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FBi Buildings vs Eastern Iowa Building: Who’s Best for Your Project?

January 18th, 2021 | 29 min. read

Cori Lane

Cori Lane

Cori grew up on her family's small grain and livestock operation in Northwest Indiana. In 2018, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Marian University Indianapolis. Having shown beef cattle for 12 years at the county, state, and national levels, Cori chose to pursue a career in agriculture. Today, she serves as the Marketing Content Creator on the FBi team. In her free time, Cori enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, listening to live music, and traveling.

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Our next post frame builder comparison features Eastern Iowa Building (EIB).

They construct agricultural, commercial, residential, and equestrian buildings with a commitment to exceeding customers’ expectations before, during, and after the sale.

EIB sells their own building packages, but they’ve been a proud Lester Building Systems dealer since 2005.

In this blog, we present the facts and strengths of each pole barn builder. Our goal is to provide you with a better understanding of how FBi compares to EIB before making a buying decision.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

FBi Buildings vs Eastern Iowa Building: 7 Key Differences to Look For


1) Customer Service

FBi Buildings


From the initial inquiry to the final call with your Project Manager (PM), FBi ensures that you’re aware of every step involved with your post frame building.

Each customer is assigned their own Project Sales Consultant (PSC) that lives in their area.

Currently, FBi has PSCs spread throughout Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, Southern Michigan, and Southern Wisconsin, covering their designated territories.

This arrangement allows your PSC to discuss your building needs in person, walk the property, and identify an ideal location for a new pole barn.

Once the contract is finalized and construction is ready to start, you’ll be introduced to your Project Manager. They’ll schedule crews, review building changes, handle payments, and answer questions.

FBi’s Project Management team will outline your post frame project into four construction phases:

  • Processing: An overview of your building project from the signed purchase agreement to the down payment. FBi will go over site preparation, permitting, and give you an approximate start date.

  • Design & Permitting: FBi will follow up with you regarding building permits and site prep updates. Your PM will review the drawings and confirm the expected start date.

  • Pre-Mobilization: Your PM will verify site preparation via inspection. If approved, the construction crews and material delivery will be scheduled.

  • Construction: The final phase details the main milestones that will happen during or after pole barn construction.

Are you interested in building your own pole barn? FBi offers various material packages using high-quality products from the ground up. If needed, this option includes an on-site consultation, giving DIYers peace of mind.

Eastern Iowa Building

EIB has unique access to Lester’s design, engineering, and pricing systems.

Independent dealers receive help from Area Managers for all of their routine technical and sales support needs. Other associates – Project Coordinators, Custom Quote Techs, and Transportation Personnel – work closely with EIB.

Also, EIB is passionate about customer service. “Nothing gives them more motivation and pride than watching their customers’ building projects go up and seeing the positive reactions of their neighbors, associates, and friends.”

Who has the best customer service?

FBi wins this category for having dedicated PSCs and PMs who will be able to spend their time on sold building contracts and assisting you throughout the entire construction process. These employees will be able to answer your questions (or concerns) in a timely fashion.

In contrast, Lester dealers are tasked with selling other building projects. It may be hard for them to complete projects due to their multiple roles.

Overall, both pole barn builders offer assistance every step of the way but in different capacities.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

2) Service Area

FBi Buildings

Kenny Sales

FBi is a family-owned construction company that originated in 1958. Their corporate headquarters is located in Remington, Indiana. 

During their 60+ years of business, FBi has been known as the preferred post frame builder in the Midwest

As mentioned above, their service area is limited to Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, Southern Michigan, and Southern Wisconsin.

Do you have a unique building project outside of their core territory? They’ll pursue other options to see if it’s feasible for them to be your pole barn builder.

Eastern Iowa Building

Founded in 2003, EIB is a family-owned business that has grown to be one of the largest independent dealers for Lester Building Systems. 

They service the following cities in Eastern Iowa (hence the name):

  • Anamosa 
  • Bettendorf
  • Cascade
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Clinton
  • Davenport
  • Dubuque
  • Dyersville
  • Fairfax
  • Independence
  • Iowa City
  • Manchester
  • Marion
  • Marshalltown
  • Monticello
  • Muscatine
  • North Liberty
  • Oelwein
  • Palo
  • Solon
  • Urbana
  • Vinton
  • Washington
  • And everywhere in between

Who has the best service area?

FBi wins this category. With 230+ counties across five different states, their overall coverage can’t be beaten by Eastern Iowa Building.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins

3) Pole Barn Materials


FBi Buildings

FBi’s metal panels are 29-gauge, heat-treated, full-hard, high-tensile steel with a minimum yield point of 80,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). That’s 60 to 78 percent higher than what’s commonly used in post frame construction. 

