Angie graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Prior to joining the FBi team, Angie was a kitchen and bath sales consultant in Lafayette, IN. In 2012, she started with FBi as the Inside Sales/Marketing Assistant. Today she holds the role of Sr. Marketing and Inside Sales Manager. Angie grew up in a farming community and has always enjoyed helping her family on the farm. A past 10-year 4-H Member, her passion for livestock pursued her to take a career in the agriculture field. She and her husband live in Northwest Indiana with their two daughters. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor leisure activities and spending time with friends and family.
We understand that most people shop around and get multiple pole barn quotes before they make a decision. It’s also not uncommon for us to get several questions from our customers asking how we are different from other pole barn builders or pole barn supply companies.
Whether you’re looking for a farm building, hobby barn or horse stable, we want to make sure that you understand the seven key differences to look for when comparing builders.
Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be comparing our post frame buildings with some of our biggest competitors. But let’s be clear on one thing...we aren’t doing this to brag on ourselves or to pick out the flaws of other builders. We will present the facts and the strengths of each builder.
FBi Buildings vs Menards® Pole Barn Kits: 7 Key Differences to Look For
1. Customer Service
From the first call into the office, all the way to the last call with your Project Manager, FBi tries to ensure that you’re aware of what’s going on with your post frame building project every step of the way.
Each customer is assigned their own personal Project Sales Consultant that lives in their area. FBi currently has 14 Project Sales Consultants that are spread throughout Illinois and Indiana covering designated territories. This allows them to meet with you not only to understand your needs in person, but walk your property and help you identify the best location for your building.
Once the project is finalized and you’re ready for construction to start, you will be given a personal Project Manager. They are responsible for the scheduling of FBi’s crews along with providing resources to help check your site prep or answer other questions you might have.
FBi’s Project Managers help outline your project in four specific phases:
Processing: Is an overview of the first steps to your construction project. This is also where FBi will be going over site preparation, permitting, and approximate start time.
Design & Permit: FBi will follow up with you about your building permits and site prep updates. Your Project Manager will also be reviewing your construction drawings and validating the expected construction start date.
Pre-Mobilization: Involves your Project Manager completing the steps to set up the date the crew and material will arrive.
Construction: This phase details the main milestones that will happen during construction that you need to be aware of along with the finishing steps after completion.
If you’re looking to buy a pole barn kit online, Menards makes this extremely easy for you to do. With over 100 post frame projects to choose from (that are already pre-priced), this is the perfect option for someone who doesn’t want to hassle with speaking to any sales reps.
Similar to FBi, Menards also offers a building design service for those customers who prefer to have a custom building. Their design team will work with you on your preferences to create a pole barn that is perfect for you.
Menards is also a good option for someone who thinks they can handle construction on their own. They’ll help you purchase the necessary tools that you will need and will even provide you with building guides to walk you through the process.
With over 300 store locations this can make it easy for you to visit them with any questions you might have or buy any missing materials you might need.
Who has the best customer service?
If you’re looking for assistance every step of the way, FBi would be the best choice for your project. From the personal Project Sales Consultant to the dedicated Project Manager, they’ll help guide you in the right direction to make sure that your project gets done on time. Due to those reasons FBi gets the nod here.
*However, if you prefer a less hands on approach and enjoy doing construction work then Menards would be a good fit for you.
2. Service Areas
FBi is a family-owned company that started in 1958. Their corporate headquarters is located in Remington, Indiana. During that time they’ve been known as the preferred pole barn builder in the Midwest.
Currently, their service area is limited to Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, and Southern Michigan. However, if you have a unique project that is outside of their building territory, they will look into pursuing other options to see if it is feasible for them to be your pole barn builder.
Similar to FBi, Menards is also a family-owned company that started in 1958. Their corporate headquarters is located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. They're known as one of the most well-known chains of home improvement stores.
They have more than 300 stores located in the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Who has the best service area?
With more than 300 stores and coverage across 14 states, Menards has the best service area. They are also available to customers seven days a week, which is convenient if you’re looking for last-minute help. Due to the larger service area and more convenient hours Menards takes this one.
3. Pole Barn Materials
FBi’s 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 - 78% higher than what’s commonly used.
A high yield is nearly twice as strong as other steel and can improve the structural integrity of your building by providing greater resistance to impact damage from hail, rocks, etc.
Their buildings also feature galvalume walls and roofs. Depending on what pole barn color you choose, FBi will also use galvanized steel panels on their walls.
