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The Pros & Cons of Building a Pole Barn Home

October 19th, 2020 | 12 min. read

Courtney Moore

Courtney Moore

After working in the banking industry for 5 years after college, Courtney realized she needed a change and decided to pursue a new career path. Growing up she has always been creative and enjoyed writing, taking pictures, or painting. Now as the Marketing Content Creator for FBi Buildings, she gets to utilize her creative abilities in her everyday work. In her free time, you can find Courtney at home reading a book, partaking in any and all outdoor activities, or traveling and photographing her adventures. Courtney resides in Northwest Indiana with Lacey, her red tick coonhound.

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You’ve been talking about building a pole barn home for quite some time, and you’re ready to pull the trigger.

You’ve spent countless hours reading design magazines, scouring Pinterest for the latest trends, and viewing online galleries of finished building projects.

With so many options readily available, how can you possibly narrow them down to fit your style?

Building a pole barn with living quarters isn’t a new concept. However, it’s steadily gaining popularity in the housing market.

Most customers want to know if post frame homes are as great as they look/sound. That’s why we compiled a list of pros and cons to building a pole barn home. From there, you’ll be able to determine if this type of construction is right for you.

Terms are interchangeable when it comes to describing a pole barn with living quarters. You’re probably familiar with the following nicknames:

No matter which word you use to describe your living space, most people will know what you’re talking about.

Before you design a floor plan, let’s take a closer look at constructing post frame homes to see if the pros outweigh the cons.


What are the Advantages of Building a Pole Barn Home?


Pole Barn Basketball Court1) Quicker Construction Timeline

From a building shell perspective, there’s less framing involved in post frame construction compared to stick-built. As a result, pole barn homes don’t take nearly as long to build.

Less building materials means less labor, so you could potentially see your construction timeline cut in half.

Of course, there are instances that we cannot control, such as a global pandemic or Midwestern weather.


2) Lower Foundation Cost

Typically, post frame homes are built on top of a solid concrete foundation unless you’re planning on building a pole barn basement...but that’s a topic for another time.

Concrete can be expensive, so you’ll need to sit down and determine your must-have features. Price factors include perma-columns, concrete foundation, and slab thickness.

By eliminating a basement from your floor plan, you can significantly decrease your bottom line. Plus, you could put that money towards something else.


3) Superior Energy EfficiencyPole_Barn_Fiberglass_Insulation-min

When it comes to energy efficiency, post frame construction offers significant advantages.

Studs in stick-built homes are placed every 16’’ to 24’’ on center. These gaps allow less space for insulation, which creates room for heat transfer (loss). 

Whereas, pole barn columns are spaced 8’ or more apart. Long spans of fiberglass batts or spray foam insulation can be placed in-between posts, resulting in fewer breaks (or air leaks).

Living in the Midwest, we’re no strangers to scorching summers and brutal winters. Luckily, post frame buildings can be easily heated or cooled without breaking the bank.


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4) An Open-Concept Floor PlanPole Barn Open Floor Plan

An open-concept floor plan applies to your high traffic living areas: kitchen, dining room, and living room. 

Some people like to entertain guests, so a wide space is a perfect solution when hosting small gatherings. Meanwhile, others just like the idea of living in a multifunctional space.

Since post frame buildings do not require load-bearing interior walls, you can design the open floor plan of your dreams.

Do you like the idea of having a taller ceiling? Pole barn construction is also a cost-effective solution for making spaces feel and look bigger than what they actually are.


5) Less Exterior Maintenance

Although pole barn construction offers various roofing and siding options, steel is the most popular selection. Metal is a hardier material, meaning less maintenance or future renovations

Say goodbye to the days of cracked or warped siding and asphalt shingles with a short lifespan.

Pole barn steel can last up to 40 years without showing aging signs, so you can rest easy knowing that your money is well-invested.


6) Good Challenge for DIYers

Pole-Barn-Home-WoodIt’s important to note that most frame builders specialize in the building shell only. That’s just a fraction of your overall project. Other design aspects can be handled by a general contractor (GC). 

Some customers prefer to handle this process on their own. Those with the background and knowledge find DIY to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Meanwhile, others may be surprised by how time-consuming it is to manage a building project.

General contracting your own post frame structure is a major commitment. It requires expertise, resources, and time. 

Plus, there’s always the assumption of risk. For many people, it’s worth it. Do you agree?

How to Be Your Own GC_TY Page CTA_FBi Buildings

What are the Disadvantages of Building a Pole Barn Home?


Arrow Head Pass Porch1) Extra Work Can Be Costly

While a basic pole barn is less expensive than a stick-built home, the custom building features and extra materials can add up quickly.

Popular examples include:

If you like the bells and whistles, a pole barn home may not be cheaper than a stick-built one. But if you’re looking for a simple build, then post frame construction can be a budget-friendly solution.

2) Difficulty Obtaining a Mortgage Loan or Necessary Permitting

Obtaining a mortgage could be difficult for post frame homeowners as it might not qualify for a loan. You may have to fill out extra paperwork or provide more information than you would for a standard loan.

If you need pole barn financing, be prepared to discuss the following information with your preferred lender:

Depending on the financial lender, you may have to answer the following questions:

It may sound overwhelming but have no fear. Your post frame builder will be able to provide you with a list of lenders

Similarly, you could run into issues with obtaining permits for your pole barn home. Some counties do not allow this type of residential building. For more information, we recommend contacting your city hall or county courthouse.



Pole Barn Open Floor Plan 23) Appraisers Struggle with Resale Value

We live in a world where cash is king. However, cash loses some of its stock in the post frame industry. Why? It boils down to the resale value.

Maybe you already have the land set aside. Maybe you’ve been consciously saving your money – no financial pains on your end.

But what will happen when you decide to sell your pole barn home? Sure, it could be years from now. 

You have to move for your job. You want to be closer to your family. You need a change of scenery.

Whatever the reason, you should consider how prospective buyers are going to purchase your property. They may need financing. Unfortunately, some banks are making this step increasingly difficult.

Why? Because not all financial institutions are experts at appraising post frame structures. This downfall could slow down or scuttle the sale.

Although you weren’t worried about pole barn financing, you may be a victim of it later.


Will You Build a Pole Barn Home?

Pole-Barn-Home-FlooringNow that you have a better understanding of post frame homes, are you ready to turn your dream into a reality?

If the pros outweigh the cons, there are helpful resources available to help you plan your next steps.

Are you interested in seeing residential floor plans? Download our FREE Rural Lifestyle Plan Book. This guide features 16 detailed layouts, including a variety of storage, utility, and hobby buildings designed for the way you live (or want to live).

If a floor plan catches your eye, but you’d like to make a few tweaks – please let us know. All of our pole barns are customizable. 

You can also design the interior and exterior of your pole barn with our online 3D tool – all from the comfort of your home. Save, print, or email your final plan to family and friends.

Are you ready for a quote? Submit your building design to us, and a member of our sales team will give you a call to begin the estimating process.

Rural Plan Book_FBi Buildings

Do you have more questions about post frame homes 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 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.