How Much Does a Pole Barn Cost to Build?
The cost of building a pole barn from scratch starts at $7,000. While building costs can go as high as $120,000, the national average pole barn cost is $27,000.
- Typical Range: $7,000 to $120,000
- National Average: $27,000
A pole barn structure is a common type of post-frame construction that can be used as a commercial space, residential building, equine building, equipment storage space, greenhouse, or workshop. Pole barn garages are also popular, offering low-cost construction and easy assembly.
According to Angi, the national average pole barn cost is $27,000, though costs can be as low as $7,000 or as high as $120,000. The final cost depends on various factors, including the barn’s size, foundation, siding, flooring, and roofing material. Labor costs and permits also influence the final price of a pole barn. Using a pole barn cost calculator can give homeowners a better idea of how much their project will cost.
Adding a pole barn is a great way to make use of space on an oversize lot and can offer homeowners multiple options and added home value. This guide will cover the different factors that determine pole barn prices, the benefits of building a pole barn, and the ways homeowners can save on pole barn construction costs.
Factors in Calculating Pole Barn Cost
Pole barns come in all different sizes and can be made from a variety of materials, from the foundation to the siding to the roofing. With many options available, pole barn costs are unique for each project. The following factors can be used to help a homeowner determine a reasonable budget for a pole barn building.
When determining a budget for building a pole barn, the size of the structure is one of the most significant factors to take into account. An average pole barn cost per square foot is between $11 and $20, including materials and labor.
For example, a 600-square-foot pole barn costs between $7,000 and $12,000, while a 12,000-square-foot pole barn costs between $14,000 and $24,000. A 1,800-square-foot pole barn has a price range between $20,000 and $36,000, while a 40-by-60 pole barn costs between $27,000 and $48,000.
As expected, the larger the pole barn, the higher the cost since larger buildings require more materials and, in most cases, additional time and labor.
All pole barns need a foundation, though different foundations come with unique price points and features. Without a strong foundation, a pole barn’s structural integrity can be put at risk, so this isn’t a place for homeowners to try to save on costs.
A standard pole barn foundation includes retaining walls and concrete, and there are fees to excavate and backfill the land. This type of foundation costs around $26,000. More affordable options are available, such as a concrete pad foundation that costs between $1,500 and $4,000. When deciding between the two, homeowners will want to discuss the pros and cons with their contractor based on their barn’s design and the location’s condition.
Most post-frame buildings use wood or aluminum siding for protection against the elements. Aluminum siding is the most common type, likely because it tends to last longer and can withstand extreme weather. Aluminum siding is ideal for pole barns that are intended for storing vehicles or farm equipment.
Wood siding is also a common choice because it’s more affordable. However, it does require additional maintenance and doesn’t last as long as metal. Homeowners can expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 to side a pole barn, with wood siding costing between $3 and $10 per square foot and aluminum siding costing between $5 and $12 per square foot.
Because there are so many different uses for a pole barn, it’s no surprise that there are several different flooring options to choose from. Concrete flooring is one of the most popular options. The material easily handles debris and moisture and is ideal for agricultural and storage pole barns. Concrete floors cost between $5 and $10 per square foot.
Wood flooring is another standard option that provides a rustic or traditional look. It’s an excellent option for event-hosting pole barns and costs between $8 and $12 per square foot.
Finally, laminate flooring offers an affordable option with plenty of styles to choose from. Homeowners can expect to pay between $4 and $8 per square foot for laminate flooring.
Roofing is an essential component in constructing a pole barn. A roof’s price depends on the space’s square footage and the roofing materials used. The most common roof materials for a pole barn are steel and aluminum. With labor, an aluminum or steel roof has a price range of $5,000 to $24,000.
Most DIY pole barn kits include the roof, and the roof typically accounts for between $5,000 and $10,000 of the total cost. Homeowners will want to remember that roof styles also influence how much a pole barn roof costs and choose according to their budget first and then aesthetics.
Labor costs ensure a contractor and the contractor’s team are fairly compensated beyond the cost of materials for their time and efforts. Building a pole barn is a labor-intensive and time- consuming project, so a homeowner can expect labor fees to make up a decent percentage of the overall budget.