A higher yield contributes to overall steel strength and improves the structural integrity of your pole barn by providing greater resistance to impact damage.

Their post frame buildings feature galvalume steel (roof and walls) coated with aluminum-zinc alloy by a continuous hot-dip process. This coating consists of 55 percent aluminum and 45 percent zinc, with a small silicon dose for fighting corrosive elements.

Depending on your pole barn colors, FBi will use galvanized steel panels on their walls. Unlike galvalume, galvanized metal is subject to corrosion once the coating wears off.

Eastern Iowa Building

Since EIB is an independent dealer, they use all of Lester Buildings’ materials exclusively.

Unlike FBi, Lester roll forms its own steel for added quality control. They also trim the metal prior to its arrival on the job site. To reduce trimming errors, Lester uses computer-generated drawings to determine the panel lengths.

Moreover, Lester uses G-80 steel for the Uni-Rib™ Steel Panel and the patented Eclipse Roof System™. These metal paneling options are only available through Lester Buildings. Below are the product specs:

Uni-Rib™ Steel Panel

  • 28-gauge steel is predominately used for this panel; offers this metal in 26-gauge steel with the same tensile strength as the 28-gauge
  • Minimum tensile strength is 80,000 PSI
  • Both gauges are available in galvalume and galvanized options; interior panels for lined and insulated pole barns are constructed with galvanized steel with polyester paint

Eclipse Roof System™

  • This metal roofing system is strong and weathertight for new construction or renovation projects
  • Customers will benefit from a metal roof system that combines the structural integrity of a through-fastened roof with the sleek appearance of a standing seam metal roof – for a lower cost
  • Available in 26- or 28-gauge steel
  • Protected with a galvalume substrate
Who has the best steel?

There’s a lot of back and forth in the post frame industry regarding the importance of steel strength and the type of gauge you should be using for your pole barn project.

However, EIB/Lester gets the nod for manufacturing their own steel and offering different metal panels.

Both FBi and EIB offer high-quality steel, but the overall winner is dependent on which type of steel you’d be using from Lester.

FBi vs EIB_FBi and EIB_Star for Both


ACQ Treated WoodFBi Buildings

The type of wood that FBi uses is dependent on the building design.

For example, if you’re interested in a cold storage building with large clear-span trusses, FBi will use Machine Stress-Rated (MSR) lumber. Each piece of wood is tested for stiffness and strength before installation.

FBi uses #1 Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) lumber for post frame projects that require smaller trusses.

Eastern Iowa Building

EIB uses three different types of wood, all of which are dependent on the building design. The product specifications include:

  • Raw Lumber: Lester’s engineers use a lumber grading system to decide what wood species, grade, and strength best suits each column, girt, and purlin. They know what they’re buying because they only use stamped/certified lumber.

  • Treated Lumber (EPA-Approved): Treated lumber used is based on specific conditions, such as livestock facilities, splash plants, or nail laminated columns that are embedded into the ground.

  • Engineered Lumber: Lester uses engineered lumber when raw lumber isn’t long or big enough to meet the design requirements. Lester tests their engineered lumber in a controlled environment.
Who has the best wood?

This section's winner depends on which type of wood you’d be using from EIB/Lester.

FBi gets a nod for using MSR lumber for their large clear-span trusses. EIB/Lester receives a nod for having a variety of wood choices.

FBi vs EIB_FBi and EIB_Star for Both


FBi Buildings
FBi Buildings_Screws_vs_Nails_Post_Frame_Building

FBi uses a stainless steel capped, self-sealing screw. The screw fastener encapsulates the sealing washer to protect it from the elements and improve aesthetics.

The washer maintains its seal and is more reliable than commonly used neoprene; thus, offering superior heat, cold, weather, and ozone resistance.

Eastern Iowa Building

To safeguard the building strength, EIB/Lester disperses weight by using multiple small fasteners rather than using fewer large fasteners. 

Their roof and wall screws fasten exterior steel cladding to interior boards. They resist corrosion and prevent rust streaks. Plus, the screws are available in all of Lester’s metal panel colors.

Who has the best screws?

FBi is the better choice because all of their screws are stainless steel. Each screw head forms an “umbrella,” which protects the washer from harsh elements and deterioration. This defense layer provides a long-lasting seal against leaks and rust.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins


FBi Buildings
Trusses for Snow Load Blog

FBi’s trusses are manufactured by their in-house truss plant and engineered specifically for your pole barn.

Their truss plant is regularly certified by a third-party inspection service (e.g., Truss Plant Institute) to ensure the quality fabrication of all trusses.

