Pole Barns Versus Metal Buildings: Advantages and Disadvantages Compared

Pole Barns are practical structures that have been around for generations. They have a specific use on your property, whether it’s for horses, storage, animals, cultivation, or any other reason. Whatever your needs, you’ll need a sturdy, functional, and trustworthy barn. It also helps if your barn isn’t a blight in the neighborhood.

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What is the zip code where this building will be located?

For Quonset Hut pricing, click here.

(Your zip code assures quotes are as accurate as possible to your area.)


In this essay, we’ll look at steel and pole barns. We’ll begin with barns constructed using the pole frame method. Then we’ll look at the benefits of steel building over traditional methods.

Are you thinking about building a new barn or replacing an old one, but aren’t sure if a more expensive steel frame barn is worth it?

Do you have a pole barn and want to learn more about the advantages of a steel frame barn?

What is a pole barn, exactly?

A pole barn is a simple barn construction in which the outside walls and roof trusses are supported by wooden poles or beams.’ The beams or poles are embedded in the ground and serve as huge vertical support pillars. Girts are utilized to provide the building with more horizontal support. The technique of pole barn construction is also called “pole building construction” or “post-frame construction.”

Because of its simplicity and functionality, the post-frame technique of building has gained popularity. It’s a pretty basic construction method. The poles are essentially buried, and the barn is built. It’s quick and easy, and the finished effect is highly long-lasting and robust.


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These sorts of barns are also the cheapest to construct, as they don’t require anything other than wood and don’t require a concrete floor. The frame is the most important part of the structure. Additionally, because they can be built rapidly, you save money on labor.

As a result, they are among the most popular pole barn kinds. However, due to factors like rot and pest infestations, their cheap cost can soon escalate with things like care and repairs.

What is the definition of a steel frame barn?

A steel frame barn, on the other hand, is an all-steel building that is long-lasting, adaptable, and unlikely to be damaged or require regular repairs.

Steel barns are far more costly than pole barns due to the cost of steel, but they are easier to maintain and insure, and they are typically 40% less expensive to insure.

While you may pay more money up front, the goal is to save money in the long run by selecting a more durable construction. As opposed to a wood barn, there may not be a need for continual upkeep and repair. Steel will not decay or become infested with pests. A steel barn is an investment in the future that will hopefully pay off in the long run.

To keep the steel pole barn, many steel barns will need a concrete floor or at least a concrete exterior. When it comes to horses or other agricultural demands, though, you can still choose for a dirt floor.

Furthermore, if you merely intend to utilize your barn for storage, a concrete floor may be an unnecessary cost.

What exactly is steel?

Steel is a popular metal that is formed from iron and carbon, sometimes in combination with additional components.  There are about 3,500 different forms of steel, each with its own elements and functions that can be combined with other metals.

Commercial steel is often classified into four categories:

  • Carbon Steels
  • Alloy Steels
  • Stainless Steels
  • Tool Steels

The percentage of additional metals mixed in, such as chromium or nickel, as well as the alloy with high temperature, determine which category the steel belongs to. Carbon steels, such as rebar and mild steel, are the most frequent types of steel used in traditional building construction.

Why is steel such a good material to work with?

Steel is an excellent metal to employ for this purpose for a variety of reasons, the most important of which being the following:

  • Weldable
  • Formable in both hot and cold temperatures
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Arduous
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Withstands heat
  • Adaptability

Steel’s primary advantages are its strength and durability. Those considering purchasing a steel farm building do so with the expectation that it will last a long period. The characteristics described above combine to make this a long-lasting and dependable building material.

Steel is a worthy consideration if you are tired of the conventional difficulties associated with timber barns, such as decay and degradation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the possibilities for your barn?

Advantages of pole barns

  • Visually, it appears to be warm
  • Building time is reduced.
  • There is no need for a foundation
  • Materials that are more affordable

Disadvantages of pole barns

  • In danger of rotting
  • Maintenance is required on a regular basis
  • Leaks and corrosion are a possibility
  • They are a potential fire hazard
  • Rafters are prone to warping
  • Size restrictions
  • Basements don’t work with pole barns
  • Repair costs are high
  • Constructions made of wood will not last as long as steel structures
  • Doesn’t keep heat as good as others
  • It’s riskier to keep livestock contained

The advantages of a pole barn are usually obvious right away. The labor is easier, faster, and more intuitive, and the upfront expenditures are reduced. A pole barn can be built in a short amount of time due to the simple architectural structure.