A reputable contractor will be up front about labor costs, including how they charge. Contractors will typically charge either by the hour, by project type, or by project scope. When it comes to the labor costs involved in building a pole barn, many contractors charge per square foot, with an average price range of $5 to $10. Therefore, a 2,000-square-foot pole barn will likely cost $10,000 to $20,000 in labor alone.
Geographic location can influence the final cost of a pole barn in several ways. First, there’s seasonality to consider. In some areas, building seasons are short. This can result in contractors charging more in response to high demand. Homeowners may save a bit on costs by having their pole barn built during slower construction months, but bad weather can significantly drag out the build timeline.
Location can also influence the cost of building a pole barn because the cost of services are higher in some areas than others. Furthermore, fluctuations in the cost of living can result in higher or lower labor and material costs.
And when it comes down to the construction site itself, location matters even more. Building a pole barn in an easy-to-access location will likely cost less than it would in a location with limited vehicle access.
Pole barns can be used in a multitude of ways. They can be built as a simple storage solution, or they can house a workshop. They can even be transformed into a dream residential space. How the barn will be used can heavily influence the final build cost.
First, there are materials to consider. A residential space will require more materials, in both type and quantity, than an open storage space for farm equipment, which will drive up the cost. There’s also time and labor to consider. Additionally, some pole barns may require the use of electricity or plumbing so they can be used in the way the homeowner desires. Adding more construction elements to the build increases time and labor, thereby adding to the overall cost.
A building permit ensures that the pole barn’s construction follows all relevant regulations, including building standards and environmental protection. An inspection is required either before, during, or after work has been completed to ensure everything has been done in compliance with local codes. Building without a permit can result in expensive fines and the risk of the entire construction site being shut down.
Building a pole barn can be a straightforward process, or it can be quite involved. For a pole barn build, building permits can cost around $1,000 or more; the cost is influenced by the intended use of the space and the features the homeowner chooses to include.
Additional Costs and Considerations
There can be additional factors or components that homeowners may need to consider when calculating the total cost to build a pole barn. For example, adding electrical and plumbing is optional, but it adds to the build cost if one or both services are desired. Homeowners will want to keep the following considerations in mind to prevent surprise budget busters.
Prefabricated vs. Custom Pole Barn
When calculating pole barn building cost, it’s important that homeowners consider customization. An out-of-the-box prefabricated pole barn will almost always cost less than a custom pole barn.
There are pros and cons to each option. Prefabricated pole barns are manufactured ahead of time so they can be delivered and constructed quickly. Finding a contractor with the right experience to take on the build may also be easier. And if part of the barn is damaged in the future, it may be easier to replace a section on a prefab model.
However, a custom pole barn can be designed and built to the exact specifications of a homeowner. In some cases, custom builds are made with better materials. And with a custom build, there’s no limit to style, colors, flooring, or finishes.
Homeowners who have a specific vision of how they want their pole barn to look and function will likely find investing in what’s likely to be a more expensive build to be a wise move. But if a quick and dirty build is all a homeowner requires, a more affordable prefabricated option may fit the bill (and budget) better.
Homeowners often choose the site of their future pole barn for convenience. Depending on how they plan on using the space, it can make sense for the building to be either closer or farther away from a home, road, or other building. But it’s not always that easy. Some sites require a bit more work than others to prep for pole barn construction.
Leveling is a common site preparation task that professionals are best equipped to handle. Without leveling the site, a pole barn can be crooked and fail to function properly or safely. In many scenarios, the site will need to be leveled in order for the building to pass inspection.
Homeowners can expect to add between $1,200 and $4,300 to the cost of a pole barn build to have the site made smooth and flat.
Insulating a pole barn makes it suitable for year-round use. It can also turn a barn into a livable residential space. An insulated pole barn costs an additional $3,500 to $16,500, depending on the type of material used.
Insulation costs vary by type. Fiberglass is the most common type of pole barn insulation and costs between $0.95 and $1.30 per square foot. A vapor barrier is recommended with fiberglass insulation, and this costs between $2 and $4 per square foot.
Spray foam insulation costs less, ranging between $0.44 and $1.50 per square foot. This type of barn insulation can be more expensive than fiberglass, but it offers less maintenance. Foam board pole barn insulation is water-resistant, eco-friendly, and easy to install. It’s also the most expensive, costing between $1.50 and $5.50 per square foot.
