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Pole Barn vs Metal Buildings: Compare Pros and Cons

Pole Barn vs Metal Buildings


Are you looking to build a new barn, or replace an existing one, and you aren’t sure whether a more expensive steel frame barn is worth it?

Or do you have a pole barn, and you want to find out about the benefits of having a steel frame barn?

Don’t worry; this guide will tell you what you need to know.

In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about pole barns versus metal buildings, including what they are and where you can find them.

So, are you ready to go?

Let’s go!

What’s in this guide?

What is a pole barn?

A pole barn is a simplistic style of the barn which uses wooden poles or ‘beams’ for the support of exterior walls and roof trusses.

These types of barns are traditionally the cheapest to build, as they don’t require anything like a concrete floor or any other materials other than wood.

This makes them some of the most popular types of barns. However, their low cost can quickly increase with things like maintenance and repairs, due to things such as rot and pest infestations.

What is a steel frame barn?

A steel frame barn, on the other hand, is an all-steel structure which means that it is durable, flexible and won’t quickly become damaged or need frequent repairs.

Steel barns are more expensive than pole barns due to the price of steel, but in return, they are easier to keep and typically, it is 40% less expensive to insure a steel structure.

Many steel barns will require a concrete floor, or at least a concrete exterior to keep the steel barn stable. However, you can still have the option to have a dirt floor when for use with horses or other agricultural needs.

Plus, sometimes you might only use your barn for storage, in which case a concrete floor might be an unnecessary expense.

What is steel?

Steel is made from iron and carbon, sometimes in combination with other elements, and it is one of the most popular metals in use today.

There are over 3,500 different types of steel, which all have their elements and purposes, and can be combined with different types of metals.

There are four main groups that commercial steel typically falls into:

  • Carbon Steels
  • Alloy Steels
  • Stainless Steels
  • Tool Steels

The groups that the steel falls into generally depends on the percentage of other metals that are mixed in like chromium or nickel for example, as well as the alloy with high temperature.

Carbon steels are the most common forms of steel that are traditionally used for the construction of buildings, including rebar and mild steel.

Why is steel an excellent material to use?

Steel is a great metal to use for this purpose for many reasons, mainly because they have these benefits:

✔ Weldable

✔ Hot and cold formable

✔ Wear resistant

✔ Hard and tough

✔ Resistant to corrosion

✔ Heat resistant

✔ Adaptable

What are the pros and cons?

So, what exactly are the pros and cons to each of the options available for your barn?

Pole barn pros and cons

✔ Cheaper initial costs

✔ Visually looks warm

✔ Faster to build

✔ No foundation needed

✔ More inexpensive materials

✗ At risk for rot

✗ Regular maintenance required

✗ Leaks and rust possible

✗ They are a fire hazard

✗ Rafters will warp

✗ Size limitations

✗ Pole barns don’t work with basements

✗ Expensive repair costs

✗ Won’t last as long as steel structures

✗ Doesn’t retain heat as well

✗ Riskier for containing livestock

Steel barn pros and cons

✔ Anchored columns

✔ No need for maintenance

✔ Rigid, sturdy frames

✔ Leak-proof

✔ No warping

✔ No fire hazard

✔ Termite-proof

✔ 40% less expensive to insure

✔ Rust free

✔ Safest for livestock

✗ More expensive

✗ Requires professionals

✗ Might not be as attractive

Do steel frame barns need a concrete floor?

Although you can have a concrete floor with steel frame barns, you may not require one, and so you can opt out of having one built.

This might be a great option if you work with horses or require your barn for storage.

What pricing can I expect?

So, what costs can you expect from both a pole barn and a steel frame barn?

Take a look below to find out more.

Pole barn pricing



30×50 $25,000-$30,000
40×60 $35,000-$42,000
50×100 $65,000-$75,000

Steel frame barn pricing



30×50 $13,000-$16,000
40×60 $22,000-$25,000
50×100 $35,000-$40,000

Top 5 Steel Barn Companies

1. Steel Structures America

Steel Structures America

Type: Steel building company

Locations: Idaho, Washington, Colorado

Steel Structures America offers its customers both residential, commercial and agricultural buildings, which include a wide range of pole buildings such as horse barns and hay storage structures.

Their pole barns feature a flexible design, a wide-open interior space and they can be easily customised with steel structures that benefit from a warm wooden exterior.

2. American Steel Carports

American Steel Carports

Type: Steel building company

Locations: New Mexico

American Steel Carports are a business which is based in New Mexico and specialises not only in creating steel carports and garages, but also agricultural buildings such as a choice of barns.

