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Are Pole Barn Homes Cheaper to Build?

March 2nd, 2020 | 10 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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Pole barn homes are currently one of the biggest trends in post frame construction, and we’re here for it. If you look up the word “genius” in the dictionary, you’ll see a photograph of the person who decided it was a great idea to build a pole barn with living quarters.

  • Barndominium
  • Shome
  • Barn Home
  • Pole Barn House
  • Shouse

Regardless of what you call a pole barn home, there is no shortage of information on how to obtain one for yourself. Most pole barn builders have adopted this new trend, so they will have a variety of floor plans and ideas on how to make it your own. With one quick search on Pinterest, you can easily spend hours scrolling through photos to find inspiration and gather ideas of your own.

The cool thing is that some post frame buildings don’t even look like what they’re known as. Advancements in the industry have made it easy to disguise a pole barn as a stick built home. Most features that are found in a traditional home can be included in a barn style house, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

Before you look too far into post frame living, it might be a good idea to consider the most essential factor of all: cost. Building a pole barn home might look like a good idea up front, but is it realistic for your budget? 

We’ll dive deeper and look at the factors that play a part in constructing pole barn homes to help you decide if a pole barn house is for you, or if stick built might be the better route.



What exactly is a pole barn home?

Arrow Landscape

Constructing a pole barn entails treated wood posts being driven into the ground, or Perma-Columns being secured in concrete so that no wood is touching any dirt. Horizontal columns, known as girts, connect the columns and essentially form the walls of the building. Roof trusses are directly attached to the columns, and then the building shell is put on last.

Post frame construction is more durable than conventional wood construction, which is a significant point to consider when deciding upon post frame or stick built. Since posts are secured in the ground, this adds stability and wind resistance to the building. The horizontally connected columns form a tremendously strong box that adds to both wind and seismic resistance.

Trusses are directly attached to the wood frame, so this makes it virtually impossible for the roof to detach from the building. The diaphragm effect created by post frame structures allows them to flex under stress instead of cracking, crumbling, or collapsing like many other structures.

Since the poles support the roof, as opposed to load-bearing walls that support the roof in traditional wood construction, this creates a completely open space. If an open concept is what you’re looking for, then a pole barn house is the perfect option for you.


How much will a pole barn house cost me?

Arrow Aerial View

Pole barn prices vary based upon a large number of factors, such as:

  • Location
  • Square Footage
  • Materials
  • Building Features
  • Labor
  • Interior Work

Unfortunately, no set price can be determined on a pole barn home because of each factor that needs to be considered. The cost of materials, based on the supply and demand of the economy, can fluctuate from year to year, which makes it even more challenging to set a price based on a particular project.

Your pole barn builder can give you an estimate one day, and then a month later, give someone else a completely different estimate for a building of the same stature. Price is an ever-changing variable that is hard to monitor since you never know when the price is going to change. Trust us, if we could write a price guide for all of our buildings, we totally would.

Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Cost_FBi Buildings

6 Factors that Influence the Price of a Pole Barn Home

To get a better idea of what factors could be more costly than others, let’s break it down a little further.


1. Location

Prices vary by both counties and by states. A pole barn home in Jasper County, Indiana will have a different cost than a pole barn home in Benton County, Indiana. A barn house in Indiana will have a different cost than a barn house in Illinois. This isn’t because we like to make things difficult on you; it’s because of the following:

  • Crew travel: For those that didn’t know, our corporate headquarters is in Remington, IN. We have approximately 24 building crews that construct our buildings. Depending on what our construction schedule looks like, our Project Managers will do their best to find a crew that is closest to your building location. However, sometimes longer travel times are involved and we need to ensure their time is accounted for.
  • Material delivery: We also need to take into consideration how many trips it will take to get all of the materials to the job site. Depending on the size of the pole barn home, there could be multiple trips that need to be made. A larger post frame home will require more materials, which in turn requires more trips.
  • County ordinances and building permits: Each county in each state has a different way of doing things. We need to respect their rules and account for the county’s way of building barn homes - if the county even allows for structures like that.
Arrow Open Concept

2. Square Footage

To state the obvious here, a post frame building with larger square footage is going to cost substantially more than a pole barn with smaller square footage. More materials used = more money spent. On the flip side, a larger home will have a lower cost per square foot than a smaller home, equating to a bigger bang for your buck.   

Keep in mind, though, that some counties don’t allow for a home to be built unless it meets their square footage minimum. Does anyone remember the tiny house craze that started a few years back? Well, unless that tiny house was parked on a trailer in some remote area of the mountains that nobody knew about, towns were permitting the construction of them.


3. Materials

The cost of materials could go up or down on any given day due to the supply and demand of them. With commodity materials like steel and wood being used to build post frames, this can lead to a high fluctuation in cost depending on the market cost. 

Quality is an important factor, too. By using higher quality materials that will last you longer than cheaper, mediocre materials, you can expect to pay a higher price. Some high end materials to look for are MSR lumber, stainless steel paint, Galvalume steel, and Kynar paint. In the long run, these materials will help you spend less on repairs, and you’ll be glad you didn’t skimp out in the beginning.


Pole Barn Home Guide, FBi Buildings


Arrow Porch4. Building Features

Selecting features is the fun part of designing your pole barn home. Which kind of doors should I go with? What kind of windows should I have installed? How big do I want my front porch to be?

These are all essential features that will make your house your own, so you’ll put careful consideration into each and every one.

The more features you add on, the more your price is going to increase. While it’s nice to focus on the exterior, let’s not forget about the interior, too. We haven’t even covered that part yet, but stay tuned; we will in a moment.


5. Labor

Unless you decide to construct a post frame home yourself, the cost of labor will be included in your invoice. The men and women in the pole barn construction industry know how much time and hard work goes into a project to get it done and get it done right.

A smaller project won’t take nearly as long to construct, so you can expect the price of labor not to be as much. A larger project not only requires more time but more crew power, too. The additional men and women on a project will need to be accounted for.


6. Interior Work

Let’s not forget about the best part of building a home - the interior. Picking out a paint color, laying down new rugs, and hanging up family portraits is where the fun part truly comes in as you make a house a home.

However, that’s all cosmetic work. The true interior work is where the price tag can get a little hefty:

Don’t let the interior scare you away from a pole barn home, though. There are plenty of ways to save money, such as repurposing old cabinets, making your own light fixtures, installing your own flooring, or hiring a family member who knows about electrical or plumbing work.


Pole Barn Gallery_Pole Barn Pictures_FBi Buildings


So, Are Pole Barn Homes Cheaper to Build?

Honestly, the answer is neither yes or no. The end price all comes down to the building plan that fits your wants and your needs.

Post frame homes can be extremely inexpensive if you stick with a base model. In addition, if an open model concept or country style/feel for a house is what you’re envisioning, then post frame is a great option for you. 

If you’re looking for all of the fancy features and top-notch interior finishes, a pole barn home could be just as or even more expensive than a traditional stick-built house. Everything outside of the frame and the shell is what will start to add up quickly. If this sounds like you, then no, a pole barn will most likely not end up being cheaper to build, but will be similar to a stick built home. 

Which Style Fits Your Vision?

There are no limitations on style regardless of which route you choose to take, so what are you leaning towards? Should you join the trend of building a pole barn home, or should you build something more traditional? Either way, your home will be everything you ever imagined. Just remember to always build with confidence.


Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Do you have more questions about pole barn 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'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.