Not all pole barns will benefit from having electricity installed. For example, a pole barn being used to store farm equipment that will only be accessed during the day doesn’t need a full lighting system or outlets.
But if a pole barn is being used as a workshop, electricity is likely a must. The same goes for a pole barn being used to store temperature-sensitive items, as electricity offers the ability to install a heating and cooling system.
Adding electricity to a pole barn costs between $1,000 to $3,000. While it’s an added cost, installing electricity in a pole barn can make it more useful and will likely appeal to potential future home buyers.
Plumbing isn’t always a necessity for a barn. But depending on its intended use, having access to fresh water can make tasks easier; a barn used for housing livestock can benefit from running water, for example. A space being used as a greenhouse or for certain workshop setups may also benefit from water access.
Even if running water isn’t a concern, having a drainage system can be helpful for cleaning up messes. Homeowners can expect to pay between $45 and $150 per hour to install plumbing in a pole barn. The length of the project depends on the job scope and size of the barn, but most jobs can be completed in a couple of days.
Some finishes are optional but can really improve a pole barn’s functionality. Adding windows allows much-needed light to illuminate the space, which can be especially important if a homeowner decides to opt out of an electrical system for the building. Windows can also be opened when the weather permits for a cheap and effective cooling system. The cost for windows for an entire pole barn runs between $2,500 and $7,500.
Doors aren’t always required on a pole barn either, depending on how the space will be used. But for security reasons or protection from the elements, doors can be added for an additional cost between $700 and $2,000.
Finally, vents can help manage heat and prevent moisture issues. Homeowners can expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 for pole barn vents.
Types of Pole Barns
Homeowners can choose from multiple types of pole barns. Each type has its own advantages and price point. Listed below are some of the most common types of pole barns, along with their top features and how they affect pole barn construction costs.
One of the simplest and most cost-effective roof designs available is the gable roof. It features two sections that slope downward from the ridge cap of the building. Because of its simplicity and affordability, a gable roof is one of the most popular roof designs.
Gable roofs also create enough space for an attic or second level. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that the attics in gable-roof pole barns can become very humid, which may lead to mildew and mold. To prevent this, proper ventilation is a must. Another con is that this type of roof is vulnerable to both wind and snow damage.
A gambrel roof is similar to a gable roof but features two sloping sections on each side instead of one. The first slope is quite shallow, with the second being much steeper. This is one of the most iconic and classic designs for a barn roof.
A gambrel design provides even more upper-floor space than a gable roof and is perfect for making an attic or second floor. Similar to a gable roof, this roof style is vulnerable to damage from heavy snowfall. A gambrel roof typically costs significantly more than a gable roof, but it’s visually impressive.
As the name suggests, monoslope roofs have a singular slope pointing in a certain direction. This design is most commonly used for buildings that house livestock. Interior columns are most commonly placed 8 feet apart but can be spaced further using girder trusses if needed.
Because pole barns with monoslope roofs are often intended to house cattle and store machinery, these types of pole barns are usually very large buildings. Monoslopes tend to have very good airflow and are naturally ventilated. They are also commonly attached to existing structures to create lean-tos. As with the other styles already mentioned, monoslopes are vulnerable to heavy snow loads.
A hip roof contains four sides that all slope downward. This is one of the most common roof types because of its aesthetic appeal and stability. Hip roofs do not require much diagonal bracing because of their self-stabilizing design, so there’s potential to save on materials with this type of roof.
These roofs are the perfect choice for areas with high winds and heavy snow loads; the slanted design of the roof allows snow to fall off easily. With all this being said, two major drawbacks to hip roofs are how expensive and difficult they are to build.
Finally, monitor roofs have a raised structure built atop the ridge of the building’s main roof. Buildings with monitor roofs essentially look like those with a regular gable roof that splits into two stories and is raised in the middle.
Similar to a gambrel roof, this design maximizes upper space, making it perfect for an attic or extra living space. Especially with eave lights on the upper level, this design lets in tons of natural light. Interior columns may be necessary to help support the roof, depending on how large the building is. Like hip roofs, monitor roofs are stunning but can be rather expensive and difficult to build.
