Pole Barn Building: 8 Common Questions Answered
Pole barns used to be considered appropriate only, or at least primarily, for agricultural applications. These days, building techniques have improved and allowed contractors to construct everything from large commercial buildings to beautiful residential homes using post-frame construction. As a result, interest in pole barn buildings has skyrocketed.
Though post-frame construction is touted as a simpler alternative to stick-framing, building a pole barn is still a huge project. Before starting construction, or even clearing a building site, property owners need to do their due diligence. They can start by reading through the answers to eight of the industry’s most commonly asked questions below.
1. How Much Do Pole Barns Cost?
The cost of constructing a pole barn building varies based on its size, materials, finish level, and intended use, so it’s impossible to get an accurate estimate of cost without first discussing the details with a qualified contractor. That said, both residential and Commercial Pole Buildings are generally cheaper than their stick-framed counterparts.
When it comes to evaluating estimates, make sure to compare apples to apples. Some contractors cut costs by using sub-par materials, while others are able to keep their prices low by taking advantage of industry connections and hiring skilled laborers who can get the job done more efficiently. It’s never wise to make the decision about which builder to hire based on cost alone.
2. How Can Property Owners Obtain Financing?
It used to be hard to find lenders who would finance post-frame construction projects. These days, the popularity of pole barn buildings has led most banks and other lenders to reconsider, and most financing companies will be happy to provide a loan. That said, it’s important to find a lender with plenty of experience in financing post-frame construction loans and mortgages.
Start by outlining the building’s intended use. The process for obtaining an agricultural or commercial construction loan is quite different from taking out a residential mortgage. When in doubt, ask the contractors for referrals to local lenders who are familiar with the pole barn construction process.
3. How Do Material Costs Factor Into the Overall Price of Building a Pole Barn?
The two primary factors that influence how much it will cost to construct a pole barn building are materials and labor. In most cases, material costs are more volatile than labor costs since they correlate directly with market fluctuations. If there’s a serious increase in demand without a corresponding increase in supply, it can lead to a steep increase in the cost of materials.
This year, the cost of many popular building materials has been in a state of serious fluctuation. Since pole barns require many of the same materials as stick-framed buildings, including lumber, steel, concrete, and fixtures like windows and doors, overall prices for pole barn construction have also been in a state of flux. If material costs are currently high, consider waiting to start the project. If they’re lower than usual, request a current quote that includes material costs and sign on the dotted line ASAP to lock in those low prices.
4. How Do Contractors Insulate Pole Barns?
One of the great things about post-frame construction is that it creates large wall cavities that are perfect for installing energy-efficient insulation. All of the same options available to stick-frame contractors can also be applied to pole barns, including everything from fiberglass batts to spray foam insulation.
When choosing an insulation type, consider factors like its R-value, cost, longevity, and ease of application. Some pole barn contractors will install insulation for their clients at an additional cost. When working with frame-to-finish builders, it’s fine to trust their judgment regarding insulation systems.
5. What Siding Options Are Available?
Most pole barn buildings feature durable, weather-resistant steel siding. However, property owners can also choose to have their buildings sided with more traditional materials such as wood and vinyl, or they can use brick, plaster, and concrete as in-fill between the posts. Regardless of what type of materials property owners choose, they should make sure the contractor will order and install only high-quality siding that will hold up well to wear and tear.
6. What Kind of Site Prep Is Required?
Pole barn buildings can be installed safely even on difficult terrain that would not be suitable for traditional building techniques. That said, some site prep will still be required and concrete piers must be laid before the frame can be constructed.
During the site preparation phase, contractors will remove vegetation, excavate the topsoil, and grade the land to ensure proper drainage. They’ll also create a 10-foot level working apron for equipment and crews to ensure everyone can move safely around the building site.
7. What Is the Standard Size for a Pole Barn?
There’s no one standard size for pole barns. Each build is unique, and sizing can be customized to the location and intended use. Agricultural and commercial buildings tend to be quite large, while residential homes and outbuildings are usually smaller.
While there’s no standard size for pole barns, most property owners choose to build in eight, nine, or ten-foot increments to accommodate the standard spacing for the posts. Building a 40′ x 64′ pole barn is more cost-efficient than constructing a 40′ x 60′ structure because it will use the same number of posts and trusses.
8. How Should Property Owners Choose a Pole Barn Contractor?
The choice of pole barn contractors is not one that should be taken lightly. Property owners should only work with specialists who have experience with post-frame construction, and they should pay attention to things like communication styles, customer service, and company reputation. It’s usually best to reach out to several companies for quotes and information about their services and then research each of them to see which will be the best fit.
It’s Time to Get Building
There has never been a better time to construct a pole barn building. Whether property owners want commercial buildings, homes, or traditional barns, they can rely on expert post-frame contractors to get the job done right.