Build a Pole Barn the Easy Way

When you build a pole barn, customized design and materials maximize function of your new structure.

| November/December 2009

  • Front of pole barn
    From storing antique tractors to shoeing horses, if you design appropriately, a pole barn can handle it all. Voogt
  • Pole barn trusses
    With modern roof truss technology, your barn can have more than 50 feet of clear span width – in any length you desire. Hochstrasser
  • A Morton Buildings pole barn
    This pole building includes a bay for parking machinery, a shop for working on it and an office with a covered porch.
    courtesy Morton Buildings
  • Side view of an iconic beauty
    Iconic beauty and flexible functionality contribute to a pole barn's value. Russell

  • Front of pole barn
  • Pole barn trusses
  • A Morton Buildings pole barn
  • Side view of an iconic beauty

Pole barn construction is about as easy as it gets for creating economical outbuildings of all kinds, but it still takes a major commitment and involves sufficient heavy lifting to be intimidating to the average person. Luckily, many national, regional and local pole building makers can supply everything you need, including the construction crew, to help you build a pole barn. And they can put a turnkey package together that will suit your style and your budget – but it pays to shop around.

If you are like many folks, you love to do things yourself and have developed many skills, but you don’t have time to get big projects done quickly. When it comes to building a pole-style chicken coop, you probably can get it accomplished in a weekend and a few evenings. But when it comes to a structure the size of an equipment shed or hay barn, you’ll need at least a week of weekends and a crew of helpers to complete the project any time soon. That’s why more folks are choosing to build their new barns with the help of a reputable company and crew behind them. Even with a turnkey manufacturer, don’t expect your new barn to appear overnight. You should expect to wait at least six weeks between signing the order and using your barn. In many cases, a 10-week wait is more realistic. 

Free your imagination

Before you go to the work of drawing the barn’s floor plan, be sure to pace off the location to get a good measure of how large a footprint your building site can handle. Pay particular attention to overhead power lines, overhanging tree branches and other aerial or subterranean hazards specific to the location. Once you know how much building the site can handle, you can begin to plan.

Designing the layout for your new pole barn is pretty easy, once you decide what the building’s functions need to be. The beauty of modern pole-building construction is that you can enclose substantial spaces with virtually no supporting poles or other structural components cluttering up the interior. With modern roof truss technology, your barn can have more than 50 feet of clear span width – in any length you desire.

Although some manufacturers have online design tools, it’s really a simple proposition to draw your own floor plan to scale using graph paper. Paper with a quarter-inch grid pattern is useful for planning buildings up to about 40 feet long by 30 feet wide – if you allow each square in the grid to represent 1 square foot, you can mark the location of stalls, doors, windows, machinery bays and the like. You can even make cutout models of the critters or machines you want to keep in the barn and move them around your plan to see how they fit. Work in pencil, and you can easily make changes to the plan as it evolves.

Once you have the floor plan roughed out, you’ll need to decide how much clearance you want between the floor and the bottom chord (horizontal component that ties truss ends together) of the roof trusses. For many folks, 8 feet of clearance might be sufficient, but, if you intend to park your antique Peterbilt road tractor in the barn and its shiny chrome stacks are a few inches more than 10 feet in the air, you will want to build with at least 12 feet of vertical clearance. You also should decide whether you want the roof to overhang the end walls and side walls and whether you want the overhang to be enclosed with soffits – do you prefer overhead or sliding doors?

Anabell Jones
12/17/2013 2:47:03 AM

Well, while I am not aware of this company, I know about another that is doing the jobs of similar nature.



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me