However, the disadvantages of a pole barn building become apparent over time. The wood is susceptible to decay as well as normal wear and tear. Depending on how well you built the first construction, the regular upkeep may end up costing you more in the long run.

Advantages of steel barns

  • There is no requirement for upkeep
  • Frames that are rigid and strong
  • ‘Leak-proof’ is a term used to describe a product that is
  • There is no warping
  • There is no risk of fire
  • Termite-resistant
  • Insuring a car is 40% cheaper than insuring a car
  • Free of rust
  • It’s the safest option for livestock

Disadvantages of steel barns

  • A higher price
  • It necessitates the use of professionals
  • It’s possible that it won’t be as appealing

The principal disadvantages of the steel frame barn are visible up front, in contrast to the pole barn bundle. It is initially more expensive and more difficult to construct. This also necessitates the use of expert contractors. Overall, both materials and labor will be more expensive.

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However, with such a sturdy and durable barn, you can expect to save money over time. There is less maintenance on a regular basis. You won’t have to be concerned about leaks, warping, or corrosion either.

How Do I Make a Decision?

So, now that we’ve looked at the primary differences and advantages of a pole barn kit vs. a steel barn, you might be wondering how to make your decision. They each have their own set of benefits and cons. It all comes down to your personal choices and requirements in the end.

Both are excellent building options that will provide you with a sturdy, practical barn. Overall, the steel barn is more dependable and durable, but it has the disadvantage of being more expensive up front. While the pole barn will save you money in the short term, it will cost you more in the long run in terms of maintenance.

It all comes down to whether you can afford the higher upfront expenditures of a steel barn and whether you believe the benefits outweigh the additional cost. Consider how significant your barn is to your property as a whole, and whether the extra expenditure is justified.

Is a concrete floor required for steel frame barns?

Although steel frame barns can have concrete floors, you may not need one and can thus choose not to have one installed.

It all comes down to your consumption requirements. If you deal with horses or need your barn for storage, a barn with no floor can be the best solution.

What can I expect in terms of pricing?

So, what are the prices of a pole barn versus a steel frame barn?

Take a look at the information below to learn more.

The cost of a steel frame barn

30×50 $25,000-$30,000

Pole barn prices are determined by the size of the structure and the price per square foot.

40×60 $22,000-$25,000
50×100 $35,000-$40,000

What are the many steel barn types?

Horse Stables

As the name implies, a horse pole barn is mainly for the use of your horses, so you’ll want to make sure it’s secure and comfortable for them. Metal horse barns are resilient, safe, and won’t warp, so you won’t have to worry about leaking or decaying as you would with wood. When you choose steel as the principal material in your horse barn, you can save 40% on insurance while also protecting your horses from the fire.

Carolina Barns

Carolina pole barns, unlike horse barns, have an A-frame structure with horizontal ridges and a slanted design that prevents you from having to clear snow in the winter. You can design your barn with open sides and ends, fully enclosed sides and ends, or any combination of the two, such as having the front open but the back enclosed, and so on. These barns can also be totally customized in terms of color, allowing you to select one that complements your brand or personality.

Seneca Barns

Seneca pole barns are also constructed with an A-frame structure and roof cross-braces for further strength and longevity. These roof forms are especially beneficial in locations where heavy snow and wind are common, as they are the most resistant to these elements. You can choose from 15 different color schemes, open and enclosed alternatives, and the ability to attach items such as lean-tos.


Thank you for taking the time to read our pole barn vs. steel barn comparison. As you can see, there are significant distinctions, and deciding which barn is superior is ultimately a matter of personal opinion. We hope that this post has made the decision easier for you. Have you learned everything there is to know about pole barns vs. metal buildings? Do you want to learn more about construction elements, particularly those that employ steel?

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