, and it fills the gaps between the structures. However, it does little to actually seal the gaps, so it is not ideal for areas with extreme climate or temperature condition.
Blown foam filling
Foam filling is a little expensive, but it can expand to close small gaps perfectly. If you prefer high-quality filling to reduce energy cost in your pole barn home, this insulation system is the best bet.
Condensation blanket is a roll of the vinyl sheet used to prevent condensation in your pole barn structure. This is great to prevent wood damage due to high moisture level.
This insulation type does not actually seal, but it can fill the air gaps. It is easy to roll, cut, and fold, and perfect to insulate flat surface. This is not an ideal insulation for small, irregular gaps.
You can discuss with the contractor to know which type of insulation that works best for your pole barn building. Since a barn will require a lot of temperature balance, insulation is a perfect way to reduce utility bills.
Pole Barn Trusses
Trusses are beams that work as the triangular support structure for the entire load on top of your pole barn building. When constructing trusses, you must consider all the loads, such as the ceiling, roof, windows, and the attic. In addition, ideal trusses must be able to withstand snow, hard rain, and dust that fall onto the building.
Depending on the size of the house, handling large trusses is not an easy task. If you need wide trusses to support the top of a big house, you may need to use heavy equipment, such as spreader bar. You must also pick each part of the trusses using multiple pickup points. Hire heavy equipment and professional workers to do the work if you are not an experienced builder, even if you buy a prefab barn.
Pole Barn Siding
Siding is a crucial part of your pole barn building. You usually get several common materials: wood, metal, brick, stucco, fiber cement, and vinyl. All of them are great as long as you match their characteristics with the surrounding elements and other factors.
Here are some considerations before choosing the right siding material:
Salt content in the air
Depending on where you live, you must consider the amount of salt air and rain will carry. If you live near the sea, a metal may not be the most ideal siding material. Wood or vinyl is better in this situation.
Another important factor in building a pole barn home, humidity can determine the durability of your siding material. Areas with high humidity level are not ideal for wood siding. Metal or brick will give you better bet when it comes to highly-humid building site.
Metal and stone are definitely more durable than wood or vinyl. If you want a permanent house that can last for several decades, metal siding is slightly better than rock. Metal and stone also require less treatment than wood or vinyl, so they can save you a lot of maintenance money.
Local ordinances and regulations
Different areas may have different ordinances and regulations about siding materials for pole barn buildings. You may want to have a metal building, but if local ordinances do not allow it, you cannot build one.
Average temperature and climate
Areas with extreme heat and cold are not ideal for materials that easily bent or flaked, such as vinyl. Even if you cover the vinyl with a layer that looks like wood, the bent surface will show the true nature of the material. On the contrary, areas with a lot of rain may get advantage from vinyl or metal, which can act as a natural rain screen.
To get a clearer example, discuss the pros and cons of each material with an experienced contractor in your area.
Pole Barn with Loft
Many people hesitate to add lofts in their pole barn homes, because they think that lofts add weight to the entire structure. However, even if you choose prefab pole barns, many of these buildings actually offer lofts in the structures. There are several advantages to have a loft in a pole barn. It utilizes vertical space, adds extra storage or living space, and increases the property value of your building.
A loft can be built inside a pole barn house without additional support, but it can only be done by professionals. You need to hire a professional contractor to add loft in your existing pole barn building. If you order a pole barn kit, make sure to order customization for a loft.
Pole Barn Colors
Once you build the pole barn building, you can choose any colors to cover the exterior. Natural colors, or colors that blend with the surroundings, are popular choices. You need to consider the visual effect people get from seeing your building, depending on the purposes. For example, a commercial building needs more considerations in color options than private structure.
Earthy colors such as white, taupe, beige, blue, or light green are popular for commercial buildings. Red may indicate a building with huge importance, such as a workshop, fire stations, and such. You have more freedom to express your taste in colors if you build a personal house. However, some building ordinances in many areas may require homeowners to comply with specific regulations, including building colors.
There are websites that specialize in helping you mixing and matching colors. They are useful if you plan to paint your own pole barn building. You may need professional manpower to actually finish the painting job.
Pole Barn Garage
Creating a new pole barn garage next to your house is more expensive than using the existing space. Aside from the structure, you also need to think about the door, ventilation, and safety features. The cost will be more expensive if you have extensive vehicle collections, or if you need to store a vehicle during long winter.
Here are several tips to build a pole barn garage:
Consider future vehicle purchase
Do you plan to replace your current car with something bigger? Or do you wish to buy an RV or other large-sized vehicle? Make sure to ponder the possibilities before determining the building.
Think about the ventilation and insulation
If you keep a lot of things in the garage, make sure the ventilation and insulation are proper. Ventilation is important to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. If you store chemicals, you need to insulate the area where you keep them.
Consider the roofing
If you live in a neighborhood, it is important to match the garage roof with your house. However, shingles often become the most popular materials for an urban garage, because they last long and have low-maintenance cost.
Finding Pole Barn Builders near Me
Using pole barn builder service is a recommended solution to build, even if you order a prefab pole barn kit. Finding a local service is better, because the workers already know all factors that affect your building, such as the climate, weather, soil type, location, building and permit regulations, and more. You can also pay less for transportation cost if you can find local builder service.
There are many websites that help visitors finding the nearest builder in their areas. Also, since Google Search service has become more localized, you can use it to find the nearest builder based on your location. Even if you can build your own home, hiring professional builders will save energy and time, especially if you need do heavy works such as lifting large truss beams.
Pole barn home is a versatile structure that can be built on various terrains, and it can give you a lot more space than a traditional home. You need to think about building permit, utility, insulation, and other important aspects before building one. You can also buy a prefab kit, which already has the floor plan and structure. However, pole barn homes are definitely a great solution for cheap and low-maintenance housing.