DIY: Pole Barns

Updated February 21, 2017

Even for a novice builder, a pole barn is simple to construct. This type of construction may be used for livestock barns, sheds or outbuildings where tools are held. Construction materials are relatively inexpensive compared with other styles of barn building, and a pole barn is less labour-intensive. The time it takes to construct a pole barn is less than for other barns.


Pole barns are a post-frame construction. There is typically no slab in a pole barn, and fancier features such as windows and shingle roofs are not incorporated into the design. However, some pole barns have furnished apartments so that horse enthusiasts, ranchers or veterinarians can live side-by-side with their animals.


Typical pole barn materials include some form of siding, usually tin or wood, a roofing material that is also usually tin, posts for columns and rafters that can be made of any type of post from metal to rough-cut tree trunks or telephone poles, and mortar to set the columns in the ground. Usually the roof is slightly gabled to allow for water and snow runoff. Tools used in the construction include a hammer and nails, screwdriver, wood and metal screws, a posthole digger and mortar to set the posts. Some pole barn builders also use a tractor for setting heavier posts upright. You can purchase gates, doors and hardware for your pole barn at many farm-supply companies.


It is possible to purchase pole barn plans on the Internet, although some do-it-yourselfers have constructed pole barns using their own plans. Some manufactures retail pole barn kits that include building materials and do-it-yourself instructions. A pole barn may be enclosed or have one or more sides open to allow for air flow and easy access to the contents inside. Some county extension offices or college departments of agriculture have assembled plans that may be obtained for free.


The first step in constructing your pole barn is to mark the barn's dimensions and dig your holes for your support structure. Then the supports are "raised" into place and mortar is poured to secure them. Then add crossbeams between the supports. Nail the building's shell onto the sides, followed by the roof. If you are incorporating doors or gates, install the hardware along entrances and exits. Finally, hang your doors and gates.

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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.