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Thread: pole barn vs. framed construction

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    pole barn vs. framed construction

    Some folks have been building a pole barn on my way home from work. Between seeing that everyday and having helped Ned build his shop makes me wonder what the pros and cons are of pole barn vs framed construction, especially for use as a shop where snow load is a concern.

    No immediate plans for any building, but am curious as to why you'd pick one or the other.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Well Mark, plenty of pole barns here in Northern Indiana. Some fail as all types of buildings do, due generally to age or poor planning/building from the get go, due to snow load or high winds. For me personally, the reason I would build my shop as a pole barn versus a framed building, I can do all of the layout, haul my own fill/gravel in my '48 Ford F6, grade the fill/gravel with my Oliver 770, set the poles and trusses with my amish winch and John Deere 2510, and all of my other tools get the purloins straight and screw on the steel. With a frame construction, would need to hire a backhoe (don't have one yet!) to dig footer, pay for concrete footer, hire a mason and buy block, then could go from there with construction on my own.

    Those are just my random thoughts to your questions, will be interesting to see others answers as well.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  3. #3
    I went with pole barn construction due to the cost of putting in footings and a 4 foot frost wall. Code in Michigan now. Then to finish inside I studde in between the pole with 2 * 4's on 16" centers , insulated and covered with 1\2" particleboard.However , when I was halfway done, my neighboe put up a garage and used pole type constuction for his footins, poured the concrete sla , and the put up stud walls. Would have been cheaper than the way I did it.
    John

  4. #4
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    I've been wondering what a pole barn is for what seems like years now! Would someone please explain to this ignorant old layman exactly what the difference between a pole barn and the regular frame construction I'm used to is? Is it all built around a main central pole in the middle?

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    I live in Denton, Texas and ranched at Schulenburg, Texas.
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    I will try to answer at least part of the question. I have built four pole barns and a baloon framed house.
    The pole barn uses wooden poles for the basic frame; usually on 10 or 12 foot center with varying length trusses across. Common today is to use utility poles at the start. I think 20 foot trusses make a nice building. At begining lay out what you want and add at least one fourth; you will use it. Build your pad as high and thick as you can afford; I would prefer to pour concrete now; but it can wait. When I used to use a one sack mixer and wheelbarrow, I waited; if you are going to use a redi-mix, do it now. Then using available lumber frame; I use 24" centered rafters; but where snow is a factor use 16". Rough sawn lumber and used lumber make great construction. I use 2x4 purlins equiset about 28"; again snow maybe a factor. Key in my mind is to use 26 gage U or R panels for sheeting; 29 gage is too lite; and screw them on with wood grip screws from the supplier.

    At each stage keep in mind your HACV,plumbing and electrical needs. If it is your first effort go out and look at exisiting buildings. I would see if Morton is building one in your area and go look at it. They do good work, but very pricey.

    Try to do it right the first time; but if you screw it up that is okay most mistakes can be fixed. I just spent as much recovering my daughter's horse barn as I did on the original construction in 1982. I pealed all the siding and replaced it with 26 gage R paneling. Keep in mind you can ad to a polebarn very easily.

    A polebarn is spidery when the frame is completed; but it is amazing how rigid it becomes when the metal is on. I always found it advantageous to put temporary bracing on the outside during construction and permanent bracing on the inside

    Ray Gerdes in Texas where snow is wonder for the kids.
    Last edited by Raymond Gerdes; 03-14-2009 at 05:27 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
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    Bill - you know what frame construction is - what houses typically are. The pole barn I see going up is just a few 2 by 4s driven into the ground - maybe at 3' spacing or so (driving by at 55 mph looking at a structure about 100 m off the side of the road isn't quite the same as using a tape measure), and then has a couple long 2 by 4s angled horizontally to keep things straight. They aren't finished yet, so maybe there is more to it for the walls, but I don't think so.
    Last edited by Mark Kosmowski; 03-14-2009 at 02:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Pole barns are common in this region for low cost farm buildings such as bunker silos, seasonal machinery storage etc. and serve that purpose well. You see them in non-farm use such as riding arenas and private ice rinks too, although CoverAll is making a dent in that market. Pressure-treated 6x6 is the common material for the poles. They are, however, temporary buildings. Lots of crooked, sad-looking examples 20-30 years old around the countryside.
    I personally have an aversion to building any kind of permanent structure (other than a fence post) based on wood in the ground. In my opinion, the structures we build should be thought of as part of the long term "public good" and should last several generations and add value to your property.
    To me, that means a solid concrete foundation, below frost, situated and graded for good drainage and topped with a properly constructed wood frame or steel building.
    FWIW
    Peter

  8. #8
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    Mark, my shop is a pole barn. I did it that way for cost reasons. Went up in 2 weeks. Then it took me several months to finish off the shop part of the structure. The building is 24 x 36, the front 20 ' is garage, and the shop is the rear 16 feet, so shop inside is about 15 x 23. I'm very happy with what we did, though I would do some things a bit differently.

  9. #9
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    mark my first one was as well and the garage section was part of that similair to kens idea.. around our parts they have been in existence for many years and yes if you dont maintain them they will come down but so will,,stick built structures..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  10. #10
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    Larry, what kind of maintenance are you talking about?

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