Benefits of Building a Pole Barn
Pole barns offer multiple benefits, including affordable building costs and the ability to customize the space to meet a homeowner’s specific needs. If a homeowner is considering adding a pole barn to their property, they will want to consider the following benefits.
One of the most significant benefits of pole barns is their affordability. For homeowners needing a large space to use for work, hobbies, storage, or fun, a pole barn is a type of building that offers plenty of bang for the buck.
Pole barn buildings have smaller foundation costs compared to other types of buildings. They also require fewer materials compared to other types of builds since they don’t rely on load-bearing walls or intrusive columns.
While they’re more expensive than it would cost to build a shed, they offer much more space and functionality. With less construction, less time, and less in materials, pole barns are an affordable option compared to other types of buildings similar in size and function.
Pole barns can be built in any environment. While site conditions can vary from location to location, a post-frame building can adapt thanks to its multicolumned design. This allows force to spread out evenly across the structure, nearly eliminating the risk of wall overturn. Homeowners in most every geographic area can build a pole barn without worrying about shifting or unstable ground.
Not only can pole barns be built in a variety of locations, they can be used in a variety of ways. Despite its name, a pole barn doesn’t have to be used as a traditional barn. A pole barn can be used as a residential structure, a garage, a hobby shop, a work space, a commercial space, a greenhouse, a storage space, and more.
Homeowners often have a specific look in mind when planning their pole barn construction project. One of the best benefits of pole barns is that they are extremely customizable. Homeowners can choose from countless exterior colors and unique features like wainscot, cupolas, and overhangs.
The inside of a pole barn can be customized as well, and layouts can be drawn out that meet a homeowner’s unique needs for the space. Cabinetry, countertops, and flooring can all be chosen for functionality and aesthetics.
From roofing to siding and everything below, above, and between, homeowners can choose how their pole barn will look. And with so many options, it’s easy to stay on budget and on track regardless of the styles chosen.
Pole barns are incredibly durable. A pole barn design features posts that transfer weight quite efficiently. This allows a pole barn to easily stand up to hail, snow, wind, and severe weather.
Since pole barns are so durable, they provide great shelter for vehicles, farm animals, harvested crops, farm equipment, tools, and other valuable items.
It should be noted that pole barn maintenance can help keep a building strong for years to come. Homeowners will want to regularly check for leaks and drafts and check steel panels for signs of wear and tear. Excessive weight, like from snow, will need to be removed from the roof, and any pest infestations will need to be handled quickly.
Pole Barn Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
For those who want to build a pole barn, DIY-ing this project can help save on labor. In fact, homeowners can save at least $5 to $10 per square foot on labor by building their own pole barn. But a DIY approach to pole barn building opens the door to a lot of potential problems, including:
- Impaired structural integrity due to inexperienced construction;
- Unintentional use of substandard materials;
- Inability to meet local building codes;
- Building on an improper or ill-prepared location;
- Higher risk of injury;
- Increased potential for going over budget; and
- Drawn-out construction timeline.
For these reasons, pole barn construction is best left to a professional team of experienced builders.
Homeowners considering building their own pole barn will want to be aware of potential legal pitfalls that could get in their way. For example, laying a foundation or installing electricity may not be permitted in their area without the proper licensing.
However, wood pole barn kits may offer a homeowner with building experience the chance to play a role in the construction of their building. In terms of construction projects, pole barns are quite straightforward when they are basic in style and features. This means that a homeowner may be able to handle the basic build and bring in support for the more demanding or code-compliant construction steps.
Pole barn kits start at around $10,000, but homeowners will want to keep in mind that kits don’t offer the knowledge and experience a construction team brings to a build. So while a basic pole barn may be an achievable project for a DIY homeowner, it’s almost always worth it to go the professional route.
An experienced pole barn builder can ensure a pole barn is built correctly and safely, along with ensuring the entire project stays on budget and remains code-compliant.
How to Save Money on Pole Barn Cost
With the average cost of a pole barn being $27,000, it only makes sense that a homeowner would want to save as much as possible without compromising the integrity of their building. Here are a few suggestions on how to do just that.