The lumber used to build the trusses are joined with heavy-duty steel plates.

FBi’s trusses are interlocked – not just attached – to the laminated columns with structural screws. It provides the same strength as bolts but for less money.

Furthermore, FBi is the only post frame builder to screw roof purlins onto the trusses. Testing has proved that screws provide greater uplift resistance than nails.

Typically, purlins are spaced no more than 24’’ on center. The spacing and orientation depend on how far apart the trusses are spaced.

Eastern Iowa Building

Similar to FBi, Lester manufactures their own trusses with a double-press system. Each truss is specifically made for their independent dealers’ building projects.

Their truss saw is programmed to cut the boards to the exact length needed. It ensures accuracy and reduces construction time. 

The truss plates are also pressed on for added strength and corrosion protection.

Who has the best trusses?

FBi and EIB/Lester come out on top with their trusses. They both press their steel plates on their trusses instead of rolling them on. Using this technique allows them to be more precise when engineering truss strength.

FBi vs EIB_Tie

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FBi Buildings
Paint Comparison_FBi Buildings

FBi’s roof and wall panels are finished with the Kynar 500® paint system.

This type of paint is baked-on for excellent resistance to fading, chalking, or corrosion. Their panels are known to maintain their vibrant color for 40+ years.

Do you need helping picking a color scheme? Check out these tips for selecting the perfect pole barn color combination.

Eastern Iowa Building

Sherwin-Williams has been the paint provider for Lester Buildings and their dealers for 30+ years. As one of the world's leading manufacturers, Sherwin-Williams is known for their innovations in the coating industry.

EIB/Lester offers two types of paint systems. Each one provides extra protection against UV rays, acidic rain, humidity, and normal handling/wear.

  • Valspar Weather XL Silicone Modified Polyester (SMP) is the standard on all exterior panels and provides an excellent value.

  • Valspar Fluropon Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) is a premium option suggested for increased fade protection; highly recommended for dark colored roofs.
Who has the best paint?

Both paint systems are widespread applications in the post frame industry, but FBi gets the win for using Kynar 500.

It’s a softer paint compared to SMPs, meaning it’s less likely to fracture during metal manufacturing. Plus, Kynar 500 offers “superior chalk resistance, fade protection, gloss retention, and film integrity.”

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins


FBi Buildings

There are two types of ground contact when pricing your pole barn columns: Laminated Posts and Perma-Columns®.

Similar to their trusses, FBi creates their laminated posts in-house. These columns have greater longevity than solid posts. Each layer of lumber is completely permeated with wood preservative and kiln-dried. It prevents rot and termite damage.

But not all column treatments are equal. FBi uses columns that are treated with 0.80 lb./cu. ft. of Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) wood preservative. That’s 33 percent more than industry standards, which you’ll find at hardware stores and lumber yards.

Alternatively, you can opt for Perma-Columns, which are precast concrete columns sized to fit any laminated or solid post.

This solution is guaranteed to withstand insect damage, decay, and rotting. No wood goes into the ground.

Using 10,000 PSI precast concrete, Perma-Columns are 3x stronger than standard concrete. The columns are reinforced with 60,000 PSI rebar welded to a ¼’’ steel bracket.

Moreover, Perma-Columns include microfibers to add shock resistance and durability. Microsilica enhances compressive strength and erosion resistance. 

The corrosion inhibitor protects the rebar reinforcement and brackets from rusting. A final admixture is added for freeze and thaw protection.

Eastern Iowa Building

Lester builds their columns in-house and offers three different types of foundation systems:

  • Posts anchored below grade; clear-span truss roof: Factory-made preset concrete footings are set in the ground to provide a barrier against soil moisture settling. This footing helps displace the building load traveling through the column. Blocks of wood are nailed and glued to the sides of the column.

    These blocks act as an anchor by resisting soil and preventing the column from being pulled out of the ground. In higher load situations, concrete collars are added on top of the precast footing. The concrete collars are reinforced with steel bars.

  • Posts anchored to the foundation: An alternative option for those who don’t like embedded columns or splash plank.

  • Posts anchored below grade; rafter style roof: The same factory settings for clear-span truss roofs are used.

Lester’s multi-ply Uni-Frame columns have a bending capacity of up to 60 percent greater than solid 6’ x 6’ posts and allow for more uniform penetration of CCA treatment. Factory-assembled, laminated columns feature a mechanically controlled nailing pattern assuring consistency.

Who has the best columns?

