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How to Winterize Your Pole Barn in 5 Easy Steps

November 16th, 2020 | 10 min. read

Cori Lane

Cori Lane

Cori grew up on her family's small grain and livestock operation in Northwest Indiana. In 2018, she graduated Summa Cum Laude 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 levels, Cori chose to pursue a career in agriculture. 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 live music, and traveling.

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It's official – winter is coming! Long gone are the summer nights spent underneath the pole barn porch, watching your children ride their four-wheelers around the property. Cooler temperatures and shorter days are here to stay, no matter how hard we try to ignore them.

As Midwesterners, we take several precautions to prepare ourselves for heavy snowfall, ice accumulation, and blustery winds.

For instance, we stock our vehicles with snow scrapers, blankets, extra clothes, and miniature survival kits. After all, you never know when you might get stranded alongside the road.

Around the house, we clear the gutters, check the pipes, and ensure our furnace will run without a hitch.

Prepping your post-frame building for colder weather is just as crucial as your stick-built home. This article explains how you can get your pole barn winter-ready in five easy steps.

How to Winterize Your Pole Barn in 5 Easy Steps

1. Prune Landscaping & Trees

FBi-Garages-Image-Jordan & Kristen Stafford-800x500-3Not only does landscaping add curb appeal to your post-frame building, but it also reduces heating and cooling costs.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy-efficient landscaping provides, on average, enough savings to return an initial investment in less than eight years. That's impressive!

However, forgetting to prune shrubbery and trees can pose a significant threat to your pole barn. 

For instance, overgrown branches can scrape your metal siding. These scratches allow water molecules (or moisture) to access the chipped paint. Rust causes the metal panel to expand, which places a great deal of stress on the post-frame building.

Plus, ice and snow can weigh the tree branches down. Some limbs may not be able to withstand the load; thus, they snap and collapse on top of your metal roof. Then, you're left with a gaping hole in the roofing system, or worse, with bowing/broken trusses.

Moreover, high winds can push neglected branches into your windows, which could break a pane or two.

Overall, pruning your pole barn landscaping can spare you future headaches and save money on building repairs in the spring.

Download Pole Barn Winterization Checklist

2. Clear Pole Barn Gutters of Debris

You clear the gutters on your house, so why wouldn't you do the same for your post-frame building?

Gutters can collect broken twigs, fallen leaves, pesky pine needles, fine sediment, and other miscellaneous debris.

The buildup will clog your gutter system, preventing it from doing its job correctly. Problems can arise when rainwater or melted ice/snow has nowhere to go. Excess water will find its way onto the roof and wreak havoc. Drip, drip, drip!

Again, pooling water can cause rust, especially alongside the fasteners. Corroded nails and screws are less effective.

Not to mention, what will happen to the excess water when the temperature falls below freezing? It'll turn into ice and cause further damage to your gutters (e.g., holes and subsequent leaks). If the ice dams are heavy enough, they can detach the channel from the post-frame building.

3. Double-Check Building Seals & Insulation

Pole_Barn_Fiberglass_Insulation-minIs your structure already well-insulated? Do you plan on insulating and finishing your pole barn interior before winter?

If so, fall is the perfect time to inspect or prepare your post-frame building for insulation. This material is the primary defense against heat loss through the building envelope.

Upfront costs may seem daunting, but insulating your pole barn is an investment on its own. Your monthly utility costs will decrease considerably based on the material's R-value.

Are you wondering which type of insulation is right for you? Download our FREE "Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Insulation" for more information.


BA FanGrab a ladder (or lift) and examine your eave lites and ridge vents for cracks or holes. If you notice any signs of damage, please contact your Repair & Renovation Specialist for further assessment (and an estimate).

Once your pole barn is fully insulated and tightly sealed, the structure must have adequate ventilation. During the summer months, you can prop the doors and crack the windows open. 

But what are you supposed to do in the winter?

Eave, ridge, and sidewall ventilation play a crucial role in regulating air circulation within your post-frame building. 

Mechanical ventilation can be used when natural ventilation isn't enough. In this case, you'll want to consider installing a fan of some sort.

Do you need a reliable fan manufacturer? We recommend checking out our "Top Pole Barn Fan Companies: 4 Installation Advantages" blog.

Pole Barn Condensation Tips_Blog CTA

4. Inspect Electrical Wires & Plumbing Pipes

Pole Barn BathroomWhen the weather turns cold, the last thing you want to deal with is faulty electrical wires and frozen (or burst) pipes.

First things first, you'll want to make sure your preferred heating system is serviced and ready to go. No one wants to work in a chilly farm shop or pole barn garage because of bad wiring and ductwork.

You'll need to assess the type of lighting in your post-frame building. Check for burnt light bulbs and consider replacing them with LEDs for greater energy efficiency.

The days are getting darker earlier, and you'll be thankful for having bright lights when you need to spend late nights in the pole barn.

Furthermore, monitoring your plumbing system during cold weather is critical. Freezing pipes have the potential to burst, leaving you with a bigger leak (and headache) than you bargained for.

As long as your post-frame building is adequately heated, you shouldn't have a problem with frozen pipes. We recommend letting cold water drip from the faucets.

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5. Repair Building Damages (If Needed)

It's easy to adopt the mindset of "I'll get it later when I have more time." Next thing you know, your children keep you busy with extracurricular activities. Or work demands your undivided attention.

The seasons come and go. Yet, your pole barn damages are still there. Sure, the weather may be mild, but we all know Midwestern winters are unpredictable. All it takes is one storm to worsen matters. So stop putting your barn repairs on the back burner.

Contact your post-frame builder so their construction crews can restore your structure to its former glory. By taking the time to make a quick phone call, you can rest easy knowing that your pole barn will be repaired and ready to go for winter.

Pole Barn Repair Quote_FBi Buildings

Are You Ready to Winterize Your Pole Barn?

Fall is coming to an end, and now is the perfect opportunity to winterize your pole barn. It's time to take advantage of the "warmer" temperatures before they dip, and you'd much rather stay bundled up inside.

Before you go into hibernation mode, we recommend downloading our FREE "5 Easy Ways to Winterize Your Pole Barn" checklist. 

Once the brutal chill appears, you'll be thankful you didn't procrastinate on prepping your post-frame building for winter. 

Plus, who doesn't like to check things off your to-do list? So satisfying! Plus, you're building with confidence – an even better feeling.

Download Pole Barn Winterization Checklist

Do you have more questions about pole barn winterization that aren't 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 determine the next steps of your project.