Historically, pole barns has been the building method of choice for keeping things dry on the farm or ranch.
Initially, a pole barn is simple and somewhat inexpensive to build. It is also resistant to strong winds.
One reason they have been used for so long is that most areas had a nearby lumber mill to provide the wood for these structures.
A few generations ago, clearing land for farming or raising livestock resulted in a lot of useable lumber.
Large poles would be striped and placed into hole dug into the ground. Additional framing would be applied for walls and a roof. Wood siding would be applied after the poles were set and the framing completed.
The standard pole barn was a common way to house livestock, store hay, grain, equipment and many other needs common to a farm or ranch. This method is still used today.
The traditional pole barn was strong and easy to build but it had drawbacks.
Since they are made almost entirely of wood they are prone to fire, insect damage, normal rot and damage from animals kicking and chewing the wood.
Wood has become more scarce and is expensive A steel barn is a more logical choice in today’s operations.
The cost of a steel barn is far less than you might expect.
It is much lower than the high cost of wood today.
The long-term savings of a steel barn make them as inexpensive to own, as they are to buy.
Steel is stronger than wood and concrete block. Different types of steel are used.
The frame of a metal building uses stronger steel that is hard and rigid. This gives the building its strength while more flexible steel is used in the paneling system.
This method creates a building system that could withstand extreme wind and other environmental conditions.
Steel buildings are more durable. Steel is not susceptible to any kind of rotting like wood. Termites will not eat metal and livestock cannot easily damage it.
A steel barn serves all the functionality of a pole barn but last much longer. They require fewer repairs.
Wood, concrete blocks, brick are all porous materials and susceptible to mold and fungus that can harm livestock and destroy perishables.
You have to be constantly on your guard looking for surfaces that need to be painted or sealed.
With a steel barn this is never a concern because the steel panels are easy to clean and require no major maintenance.
A steel building is more versatile than traditional pole barns.
With a wood pole barn adding more spade requires cutting of wood and removing of materials that can be easily damage in the process.
A steel building with a column free modular design that is easy to add onto, or reconfigure.
Nearly all the materials removed to add a new section could be reused in the new section.
A steel barn has all the attractive features with none of the problems of the traditional pole barn.
The lower cost to purchase, ease of erecting and maintenance free durability make them perfect for not only ranches and farm but also automotive, warehousing, retail and many other industries.
Pole building framing
Pole framing and Pole building framing, commonly known as Pole building (from “Pole Barns” of “Pole buildings”), is a simple building technique adapted from the labor intensive post-and-beam construction technique that uses large poles (or squared off posts) as vertical structural members and strong “girts” parallel to the floor at right angles to the posts as the principle structural skeleton. The method was developed and matured during the 1930s when North American farms moved from animal power to internal combustion based machinery and the need for inexpensive farm building grew in consequence. Unlike competing building methods, once the poles, girts, and rafters are set up by a crew of a few people, much of the construction work on a pole-built structure can easily be handled by a single individual over the course of a period such as a month or a season.
When literal poles (debarked, delimbed tree trunk sections) are used, the girts and shims are used to square the structure for hanging the wall curtain around, normally a type of vertical hanging siding such as galvanized corrugated sheet steel or board and batten siding was traditional. The girts necessarily are substantial structural members as along any given wall they collectively must bear the weight of any exterior wall and all things hung from it, which on at least two walls includes part of the weight of the roof. In a modern pole built office building or other buildings requiring interior walls and subdivisions interior girts would usually also be added, each a bearing member, sharing and carrying the weight of interior walls and mountings to the posts. In animal husbandry, interior girts would better resist the thrust of jostling animals in a common pen. To add a second floor or loft, joists laid down at right angles to the girts readily make up a new floor level.
On two walls, usually the long wall, the heavy “beam” function of post and beam or “top plate” of platform framing methods is analogously performed by the heavier top girts (wider 2x lumber) of those walls. In the technique, the girts are through-bolted by large carriage bolts, and both an inner and outer girt are generally used to support the roof loading, which is frequently a truss roof supporting purlins, not stick built ridge board and rafter construction using rafters. When used, some rafters may be attached directly to the poles. Purlins might also be used when rafters are spaced farther apart, for in either case, purlins are like girts, oriented at right angles to the truss or rafters they cross, as well as the long sheet like metal roofing elements commonly used in roofing and siding Pole buildings.
The techniques originated in the pole barn, which was a quick and economical method of adding outbuildings on a farm as agriculture shifted to equipment dependent and capital intensive agriculture—necessitating sheltering tractors, harvesters, wagons and the like in much greater quantities and sizes. Around North America, many pole built structures are still readily seen in rural and industrial areas, for the galvanized steel siding and roofing of the thirties has proven to be very durable as was much of the shed style vertically oriented plank siding.
In modern developments the Pole Barns of the 30s have become “Pole Buildings” under the influence of new building materials such as inexpensive metal roof and siding products in stylish varieties and so today serve a more general purpose, such as housing, commercial use, or storage. In the process more often than not, the poles have become posts of squared off pressure treated timbers. These structures have the potential to replicate the functionality of other buildings, but they are more affordable and require less time to construct. The most common use for pole buildings is storage as it was on the farms, but today it is of automobiles or boats along with many other household items that would normally be found in a residential garage, or commercially as the surroundings for a light industry or small corporate offices with attached shops. The reason these buildings are so affordable is because they use a technique called Pole Framing.
The posts provide a strong vertical anchors and supports for attaching the shell of the building which is connected by bolted through girts running ribbon like horizontally like bands at different heights generally about two feet apart. The posts replace the studs commonly used in the more familiar platform framing construction techniques people see in housing. The exterior walls are indirectly attached to the outer edge of the posts onto girts which run around the building like wooden bands at the same fixed heights about two feet apart from where the upper girts support the roof and rafters at intervals about 2 feet on center to a bottom girt that is possibly under the sub-floor level supporting the rafters of a wooden floor. The roof is attached to the top girts (normally both) of the longer wall usually via a standard ridge beam and rafter or more commonly, using a truss system which can span longer distances and requires no interior posts and beams with modern tech.
When center posts are tolerable a more economic technique uses shed roofing and standard rafters being supported from the row of center posts (higher than wall end posts) that are necessary with ridge and rafter roof framing which needs building support near the centerline, but the ability to have two girts supporting the ends of the rafter below and slightly outside of the ridge board simplifies its construction and strengthens the roof. Further, extending that configuration by adding an intermediate row of poles collinear in height along the line lying between the height of the center and wall posts can be used to hang girts in the same plane as the line from the ridge board to the wall top girts. This in effect allows the building to use the same length rafter elements from post row to post row repeated as needed ‘nn times’ and extend such a roof a significantly allowing a deep building with a roof with many sub-structural elements all providing the same pitch.
The pole building design was pioneered in the 1930s originally using rounded utility poles for horse barns and agricultural buildings. Modern advancement has taken pole construction to post-frame construction using laminated columns or square posts. This led to strikingly more advanced design and efficiency compared to the original utility-pole design. Today, almost any low-rise structure can be quickly built using the post-frame construction.