EIB/Lester gets a nod for offering three different column options to their customers. However, FBi comes out on top for their uplift protection and economical concrete foundations.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings


FBi Buildings
Sliding Doors

FBi’s EasyMotion sliding door was introduced to the market in 2010. One of the perks included with this door option is the StepSaver Latch, which will save you time and energy.

No more running around to the walk-in door to disengage cam latches and snugger chains. You can get inside your building in less time. Just turn the key and grab the handle. It’s that simple!

The EasyMotion door features the Posi-Guide Track. It’s an exclusive weatherproof system that ensures your sliding door opens and closes smoothly all year round.

The guide doesn’t collect rain, ice, snow, or debris (i.e., birds’ nest and leaves). A unique low-friction polymer roller is protected behind and underneath the track. This interlocking system keeps the door snug to the building.

FBi offers the following center guide options for your sliding door:

  • Wood center door stub
  • Concrete center door stub (wet or dry)
  • Concrete apron approach (wet or dry)
Overhead Doors

Overhead doors aren’t a standard feature on FBi pole barns. If you want to install an overhead door, FBi will work directly with their preferred vendors to get the style and size needed.

FBi’s engineers will carefully evaluate the entire building system and specify the necessary foundation, column, and header sizes needed to carry out the anticipated loads for each door.

Eastern Iowa Building
Sliding Doors

Lester designs and manufactures their sliding doors to specified loads. At this time, it’s the only wind-rated load in the post frame industry.

Their sliding doors are framed with heavy-duty 16-gauge steel verticals with 16- or 20-gauge girts. They’re cladded with 26- or 29-gauge steel to prevent door binding, twisting, and warping. 

The trolleys are specially-lubricated for easy and quiet gliding. Their sliding door tracks are also self-cleaning after each use, which eliminates periodic cleaning.

Overhead Doors

Lester’s overhead doors aren’t included with their buildings (unless you purchase a hydraulic door). They partner with Clopay® for their overhead doors, which are responsible for both the delivery and installation.

Who has the best doors?

For sliding doors, FBi separates themselves from EIB/Lester with their  Posi-Guide Track.

Again, this system sits off the ground, eliminating door jambs caused by debris. The door track is rounded and self-cleaning (no oil needed). It’ll operate smoothly year after year.

If you prefer to use overhead doors, both companies can find the style and size needed.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins and EIB Astric



FBi Buildings

Window Options_FBi BuildingsBelieve it or not, there are many decisions to make when choosing windows for your pole barn

The windows offered by FBi are energy-efficient and available in popular styles, such as:

  • Double-hung
  • Single-slider
  • Eyebrow
  • Half-round
  • Gothic
  • Full circle
  • Hexagon
  • Quarter-round
Eastern Iowa Building

Lester offers an array of energy-efficient windows. Whether you’re looking for windows with grids, windows with shutters, or horizontal sliding windows...you’ll be able to choose from a variety of sizes.

Who has the best windows?

This category is a tie between FBi and EIB/Lester as they both offer windows with their pole barns.

However, we do offer one piece of advice...don’t be afraid to shop around. Sometimes, you’ll find similar windows for a lower price at the local hardware store.

FBi vs EIB_Tie

Who has the best overall materials?

As for pole barn materials, FBi comes out on top. They win three out of the eight categories: columns, paint, and screws. EIB/Lester ties FBi with their steel, trusses, windows, and wood. Door selection is subjective.

FBi vs EIB_Material Winners

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

4) Delivery

FBi Buildings

Site Preparation_Perimeter Access_FBi Buildings copyOn the first day of construction, your building materials will be delivered on-site. FBi doesn’t prefer to deliver materials beforehand and have them sit out in the elements until construction crews show up.

The building size will determine the type of equipment needed. Usually, FBi brings the following machinery to a job-site:

  • A semi for material and delivery
  • Gradall telehandler
  • Crew truck and trailer
  • Skid steer (if applicable)
  • Crane (if applicable)

Company-employed drivers deliver materials straight from their own lumber yard.

Eastern Iowa Building

EIB’s building materials are delivered to the job-site. They’re delivered and unloaded by Lester drivers.

Who has the best delivery?

This category comes out to a tie as both post frame companies will deliver your building components to the construction site.

Note: You will want to make sure your post frame builder delivers materials to the job site on the same day construction starts. Otherwise, those items could face adverse weather conditions and subsequent damage.

FBi vs EIB_Tie

5) Construction

FBi Buildings

QLYFT_NetsFBi introduced the QLYFT building system to the marketplace in Fall 2020. This construction method was created to improve field employee safety while taking building quality to new heights.

Research and development for the QLYFT building system started in 2018. The first model was built in the same year and used regularly. 

Moreover, FBi continues to perfect the building system to ensure high-quality structures while smoothly transitioning away from traditional practices.

