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Pole Barn Additions: 5 Considerations for Expanding Your Building

November 8th, 2018 | 8 min. read

Angie Dobson

Angie Dobson

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.

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Your pole barn or post frame building is key to your operation. Day-to-day activities take place in this building. It’s where you spend a significant amount of your time and for some, helps generate revenue for your business.

If you’re a farmer, you store and service heavy machinery in your durable farm shop. As a hobbyist, you restore antique tractors or classic cars in your custom hobby shop. Maybe you’re a commercial business owner, and your monthly income is dependent on this building.

Occupations aside, you hope that future generations will be able to work in your pole barn. Someday, your children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren will be old enough to follow in your footsteps and expand the trail that you’ve blazed. 

But what happens if the building becomes overcrowded? What happens when you realize that you’re running out of space? Or, when it finally hits you that this pole barn isn’t big enough?

Don’t worry...you’re not alone. How do we know? Because we hear it all the time from customers who didn’t build a sizeable post frame building the first time.

Have you considered a pole barn addition, connection, or lean-to as a viable option for more space? If not, maybe you should...

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I know if this is the right choice for me?” 

Often, adding square footage to your existing building proves to be a practical choice. It’s always a possibility to contemplate when needing more space. 

However, there are other factors that’ll prove the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a building connection

Below, we put together a list of important considerations for your pole barn or post frame building addition. We refer to it as your “Connection Specialist Source for Planning.”

Pole Barn Additions_FBi Buildings


5 Important Considerations for Pole Barn and Post Frame Building Additions


1. Why Should You Add-On?Pole_Barn_Addition_1

First, the convenience of having your whole operation under one roof is compelling. Sure, you can walk or drive from one building to another.

But, what will you do when it’s pouring down rain? Or, there’s a few feet of snow on the ground? Trust us, the constant back and forth will grow old so quick that you’ll wish your operation was under one roof.

Others seek to maximize their site flow through a connection. Why? Because stand-alone buildings can interrupt the movement of people or vehicles around their property.

Also, property constraints may play a role in your decision-making process. With limited land to work with, you may be able to solve your problem through a small connection or addition. A little extra space is better than none.

Before you go too far, identify the amount of additional square footage needed. This number will help you decide if expansion is possible, as well as the best option for you. If you need help laying this out, we recommend two options:

  1. Roughly sketch your current layout on a graph pad. Figure out where you want your building addition to be and how much space you'll need. It never hurts to add more space. You'll thank us later.

  2. Use our Design Online Tool to design your building in 3D. You’ll be able to visualize what your pole barn will look like and if the connection will work with your current layout.

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings


2. How Does Your Building Site Affect Where You Add-On?Pole_Barn_Addition_2

As mentioned briefly, your site layout has a significant impact on where you can and cannot add-on to your post frame structure. 

It’s crucial to take the time to understand permit requirements. They will also determine where you can place your addition. The best way to find out what those regulations entail is to contact your city hall or county courthouse.

In addition, water drainage is key. You’ll need to examine where your current water runoff goes, as well as plan where future runoff will go. The last thing you’d want is for rainwater to pool in or around your pole barn.

Similarly, another water-related site concern is whether existing conditions will cause condensation in your new connection.

Finally, plan your site with future growth in mind. Position yourself so that if you need additional space someday, you have the room to do so without affecting your site flow.


3. How Will an Addition Affect Your Building?Pole_Barn_Addition_3

Next, you need to understand the ways an addition or connection can affect the structural engineering of your post frame building.

Lean-tos and new openings take special engineering consideration. Why? Because they have the potential to overload current building components.

The components of your existing structure will need to hold new or redistributed weight. For instance, footings, columns, trusses, roof framing, and other building materials will need to support more weight than originally intended.

Not to mention, your building addition will affect the diaphragm of your pole barn. Engaging with a professional engineer will ensure that the finished product maintains the structural integrity you need. In some cases, you can reinforce your pole barn’s strength to support new weight.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

4. How Will Your Finished Building Look?


Whether it’s a farm shop or commercial building, you’ll want a professional appearance that represents you and your business.

We highly recommend selecting color combinations that complement your surroundings. However, color matching paint on pole barns can be a challenge. 

After long periods, the sun will start to fade the paint. Since the fading occurs gradually, it generally goes unnoticed. Unless you put a new piece of steel next to your current building, then you’ll most likely see a slight color difference.

Other factors to consider for keeping your structure looking top-notch are:

  • The intersecting points (roof or wall line)
  • The pitch of the existing roof
  • The rib pattern of sheet steel and trim configuration
  • The current components (sliding doors, gutters, girt spacing, etc.)
  • The fastener types and screw row patterns

If you’re going to purchase an addition, you’ll want it to look just as nice as your other buildings. Not only will your property look uniform, but it could increase the resale value

5. What Do Our Customers Have to Say About Their Recent Additions?

Nowadays, consumers are quick to run to the internet or social media for product reviews and recommendations. Here’s what our past customers had to say about their building addition:

“When we added on, we needed more space for some machinery storage. We decided to stick with what we had and add on; we had outgrown our original building. We didn’t know if it could be done, but after talking to our FBi Project Sales Consultant, our concerns were taken care of. Now we think, ‘Gosh, wish we would’ve built it bigger!’ We’ve always been pleased with FBi Buildings; with the plans, crews, construction, and follow-up!” – Mike Hagerman

“We added on because we needed some office space and more parts storage. Zoning was a little bit of an issue with our county, but we worked it out. The addition is what we needed, and we’re happy with it!” – Wes Terry

“We added a connection because we were short on storage space. We decided on a connection because we wanted more space in the same building. Adding onto the end made the most sense because that’s where we had the additional land. We were worried about getting a permit; the first time we did, it was a nightmare. Overall it was a good experience, and we wouldn’t make any changes to the building.” – Michael Peterson

“We built a lean-to on the back of our existing building. We wanted to put a roof over our diesel fuel dike, and the back of our building was the best location. The overall experience went well; we had no problems and wouldn’t change a thing!” – Randy Burch

Curious to see how your post frame builder compares? Perform a quick web search using Google or Yelp. It’s that easy! 


Is a Pole Barn Addition Right for You?

Running out of room in your pole barn isn’t the end of the world. Building additions, connections, and lean-tos are feasible options for extra space.

Take a step in the right direction and download our FREE Building Connections & Additions Guide. Our goal as one of the top post frame builders in the Midwest is to get you the space your operation needs to succeed.

Pole Barn Additions_FBi Buildings

Have more questions about pole barn additions not covered in this article? Please contact FBi Buildings at 1.800.552.2981 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 sales team will call you.