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Pole Barns vs Steel Buildings | Don’t Make The Wrong Choice

We are frequently asked about pole barns – and there’s good reason. Many of our customers believe that pole barns are a simple way to meet their agricultural or even storage needs. Pole barns often serve as workshops or make-shift garages in a pinch. 

But the benefits of a steel building outweigh the cost benefits of a pole barn – Granted, you don’t need an entire foundation for a pole barn like you do for a steel building. Even raw materials sometimes cost less with a pole barn but what you lose in the long run doesn’t compare.

Steel Riding ArenaFirst, there is the interior span to take into consideration. A pole barn, by definition, has intrusive poles which minimize the internal clear span or your open space under roof. This is only the case with larger spans. Once a span gets above 35 – 40’ the cost to run Clear Span with a pole barn increase sharply. Steel buildings have virtually limitless interior clear spans. This allows you to maximize interior space for storage, machinery or equipment without having to navigate around interior support beams. 

Will you be using your metal building for storage? Do you plan on parking machinery within the walls of the building? Perhaps livestock? Unobstructed floor space is going to be something you’re really going to value and not having to constantly dodge interior columns is something many folks greatly appreciate. 

Also, long-term wear and tear is a huge benefit to steel buildings. A wooden pole barn is going to succumb to the elements in far less time than a steel building system. Your roof takes a beating day in and day out from elements such as rain, snow, wind, and sun exposure. If you live in an area where humidity is high, consider the fact that your wooden pole barn will be subjected to the harshness of water on a constant basis. This makes me think, “wait a minute, steel rusts, that’s worse.” There are only a handful of companies like Armstrong that go the extra mile to galvanize all light gauge steel members, ensuring that even in wet environments our buildings last. 

Another huge detriment that accompanies wooden pole barns is the effect insects have on the building. Termites are obvious, but other insects such as beetles, wasps and many types of bees tend to make wooden structures their homes. While a wasp may not necessarily destroy the wooden structure, in terms of enjoyment, they’re definitely going to take away from the peace you’ll have while using the building. When it comes to rodents and pests, pre-engineered steel buildings often offer a more tight fit and finish. 

In terms of your investment, there really is no comparison. Whether it’s a garage, a workshop, a true barn, a storage building, a church, or a retail establishment, assessors often attribute more value to steel buildings. In the future, if you’re using your building as collateral, consider the loan value associated with pole barns versus steel buildings! In terms of property enhancement, a sturdy and durable commercial grade steel building system often holds its value longer and definitely requires less maintenance. 

There are other advantages to consider when comparing a steel building to a pole barn. One of the most important things to consider is how your building will arrive on-site. A pre-engineered metal building is delivered pre-cut, pre-drilled, and ready to assemble. You aren’t going to need the skills of a carpenter with specialized tools to make measurements, cuts, changes or alterations to every single piece of lumber on site. 

Once your foundation is in place, and your steel building arrives, it’s ready to erect. 

So while you may be considering the immediate savings from a wooden pole barn, in terms of long term satisfaction, value retention and maintenance, there’s no comparison between a wooden pole barn and a steel building. Steel is the smart choice!

Photo courtesy: Zepfanman