Visit their website to see how the QLYFT building system improves post frame construction and empowers customers to build with confidence.

You can also download their FREE QLYFT Building System Guidebook, which explains the benefits, details how its components work together, and answers potential concerns you may have as a first-time buyer.

As for their construction crews, FBi’s average crewman has been employed for 13+ years. Experienced men make fewer mistakes, giving you a higher quality post frame building.

FBi has a Crew Management team of construction veterans who oversee/support foremen and their workers.

They have rigorous SafeStart safety training and Core 54 (apprentice carpenter training) programs that all crews have to complete. 

In fact, FBi’s safety program has won the NFBA’s Gold and Platinum Level Achievement, as well as the Gail Miller Distinguished Safety Award. They’ve also won multiple NFBA Crew Foreman of the Year awards.

Eastern Iowa Building

When you go through EIB, Lester will provide the building materials, but their crews will construct your pole barn.

Unlike FBi, EIB doesn’t employ as many construction crews. This could be a negative for some because their teams may travel more to complete jobs.

Who has the best construction?

Both post frame builders provide construction crews, but the advantage goes to FBi. Their QLYFT building system is an unprecedented way of erecting post frame structures. 

Plus, they have tenure experience between their field workers and Crew Management teams. Their resources, paired with direct accountability, is the best way to ensure quality performance.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins

6) Warranty

FBi Buildings

Pole_Barn_Warranty_Columns_Roof_StructureA pole barn warranty is a written promise to stand behind a certain product or service. All warranties are limited, and there isn’t a standard one in the post frame industry. With that being said, you don’t want to skim through them.

The following components are covered under FBi’s warranty:

  • Columns (Lifetime)
  • Roof Structure (20 years)
  • Red Rust (15 years)
  • Paint (40 years)
  • Gloss Loss (5 years)
  • Roof Leaks (5 years)
  • Sliding Doors (Lifetime)

Eastern Iowa Building

The warranty components vary by Lester dealer. It’s recommended that you consult with your local representative for the warranty when purchasing your post frame building.

The following components are covered under Lester’s warranty:

  • Structural Design (Lifetime; 50 years for business owners)
  • Treated Lumber (50 years)
  • Paint (40 years)
  • Roof Leaks (5 years; varies by dealer/representative)
  • Workmanship (1 year)

Who has the best warranty?

FBi has a more comprehensive list of warrantied features, and their coverage lasts longer on average. Their pole barn warranty is supported by a dedicated team of Repair & Renovation Specialists.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Wins

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7) Cost

FBi Buildings

Pole Barn GarageFBi is well aware that they aren’t the cheapest post frame builder in the industry, but they’re not the most expensive.

A standard pole barn shell can cost anywhere from $15 to $45 per square foot. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is there such a big difference in price per square foot?” Here’s why…

The following factors will determine if your pole barn is leaning towards the low/high side of the cost spectrum:

  • Total square feet
  • Type of features (e.g., overhangs, windows, walk-in doors, steel liner packages, etc.)
  • Current nature of the commodities market (e.g., the price of lumber and steel)

For example, adding a porch, cupolas, and numerous doors will push you closer to the $45 per square foot. If you want a basic 30’ x 40’ without the bells and whistles, you’ll pay closer to the $15 per square foot.

Eastern Iowa Building

When it comes to cost, EIB can be lower or higher than FBi. The price of a Lester post frame building is based on the follow factors:

Who has the best cost?

If you focus on raw cost, EIB typically wins this battle. Again, the Lester dealer is sometimes lower or higher than FBi. Pricing boils down to your building size, features, and location.

FBi vs EIB_FBi Astric

Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Cost_FBi Buildings

Who's Best for Your Post Frame Building Project?

FBi vs EIB_Overall Winners2

Note: The star denotes personal preference based on the buyer. Please reference each section for specifics.

Every post frame builder has their advantages and disadvantages, and the final decision is solely up to you and your specific needs.

  • Eastern Iowa Building is the way to go if you’re interested in a post frame building manufactured by a nationwide builder and assembled by a local dealer.

  • FBi Buildings is the right choice if you’re looking to make a long-lasting investment with a more streamlined construction experience.

If you’re still unsure about what to do, we recommend checking out these additional resources:

We’d be happy to work with you on your pole barn project if you’re located in Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, Southern Michigan, or Southern Wisconsin.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Do you have more questions that are not covered in this article? If you need help designing or planning, please contact FBi Buildings at 800.552.2981 or click here to email us. If you are ready to get a price, click here to request a quote, and a member of our Customer Engagement team will help you determine the next steps of your project.