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Comparing Pole Barn Steel: Morton vs Menards vs FBi

January 13th, 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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Post frame companies want you to purchase their product over their competitors, and the one way they can convince you to do so is to advertise their product as the best on the market, especially when they’re comparing the structural integrity and pole barn steel warranties of their main competitors.

But, how do you know if it genuinely is the best? Do they have facts to back up such a significant statement? Do their customer testimonials make you believe that you’re choosing the right post frame builder? Or, are you confident enough in their pole barn construction process that you just know everything will run smoothly? 

Competition is no different in the post frame construction industry. When it comes down to pole barn designs, a pole barn builder is going to claim they have the best eye for capturing what the customer envisions. When it comes down to construction crews, a pole barn builder is going to claim they are most efficient and work harder than anyone else. When it comes down to building materials, a pole barn builder is going to claim they use only the highest quality construction materials that are durable enough to withstand the test of time.

Hearing these claims can be exhausting. With everyone promising the same thing, how do you know who to trust? Not only is our goal to educate ourselves with our discoveries, but to educate our customers as well so we can help you determine the type of pole barn steel that fits your vision.

In the video below, we conducted a pole barn steel test to compare how well the steel used by FBi Buildings, Morton Buildings, and Menards could handle the abuse that we threw its way. 

If you don’t have time to read the entire blog, watch the video to see how we tested each three and find out which one of them will "steel" the show.



3 Tests Used to Compare Pole Barn Steel

Pole Barn Steel Tear Test, FBi Buildings

1) Pole Barn Steel Tear Test

Objective: To determine the amount of pressure the steel can withstand against strong winds or a vehicle hitting a post frame building.

Measures: The strength of the steel being torn apart from the screws.

Two pole barn screws fastened the steel into a piece of wood. A clamp was attached on the other end of the steel panel to see how many pounds it would take until the steel tore apart from the screws. Three tests were conducted on each companies steel, and the average was taken from the three.



Steel Tear Test Results

First Place Morton Buildings 1090 Pounds
Second Place FBi Buildings 1082 Pounds
Third Place Menards 772 Pounds


When comparing the three tests, we found that Menards had the most significant variance in their steel by a couple of hundred pounds. Morton had a slight variation with about 100 pounds. FBi was the most consistent with variances of roughly 50 pounds.

Consistency in the pole barn steel is vital because inconsistency can affect the strength of your pole building. You don’t want parts of your building structure less sturdy than others or becoming more susceptible to damage.


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2) Pole Barn Drop Dent Test

Objective: To determine how well the pole barn steel can hold up against hail, rocks, or other projectiles that may cause damage to a post frame building.

Measures: The strength of the steel against blunt force objects.

For this test, ball bearings were dropped from 8 feet above the steel panels. Three different sizes were used and dropped multiple times - the ¼" sized bearing was dropped 10 times on each of the panels, while the ¾" and 1½" bearings were each dropped 3 times.

Pole Barn Steel Drop Dent Test, FBi Buildings

Morton Buildings

  • Test 1: 26 gauge, size ¼"
  • Test 2: 26 gauge, size ¾"
  • Test 3: 26 gauge, size 1½"


  • Test 1: 29 gauge, size ¼"
  • Test 2: 29 gauge, size ¾"
  • Test 3: 29 gauge, size 1½"

FBi Buildings

  • Test 1: 29 gauge, size ¼"
  • Test 2: 29 gauge, size ¾"
  • Test 3: 29 gauge, size 1½"

In the comparison of Morton and Menards steel, we found that these two performed fairly close. FBi came out on top with the least amount of damage done.

By doing the drop dent test, you can undeniably recognize just how the different yield strengths, or PSI, plays a significant factor in the amount of damage a pole barn can endure. 

FBi's steel has a yield strength of approximately 80,000 PSI, which signifies it's a harder, more rigid piece of steel. This type will undoubtedly stand up better to hail and rock damage, making it superior to any steel with a lower yield strength.

Menards and Morton use a steel with a lower yield strength at approximately 40,000 PSI. Considering the steel is not as hard, it is slightly weaker, which causes the steel to dent much easier when it encounters hail or rock damage. When you use a steel with a lower yield, you are likely to pay more in material costs.


Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings


Pole Barn Steel Shotgun Test, FBi Buildings

3) Pole Barn Shotgun Test

Objective: To determine how well the pole barn steel can encounter things you never thought would happen to a pole barn. (Ask your Farmer's Insurance agent what could happen - they know a thing or two because they've seen a thing or two).

Measures: The strength of the steel against the unknown.


From 100 feet away, a single shot was fired into the steel panel from a 12 gauge shotgun. This test did not measure the number of dents that were in the panel since all three showed a significant amount of denting. What was measured here is the number of holes that each panel received.


Pole Barn Shotgun Test Results

First Place Morton Buildings 0 Holes
Second Place FBi Buildings 13 Holes
Third Place Menards 24 Holes


Gauge factor is the most important thing to note. FBi has a gauge of 29 with a higher yield strength, which resulted in fewer holes than Menards, who has the same gauge but with a lower yield strength. FBi's harder steel prevented any more damage from occurring.

Morton had a gauge of 26 with a higher yield strength, so these two factors together concluded that their steel could indeed endure most anything that is thrown (or shot) its way. This is just one of the many benefits of thicker steel.

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Which Pole Barn Steel Came Out on Top?

In concluding our research, we found that Menards steel, unfortunately, does not hold up as well as the steel used by Morton and FBi. Menards placed last in each test administered, which could potentially mean more money spent in the long run on repairs and replacements.

Morton and FBi tied with remarkably similar results. Both post frame building companies placed first and second in all tests, which proves their use of high quality, durable materials

You might have to spend more money up-front to get the best possible materials for your pole barn, but trust us, it will be worth it. Otherwise, you'll end up spending even more money in the future on repairing that wind or hail damage - or repairing the bullet holes you created because you were aiming for the buck that walked by but accidentally shot the pole barn instead.


Which Type of Pole Barn Steel Will You Choose?

In the end, pole barn steel is an intricate part, but it's not the only part involved in constructing a post frame building. It's essential to focus on the following as well:

Looking over any of these components can significantly affect your structural integrity.

We encourage ample amounts of research in determining which steel you should select for your next post frame project. You know what you're looking for and what you're willing to spend, so researching each post company and calling them to learn more about their products is the best way to decide which direction you should proceed. Just remember to always build with confidence.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Do you have more questions about the steel we use 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