Is a Post Frame Home Right for Me in 2023? (2024)

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While it’s important to determine if a post-frame home is right for you, it’s just as important to figure out if you’re a right fit for a post-frame structure. You’re probably wondering why that’s even important because a pole barn has to be cheaper than stick-built, right? Well, not necessarily, and here’s why.

It takes a certain type of homeowner to get the biggest bang for their buck with pole building construction. But before we discuss who that ideal customer is, let’s cover the basics of post-frame construction and why people assume they’re a cost-effective solution for a brand new home.

What is post-frame construction?

Post-frame construction is an engineered wood-frame building system. They feature laminated posts or Perma Columns instead of wood studs, steel framing, or masonry. Commonly known as pole barns (a popular term that will never go away), they are more quickly erected than any other kind of building.

This type of construction also uses larger posts and an interlocking frame system. This type of system can handle greater loads than stick-built (or stud wall) construction so fewer structural materials are needed, which saves time, labor, and extra material costs. With posts commonly spaced 8’ apart, post frame buildings also feature a larger wall cavity and provide ample room for insulation, lowering heating and cooling costs which makes them energy efficient.

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With the quick construction timeline, savings in labor and extra material costs, and their energy efficiency capabilities, this is one reason why customers assume that pole barns are a cheaper alternative for a home.

However, what one might not realize is it all depends on who you choose for your post-frame builder and if your pole barn quote includes the complete building package price or just the building shell. It’s important to not assume that your quote is going to include everything that a stick-built home would.

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What would your post-frame home not include?

Before we drill down the list, it’s also important to understand that this isn’t true for every builder. If you choose a post-frame builder who does not do interior finishing work (like ourselves), then you will need to find subcontractors who handle the following:

  • Drywall
  • Electrical
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Any interior finishing work (flooring, cabinets, trim work, etc)

While it’s not uncommon for customers to use a builder (like ourselves) for the shell of their home, they also have extra time and money into finding subcontractors to finish the interior work for them - unless they decide to handle that themselves, which is what we will be covering next.

Is a post-frame home right for you?

If you think you have what it takes to build a post-frame home, then you need to ask yourselves the following questions.

  1. Are you a DIY-er?
  2. Do you think post-frame is more conventional than a stick-built home?
  3. Do you plan on doing most of the interior framing and finishing yourself?
  4. Will your post-frame home have multiple uses?

If you answered "yes" to all of the questions then a post-frame home is a good option for you. If you had different answers then you might want to consider other options before you invest too much time into solely researching post-frame options.

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Stick-Built Homes vs Post Frame: Framing Options

Stick-built homes use stud-wall construction to transfer the roof load to the foundation. Post-frame uses larger posts to transfer loads to the ground via concrete footings or piers, requiring less concrete.

Posts are spaced farther apart than studs, but because of their size, they can handle greater loads. Almost any type of siding can be attached. That said, the distance between the posts and a few other factors raises challenges for would-be post-frame homeowners.

According to the National Frame Builders Association, “Post-frame construction is an efficient and economical option for low-rise applications and is now the construction method of choice for any number of commercial, industrial, municipal, residential, religious, and agricultural projects.”

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Do you see yourself in the following description?

1. You enjoy DIY projects and are eager to take on the challenge

Or do you know someone with construction experience who is comfortable working with a general contractor or managing the construction process? The construction process would include driving schedules, hunting down contractors, pulling permits, etc. If you or someone you know has experience doing this then you would be a good fit to take on this task.

2. Your main motivating factor isn't pricing

If you believe a post-frame home is automatically more affordable than a conventional home, then you should watch this video. It’s perfectly fine if you’re willing to spend more money to get exactly what you’re wanting. In all honesty, if your home is going to be used for multiple purposes then you would be saving money in the long run because you wouldn’t have to build a new shed later down the road.

However, if you’re one who likes to stick to a strict budget (or better yet...stay under budget) then this route might not be the best fit for you (we will get to that in a minute).

3. You enjoy the fine details (you know...interior framing and finishing work)

Or, do you know someone who has experience doing this? Remember, post-frame does not contain studs. So, in order to hang drywall, you must first install the interior stud framing on the perimeter walls and ceiling.

Once all of that is complete, then you can install interior stud walls, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and drywall. Finally, you can finish with cabinetry, fixtures, artwork, shelving, and more.

If this doesn’t seem like a challenge for you, then we would say you would be a perfect fit. If all of the detailed work and planning (when to do what when) is intimidating for you then we would recommend finding someone who already has experience in handling those types of details. Or, if you’re really into pinching pennies there’s always YouTube to learn what you need to do!

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4. Your new post frame home will not be your sole use

Are you looking to combine multiple uses for your building? Maybe it’s a weekend getaway spot in the country for you and the family to get away from the hustle and bust of daily living. We all know that we could use that every once and a while.