These barns can come either closed, open or with partial walls, giving you much more design flexibility over your farm buildings.

3. Bargain Barns USA

Bargain Barns USA

Type: Metal building company

Locations: Oklahoma

Bargain Barns USA is an Oklahoma-based company which ships in 46 states and specialises in building metal barns for their customers.

Their metal barns are an excellent fit for many individuals and farming businesses because of their clear-span interiors, protective materials used and high-quality service.

Another benefit to choosing Bargain Barns USA is that they display clear pricing information on their website, based on which state you are in.

4. SteelMaster


Type: Steel building company

Locations: Virginia

SteelMaster is a popular steel building company, which has a high rating on Google, with many customers stating that the buildings are durable and versatile, and the team are helpful in regards to customer service.

Their agricultural buildings typically come in the form of Quonset huts, which are resistant to the weather, strong and give you a protected interior space.

You can benefit from choosing from standard prefabricated kits, or you can work with SteelMaster to create a bespoke building.

5. Metal Barn Central

Metal Barn Central

Type: Metal building company

Locations: North Carolina

Metal Barn Central is a 5-star rated company on Google, who provides their customers with a range of metal buildings such as carports, garages, RV garages and barns.

They offer clear pricing information on their website, which comes in a variety of sizes and finishes, so you can purchase a metal barn which suits your specific needs and aesthetic preferences.

Top 5 Pole Barn Companies

1. Pole Barns Direct

Pole Barns Direct

Type: Pole barn supplier

Locations: Ohio

Pole Barns Direct is an Ohio-based supplier who has many satisfied customers, with testimonials stating that they have benefitted from having quick responses from the team, excellent customer service and high-quality buildings.

Their customised agricultural pole buildings can be used for housing livestock, garages, hay storage and equipment storage too.

2. Original Pole Buildings

Type: Pole barn supplier

Locations: Pennsylvania

Original Pole Buildings are a pole building supplier in Pennsylvania which offers a wide range of pole barns, which are made from a combination of both metal and traditional wooden materials.

Their pole buildings can be suitable for both residential, commercial and equestrian use, with custom structures on offer that will be built to match your needs.

3. Pole Building Supply

Pole Building Supply Co

Type: Pole barn supplier

Locations: Oregon

Pole Building Supply is a pole barn supplier with 40 years of experience, which services many different states on the western coast, including Washington, California and Nevada.

Their pole buildings can be used for both residential and commercial purposes, with many customisation options available such as doors, windows and materials.

4. Badger Building Center

Badger Building Center

Type: Building supplies

Locations: Idaho, Montana

Badger Building Center is a building supplies company who can offer you solutions not only for your garden, roof, siding and decking, but they can also supply you with pole barns too.

Whether you need a pole building to use for your farm, warehouses, storage, barns or as a carport, Badger Building Center can help you find the solution you need.

5. Pioneer Pole Buildings

Pioneer Pole Buildings

Type: Pole building supplier

Locations: Pennsylvania

Pioneer Pole Buildings services Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware, with a high 4.4/5 rating on trusted review sites such as BirdEye, out of 143 individual reviews.

Many of these reviews state that the staff are outstanding, excellent to work with and the buildings have a high quality.

They can provide you with a wide range of pole buildings which can be used for many purposes such as agriculture, commercial and equestrian structures.

What are the different types of steel barns?

Horse Barns

Horse barns, as the name suggests, are barns that are primarily for the use of your horses, which means that you want to make sure that is it safe and suitable for your animals.

Metal horse barns mean that they are durable, safe, they won’t warp and you can protect your structure from leaking and rotting that is associated with wood.

Using steel as the primary material in the horse barns, you can benefit from paying 40% less for insurance and protect your horses from the risk of fire.

Carolina Barns

Unlike horse barns, Carolina barns feature an A-frame structure that typically has horizontal ridges, which have a slanted design that will save you from having to clear off snow in winter.

You can customise your barn to have open sides and ends or be fully enclosed, or any combination of those to include things like having the front open but the back enclosed and so on.

These barns are also fully customisable regarding colours, so you can choose one that matches your branding or personality.

Seneca Barns

Seneca barns are also built with an A-frame structure and have cross-braces on the roof to reinforce strength and durability.

These types of roof styles are particularly useful for areas that often have heavy snow and wind, as they are the most protected against this harsh weather.

You can benefit from choosing between 15 distinct colour choices, your open and enclosed options as well as attaching things like lean-tos.


Have you found out what you need to know about pole barns versus metal buildings?

Did you want to discover more about building elements, particularly those involving the use of steel?

Check out the Green Building Elements guides here, to find out everything you need to know.

Ready? Let’s go!