Galvalume is a combination of aluminum, silicon, and zinc coating that fights corrosion. This is different from galvanized steel where once their galvanized coatings wears down or is penetrated, corrosion will begin to spread.
Menards offers two different types of steel for their pole barn kits. You can choose from Pro-Rib and Premium Pro-Rib.
Pro-Rib is a 29 gauge Galvanized panel that can be used for residential roofing, out buildings and most post frame applications.
Premium Pro-Rib is a 28 gauge Galvanized panel and the most versatile of the two. You can use Premium Pro-Rib for a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial construction projects.
Who has the best steel?
FBi is the better choice for steel due to their steel that they offer being galvalume 80,000 PSI. When compared to galvanized steel, it’s less likely to rust and wear down when penetrated over time.
However, it is important to state that each product has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the use. For more information on this, be sure to check out our steel comparison blog.
For example, galvanized metal is a steel sheet that has been coated with a thin layer of zinc oxide. This chemical element protects the steel from hash components that can cause corrosion. Eventually, the zinc layer will fade. Remember, having zinc deteriorate before the metal layer is what protects it from rust. Subsequently, the steel sheet will weaken and breakdown within 10 to 15 years of direct element exposure.
Secondly, galvalume is a steel sheet coated with aluminum-zinc alloy by a continuous hot-dip process. The coating consists of 55% aluminum and 45% zinc, with a small dose of silicon. However, the silicon additive has nothing to do with corrosion performance. Instead, it provides adhesion during metalworking.
The alloy coating of aluminum and zinc combines the best properties of both elements. The end result is a coating that’ll last a while. It outranks galvanized steel in terms of comparable thickness and cutting-edge protection (fewer stains).
The type of wood that FBi uses is dependent on the building design. For example, if you’re going to build a pole barn that will have large clear spans than FBi will use Machine Stress-Rated (MSR) lumber for their trusses. Each piece of MSR lumber is tested for stiffness and strength prior to being used.
FBi will also use #1 lumber for jobs that require smaller trusses.
Similar to FBi, Menards will also use MSR lumber for some of their trusses.
Menards also sells MicroPro AC2 Treated Lumber at their store locations. This type of lumber is approved for aluminum contact, is environmentally preferable, and even offers a limited warranty program. MicroPro is also Greenguard Certified. Its end uses included interior and exterior, above ground, ground contact, and fresh water immersion.
Who has the best wood?
Since both companies utilize MSR lumber for the construction of their trusses, this one comes out a tie.
FBi uses a stainless steel capped, self-sealing screw. The screw fasteners encapsulate the sealing washer to protect it from the elements and to improve aesthetics.
The washer maintains its seal and is more reliable than commonly used neoprene, and offers the best heat, cold, weather, and ozone resistance.
Menards does offer both stainless steel and galvanized screws for the installation of their pole barn kits.
If you decide to construct your kit as a DIY project, proper lapping of the steel panels is very important in the panels ability to prevent leaking.
Fastener tightness is also critical in the longevity of the fastener's ability to help prevent leaks and structural load carrying capacity. Over-torquing of screws will reduce the screw's withdrawal capacity, regardless of the construction materials involved.
Who has the best screws?
FBi is the better choice for screws due to them being stainless steel and their specialized "umbrella" washer head. The head of the screw is formed to the washer to protect it from the elements and dry rot, longer. If you are worried about roof leaks, you’ll want to make sure that you have a screw that is protecting the water sealing washer. FBi’s stainless steel head is guaranteed to never rust.
FBi trusses are made in their own plant and engineered specifically for your building. Their truss plant is also certified by a third party Truss Plate Institute inspection service to ensure the quality fabrication of all trusses.
The lumber used to build the trusses is joined with heavy-duty steel plates. These plates have a dense concentration of long teeth providing excellent grip on the wood.
Menard's trusses are engineered and produced by Midwest Manufacturing, a division of Menard, Inc. that they have been using since 1969. This allows them to also have the ability to assist customers with custom designed projects if requested.
They are professionally designed and put together with galvanized steel plates in a factory controlled environment. Similar to FBi, each truss is stamped with the Truss Plate Institute stamp for quality assurance.
Who has the best trusses?
We believe that FBi comes out the winner in this category. FBi has over 60 years of experience operating their on-site truss plant. This has allowed FBi to perfect the quality and construction of their trusses. Their truss plant is located at their corporate headquarters, which also gives FBi the benefit of shipping all of their materials together.
