Pole Barn Construction Vs. Stick Building for Garages and Barns

Posted by Jamie Kline on Sep 30, 2021 8:00:00 AM
Jamie Kline

pole barn design

Whether it’s an agricultural operation or a residence, garages and barns are a natural part of the property. It’s hard to find a farm or home that doesn’t have at least one of either building type. 

But like all structures, there’s more than one way to build a barn or garage. 

Post frame -- or pole barn -- construction and stick building are two methods many clients consider for adding garages and barns to their properties. 

While both construction methods ultimately end with a fully functional utility building, there are several variables to consider when helping clients choose between pole barn construction vs. stick building. 

A Closer Look at Pole Barn Construction Vs. Stick Building 

Stick building is the traditional way most homes are constructed. The structure is built stick by stick (board by board) usually on an on-grade slab or poured concrete foundation for support. All stick building construction happens on-site and involves measuring, cutting, and installing each board -- a time-consuming process. 

Post frame construction -- the method used to make pole barns -- represents a much more efficient and cost-effective build.

Post-frame buildings are constructed with large foundational posts and prefabricated roof trusses and metal sheathing. Buried 4 to 6 feet into the ground, the sturdy supports eliminate the need for a foundation.

Since the structure’s roof trusses are secured to the foundational posts, interior load-bearing walls are not needed. Buildings constructed with this technique usually feature interiors with large open spaces making them perfect for commercial or agricultural applications.   

Pole Barn Construction Vs. Stick Building: 4 Factors to Consider

While the end result of post frame construction and stick building is a structure, both methods have stark differences that are important to consider for garages and barns, including:

  1. Speed
  2. Cost
  3. Customizability
  4. Versatility

1. Speed 

Put simply, pole barns take less effort to construct than stick-built structures, meaning they go up faster. Why? 

  • Site preparation -- Pole barns don’t require nearly as much labor to prepare a site for a pole building, primarily because a foundation is not required. Each post is individually inserted deep into the ground to support the structure rather than fastened to an in-ground foundation. 
  • Footprint/ site disturbance is minimal -- Because site preparation is limited and a foundation isn’t needed, pole barns have smaller footprints and environmental impact than stick buildings.
  • Pole buildings are delivered pre-made to the site -- Pole barns are made-to-order buildings. Every component of a post frame building arrives at the building site in exact, pre-made quantities. Upon delivery, crews can get right to work building the structure, usually finishing it within two weeks. 

For contractors or project managers looking to service more clients, pole frame construction makes this possible. The faster you’re able to build a post frame garage or barn the faster you’re onto your next job. 

2. Cost

When compared to a stick-built barn or garage, the cost of a pole barn is generally less depending on the structure’s level of customization. 

Pole barns are a cost-effective building alternative for many of the same reasons they’re faster to build. 

With all its components manufactured using only the materials needed, clients don’t end up paying for scrap that ends up at the dump.  And with all the prefabricated materials delivered ready for immediate assembly, workers spend less time and effort on-site constructing the building, saving on labor costs. 

3. Customizability 

While clients may need a barn or garage for similar purposes, most have specific needs for their structure or want certain amenities. 

Pole barns are made for customization. Without center columns that break up the building's floor space, it’s easy to add utilities, rooms, and storage areas to the building. And these additions can happen during the design phase or years later. 

Customizing stick-built structures, while possible, requires more design work, engineering, and on-site labor.

4. Versatility

With customizability comes versatility. 

Though first and foremost a utility building, pole barns are easily adaptable to a variety of purposes.

Modern pole barn design takes full advantage of this. Post frame buildings often serve dual purposes, providing areas for work or storage in addition to office space. Some clients are even adding living space to their pole barns. 

Pole Barn Construction Vs. Stick Building: The Winner?

Both the stick building and pole barn construction methods are different means to the same end. Regardless of the construction style used for a new barn or garage, a client still ends up with a new structure.

Still, the pole barn construction method delivers on several fronts that stick-built structures simply don’t. In addition to a simplified design and construction process, post frame buildings maximize a client’s budget without cutting corners on functionality

Take Your Pole Barn Design & Quoting Capabilities to the Next Level

SmartBuild Systems through Barden is like putting gas on a fire for designing and quoting post frame buildings. Learn more: 

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Topics: Pole Barns

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