0000 FBi vs Graber Buildings, Inc.: Who’s Best for Your Project?
FBi vs Graber Buildings, Inc.: Who’s Best for Your Project?
Cori Lane

By: Cori Lane on July 20th, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

FBi vs Graber Buildings, Inc.: Who’s Best for Your Project?

Posts  |  Building Tips  |  Comparisons  |  Pole Barn Builders

Our next builder comparison features Graber Buildings, Inc.

This fast-growing post frame company constructs farm, commercial, residential, and equine buildings in East Central Illinois. They’re not to be confused with Graber Post Buildings in Southwest Indiana.

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 Graber before making a buying decision.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

FBi vs Graber Buildings, Inc.: 7 Key Differences to Look For

 

1) Customer Service

FBi Buildings

Project_Manager2From 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, and Southern Michigan 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 and Permitting: FBi will follow up with you regarding your building permits and site prep updates. Your PM will review drawings and confirm the expected start date.

  • Pre-Mobilization: Your PM will verify that site prep 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 construction.

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Graber’s customer service approach differs from FBi’s. Their office staff is happy to assist customers in designing a pole barn that fits their specific needs. These individuals serve as their salespeople, wearing multiple hats throughout the building process.

Also, Graber has an in-house concrete crew. This handy feature eliminates the need to request quotes from subcontractors.

 

Who has the best customer service?

Both companies offer assistance every step of the way but in different capacities.

FBi has assembled a larger team (e.g., sales, design, engineering, project management, and construction crews) to handle a high volume of detailed building projects. Personalization and timeliness are essential.

While one point-of-contact may sound appealing, you may run into delays as your salesperson juggles multiple tasks.

In addition, Graber doesn’t offer in-house engineering services. Therefore, your floor plans will have to be stamped by a third-party engineering firm.

However, Graber gets a nod for having their own concrete crew.

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins and Graber IL Astric

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

2) Service Areas

FBi Buildings

Project_Sales_ConsultantFBi is a family-owned post frame construction company that started in 1958. Their corporate headquarters is located in Remington, Indiana. During their 60+ years, they’ve been known as the preferred post frame builder in the Midwest.

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

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

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Since 1995, Graber has been building quality pole barns in East Central Illinois and Western Indiana. Their core counties include Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, McLean, Piatt, and Vermilion.

Furthermore, their headquarters and lumber yard are located in Sullivan, Illinois.

 

Who has the best service areas?

FBi wins this category. With 140+ counties in four different states, their coverage can’t be beaten by Graber Buildings, Inc.

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins

3) Pole Barn Materials

Steel

FBi Buildings

FBi_Rust_Resistant_SteelFBi’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% higher than what’s commonly used.

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% aluminum and 45% 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.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

All of Graber’s metal is provided by Graber Post Buildings in Montgomery, Indiana. They use 26 and 29 gauge/80,000 PSI high-tensile steel with a galvalume coating. Their ribbed panels are “easy to install, sturdy, and weathertight.” 

In 2005, Graber Buildings Inc. built a trim shop. They create custom pieces (up to 20’ long) and monitor trim details, minimizing delays and damage.

 

Who has the best steel?

Both post frame companies install 29 gauge/80,000 PSI steel with galvalume coating. Graber gets a nod for offering different metal thicknesses and manufacturing their own trim.

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Astric

 

Wood

FBi 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, then FBi will use Machine Stress-Rated (MSR) lumber. Each piece of MSR lumber is tested for stiffness and strength before installation.

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

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

After researching Graber’s website, it’s uncertain what type of wood they use in their wall system. However, that’s not to say they don’t incorporate quality components in their post frame buildings.

Their roofing system is made out of #1 SYP lumber. This type of wood is well-known for its strength, durability, and adaptability. Plus, Southern Yellow Pine is an economical choice for post frame construction.

 

Who has the best wood?

Although they both use #1 SYP, FBi has a slight edge over Graber. They use MSR lumber throughout their pole barns, which consistently reinforces building rigidity.

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins

Screws

FBi Buildings

FBi Buildings_Screws_vs_Nails_Post_Frame_BuildingFBi 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.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Graber uses a zinc-coated hex head screw. It provides secure metal to metal fastening without the need for pre-drilling. Construction workers can simply drill, tap, and fasten in one motion.

 

Who has the best screws?

FBi is the better choice because all of their screws are stainless steel. Each screw head forms an “umbrella.” Without this extra defense layer, your pole barn is more susceptible to leaks and rust.

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins

Trusses

FBi Buildings

Pole_Barn_Trusses1FBi’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.

Moreover, 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.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Graber purchases the majority of their trusses from Okaw Truss located in Arthur, Illinois. 

Their design is based on “custom specifications and manufactured with Southern Yellow Pine lumber.” If required, Okaw Truss can provide sealed drawings.

Then, Graber will place your trusses 8’ on center maximum with nailed roof purlins.

 

Who has the best trusses?

FBi wins this category because of their in-house truss plant and quality control. They incorporate MSR lumber into their trusses, which allows for longer and stronger spans.

Not to mention, their screwed-on purlins are a game-changer in the post frame industry. This fastener is less likely to be uplifted by forces, reducing the chances of rolled purlins and roof failure. 

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins

Structural Integrity eBook_FBi Buildings

Paint

FBi Buildings

Paint Comparison_FBi BuildingsFBi’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 help picking a color scheme? Check out these tips for selecting the perfect pole barn color combination.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Graber’s roof and wall panels are finished with AkzoNobel CERAM-A-STAR® 1050.