FBi’s side and roof panels are finished with the Kynar 500 Fluoropolymer paint system. This system isn’t just a wet dipped or sprayed on paint, it’s baked on paint that has a strong resistance to fading, chalking, and corrosion.
Developed in the 1960s, Kynar was initially produced by a single manufacturer for use on historic and monumental buildings. Their panels are known to retain their rich color for 40 years or longer.
The steel panels that Menards use are coated with a silicone-modified polyester coiling system. This system is designed for the metal construction industry.
It’s a two coat system that offers resistance to moisture and UV exposure, with flexibility and abrasion resistance.
Depending on what type of steel you choose, Pro-Rib or Premium Pro-Rib will also determine what type of warranty you will receive.
Who has the best paint?
FBi is the better choice for paint because Kynar is a higher-quality paint system with less resistance to fading, chalking, and corrosion versus silicone polyester paint.
There are two types of ground contact for your columns that you can choose from when pricing your building: Laminated and Perma-Column.
Similar to FBi’s trusses, they also build their laminated columns in-house. Laminated columns have greater strength in standard post frame buildings and longevity against rot than solid posts. Each layer of ground contact lumber is completely permeated with wood preservative and kiln-dried.
Not all column treatments are equal. FBi uses a .80 treatment in their columns which is 33% greater than industry standards. This treatment prevents rot and termite damage.
Alternatively, you can use Perma-Columns which are precast concrete columns. This sustainable solution is guaranteed to withstand insect damage, decay, and rotting as no wood goes into the ground.
Using 10,000 PSI precast concrete, perma-columns are 3x stronger than standard concrete. Then, the columns are reinforced with 60,000 psi rebar welded to a ¼’’ steel bracket.
Menards also offers two different types of columns: Treated Posts and Laminated Columns.
Treated posts either come in 4x6 or 6x6 and have a lifetime warranty against rotting and decay. However, this does require notching for the truss to pole connection and is only recommended for buildings 12’ tall and under.
Laminated Columns come pre-notched and offer a better truss to column connection. The lower portion is treated for in-ground use only. They also come with steel reinforcement plates at all spliced locations. Laminated columns are recommended for buildings over 12’ tall.
Who has the best columns?
FBi is the better choice for columns due to the option of installing Perma-Columns which are stronger and will last longer. If you choose to go this route, you’ll also be receiving a better warranty compared to laminated columns.
FBi’s EasyMotion sliding door was introduced in 2010. One of the perks that’s included with this door is the StepSaver Latch. This system saves you time and energy. No more running around to the walk-in door to disengage cam latches and snugger chains. Just turn the key and grab the handle. It’s that simple!
The EasyMotion door also features the Posi-Guide Track. This guide doesn’t collect rain, ice, snow, or debris (i.e., bird nests and leaves). A unique low-friction polymer roller is protected behind and underneath the track. This system keeps the door snug to the building as it operates.
Overhead doors are something that is not standard with FBi’s buildings. If you’re interested in having overhead doors on your building we will work directly with our preferred vendors to supply you with the style and size needed.
Our in-house engineers carefully evaluate the entire building system and will specify the necessary foundation, column and header sizes to carry the expected loads for each door.
Menards pole barn kits do come with overhead doors with different styles and colors for you to choose from.
If you choose a kit with a sliding door, you’ll have to assemble it yourself (which could cause some problems along the way). However, it will come with guided instructions to walk you through the process.
Who has the best doors?
Menards is better when it comes to overhead doors. They have multiple options that they stock and sell directly. This will save you time and less hassle without having to speak to a separate vendor.
Believe it or not, there’s a lot of decisions to make when choosing windows for your pole barn. The windows that we offer are energy-efficient and come in popular styles.
Some of your choices could include the following:
Being a home improvement store, Menards is able to get windows from a variety of vendors.
Their colors, options, and styles are similar to what we can purchase. The benefit of purchasing windows through Menards is the price savings (especially if it’s a basic double-hung window).
However, if you’re looking for specialty windows like a trapezoid, gothic, or eyebrow you won’t be able to find that at Menards
Who has the best windows?
Menards is the best place to shop for windows. You’ll be able to find a variety of different styles at a lesser cost at their numerous store locations.
Who has the best materials overall?
Out of the eight different material categories FBi comes out the winner. They win five out of the eight; those being steel, screws, trusses, paint, and columns. They tie Menards with wood. Menards wins two categories; those being overhead doors and windows.