- Get multiple quotes. Reaching out to multiple pole barn construction companies can ensure a homeowner is getting the best price. It’s worth noting that the best price may not be the cheapest, but it should offer a fair price for materials, labor, and experience a crew brings to the job.
- Choose durable materials. It’s tempting to cut costs when building a pole barn by selecting the cheapest materials available. While this can save on initial costs, it can end up costing more in the long run. It’s possible to choose durable materials without going over budget when building a pole barn.
- Balance aesthetics with cost. One of the benefits of a pole barn is that it offers a homeowner the chance to customize the building’s appearance. But to save on cost, homeowners will want to think carefully about aesthetics. While a garage door offers a certain style, the best barn doors can be less expensive. Even design elements like the roofline can impact price. An experienced pole barn contractor can help a homeowner get the look they want without going over budget.
- Consider less-expensive insulation. Insulation can quickly eat up a pole barn budget. A steel liner system offers a more affordable option than drywall and can handle the drastic temperature changes in a barn.
Questions to Ask About Pole Barn Installation
Whether a homeowner is considering one of the many pole building kits available or hiring a contractor and their team to build their dream pole barn, they will want to ask certain questions. While not all of the following questions will apply to every scenario, they can help guide a homeowner looking for the best pole barn solution.
- What is included in my pole-building kit?
- Do you offer construction with the kit?
- Will my building be fully engineered?
- How many pole barns have you built?
- Do you have a portfolio or references?
- Did you train your team or are they subcontractors?
- Are you fully insured?
- Where are the parts of my building sourced?
- What type of lumber will be used in my pole barn?
- What type of structural framing will my pole barn use?
- Is there a warranty, and what does it cover?
- Whose responsibility is excavation and site preparation?
- Can I help design my pole barn, or do you only work with kits and standard models?
- Is my quote a complete proposal or just an estimate?
- Does the quote include a vapor barrier?
- Will my pole barn meet all local building codes?
- Who handles pulling permits and arranging inspections?
Pole barns offer homeowners the chance to customize a usable indoor space on their property for work, hobbies, or additional home value. With the average pole barn cost coming in around $27,000, constructing this type of building is an investment that offers multiple benefits.
For the homeowner still weighing the pros and cons of pole barn construction, the following FAQs can add additional clarity to the process.
Q. What is the average lifespan for a pole barn?
The expected lifespan of a pole barn depends on the quality of construction and types of materials used. However, with skillful construction and impeccable maintenance, a pole barn can last for decades. In many cases, a homeowner can expect a pole barn to stand strong for upwards of 60 years.
Q. Do pole barns increase home value?
It depends. A basic pole barn might not add monetary value to a home, but it can boost a potential buyer’s perception of a property, which could lead to faster or higher offers. A pole barn with a foundation, insulation, and electricity can offer up to 80 percent return on investment.
Q. Do I need a permit for building a pole barn?
Permit requirements vary by municipality, but a homeowner can safely assume that a pole barn construction project will almost always require a permit. Additionally, the property must be zoned for farm buildings. A quick check with the local zoning board can determine if a homeowner’s property is zoned as such before construction begins.
Q. What is the best foundation type for a pole barn?
The best foundation type for a pole barn depends on budget and code requirements. A precast pad foundation doesn’t require concrete, so it’s cheap and quick to install. However, it has a shorter life cycle. A poured-in-place foundation offers better quality but at a more expensive price. Finally, a continuous poured foundation offers great longevity and is ideal for insulated buildings, but it’s the most expensive option.
Q. What’s the difference between a pole building and a metal pole building?
There are some obvious differences between a pole building and a metal pole building. First, pole barns use wood poles while metal buildings incorporate steel and similar materials. A basic pole barn may have dirt flooring, while a metal building is typically constructed with a concrete foundation. Metal buildings can outlast pole buildings and require less maintenance as well. But both pole buildings and metal buildings offer space, value, and the ability to be customized for work, storage, or play.
Q. Can I heat a pole barn?
Yes, homeowners can choose from a few different HVAC solutions for a pole barn. Radiant in-floor heating is one option. Heating systems can also be mounted along the ceiling. If an HVAC system installation budget is tight, a pellet or wood-burning stove can offer an affordable heating solution for a pole barn.