This silicone-modified polyester (SMP) paint system is designed exclusively for metal construction.

CERAM-A-STAR 1050 is the strongest SMP on the market. Its coating provides “durability, consistency, and color stability.”

 

Who has the best paint?

Both paint systems are well-known applications in post frame construction, 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 Graber IL_FBi Wins

Columns

FBi Buildings

Perma_Column_2There 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% 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. Then, the columns are reinforced with 60,000 PSI rebar welded to a ¼’’ steel bracket.

Furthermore, 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.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

As mentioned above, Graber has their own lumber yard where they stock 3-ply and 4-ply laminated posts made out of quality lumber.

Similar to FBi, customers can upgrade to a more sustainable solution that is Perma-Columns.

 

Who has the best columns?

Both construction companies are equal when it comes to pole barn columns. Therefore, this section is a tie between FBi and Graber.

FBi vs Graber IL_Tie

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Doors

FBi Buildings
Sliding Doors

Step_Saver_LatchFBi’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.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.
Sliding Doors

Graber buys and installs sliding door packages from PLYCO, a wholesale construction supply company in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. They offer two options: 1 ½’’ and 3 ½’’ sliding doors. 

First, the PLYCO 1 ½’’ SDR1600 package is made for standard applications (e.g., tool sheds). Single-sliders can go up to 144 square feet, or split-sliders for 288 square feet openings.

Second, the PLYCO 3 ½’’ SDR1635 package is designed for larger applications (e.g., farm shops). Single-sliders can go up to 256 square feet, or split-sliders for 576 square feet openings.

The following building components are included with your sliding door purchase: a self-cleaning track, trolley hangers, track brackets, cover, trim, metal or wood rollers, latches, pulls, guides, and stops. 

These packages are available in five colors: Brown, Charcoal, Evergreen, Hickory Moss, and White.

Overhead Doors

Similar to FBi, overhead doors aren’t a standard feature on Graber pole barns. They work directly with a few dealers (i.e., C.H.I., Higher Power Hydraulic Doors, and Schweiss) to offer multiple door styles and sizes.

 

Who has the best doors?

For sliding doors, FBi separates themselves apart from Graber 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.

Graber’s supplier uses standard sliding door metal rollers. This component can rust or become weak. Their door track is exposed, which can collect debris and cause damage. As a result, you may run into issues with opening and closing your sliding door.

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

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins and Graber IL Astric

EasyMotion_Sliding_Doors_eBook_Blog_CTA

Windows

FBi Buildings

Pole_Barn_Insulation_Window_PlacementBelieve 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
Graber Buildings, Inc.

Graber works with the same supplier as FBi to provide high-quality windows.

 

Who has the best windows?

This category is a tie between FBi and Graber as they both offer Simonton Windows® with their pole barns.

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 Graber IL_Tie

 

Who has the best overall materials?

As for pole barn materials, FBi comes out on top. They win four out of the eight categories: paint, screws, trusses, and wood. Graber ties FBi with their columns and windows. Doors and steel boil down to personal preference.

FBi vs Graber IL_Material Winners

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

 

4) Delivery

FBi Buildings

Site_AccessOn 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.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Likewise, Graber delivers their building materials to the job-site. However, it’s uncertain when these deliveries take place as we couldn’t find their standard timing.

 

Who has the best delivery?

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

Note: You'll 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 Graber IL_Tie

5) Construction

FBi Buildings

Crew_WinFBi’s average crewmen have been employed for over 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.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Graber started with 3-man crews but has since expanded to 4-6-man crews. Again, they have a crew dedicated solely to pouring concrete.

Their employees are fully insured through Workers’ Compensation. Plus, Graber offers builders risk insurance. This policy protects you from theft, storm damage, or vandalism that may occur during construction.

 

Who has the best construction?

Both companies provide their own construction crews, but the advantage goes to FBi. 

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

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins

Structural Integrity eBook_FBi Buildings

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)

Graber Buildings, Inc.

After researching Graber’s website, the only listed warranties cover paint and steel (40 years). Their warranty is prorated, meaning you may incur some of the repair costs. 

For more information, you’ll need to call or visit their office.

 

Who has the best warranty?

FBi wins this category for having a more comprehensive list of warrantied features made available to the public.

Bonus: Their warranty is non-prorated, meaning that if any of the above features fail within the specified period, it’ll be 100% replaced. The owner won’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for building repairs.

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Wins

7) Cost

FBi Buildings

Agricultural_Pole_BarnFBi 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 $8 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 $8 per square foot.

 

Graber Buildings, Inc.

Graber prides themselves on using the “highest quality building materials available” at a competitive price. Moreover, “compromising quality for a lesser price has never been an option” for them.

To request a quote, you’ll need to call or visit their office.

 

Who has the best cost?

When comparing quotes, Graber is cheaper than FBi. You can expect a 10% difference in cost between the two post frame companies.

*Please keep in mind that multiple variables go into pricing a pole barn.

FBi vs Graber IL_FBi Astric

Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Cost_FBi Buildings

Who’s Best for Your Post Frame Building Project?

FBi vs Graber IL_Overall Winners

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.

  • Graber Buildings, Inc. is the way to go if you want to build a cost-effective pole barn in the East Central Illinois area. Pouring concrete can be a hassle, but Graber will do it for you.

  • FBi Buildings is the right choice if you’re looking to make a long-lasting investment with 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, or Southern Michigan.

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.

About Cori Lane

Cori grew up on her family's small grain and livestock operation in Northwest Indiana. In 2018, she graduated 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 level, Cori chose to pursue a career in the agriculture field. 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 music, and traveling.