The same day that your construction starts, your material will be delivered on-site. FBi doesn’t prefer to deliver your materials to your site and have them sit out in the elements until the crew shows up. Depending on the size of your project will also determine the size and type of equipment that will be showing up.
FBi normally brings the following equipment to a job-site:
A semi for material and delivery
Gradall / telehandler
Crew truck and trailer
Skid-steer. if applicable
And a crane, if applicable
Their materials are delivered with company employed drivers straight from their own lumber yard.
Menards offers professional delivery seven days a week for all of their in-stock items. Their standard delivery can deliver to your home, business, or job site. To get accurate delivery pricing, you’ll have to work with a Delivery Coordinator for pricing and scheduling.
When you’re needing a large supply of materials (like trusses, shingles, etc) job site delivery might be the perfection option for you. They can be shipped directly to you from the manufacturer.
Their specialized delivery equipment (semis and shingle loader) makes it easier for you to get your materials if you can’t pick them up yourself.
Who has the best delivery?
This is a tie between FBi and Menards. Menards does offer a wider range of delivery (due to their hundreds of locations), but FBi offers a more personalized and comprehensive approach to delivery.
FBi’s average crew person has been employed for over 13 years. Experienced men make fewer mistakes, giving you a higher quality building. We also have a Crew Management team of construction veterans who oversee and support the foremen and his crew.
They also have a rigorous SafeStart safety training and Core 54 (apprentice carpenter training) programs that all of their crews go through.
Since Menards is a home improvement store, they do not have construction crews. If you choose to purchase one of their pole barn kits, you will be responsible for putting up your building.
Who has the best construction?
If you’re looking to have your pole barn professionally installed, then FBi would be the best choice for your project as they have their own professionally employed crews. With Menards not having crews you will have to find your own labor to add to the overall price. Due to that this is an easy win for FBi.
A pole barn warranty is simply a promise to stand behind a product or service. All warranties are limited, and there is no standard warranty in the post frame industry.
Here’s what’s covered under FBi’s warranty:
Roof Structure: 20 Years
Red Rust: 15 Years
Paint: 40 Years
Gloss Loss: 5 Years
Roof Leaks: 5 Years
Sliding Doors: Lifetime
Menards overall structure does not have a warranty as you are responsible for the construction of the building. Their products do have one.
Here’s what’s covered under Menards warranty:
Steel (Durapanel): 15 Year Limited
Steel (Pro-Rib): 40 Year Limited; which is used more in the residential settings or as steel roofing
Treated Posts: Lifetime
Laminated Columns: Lifetime (for the treated portion only)
Who has the best warranty?
Both companies offer good warranties on their materials. Where FBi takes this win is that due to having their own crews they are able to provide warranties on the completed building and craftsmanship.
FBi is well aware that they aren’t the cheapest post frame builder out there, but they also aren’t the most expensive.
A standard pole building shell can cost anywhere from $15 to $45 per square foot. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is there a big difference in price per square foot?”
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 (the price of 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, then you’ll pay closer to $15 per square foot.
Menards does offer very cost-effective buildings, and if you’re buying a pole barn online you also might get a cheaper price than what’s at your local Menards store.
If you choose to pick up your building at your local store, your building price will stay the same. If you prefer to have your building delivered to your site than there will be a delivery fee. The type of fee will vary on where you’re located.
For example, you can buy a 10’ x 18’ open-sided building for $1,760, a 36’ x 54’ machine shed building for $11,023, or a 60’ x 120’ commercial building for $79,825.
One benefit of choosing your building online is the convenience of knowing your price. Even if you decide to upgrade features, the new price will be reflected.
Who has the best cost?
Since we are not measuring best cost for the value you are getting, we are going to go strictly off of who is more cost effective. By doing that, Menards is going to be the cheapest option for your post frame building needs. However, be sure to get a cost for labor as their quote will not include that.
Who’s Best for Your Post Frame Building Project?
NOTE: The star denotes personal preference based on the buyer. Please reference each section for specifics.
There’s no right or wrong decision when deciding who’s best for your building project. We both have our advantages and disadvantages, and the final decision is solely up to you and your specific needs.
Menards is the way to go if you’re looking for a lower-cost option and aren’t afraid to tackle a DIY pole barn project.
FBi Buildings is the right choice if you’re looking to make a long-lasting investment and would like to get a more personalized sales 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, and Southern Michigan.
Do you have more questions that are not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contactFBi 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.