Or, do you need a storage building for your large toys with comfortable living quarters attached? After all, when it’s raining outside the last thing we would want to do is walk outside to work in our hobby shop.

Either way, you want your new building to enhance your lifestyle not limit it. So if you have the opportunity to make your home multi-functional then we would recommend going that route.

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then maybe a post-frame home is right up your alley. However, if you found yourself hesitating on how to answer then maybe you should do a little more research to see if this is something you want to get involved with.

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Recommended Content for Further Research

If you need more information to make sure you’re making the right decision (or if there are other options you should consider), then we recommend checking out these other blog posts.

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Have more questions about building costs not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contactFBi Buildingsat1.800.552.2981orclick here to email us.If you are ready to get a price,click here to request a quoteand a member of our sales team will call you!

Is a Post Frame Home Right for Me in 2023? (2024)


What is the lifespan of a post frame building? ›

The average longevity of a pole barn is between 40 to 60 years. With the right foundation and proper maintenance, they could even last for up to 100 years and beyond. Over time, a post frame building will need some minimal maintenance in order to achieve 40-60 years of longevity.

Are pole barns a good investment? ›

When built to last with quality materials, pole barns can easily become permanent solutions for property owners looking for added storage or space. Their longevity and cost savings compared to traditional construction makes them an ideal investment for many homeowners.

What is the best foundation for a pole barn? ›

If you are looking for the best foundation for post frame buildings, precast concrete column footings are the way to go. They provide superior strength and stability, are easy to install, and will save you money by eliminating the warranty costs accrued with post replacement – which means more profit for you!

How long will pole barn posts last? ›

A well treated post is supposed to last 50+ years without any significant rot and in well drained soil/sand, that is common.

Is post-frame stronger than stick built? ›

Building Strength

That said, if you're planning a large project like a livestock barn, post-frame construction is the better option. With sturdy posts installed directly into the ground, and attached to heavy-duty roof trusses, post-frame buildings can support very heavy snow loads and stand up to large gusts of wind.

Is a post-frame building the same as a pole barn? ›

A pole barn, or pole building, is the traditional name for a large agricultural structure with no basement, a high ceiling, and wide-open spaces. Laminated wooden posts are used in the frame, and today builders prefer the term post-frame building.

What is the disadvantage of pole barn? ›

Drawback: Durability

Additionally, pole barns are more susceptible to fire damage than traditional homes. This is because the materials used to construct them are often more flammable. If you live in an area that is at risk for wildfires, you may want to consider another type of construction for your home.

Do pole barns add value to homes? ›

Adding a new pole barn to your property is a great way to add a significant amount of value to your home. Whether it is a garage shed, a workshop, a storage unit, or anything in between. It can be a great way to expand what is available on your property and therefore the overall value of that property.

How do I keep my pole barn posts from rotting? ›

Keeping water away from your pole barn posts is the most effective way to prevent rot. While preparing the site for your pole barn, take care in grading the soil away from your barn to discourage water from pooling around your pole barn posts.

Do you pour concrete around pole barn posts? ›

You should not have your concrete slab poured before building your pole barn. After the poles are set and skirt board is placed around the perimeter of the poles, you will have a form to pour your concrete foundation. Concrete is normally poured through the large door opening.

Should pole barn posts be placed in concrete? ›

Some people are concerned that setting pole barn posts in concrete can cause them to rot. However, this should not be a concern if the wood is pressure-treated with preservatives. The International Building Code requires that pole barn posts be treated in accordance with AWPA U1.

Will a wood post rot in concrete? ›

The bad stuff seeps downward right into the “Hot Zone”. Mix in some oxygen, the moisture from below, the fact that concrete holds a constant temperature and moisture, and those wood posts are going to prematurely rot. No exceptions.

Can a pole barn last 100 years? ›

In fact, it is possible that with the proper care, pole barns could last upwards of 100 years. Many builders and experts cite 40-60 years to be on the safe side, but if the owner of a pole barn keeps up with all of the necessary structural upkeep, the building will likely outlast the 40-60 year pole barn lifespan.

How far to bury pole barn posts? ›

The footing of a pole barn is crucial for its structural stability, this is the base that will support the entire building. A hole is dug approximately 4 feet deep and the post is placed into the hole, secured by layers of concrete and dirt or gravel.

What is the lifespan of a concrete structure building? ›

What is the maximum life of modern concrete? Generally, for large infrastructures, the lifespan of modern concrete is about 100 years if properly maintained.

How long do steel framed buildings last? ›

How long do steel buildings last? Steel buildings face fewer issues with deterioration and corrosion than concrete or wood, and can out live other structures when properly built and maintained. Most steel buildings last anywhere from 50 to 100 years.

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