0000 What Are My Options for Pole Barn Flooring?
What Are My Options for Pole Barn Flooring?
Cori Lane

By: Cori Lane on December 30th, 2019

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What Are My Options for Pole Barn Flooring?

Posts  |  Building Tips

This year, one of your core objectives is to build a new pole barn. You already have the land and money set aside. So, there’s half the battle.

Your spare time consists of designing your dream post frame building, skimming countless brochures, and scrolling through online galleries for inspiration. This process can be time-consuming.

As you can see, there are multiple building components to consider from the ground up, such as:

Most importantly, you’ll need to select a type of pole barn flooring. After all, it’ll hold your personal property (e.g., machinery, products/services, and animals). There are several floor choices, ranging in style and price. 

Before we dive deep into those options, you must establish a firm building pad (e.g., dirt/clay, sand, or stone). Aside from the foundation, this raised area serves as the basis for your post frame structure. A solid slab can be achieved through proper site preparation.

Pole Barn Gallery_Pole Barn Pictures_FBi Buildings

What is Site Preparation?Building_Pad_Site_Prep

Before your post frame builder can launch into construction, you need to make sure your job site is prepped.

Investing in site preparation will extend your pole barn’s lifetime and reduce total project costs.

The overarching goal is to ensure that your post frame project runs smoothly – on time and under budget. 

For your convenience, we briefly detail the site prep steps regarding the building pad, which will affect your future flooring. 


Where Should You Place Your Building Pad?


First, you must identify the exact position of your new pole barn. Please consider the following questions as you select a location:

  • How will people and equipment move around your building and property?
  • How will excess water drain away from your building? Where will it go?
  • How will your new building line up in conjunction with existing structures or roadways?
  • How much excavation does your proposed pad need to be level?

Your Project Sales Consultant (PSC) can draft an extensive site plan that will be communicated with the preferred excavator. 


When Should You Construct Your Building Pad?

The beauty of post frame construction is its ability to build year-round. However, your excavator may disagree. Frozen ground (winter) and mud (spring) hinder pad preparation. 

Prime excavation weather is in the summer and fall. These months are drier than others, which will keep your perimeter accessible for construction crews and equipment. Staying on schedule will minimize additional costs.


How Should You Structure Your Building Pad?

Building location? Check. Excavation date? Check. Now, it’s time to determine how you will structure your building pad. 

The following factors will significantly influence the structural integrity of your new pole barn.

Elevation Crowning your pad from the center will direct water flow away from the structure. Proper grading will help achieve the desired elevation.
Size Widening your pad on all four sides by 10’ minimizes erosion. Gradual tapering will occur.
Compaction Stabilizes your pad and reduces damage caused by common construction movement (less re-work).
Fill Type Building with the correct granular fill is crucial. A layer of coarse stone over the soil base creates a capillary break and promotes drainage.
Drainage Corrugated tile improves subsurface drainage. Connecting the downspouts to a tile system will direct water to strategic areas.

Altogether, your post frame building must sit on a structurally-sound pad with good drainage.

Site preparation may seem tedious, but it doesn’t have to be. For additional tips, you can download our FREESite Preparation: Unlock a Successful Building Project” e-book.

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What Are My Options for Pole Barn Flooring?

Once your building pad is complete, you can start exploring your pole barn flooring options. 

As you compare the five different types, we recommend keeping building use at the forefront. For instance, are you a(n):

Overall, the primary purpose of your post frame structure will determine which flooring is best for you. It’s easier to do your research now rather than having regrets later.

1) DirtDirt_Flooring

Dirt is an easy (and cost-effective) flooring option for your post frame structure. Aside from site preparation, this surface type requires less fill. Popular applications include agricultural buildings and equine facilities

Heavy machinery can be appropriately stored in a dirt-floored barn. Horses can move and rest comfortably on a soil-based surface.

Naturally, the ground contains moisture. Therefore, grading and drainage control is crucial. To avoid potential condensation issues, we recommend investing in an adequate ventilation system

Also, you can always upgrade dirt flooring for a more solid solution (e.g., concrete).


2) Gravel

Furthermore, gravel is another low-cost alternative for your pole barn floor. It’s an ideal choice for cold storage and open-sided buildings

Unlike dirt, gravel is a superior material in terms of drainage and compaction. Plus, it'll keep your equipment relatively clean.

Over the years, you may have to rake, level, or haul in more gravel. But, it’s still relatively low-maintenance.


3) StoneCrushed_Stone

If you’re wondering what’s the difference between gravel and stone, you’re not alone. Although both materials derive from rocks, they differ by production method and size. 

Stone is the by-product of rocks being mechanically crushed. A popular type of crushed stone is limestone (1 ½’’ to dust). It’s widely available and incredibly versatile.

Similar to gravel, stone is a superb fill that'll work to manage moisture levels within your pole barn. 

Whether you’re building a horse barn or tool shed, stone is a reliable finish.


4) Concrete

Next, concrete is one of the most popular floor selections in post frame construction.

Why? Because it reduces the following annoyances associated with dirt, gravel, or stone floors:

  • Dust build-up 
  • Excess moisture
  • Inability to maintain a clean space

As a result, a concrete surface is often installed in farm shops, commercial businesses, hobby barns, and garages. Depending on the contractor, it's available in a wide variety of colors, finishes, and stamps.

Or, you can consider adding wooden or tiled floors to sit on top of the concrete foundation. It’ll give your business, man cave/she shed, office, or post frame home a nice decorative touch.

If you plan on using concrete for livestock use, we recommend scoring the top layer with a broom or rake to eliminate any slips. 

Additionally, you may want to invest in supplement flooring (e.g., rubber mats) to improve animal comfort. Standing on concrete alone for an extended period is detrimental to an animal’s health.

Another critical aspect of concrete flooring is establishing finish floor elevation (FF). This benchmark determines the location of your grade board and concrete depth.

Furthermore, the concrete depth (4’’ or 8’’) will dictate how high or low your grade board will sit. Miscommunication on this step can result in floor height and drainage issues. FF must be clearly marked before completing excavation and starting construction.

Concrete may be expensive compared to other pole barn floors, but it’s worth the investment.


5) AsphaltPole_Barn_Asphalt

However, you may not have enough room in the budget for concrete. Luckily, asphalt may be an affordable substitute. But, there’s a catch. It requires more maintenance. 

Asphalt is soft, which can easily succumb to the weight of heavy machinery. Weeds can grow in between the gaps of broken asphalt. Not to mention, it has a distinct smell when applied.

Keep the long-term maintenance cost of asphalt in mind as you compare it to the initial investment of concrete flooring.


Which Pole Barn Floor is Right for You?

Ultimately, how you choose to design your pole barn is up to you. Our goal as one of the top post frame builders in the Midwest is to recommend viable flooring options.

You can mix and match or keep it simple with one selection. Again, the primary building use will determine which type of flooring is right for you.

Although FBi specializes in the building shell, we'd be more than happy to connect you to a reliable contractor within our network.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Do you have more questions about pole barn flooring that are not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contact FBi Buildings at 800.552.2981 or click here to email us. If you’re 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.